Running pi-hole on the BeagleBone Black

The Beagle Bone Black comes loaded with a Swiss Army Knife collection of programs that run on boot. NodeRed, Cloud9, SoftAP, nginx, apache2, the list goes on. This is all fine for fresh-out-of-the-box exploration but gets very tedious when trying to extend the BeagleBone's functionality, say by installing pi-hole.

Running the pi-hole installer on a default BeagleBone Black installation (beaglebone 4.14-49-ti-r54) will result in several cryptic failures:

  • pihole-FTL[2168]: dnsmasq: cannot open or create lease file /var/run/dnsmasq.leases
  • pihole-FTL[683]: dnsmasq: illegal repeated keyword at line 9 of /etc/dnsmasq.d/SoftAp0

These errors can be resolved by changing USE_GENERATED_DNSMASQ=yes to USE_GENERATED_DNSMASQ=no in /etc/default/bb-wl18xx and commenting out L756 (echo "cache-size=2048 >> ${wfile}) and L768 (echo "dhcp-leasefile=/var/run/dnsmasq.leases" >> ${wfile} in /opt/scripts/boot/

The BeagleBone will need rebooted after making these changes. dnsmasq should now show no errors with # service dnsmasq status. However, pihole-FTL will likely show an error: dnsmasq: cannot open or create lease file /var/lib/misc/dnsmasq.leases. This file likely exists and does not belong to the pihole user. Remove it and recreate it:

# rm /var/lib/misc/dnsmasq.leases
# touch dnsmasq.leases
# chown pihole:pihole dnsmasq.leases

Now, pi-hole will try to launch on port 80, but this in use by some of the default services on the BeagleBone. pi-hole can be modified to run on another port by changing the port number in /etc/lighttpd/external.conf: server.port = 8081 and restarting the lighttpd service.

However, if it is vital that pi-hole should run on port 80 and the other services on the BeagleBone are also necessary (they cannot be brute-force disabled), the default BeagleBone services can be moved to a different port.

First, modify nginx to run on a new port by modifying /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/default and changing all instances of 80 to a new port, say 8080.

Next, change apache2's port by editing /etc/apache2/ports.conf to Listen 8080.

The BeagleBone runs a bonescript server via nodejs. In theory, this server can be configured via /etc/default/bonescript but there are no readily available examples of this. Instead, the server can be hard-coded to avoid port 80 by editing L44 of /usr/local/lib/node_modules/bonescript/src/bonescript.js.

bonescript also commandeers port 80 via systemd. Modify /lib/systemd/system/bonescript.socket to use port 8080 as well. The bonescript service will need reloaded via # systemctl daemon-reload.

Now, restarting the pihole-FTL service should result in a functioning instance on the BeagleBone Black.

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