RetroPie, Emulation Station, and Webmin

RetroPie, Emulation Station, and Webmin

Peter Carcione made a youtube clip last year about Game Wizard’s adaptation of RetroPie, a game console emulator that plays video games from the early days of gaming. It runs on a Raspberry Pi and provides an all inclusive interface to run the various console platforms. He provides a step by step that still works as of this writing, you can find it here

One of the things that I noticed was that the distro that RetroPie ran on was Debian. So I decided to install Webmin on it so I get a better view of the overall system. Out of the box it supports SMB and SSH as ways to transfer files. The defaults should be noted, so don’t connect your RetroPie directly to the internet. Here are the commands I ran from my SSH connection to the RetroPie.

sudo apt-get install perl libnet-ssleay-perl openssl libauthen-pam-perl libpam-runtime libio-pty-perl apt-show-versions python
sudo dpkg --install webmin_1.870_all.deb

Once Webmin was installed I noticed that the RetroPie had a whopping 160 plus updates to run. I was also pleased with the ability to set a firewall policy on the RetroPie so it would not communicate with anything. The RetroPie seems like a harmless devices, but it along with other devices on my home network get classified as untrusted. These devices have so many facets and hidden features, I simply can not trust what they will do without me keeping a watchful eye and controlling resource access. Things can turn into a house party if I go off to sleep, work, or on vacation.

With a few safeguards in place, I got down to sampling some of the games I remember having as a kid. It was hard not to grin when I saw some of the games I totally forgot about. It really is amazing how much computer games have evolved and how simple yet entertaining they were when they first came out. The RetroPie is a great way to relive some of those memories that have faded along with those shelved and broken consoles some of us grew up with. Having Webmin on the RetroPie makes life easier knowing the state of the Debian OS and the processes it is running.

It’s no surprise that more change is occurring faster than the interpretation or comprehension of it. Fundamentally there are certain things that are constant and that is the focus of this post. If you invite strangers into your home, you can not anticipate how they will behave. The more strangers you invite, the less certain you can be. That uncertainty is a certainty in itself and it proves to be worthwhile to set limits.

The RetroPie is a great entertaining platform, but keep in mind that the services and configurations are generic. These were setup by someone else. Unlike fresh linux distro builds, were you have to define the services and set those service parameters, pre built distro images are essentially someone else’s computer. You are opening your home to a stranger when you run these systems on your home network.

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