Configuring ancient ReadyNAS devices in the modern era

I once bought a pair of Netgear ReadyNAS server boxes. They’re terrible, but here we are more than a decade later and they’re still working. Slowly.

Thing is, the drives in them are so far over their design lives it’s just not funny, and while I don’t necessarily need much of the data they store… mmm, most of it is rushes and project files from decade-old video productions, it represents the best part of a decade of my work. I’m loathe to simply throw it away. And letting it bit-rot is just throwing it away without making a conscious decision to do so. I’m not clear that would be better.

Every now and then I try to do the sums for pushing everything into, say, Amazon Glacier. But I should really sort it out first, and that’s hard given how slow these bloody things are.

Upshot: I now have a third NAS in the house. A new-fangled Synology thing, which is so much nicer than the Netgears it’s hard to describe. Though it is made of plastic and lacks the natty little blue LCD display of the Netgears which show things like boot confirmation messages and the current IP address and so on. OK, so perhaps it’s not as nice as such, but it is considerably faster. And it has a trio of 12Tb drives in it, so it’s neatly larger than the eight drives its replacing. Gosh.

Right, next: copying stuff off the old drives. Oh.

Oh my.

This is going to take a while. Hours days weeks. Oh bothers. Well, I’m not tying my MacBook up for weeks on end, this is the sort of job Pis are made for.

OK: mount the old and new shares on a Pi, and run a massive rsync job to dump the contents across in a resumable sort of way. Great. Solid plan. Step one: mount the shaaaaaaaaaa oh.


I’ve had issues before with mounting the old ReadyNAS shares over SMB, because the SMB version is so old modern Linux tends to have a bit of a hissy fit. Good old NFS works just fine… but not all the old shares are configured to export NFS volumes, or whatever the terminology is. They’re probably ‘clients’, or is X the only unixy protocol which does that backwards?

Whatever, it’s easy, surely: log into the NAS admin panel, select the share, click ‘NFS,’ dunzo. Only… the admin panel is a web interface. Served straight from 2010. Over https. Using that there super-modern TLS version… ah crap. 1.0.

The TLS apocalypse is properly upon us. Will Chrome open that admin page? Nope. Firefox? No. Safari? Not a chance. Edge? Geez, no. Opera? I had to download it, nope. Vivaldi? C’mon. Brave? Hahaha.

The impasse lasted a couple of days. I seriously considered dusting off my old PowerMac G4 just to run some shitty ancient browser. But then… then…

Frikkin’ Omniweb. OmniWeb. Let’s just list the things this does:

  1. Exist. It still exists.
  2. Be updated. It was last updated not last decade, not last year, but last month. For real.
  3. Run on Apple Silicon.
    1. Natively.
  4. Have vertical tabs, from before whichever time this is where somebody’s claimed to have invented them (again).
  5. Happily load shit old TLS1.0 sites without a hint of complaint.

All hail OmniWeb. You may be a bizarre footnote in browser history, but you had some great ideas and when nothing else ran on Mac OS X, you were there. You’re on your second (?third?) rendering engine and your third fourth fifth(?) processor architecture. When all of this is ocean and we’re all accessing Extended Reality Pro via our HeadCanon displays while breathing through MuskLungs™, you’ll still be there. Being merrily weird, probably quite slow, and somehow retro and modern in equal measure.

All hail Omniweb.

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