[Arm-netbook] What do 1,000 EOMA68-A20 PCBs look like?

Paul Boddie paul at boddie.org.uk
Wed Dec 5 16:40:29 GMT 2018

On Wednesday 5. December 2018 03.38.59 Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton wrote:
>  it was quite hilarious to get up and running.
> https://wiki.parabola.nu/MIPS_Installation - oh.  discontinued.
> that's not going to help *sigh*.

Yes, it seems that people got enthusiastic when Stallman started using that 
Lemote laptop, but when he stopped using it, they all dropped MIPS as soon as 
they could. So, gNewSense and Parabola both supported the MIPS architecture on 
some level, and Guix still does, I think, although since the Lemote stuff 
supported mips64el, any remaining support in these distributions is not useful 
for 32-bit devices, amongst which is the Ingenic SoC that you were looking at.

Of course, Debian supports everything of interest, but then there has to be a 
process of weeding out non-free packages and content. Since your EOMA68 
campaign, PureOS has become a candidate for a suitable Debian-based FSF-
endorsed distribution (ignoring systemd concerns). If Trisquel hadn't switched 
to Ubuntu as its base, it would also have been a candidate, but instead it 
suffers from Ubuntu's arbitrary architecture selection policy.

>  basically it's a hell of a lot easier if you have a native x86
> parabola install, as you can then use the equivalent of debian foriegn
> arch debootstrap, and the --second-stage you run a qemu emulator to
> finish off the install.
> that's basically exactly what i did... except because i didn't have
> native x86 parabola i ran in qemu.
> it worked really well and makes for a hilarious story.

I guess you are able to rely on the existing ARM port of Arch, though. What I 
found was that for building packages from scratch you have to combine Parabola 
and Arch repositories, and the mechanisms for doing this are not very 

I ended up having to write tools to look up packages in different packaging 
repositories, first trying one place, then another, and so on. Some of these 
tools I ran in an appropriate x86 Parabola installation because they won't 
work in a "portable" way in other environments.

What I learned is that there is a considerable difference between genuine 
multi-architecture distributions and the kind of architecture-and-a-half 
distribution that Arch seems to be, with Parabola being under that umbrella. I 
think Arch has already thrown i386 over the side, so I wonder whether Parabola 
will also have to do so in time as well.

Generally, I think that the Arch maintainers make some pretty questionable 
decisions: switching the default version of Python to version 3 very early on 
in the 3.x lifespan being one notable example. But having the choice is good 
for people who can get along with such decisions, I guess.


P.S. It is also pretty frustrating that people seem to need Richard Stallman 
to tell them what to do. When I asked people supposedly interested in porting 
the Hurd to L4-based systems about such matters, one of the responses 
indicated that Stallman didn't think that working on operating system 
fundamentals was worthwhile compared to doing other things.

But if something is worth doing, even if not everyone agrees, why does anyone 
need some kind of "sign off" from someone they've heard of? Just do what you 
think is right or interesting or enjoyable or useful, already! I honestly 
don't know why anyone would follow a mailing list on a topic if they didn't 
already know it was worthwhile.

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