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Hardware Hacking Build

3COM's Ergo Audrey Hacked 134

It looks like the 3COM Ergo Audrey hacking scene is finally taking off. A guy named Sowbug has hacked the 3COM Ergo Audrey to shell. He has pictures of it here(1) and here(2). Another site has opened to cover this hack, here(3). And of course the Linux Hacker messageboards are covering it quite a bit.
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3COM's Ergo Audrey Hacked

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  • Audrey Discontinued (Score:3, Informative)

    by canowhoopass.com ( 197454 ) <rodNO@SPAMcanowhoopass.com> on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @02:21AM (#2117886) Homepage

    I was on a search to figure out what an Audrey even was and found a discontinued notice on 3Com's site dated March 31. They say they discontinued all of their internet appliance line due to a lack of market.

    Here [3com.com] is their End of Life Statement [3com.com].

    Here [3com.com] is their product page [3com.com]

    Here [3com.com] is their Q and A page [3com.com] regarding the discontinuation.

    After looking at the specs I doubt I would have bought one anyhow.

  • http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTool s/item-details.asp?sku=m975-9000&SRCCODE=WEBE10809
  • Not a fake (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @02:44AM (#2126125)
    You lazy dweebs, check the links before you distribute your ignorance to the world. I swear, /. is a colossal stupidity amplifier. As was widely reported (including here on Slashdot) Audrey ran QNX. So no, you wouldn't see any Linux in there. I was on the dev team for Audrey at 3Com, I've read the procedure described, and it would in fact work, he obtained a shell in a Photon pterm. I'm pleased to see that people will get some use out of the hardware. We put a lot of work into the thing, it was highly depressing that 3Com was/is in such financial trouble that it was terminated before we got a chance to rev software and address many of the complaints people had about the product. (I personally would like to buy all of the available inventory on Ebay and shove them one by one sideways up 3Com's inept CEO Bruce Claflin's ass, a sentiment shared by many of the company's long-suffering shareholders - but I digress). What is not widely known even within the product team was that there was an internal under-the-table project to run Linux on the Audrey almost from go. The big hang-up was getting X to run, and fit in the 16MB of flash in the Audrey. The main advantage to QNX was the availability of the Photon environment, which was a great deal lighter-weight than X with a toolkit.
    • Can you provide a spec for creating the "Channels"? And the location of the URLs/icons in the QNX image?

      I'd like to use the Audrey as a home automation controller, and have my home web server serve up channels for "lights", "HVAC", "Audio", etc. It would seem such a waste not to be able to use the channel knob.

  • by zpengo ( 99887 ) on Monday August 06, 2001 @06:38PM (#2164975) Homepage
    Progresso Black Beans, eh? Yeah, someone's gonna get owned unless he takes some Pepto.
  • www.audreyhacking.com is already slashdotted.

    Maybe it's just that the name isn't that familiar, but the idea of "hacking Audrey" has a certain creepy resonance to it... thinking of the people that I know named Audrey... hmmm...

  • Um (Score:3, Informative)

    by sllort ( 442574 ) on Monday August 06, 2001 @06:47PM (#2165022) Homepage Journal
    Ya, but what's an Audrey? [zdnet.com]

    Sounds like 3Com has learned the lesson of the I-Opener. Nothing is impossible to hack, but at least this one is hard.
    • It's not that hard, if you have a copy of the flashdisk. Soon, they will find a way to extract the OS (OK, this seems to be hard), and then everything will be easy. Maybe I should order myself one of these.
  • hmmmm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gol64738 ( 225528 )
    what's with the dec '99 dates for /bin and /tmp? he says that he purchased it on july 23rd. i think his directory creation dates look a little funny. maybe these *are* faked.
    • I think its fake too.... Why?

      dr-xr-xr-x 2 0 0 8994816 Aug 06 01:25 proc

      Since when did /proc have a size? mine is 0 its a special filesystem after all... How if it was tared up so it could be extracted somewhere else may be it would have a size like that, after all /proc/kcore is pretty big!

