Using Piratebox infrastructure - Creating our own Networks

How to set up Raspberry Pi PirateBox without ssh

  • These steps are intended to be followed after creating a Piratebox disk image and starting it up in the Raspberry Pi.

change password of alarm user

> passwd

enable fake-timeservice

set date and time

> sudo timedatectl set-ntp false
> sudo date -s "20170904 1603"
> cd /opt/piratebox && sudo ./bin/ ./conf/piratebox.conf install

optional: enable the imageboard and discussionboard

> sudo /opt/piratebox/bin/

enable usb thumb drive share OR extend SDcard

USB: > sudo /opt/piratebox/rpi/bin/

SDCard: > sudo /opt/piratebox/rpi/bin/

optinoal: enable UPnP media server

> sudo cp /etc/minidlna.conf /etc/minidlna.conf.bkp
> sudo cp /opt/piratebox/src/linux.example.minidlna.conf /etc/minidlna.conf
> sudo systemctl start minidlna
> sudo systemctl enable minidlna

enable realtimeclock timekeeping

> sudo systemctl enable rpi_hwclock

To turn on the Piratebox server

sudo systemctl enable minidlna
sudo systemctl start minidlna

To stop the Piratebox server

sudo systemctl stop minidlna


Use a USB drive on your Pi

  1. Plug in a USB. Wait for your command line to come back.
  2. sudo /opt/piratebox/rpi/bin/
  3. You can access your files at /mnt/usbshare
  4. For example, to move a file from your usb to your Pi’s web content folder:
    cp /mnt/usbshare/index.html /opt/piratebox/share/content

    Note: this will overwrite any index.html file that is already in that folder

Change the SSID / Network name

By default, your piratebox network will be called PirateBox - Share Files Freely. You can change this!

Your file /opt/piratebox/conf/hostapd.conf contains configuration to name the SSID network name.

For example, type

nano /opt/piratebox/conf/hostapd.conf

In the line that starts ssid change the network name to a name of your choice.

Save. (Control-O and then hit enter.)

Quit (Control-X)

Then reboot your system.

Change the display URL

The default displayed url is: piratebox.lan.

To change this, run:

sudo /opt/piratebox/bin/ /opt/piratebox/conf/piratebox.conf hostname new_name

replace new_name with whatever url name you like.

To change the landing page

Your piratebox’s landing page index, css, images and js files are located at: /opt/piratebox/share/content

You’ll see index.html, stylesheet and javascript files there. You can edit these to serve any content.

To see changes, restart the Piratebox server

sudo systemctl start minidlna
sudo systemctl enable minidlna

Shutting down the pi

sudo shutdown now

To get the piratebox to login automatically and start the Piratebox server

Your .bashrc file runs on startup.

The file is in your home folder. Edit the file.

nano .bashrc

At the end of the file add in:

systemctl piratebox enable minidlna
systemctl piratebox start minidlna

NOTE: This will autorun at startup. To quit out of it, you’ll need to do Control-C several times.


Additional Raspberry Pi Piratebox tutorials.

Info on how to modify the base Piratebox website including where files are located on the Pi, and customization hints.

Piratebox Forums


The Radical Tactics of the Offline Library, video based on the book Radical Tactics: Reversalism and Personal Portable Libraries

Radical Tactics of the Offline Library as PDF book, by Henry Warwick

Online Reading Group’s COLLABORATIVE LIBRARIES, Images and notes on collaborative libraries…

A Public Library, a space for conversations, presentations, the sharing of resources, and for collective reading, viewing, and learning.

The Library of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges

Librarian is my Occupation, a history of the People’s Library of Occupy Wall Street


Pick and read 2+ manifestos from Manifestos For the Digital Age.

The manifestos are available free to read in a GitHub repo.

Get your Piratebox to work. Develop a concept for your Piratebox server. Customize the landing page and network name. Add any additional functionality. When complete, consider moving the SD card to a dedicated Raspberry Pi Zero W, a $10 Pi.

  1. create a README.txt file.
  2. Include:
    • What is the title of your **box?
    • Who made it? (it’s perfectly fine to create a collective pseudonym name)
    • What is the title and concept of your **box?
    • Who does it serve?
    • How did you build it?
    • Any additional notes, images, manifesto, etc.

When finished:

  1. Upload your readme file to Moodle!
  2. And place it on your piratebox server in some way that is accessible to the public. Images, ascii art, etc are optional.

Note: Everyone in your group/collective must upload the README.txt file to their own moodle space!