Linux Server Improvements

PIXILAB regularly revisits and improves the Linux server image, resulting in newer releases. The release is indicated by the date shown as part of the filename. However, for a running installation, it's not practical to re-image the server regularly. Instead, we provide important notes here on what you can do to keep up to date with the state of the art, keeping your server working as well as possible.

This article describes how to update server images based on Ubuntu 18. If you're using server image version 200525 or later, based on Ubuntu 20, most of what's described below is already been taken care of. However, you may still want to update your operating system from time to time to keep up-to-date with security patches.

:!: If you're using an older version of server, based on Ubuntu 16, released before 2019-05-28, first follow this guide, then proceed as follows below.

Operating System Updates

System components are updated regularly. Most updates are not related to Blocks at all, and make no difference. But occasionally, there are security or performance improvements that may be worthwhile to incorporate.

  1. Make sure the server has Internet access (test by opening the pre-installed web browser and going to a web address).
  2. Switch to the pixi-admin user (password is "pixi" if you haven't changed it).
  3. Click the orange "suitcase" icon in the toolbar on the left hand side, titled "Ubuntu Software".
  4. Select the "Updates" tab.
  5. If you see "OS updates", click the "Install" button next to it.
  6. Restart the server to make the updates take effect.

Update Java

Blocks 4.1 and later uses a newer version of Java. Before updating Blocks, you need to update Java to version 11 (see below for how to check what version is installed). If your server has internet access, proceed as follows (see below for an off-line alternative).

  1. Switch to the pixi-admin user.
  2. Open a terminall window using the terminal icon on the left hand side.
  3. Copy and paste the following commands into the terminal window:
wget -qO - | sudo apt-key add -
sudo apt-get install -y software-properties-common
sudo add-apt-repository --yes
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install  -y adoptopenjdk-11-hotspot

Enter the pixi-admin user's password when requested. Then switch to Java 11 using the following command:

sudo update-alternatives --config java

When prompted, type the number corresponding to "adoptopenjdk-11-hotspot-amd64" in auto mode (likely number 0) and press return. Note that this command can be used to switch back to the older Java version if desired, without having to reinstall anything.

Finally, verify that Java 11 is now selected:

java -version

The output should indicate "openjdk version 11.0.7" (where 11 is the important number, following digits may be different).

Offline Procedure

If your Linux-based Blocks server doesn't have Internet access, or you for some other reason can't use the online method, you can instead proceed as follows:

  1. On a computer with internet access, open a web browser and go here.
  2. Doing so shows a list of files. If you receive an error message, the offline files may have been moved, in which case a google search for "adoptopenjdk java 11 hotspot" may help track them down.
  3. Download the file named adoptopenjdk-11-hotspot_11.0.8+10-3_amd64.deb, or some later version if available.
  4. Move the downloaded deb file using a USB stick to your Blocks server.
  5. On your Blocks server, log in as the pixi-admin user.
  6. Open a terminal window and type the following command (but don't press Enter).
sudo apt install 

Make sure there's a space after the word install, then drag the file transferred using the USB stick into the terminal window, so its path appears at the end of the command (separated by a space). Now press Enter to execute the command, and type the password for the pixi-admin user. This installs the update from the deb file. You can now enable the newer java version using the sudo update-alternatives command shown above and finally verify that you have the correct version.

Updating Blocks

To update the Blocks program itself, follow the instructions given here.

Removing Unifi Wifi Support

If you're not using your Blocks server as a Unifi wifi network controller, we recommend that you remove that software:

  1. Switch to the pixi-admin user.
  2. Open a terminall window using the terminal icon on the left hand side.
  3. Type (or copy/paste) the following commands into the terminal window:
sudo apt remove mongodb-org
sudo apt remove unifi