Re: Yet another [cross] installer
Hector Oron wrote:
> Nowadays, the number of devices (non x86) is growing and growing.
> Lots of these devices have not upstream linux kernel support, which
> makes it a bit harder to maintain in the context of debian-installer.
> Also, afaict, debian-installer team does not like to add complexity to
> d-i, which I understand, so it has better maintainability in the
> Which is best way forward, in your opinion, for supporting non-x86
> arches installations (even installation done from a x86 platform)?
> (debian-installer, live-installer, rootstock or start from scratch)
This doesn't really answer your question but is my thoughts on this.
If you consider what makes the non-x86 hardware different it is the lack
of a standard way to boot an alternate OS. With a PC BIOS you can instruct
a PC to boot from a floppy/CD/whatever and we only need a single CD image
to boot most PCs. Even for headless x86 servers, it's never hard to get
whatever OS on.
If ARM really think they can challenge Intel Atoms in the netbook market,
then I think they need to address this because a significant number of
people will care about being able to upgrade the OS or to choose between
Android, WinCE, Ubuntu Netbook Remix or MeeGo.
Most of these devices use u-boot (or RedBoot) and as these are
open source, perhaps it would be wise to make them (in their default
configuration) do things to make life easy for us. As far as I can tell
from a quick scan of the documentation, u-boot has support for putting a
logo on an LCD during boot but not for using that screen and a keyboard as
a console. If a certain key press during boot switched u-boot to providing
a console then many manufacturers might leave it in (either intentionally
or due to ignorance). For me the hardest part of implementing a text
console or even BIOS style menus in an open source bootloader would be
getting a setup where I'm not going to brick my shiny new netbook.
Other similar features would be supporting consoles with USB-serial
converters and network connections at carefully timed points in the boot
For any device where the manufacturers try to close it off to hackers,
we're always going to have to jump through hoops specific to that device
to get Debian installed. They can easily disable bootloader
features but on netbooks, maybe they won't: PC makers are used to having
a BIOS with screens saying "Press F1 to enter Setup".