      As to the cd / chroot or just replace cd or perhaps he just edited a typescript output then cated it back, could be all in the /config/versions.dat file!

      Since when do . files appear in an ls -l ? ls -al
      would list them...

      I vote fake till more evidence is shown

      • You seem to be sidestepping the fact that this is QNX, not Linux. They may look similar, but QNX is a whole different ballgame for a whole different crowd of fans. It's not faked, this is very normal in QNX.
      • Re:hmmmm... (Score:3, Informative)

        by variable ( 13935 )
        Very easy, /proc on QNX Neutrino is not like /proc on Linux. In fact, on Neutrino the size of /proc is actually the amount of free physical memory in the system (looks like a little over 8M). And the shots are very "real" looking to me, install QNX somtime and checkout the normal terminal. And since the Audrey's look-n-feel is done via a UI plugin it is totally possible to get a window that looks like a normal QNX/Photon terminal.
      • Re:hmmmm... (Score:2, Informative)

        Also, under QNX, ls prints inodes that start with a '.' anyways.

        A somewhat off-topic note, the proc filesystem drivers under QNX 6.0 are awkward--You can't chdir to a directory in /proc, and then ls. You must do 'ls /proc/dirname'.

        • Yes you can! I do "cd /proc/boot" all the time and you can also do a "cd /proc/self", or, in C code
          , open( "/proc/self/as", O_RDWR ),
          to get access to information on yourself.
    • Actually, the audrey has no internal battery. If you unplug the unit, the clock resets to sometime in 1999.

      In any case, I think we've established by now (it's midnight) that the screenshot is not faked. I can verify that it is real as I helped somewhat with the project.
  • If in fact these are faked screens, which we visited, one wonders how much his sites harvested from our browsers that's sitting in his logs now?

    Just send me more of that tasty spam, it goes well with the can o' beans next to the Audrey ...

  • Proof? (Score:4, Informative)

    by drc500free ( 472728 ) on Monday August 06, 2001 @07:16PM (#2165144)
    here [sowbug.com] is how he said he did it... Before we complain about borders not lining up, someone who understands this should give us a fair evaluation of his methodology
    • Re:Proof? (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      In a word: fake

      In two words: laughably fake

      - Black Parrot

  • Not faked (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ross C. Brackett ( 5878 ) on Monday August 06, 2001 @07:30PM (#2165204) Homepage
    Didn't *anybody* follow the first link? This page [sowbug.com] describes how he actually did it. The reason that it looks like it's running in an Audrey window is because IT IS. He got a shell, all right, NOT by porting Linux to Audrey, but by updating Audrey's flash so to add a QNX shell application on the flash card. He then booted the Audrey and ran the shell. That's what the screenshot is of.

    Once again, not a fake.
  • I've never understood the fascination with Internet Appliances. Couldn't you just use a cheap PC? It would do all the functions of an Internet Appliance, plus so much more.
    • Cheap PCs are big and ugly. Audreys are small and cute. Besides, how else are you gonna get an affordable flat panel display?

      As to hacking them, well, some of us refuse to own computers that aren't under our control.
    • I've never understood the fascination with Internet Appliances. Couldn't you just use a cheap PC? It would do all the functions of an Internet Appliance, plus so much more.

      I've never understood the fascination with climbing mountains. Couldn't you just do some other activities? They would have all the excietment of watching a movie about mountian climbing, plus be so much safer.

      (because it's there)

      There'll be no more talking to whos who are not.
  • by bani ( 467531 ) on Monday August 06, 2001 @07:49PM (#2165282)

    Tuesday, August 7 - Newswire

    Today the FBI arrested the infamous hacker
    "sowbug" on a criminal complaint from 3com.

