First Start

This article assumes you have just prepared a brand-new Linux-based server, as described in creating_a_server.

Connect keyboard and mouse to the server, then turn on the power. After some brief initial messages, the screen shown below should appear.

This message indicates that the license key isn't connected. Find your license key and plug it into a USB connector on the server. The server should now start.

Setting Passwords

Before you do anything else, you must set the server's passwords.

:!: It is very important that you perform these steps, choosing good, strong passwords, before proceeding. If you don't do this, you leave your server open to anyone that may know the default passwords.

There are two users at the operating system level:

  • The account named pixi-server is a limited account, used to run the server.
  • The account named pixi-admin is an administrator account, used to make changes to the server's operating system.

Note that both these accounts are related only to the server's operating system. Neither of these passwords are needed for the day-to-day operation of Blocks. In addition to these two OS-level users, there's also an admin user inside the BLOCKS Server program, which is configured later in this article.

To change the Linux user's passwords, start by clicking the cogwheel button in the area of icons along the left-hand side of the screen. This opens the "System Settings" window. Select "Users" in the list on the left hand side.

Click the "Unlock…" button in the top right-hand corner of this window to allow for changes. This prompts you for the admin user's password. If this is the first time you configure the server, type pixi into the password field. If you have already configured the server, type the appropriate administrator password instead. Then select the pixi-server user and click the "Password ••••" field to change the password.

First type the old password for the pixi-server user. If this is the first time you configure the server, type PixiServer! into the Current Password field. If you have already configured the server, type the appropriate password instead. Type the new password into the two following fields, then click Change.

Repeat the procedure for the pixi-admin user, here selecing the "Set a password now" option. Choose a strong password and make a secure note of this in a safe place, as this will be required to make any further changes to the server's configuration.

Click Change to apply the new password, then close the User Accounts window.

Basic Network Configuration

Connect a network cable to the server. Connect the other end of the cable to a network switch. If connecting to an existing network, you need to obtain a suitable network address from your systems administrator. The remainder of this article assumes a new network is being established, where you're free to choose the addresses and other network parameters shown.

The process of basic network settings is moving back to the GUI based Network Manager from being handled from Webmin in Pixilab blocks Linux images based on Ubuntu 18.04. It is still possible to use that method if one enables Netplan to handle network settings.

Open the settings drop down menu from the right-hand side of the top bar. Select Wired Settings.

Click the cog wheel to edit the wired connection settings.

Select the IPv4 tab, edit the settings and confirm with apply.

IMPORTANT: Always toggle the purple enable button under "Wired" off then back on again to apply the new settings.

Configure DNS

:!: Only specify an upstream DNS if you need this to access external services from your Blocks system. This is not required for a stand-alone system without internet access.

Use the same method as above and add your favorite DNS servers to the settings.

First Access

Connect another computer to the same network. If there's no DHCP server on this network (which is likely, since we're setting up a new network), you need to enter a fixed IP address in to this computer. Follow the proper procedure for your computer's operating system to do so, entering the following details:

  • Address:
  • Netmask:

Make sure the settings are applied. The address chosen here is arbitrary, and the last group of digits can be anything between 2 and 254, except 10 (which is the server). Open a web browser on this other computer, and type into the address bar at the top. If the connection succeeds, you will be prompted to enter a user name and password:

  • Name: admin
  • Password: pixi

The password indicated above assumes this is the first time you access a newly created server. You will learn how to change this password below. If you have already done so, type the chosen password instead. The DISPLAY page should appear.

This page allows you to add and edit Spots and Blocks. Before doing so, you must change the admin user's password, as described next.

Changing the admin user's password

:!: It is very important that you perform this steps, choosing a good, strong password, before proceeding with adding Spots and Blocks. If you don't do this, you leave your BLOCKS server open to anyone that knows the default passwords.

Chose MANAGE on the main menu, select Users in the column on the left hand side, then click the admin user.

Change the First Name, Last Name and Email fields as appropriate for the administrator, then type the desired password into the Password fields. The login name of the admin user can't be changed.

:!: Make a note of this password in a safe place.

After completing this basic set-up, you may want to continue with more Advanced Server Configuration. Before you start using your shiny, new Blocks server you should also consider what Backup Strategy suits your needs best. Regardless of the method chosen, any backup is far better than no backup. So make sure you take this important aspect of a Blocks installation into consideration from the start.