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Re: (native) debian(-installer) support for fsg-3

Holger Levsen schrieb:
Hi Rod, hi Tomasz,

Martin Michlmayr (and your work!) told me to contact you, to work on getting debian-installer support for the Freecom FSG-3. Kudos and thanks for your great work so far!

I'm a Debian developer and have in the past contributed to d-i (nowadays more to Debian Edu, DebConf video,..), a owner of a fsg-3 since today (which is the 4th arch of mine running Debian and the 7th which can run Debian ;) and very busy with lots of other stuff "unfortunatly" too. Anyway... (I haven't even yet tried Tomasz' excellent howto, but I've looked around a bit.)

It seems the first thing we need is kernel support. Doh. :) The patch from Rod (latest I found was http://marc.info/?l=linux-arm-kernel&m=120183326106518&w=2 - is there some newer, cleaner? a branch/repo/patch to pull?) which is not included in the 2.6.25~rc6 snapshot of the debian kernels and therefore I assume will also not be included upstream. What's the status on this? Waiting for .25 and after that re-submitting everything?

So it seems for now, we (I) will have to build our/my own arm kernel packages, so that we then can build kernel udebs to create an arm d-i image, which we eventually will be able to boot by pressing the reset button and serving it via bootp.... but first we need the kernel.

Is there anything else we need in userland (or other kernel patches) which isnt in lenny already?

And we will need to come up with a reliable way to write the kernel to flash and configure redboot. BTW, is redboot the only option or could we also use uboot or any other bootloader?

Using RedBoot and not replacing it with any other bootloader is by far the safest way to flash FSG-3. Even if you screw kernel flashing, you can still relatively easily recover using a serial cable (the device needs to be opened though, which means the warranty is gone). If something goes wrong when you flash a new bootloader over RedBoot - well, good luck (there is JTAG, but it's not for mere mortals I guess).

A nice thing on kernel-userland border is adding a custom initramfs: if your system goes for a lunch and doesn't boot anymore (because the user just did rm -rf /etc), one can always boot by simply inserting a "recovery USB-stick". Basically, when kernel boots and executes initramfs, it checks if a "recovery USB-stick" is connected, and if it is, the system boots from there. It would be nice to have such an option for other devices with no keyboard, monitor etc., where Debian installer runs, not just for FSG-3.

Tomasz Chmielewski

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