A Collection stick is a USB drive with a program on it that collects data in order to request developer keys. Developer keys are the unique cryptographic signatures for XO laptops that permit access to the system firmware.
What you will need:
- a USB drive, to be used as a Collection stick,
- a second USB drive, to be used as an Unlock stick,
- a computer with Internet access, and;
- the group of XO laptops, which may be nearby or distant.
What you do is:
- empty the USB drives,
- make a collection stick,
- use the collection stick on the group of XO laptops,
- request the keys using the data on the collection stick,
- receive the keys,
- make an unlock stick using the files received,
- use the unlock stick on the group of XO laptops.
Choose two USB drives and label them temporarily, as Collection stick and Unlock stick.
Note: you can use one USB drive for both purposes, but be very careful to empty the USB drive before using it as Unlock stick.
The size of the USB drives is not important.
USB flash drives are normally sold with a DOS MBR partition table and a FAT filesystem, and this is sufficient. See more details. You may wish to verify that each USB drive has:
- a DOS MBR partition table, and if not choose other USB drives or recreate the partition table,
- a FAT, ext2 or ext3 filesystem, and if not reformat to FAT,
Next, backup any files from the USB drive that you want to keep. In particular, for the purposes of a Collection stick and Unlock stick, you must:
- Delete any file with name left over from previous use,
- Delete any directory with name .
On the computer with Internet access:
- Insert the USB drive to be used as Collection stick,
- Create a new directory with name in the top level of your USB drive.
- Download Actos.zip and Runos.zip into that directory.
You should now have a USB drive containing a directorywhich contains two files , and . This is a collection stick ready to use.
For each XO in the group:
- make sure the laptop is off, (e.g. check for a blinking power indicator),
- plug the Collection stick USB drive into the laptop,
- turn on the laptop,
- wait about ten seconds for a short message that looks like this:
SHC016013D1 20220120T201147Z Laptop data recorded successfully. Powering off ...
- wait for the laptop to turn off,
- remove the USB drive from the laptop.
(The collection stick may do nothing if the laptop is unlocked already, if so hold the '×' game pad key to force "secure" booting.)
When you have done this on all the XOs you need keys for, move to the next step below.
Plug the Collection stick USB drive into the computer with Internet access.
For individuals and small groups:
- open UUID, and the third is the date and time from the laptop clock, and you will find one line for each laptop, with three values separated by spaces; the first is a serial number, the second is a
- visit the web page OLPC Activation Service, and enter the serial number and the UUID, and click on Request developer key,
- follow the instructions on that web page to download the developer key,
- add each of the developer keys into a new file, and name it .
For larger groups:
- attach the James Cameron at email@example.com or your OLPC or deployment contact, file from the USB drive to an email to
For small requests, the response from the OLPC Activation Service will be either:
- 24 hours, if this is the first request for a laptop, or;
- immediate, if a request was already made for a laptop.
For larger requests, the response from OLPC may take several days.
You will receive back one or two files from OLPC after submitting yourfile.
- If you requested a developer key: You will get a file called . It contains a developer key for each laptop.
- If you requested an activation key: You will get a file called . It contains an activation key for each laptop.
You are now ready to make an unlock stick.
- Insert the USB drive to be used as an Unlock stick,
- If you are using the same USB drive, empty it, in particular remove the file and the directory ,
- If you have received a file called , make a directory called at the top of the USB drive and copy this file into it.
- If you have received a file called , copy this file into the top of the USB drive.
You should now have a USB drive containing either a directorywhich contains , or in the top of the drive. This is an unlock stick ready to use.
For each XO in the group:
- Make sure the XO is powered off.
- Plug the Unlock stick USB drive into the XO, then power it on.
That's it! Note that this process only unlocks your XO for one boot - if you want to unlock your XO permanently without needing to plug in the USB drive every time you boot, see #Permanently unlocking with an Unlock stick.
No action is required. Activation keys are automatically copied toon your XO. Keep the activation key around (or copy it to your School Server) in case you later need to reflash the XO.
A laptop will boot normally with a developer key present; you have to do an extra step to take full command:
- Shutdown the laptop,
- Insert the USB drive or SD card containing the developer key, or with the key on the internal storage,
- Hold down the '✓' (check) game pad key and turn on the laptop, a diagram of the game keys should appear with a message Release the game keys to continue,
- Release the '✓' (check) game pad key, and within ten seconds a Devel key Signature valid message will appear, with an open padlock icon, followed by Type the ESC key to interrupt automatic startup,
- Press Escape key once, and the 'ok' prompt should appear immediately.
The laptop is now unlocked temporarily.
Permanently unlocking with an Unlock stick
To permanently disable secure booting on each laptop, change the Unlock stick:
- create a directory, and open it,
- add this text to a file :
\ Open Firmware disable-security
- check that the file is in the directory.
Then insert the changed Unlock stick into each laptop and turn it on. Watch. The laptop will reboot once or twice. Wait for the Ok prompt to appear on screen. The laptop is now unlocked permanently.
(It works like this; when the laptop turns on, it searches for the Ok prompt appears.)file, validates it, then switches to unsecure mode, then searches for the file and runs it. The contains the command, which disables the security system and reboots. On the second boot, with the security system already disabled, does nothing, and so the
Once you do this, you will not need the Developer key on the laptop, but you can keep it in case security is ever enabled.
When providing remote support for the owner of a laptop, properly creating directories and files may be a challenge. To alleviate this, prepare afile for them to unpack onto their USB drive:
- make a directory to work in,
- make the directories and files that they would have to make,
- make a of the working directory,
- check the file carefully,
- send the file and ask the owner to expand it on a USB drive, insert it in the laptop, power on, and tell you what happens.
Unlocking only until the next reinstall or upgrade
The firmware checks for the Developer key on all available storage, which is why an Unlock stick works the way it does. But this means you would need to keep the Unlock stick handy to use it.
Alternatively, you can copy Developer key to your laptop's internal flash memory. Copy Terminal activity type:from the USB drive into on the XO. In a
sudo cp /run/media/olpc/USBDRIVE/security/develop.sig /security/develop.sig
Where USBDRIVE is the volume label of the USB drive.
- (Note that was used instead of before 12.1.0).