Why Pirate Stick?
Due to the supply chain disruptions taking place it is becoming increasingly difficult and costly to obtain Raspberry Pi computers. For this reason I'm shifting my focus to a new product I am calling the Pirate Stick. It will utilize the same custom software I created for The Pirate Box but is built for use on more readily available hardware.
The Pirate Stick is a refinement of the Pirate Box I created in 2021. The purpose of both products is gathering, tracking and storing media content, primarily but not limited to video and audio content. They both utilize the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) as their main storage repository. IPFS is a highly decentralized and global network of computers providing censorship resistance and performance that improves as it scales. Think of IPFS as "personal cloud storage" you are in full control of and the Pirate Box or Pirate Stick as your tool to control it. You decide how public or private the data you store there should be.
Whereas the Pirate Box is a small computer, the Pirate Stick is a high performance, USB-3 SSD (Solid State Drive) that can transform almost any computer into a Pirate Box. It is a self contained, "live" operating system "on a stick" that can be used with most computers and does not need to install anything on them (although it provides that option). It will leave no trace on the machines it is used with and it won't touch the machine's hard drive - the host computer doesn't even need a hard drive!
Pirate Stick is built on MX Linux AHS-21 (Advanced Hardware Support), voted by Distro Watch as the top Linux distribution for 2022. A derrivative of Debian Linux 11, it will work on the newest as well as older computer hardware. The minimum recommended configuration is a network capable computer (wired or wireless), 1GB of RAM, a dual core processor and the ability to boot from a USB device. Performance will of course depend on the host machine, and more RAM and USB-3 rather than USB-2 will make a significant difference.
It's important to note that Pirate Stick is not limited to media content gathering and storage. It also includes software for mesh networking using several protocols such as Reticulum and yggdrasil. It can serve web pages and bridge communications between network interfaces through its' mobile hotspot, useful for public gatherings and events. The ability to utilize a variety of physical transports such as LoRa and packet switched radio in addition to TCP/IP (Internet) and WiFi links will be developed further to make the Pirate Box or Pirate Stick a versatile communications platform.
I am publishing these documents to expedite development and bring new users onboard. The Pirate Stick Quickstart Guide provides the essential information you need to create your own Pirate Stick. The Maiden Voyage document describes booting your Pirate Stick for the very first time and explains the various boot options.
Please help me improve the Pirate Stick by providing feedback and your observations. You can use the contact form of this website, github or any of the social media links to provide input.
I hope you find this useful. Most of all, have fun exploring your new Pirate Stick and MX Linux!