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Old 07-19-2019, 03:06 PM   #1
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Some notes on PW4 issues and resolution

Just got a new PW4 on Prime day: 8gb, SO, wifi, 5.10.1.3.

I wanted to avoid 5.12 so decided to JB and upgrade to 5.11.2. (My old PW4 is 5.10.3. JB and everything...)

Downloaded everything from the latest snapshots.
Skipped wifi config and registration, and proceeded with JB.

*** I did not put it in airplane mode ***

JB went fine. Upgraded to 5.11.2. Installed MRPI, KUAL, usbnet, gawk, librariansync, python, linkss and a bunch of other extensions. Basically, set up this PW4 identically to my old PW4.

Copied my dictionaries and a collection of books. So now the 2 PW4 are identical in content. The main diff is that the old PW4 had all packages from snapshots as of early March.

Generated collections from folders. Setup SS to cover mode. Rebooted. Did a quick check and noticed that the PW4 was sluggish on all touches and page turns. Also, the message that SS Cover mode did not process any covers yet. Left the PW4 on wall charger and went to dinner.

Came back a couple of hours later and see that nothing improved. Cover mode is still giving message. Page turns are slow. And indexing only processed less than 10 books per hour. No matter what books I opened (mobi, azw3, User Guide) could not get the cover mode to work, and still sluggish.

Deleted all books except 1 and User Guide. Let it index 1 book. No change.

Uninstalled Python and linkss from current snapshot and reinstalled Python and linkss from the March snapshot. No change: no cover mode and sluggish.

Knowing that occasionally Amazon updates impact device performance, I thought that maybe 5.10.1.3 to 5.11.2 update did something. So I ran the hotfix, reset the device, reinstalled and recopied everything. No change: no cover mode and sluggish, and very slow indexing.

At this point I knew that I need help from the guru, and decided to prepare a set of logs that NiLuJe will request: ran ;DM, collected MRPI log, ran SS in verbose mode. Before asking for help I started reading the logs. There were no problems with any packages. However, there was a barrage of errors in System log that it's trying to connect to network and failing everything (sync, store, metadata, authentication, blah-blah-blah). But I never even connected to wifi!

*** So I put the device into airplane mode! ***

Suddenly, there is no sluggishness, indexing is working as expected, cover mode is working!

So even if you never configure wifi and never connect to anything, airplane mode is absolutely necessary.
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Old 07-19-2019, 03:35 PM   #2
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What if you put an empty extensionless file SKIP_UPDATE_CHECK into /var/local/system/ ?
Will it try to look for updates anyway?
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Old 07-19-2019, 03:51 PM   #3
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Note that the "Prevent OTA updates" button in the Helper extension does just that, so it may help.

It will NOT on 5.12, as this one appears to have taken the bull by the horns and decided to workaround the issue by forcefully removing the block folder and stop supporting SKIP_UPDATE_CHECK .
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Old 07-19-2019, 03:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
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Note that the "Prevent OTA updates" button in the Helper extension does just that, so it may help.

It will NOT on 5.12, as this one appears to have taken the bull by the horns and decided to workaround the issue by forcefully removing the block folder and stop supporting SKIP_UPDATE_CHECK .
Joy. So the only way to stop updates with 5.12 or future releases will be airplane mode and doing everything via USB attachment. That is indeed evil.

Dave
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Old 07-19-2019, 04:14 PM   #5
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It will NOT on 5.12, as this one appears to have taken the bull by the horns and decided to workaround the issue by forcefully removing the block folder and stop supporting SKIP_UPDATE_CHECK .
Sorry, I missed the message reporting about the removing the block folder on 5.12.1.
Can you please give the link.
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Old 07-19-2019, 05:04 PM   #6
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I did "Prevent OTA updates" via KUAL as soon as I installed KUAL! So, no, it did not change the constant attempts to connect!
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Old 07-19-2019, 05:10 PM   #7
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@fllc, OK!
I only wonder why did it take Amazon so many FW updates to teach them to remove this folder?
A wild guess is that indeed their FW architecture does not allow even them to downgrade, so they left this backdoor as a safety measure or something.

Which leads me to conclusion that probably they are revising the downgrade/upgrade mechanisms.
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Old 07-19-2019, 05:13 PM   #8
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@fllc, OK!
I only wonder why did it take Amazon so many FW updates to teach them to remove this folder?
A wild guess is that indeed their FW architecture does not allow even them to downgrade, so they left this backdoor as a safety measure or something.

Which leads me to conclusion that probably they are revising the downgrade/upgrade mechanisms.
The update blocker never enabled downgrading, so that is not it.
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Old 07-19-2019, 05:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NiLuJe View Post
Note that the "Prevent OTA updates" button in the Helper extension does just that, so it may help.

It will NOT on 5.12, as this one appears to have taken the bull by the horns and decided to workaround the issue by forcefully removing the block folder and stop supporting SKIP_UPDATE_CHECK .
So, the equivalent of rm -rf

I would have thought their lawyers would at least be a teeny bit nervous about the possibility of deleting import user generated files.
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Old 07-19-2019, 05:42 PM   #10
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@hius07: https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sh...&postcount=477 & https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sh...1&postcount=80

@j.p.s: You don't even know how right you are ;D. It's indeed a hardcoded rm -rf system() call .

All of that is in one of the ota* *binaries*, I can't remember the exact one OTOH, probably otaupv3 or something.

You'll need a < 5.12 version to compare to, of course .

Last edited by NiLuJe; 07-19-2019 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 07-19-2019, 05:45 PM   #11
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They do have a downgrade mechanism in place. At least in the FW. I assume there's a similar knob in the initrd updater, with a bit of luck possibly the exact same one. Too lazy to check .
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Old 07-22-2019, 02:07 PM   #12
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If update.bin.tmp.partial has been nix'd, is there another prevention mechanism available?

Blackholing their update servers in /etc/hosts ?
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Old 07-22-2019, 02:40 PM   #13
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If update.bin.tmp.partial has been nix'd, is there another prevention mechanism available?

Blackholing their update servers in /etc/hosts ?
Airplane mode or a different e-reader brand.
Right! I am getting a little bit pissed at this vendor.

-------

I think I will play with quad-copters for a pass-time.
Those usually run Linux (both on the flight control system, and the on-ground controller).
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Old 07-22-2019, 02:43 PM   #14
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I suspect blackholing might revive the "let's stupidly retry indefinitely" issues and the accompanying CPU drain...

Plus, as @knc1 can attest to, pinpointing every Amazon server under the sun and what they're used for is easier said than done... .
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Old 07-22-2019, 02:45 PM   #15
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Does the file system support ACLs, any immutable flag that could be applied?
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