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Mesh Chat

Using Mesh Chat is easy: simply click on a Mesh Chat service and enter your callsign.

At the moment, we have five Mesh Chat instances that sync to each other:

And if you're running Linux Mint, you can create a super convinient Web App to load it quickly without the clutter of a regular browser.

Hosting a Mesh Chat Instance

If you want to host a Mesh Chat instance, you install it directly on the hAP, but it's not recommended because it uses resources and it offers very little storage for files:

Mesh Chat on a hAP Mesh Chat on a Linux Laptop

Mesh Chat on a Linux Server

Before we get started with the details, let's have a look at the big picture. There are 3 different “names” that we'll have to keep track of:

  • The AREDN Node name configured in the Basic Setup page. Mine in is VA7FI-HAP-1. Yours will be different.
  • The Hostname of the linux computer running the service. Mine is VA7FI-Linux. Yours will be different.
  • The Service name. Here we use MIMeshChat. Use the same if you want your instance to sync with that one. This is also called the Mesh Chat “Zone”.

Here's where that information shows up on the Node Status page once it's all done and ready:

And in the Mesh Chat app:

In what follows, it'll be important to keep track of where to enter this information so it's configured properly.

Server Install

Mesh Chat Install

Following the instructions on Trevorsbench:

  • Download and install Mesh Chat:
    sudo dpkg -i meshchat_1.02_all.deb
  • Edit the configuration file:
    sudo pico /usr/lib/cgi-bin/

    and edit the last two lines so that the zone matches the other Mesh Chat instances, and the node is the name of your AREDN node. In my case:

    our $pi_zone                    = 'MIMeshChat';
    our $local_meshchat_node        = 'VA7FI-HAP-1';

On LinuxMint there's an issue that needs to be fixed before continuing. Essentially, the current setup uses files in the /tmp folder, which the Apache server is not allowed to edit. So the solution was to create that folder somewhere else and set the permissions properly.1)

  • Create these folders:
    sudo mkdir /var/www/html/meshchat/tmp/
    sudo mkdir /var/www/html/meshchat/tmp/meshchat/
  • And change the ownership and permissions:
    sudo chown www-data:www-data -R /var/www/html/meshchat/tmp/
    sudo chmod 770 -R /var/www/html/meshchat/tmp/
  • Edit the config file:
    sudo pico /usr/lib/cgi-bin/
  • And replace every instance of /tmp/ by /var/www/html/meshchat/tmp/ (line 2, and 18):
    our $lock_fh;
    our $meshchat_path              = "/var/www/html/meshchat/tmp/meshchat";
    our $tmp_upload_dir             = '/var/www/html/meshchat/tmp/web/upload';
  • For reference, the permissions for the files in /usr/lib/cgi-bin/ are:
    -rwxr-xr-x 1 www-data www-data meshchat
    -rw-r--r-- 1 root     root     meshchatconfig.bac
    -rw-r--r-- 1 www-data www-data
    -rw-r--r-- 1 www-data www-data
    -rw-r--r-- 1 www-data www-data
  • Restart the services:
    sudo systemctl daemon-reload
    sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
    sudo /etc/init.d/meshchatsync restart

At this point, you should be able to run Mesh Chat from the computer where it's installed using this address: http://localhost/meshchat/
But it won't be able to talk to your AREDN node yet.

AREDN Configuration

Install the meshchat-api package:

  • Download it from here
  • From the Administration page, click on Upload Package Browse… to install it.

From the Port Forwarding, DHCP, ans Services page:

  1. Setup a DHCP Address Reservation for the Linux computer
  2. Advertise the service
  3. Forward WAN port 8080 to LAN port 80
  4. Don't for get to Save Changes

services/meshchat/home.txt · Last modified: 2022/01/21 17:15 by va7fi