    The FBI alleges that "sowbug" violated the DMCA
    by reverse engineering 3com's "Audrey"

    A company spokesperson explained : "sowbug
    violated the DMCA by bypassing our elaborate
    security mechanisms to prevent unauthorized
    access to the operating system. ingenuity
    will not be tolerated. We intend to send a message
    to the dangerous hacker community that using our
    products in ways 3com never considered is totally

    Supporters of the DMCA are calling for the death
    penalty, arguing "a mere 5 years imprisonment
    is not a strong enough deterrent to free thinking
    and research."
  • by sharkey ( 16670 ) on Monday August 06, 2001 @07:49PM (#2165284)
    Ergo Audry? Sounds like a model you'd find at Real Doll. [realdoll.com]
  • Linux Rulez! (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Oh my god! It doesn't look like Linux! It doesn't behave like Linux! Linux is the only OS in existance so these shots must be a fake!!!!
  • by Karpe ( 1147 ) on Monday August 06, 2001 @08:27PM (#2165403) Homepage
    $ man 1 here
    No entry for here in section 1 of the manual
    $ man 2 here
    No entry for here in section 2 of the manual
    $ man 3 here
    No entry for here in section 3 of the manual

    What's up with enumerating your links?

  • disco'd (Score:2, Informative)

    by linuxbert ( 78156 )
    A search for the audrey on the 3com site reveals that the product has been discontinued, and will no longer be supported see http://support.3com.com/infodeli/tools/consumer/au drey/finalfaq.pdf [3com.com] so pickem up cheap now well you can
  • The posting didn't have links to any background material, so all I know about the Audrey is what little there is on 3Com's website.

    I just have a few questions. What exactly is meant by a hack here? Are those screen shots supposed to be coming from some other Audrey that someone has hacked into? If they are taken from the console of the "hacked" system, I'm not sure what they prove. I have root access on my Dell desktop computer running Red Hat Linux 7.1, and I didn't need to do any hacking at all!

    Can someone provide some links to some background material so I can understand what the Audrey is, and what this hack allows someone to do?

    • Heh, you misunderstood the term "hack."

      While the general media uses "hacked" to mean "broken into, the technically 'correct' definition of a "hack" (especially among the /. crowd) is, well... A modification. Thus, saying that he "hacked" the Audrey doesn't mean that he broke into it; it means that he modified it extensively, to the point of getting to the shell.

    • Another definition would to be to alter so as to acheive a result other than originally intended. Many of the internet appliances available can make great car mp3 players, x-terms, portables, etc. When Netpliance released the I-opener appliance for way less than it cost them to produce, they were intending on generating profit from ISP service. Then a bunch of slashdotters bought and "hacked" the i-opener and everything went nuts from there. Ever since, every time I've seen anything on hardware modification, the term 'hack' has been used, and a slang term is born.
  • OK-

    I was one of the clueless ones who didn't know what the hell Audrey was. So I didn't really feel like visiting the links. But apparently it is some sort of internet appliance that 3COM made, but then discontinued. Fun Times!
  • This is not a hack nor is it Linux. It is a hoax. This is simply Audrey running a shell inside of a QNX [qnx.com] Photon [qnx.com] window.

    You can tell from the 'ls -l' command. He is in the root directory and one of the files listed is "nto". The name of the microkernel of QNX6 [qnx.com] (also called QNX Realtime Platform) is Neutrino. The "nto" file is the resource manager frontend for the microkernel.

    And is it really a hack to install Linux over a cool free [qnx.com] realtime microkernel OS like QNX? Or is it just stupidity? ;-)

    • I think you need to learn what a hoax is. Here's what Merriam-Webster says:

      Main Entry: 2hoax
      Function: noun
      Date: 1808
      1 : an act intended to trick or dupe : IMPOSTURE [m-w.com]
      2 : something accepted or established by fraud or fabrication

      Where do you get the idea that Linux is involved in any of this? Do you see the guy claiming to be running anything other than QNX?

  • What are you guys talking about? who would really want to use one of those things in that situation ?? D'ho what is an Ergo???
  • I bought my 3COM audrey on Ebay for $150 shipped, brand new in a box. These retail for over $500 normally, but they were discountinued do to lack of demand. They areally are neat little units.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.