[Arm-netbook] Logging and journaling

mike.valk at gmail.com mike.valk at gmail.com
Thu Mar 9 15:46:50 GMT 2017

2017-03-09 15:37 GMT+01:00 Hendrik Boom <hendrik at topoi.pooq.com>:

> On Sun, 12 Feb 2017 19:35:00 +0000, Lyberta wrote:
> > Eric Duhamel:
> >> Depending on what you mean by "newbies", I don't think they would know
> >> if they want any particular image of GNU/Linux except the one that was
> >> designed to run on the product by the maker of the product. After all,
> >> they don't know the nooks and crannies of GNU/Linux and would just want
> >> to receive a product that works.
> >
> > OK, I'm a software developer, not a system administrator. I have no idea
> > what 90% of packages installed on my system do. I only use terminal to
> > upload my code to the Git repository. But I need g++ 6.
> >
> > Debian Jessie has g++ 4.9.2 which is extremely old and none of my
> > software will compile there. When I pledged for Debian card, I expected
> > stock Debian with maybe a few custom packages which would be explicitly
> > marked as such. And the first thing I'd do is to upgrade to Testing
> > which as of writing this has g++ 6.3.0.
> >
> > Now I'm told that issuing "apt-get dist-upgrade" is taking
> > responsibility, etc. So I'm stuck with old and unusable frankendistro
> > and on my own if I want to make it work.
> >
> > I've chosen GNU/Linux because of its freedom and I've chosen Debian
> > because it doesn't have proprietary software in main. I have no idea of
> > what is going under the hood. I don't care what init system I run as
> > long as it is free software and it boots my PC.
> >
> > A couple of years ago I needed to buy a laptop. I've looked for one
> > which doesn't come with Windows and I've found one with Ubuntu. Now, I
> > really hate Ubuntu and the first thing I've done was to install Debian
> > in dual boot. For some reason, Debian couldn't power off my laptop so I
> > removed it and I'm still stuck with Ubuntu.
> >
> > I know what you're going to say: "You should've looked for the solution
> > on the Internet.". Well, sometimes I don't have time and am scared of
> > bricking my hardware. I want things to "just work".
> If you can boot your machine from USB, you won't brick it by changing the
> OS, because you can boot a Debian or Ubuntu installer and reinstall
> whichever you want.  So your laptop is probably safe.
> >
> > It looks like EOMA68-A20 is not going to just work. I don't want it to
> > end like my laptop.
> Will the EOMA68-A20 boot from USB to run an installer?

Not unless it's build.

Also most installers have limited support for non x86 devices. Intel
platforms provide a somewhat "standard" way for booting external media. For
ARM etc. there is no such thing.

For Intel you have the BIOS. For ARM you usually have u-boot.

When a A20 is powered. It reads from an internal ROM. This contains a
minimal init program for loading a program and inits SRAM. This ROM is what
Luke is fighting with because it cannot read from currently produced NAND
Flash types. It searches in NAND and SD for a "magic" token and loads the
data following that into internal RAM (sram) and than tries to run what's
loaded. What's loaded is usually a minimal u-boot (SPL/boot0) which inits
external RAM etc and loads another program, usally a full u-boot (mainline
or boot1), from whatever location is programmed into u-boot SPL. That stage
init's other peripherals and then loads the OS, usually linux from whatever
location you specify.

boot0/boot1 are u-boot implementations by Allwinner. Mainline u-boot has
support for A20. So no need for a butched version from AW.

u-boot does not a have a standard for searching locations and booting from

Since there is no standard, generic installers cannot work and thus
installers must by tailored.

So for EOMA we must set/invent a standard which Installers can use
regardless the SoC type used in the EOMA card.

Other ARM device vendor usually build their own installers. But that's a
quick and dirty solution only only last as long as the vendor invests in
that method.

On A20 et.al. there is the FEL mode. Which is initialized by that first
loaded program. In this FEL mode you can push an image over USB-OTG. But
that requires an active USB host not just an USB thumb drive.


So the question is are "we" going to build such a thing?

> -- hendrik
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