We stumbled over it briefly when booting up the MFS Tools [Hack #23]. We caught a glimpse of it when we shut down TiVo’s software [Hack #18]. I’m speaking about the Linux operating system humming away under the hood of your TiVo. The TiVo interface you see on your television set, TiVo’s responses to your remote control, and all the gray matter that makes your TiVo a TiVo are Linux applications.
Linux, Linux, everywhere, but not a drop to drink. This chapter rectifies that by dropping you into the TiVo shell, a text-only command-line environment very much what you’d find on any Unix system (or DOS prompt, if you prefer). Here you can poke about, install software, run applications, and generally interact with TiVo from the inside out.
TiVo’s default shell is called Bash, the “Bourne-Again Shell” (http://www.gnu.org/software/bash/bash.html), a common variant available on just about any Unix system.
There is, however, one thing standing between you and the shell; this Linux box doesn’t appear to have a keyboard. How are you to type anything on the command line without anything to type on? No worries; we’ll just have to go in another way—over the serial port.
Those of you with Series 2 machines are a little out of luck. Unlike its original Series 1 counterpart, the Series 2 has hardware encryption onboard that attempts to prevent you from running arbitrary code. The most commonly known exploit involves a hardware modification to the TiVo’s ...