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Re: Updating the installation guide, arm platform support

On Wed, Mar 19, 2014 at 08:41:28AM +0000, Ian Campbell wrote:
> On Tue, 2014-03-18 at 22:19 +0100, Karsten Merker wrote:

> > I am working on updating the installation guide for Jessie and
> > have a few questions regarding armel/armhf platform support in
> > Jessie.
> > 
> > As far as I can see, the mx5 kernel flavor from Wheezy/armhf is
> > gone in Jessie and has been replaced by i.mx5x support in the
> > armmp kernel.  Is this correct?
> Yes.
> > If yes, it appears to me that we would need to update the
> > flash-kernel machine database, which still refers to
> > "Kernel-Flavors: mx5" for the Freescale MX53 LOCO, the Genesi
> > Efika Smartbook and the Genesi EfikaMX nettop.
> Hrm. Yes. I've just s/Kernel-Flavors: mx5/Kernel-Flavors: armmp mx5/g
> in git. I don't have any mx5 hardware so someone please confirm or deny.


Does anybody know whether the u-boot on the Freescale MX53 LOCO
board supports booting with a seperate dtb or whether the dtb has
to be appended to the kernel image?  If the latter, we would have
to also add a "DTB-Append" to the machine entry.

I have tried to gather information about the two Efika systems. 
As far as I could find out, there seems to be no devicetree for
them.  The old-style board support code has been removed from the
kernel in october 2012, but grepping arch/arm/boot/dts for Genesi
and Efika does not give any hits and a websearch has also
provided no devicetree files for them.  If nobody has information
to the contrary, I'll list them as no longer supported in Jessie
in the installation guide.

The installer currently builds a set of images for the efikamx
target (in debian-installer/installer/build/config/armhf/armmp).
If these systems are no longer supported, those image builds
should be disabled. CC-ing debian-boot for this.

> > In general, the installation guide lacks documentation about
> > the supported armhf platforms, i.e. the aforementioned three
> > i.MX5x-based systems plus the Globalscale Mirabox and
> > the PlatHome OpenBlocks AX3-4 (both listed as supported by
> > the armmp kernel in the flash-kernel machine db).
> This is unfortunately quite a hard question to answer. There is no
> formal certification process or HCL, just people scratching their
> itches.
> We get various patches for flash-kernel/d-i etc from people who have a
> particular platform and want to run Debian on it, but we don't really
> get to see how well supported those platforms are in the general case. I
> think there are also plenty of people who are installing via debootstrap
> onto an sd card.
> The transition to DT in the kernel is only going to make this better (or
> worse depending on your PoV) since now the Debian kernel is in principal
> usable on platforms we've never even heard of but for which a DT can be
> found.

I have added a notice to the installation guide about the
possibility (and limitations) of using d-i on "unsupported"
systems for which the armmp kernel has enough hardware support
and a devicetree file is available.


> wiki.debian.org/DebianOn has some lists of various platforms, I don't
> know if these ones or included or how accurate they might be.

Unfortunately they are not covered in the wiki.

Another system question - the d-i alpha 1 announcement states:

> Hardware support changes
> ========================
> [snip]
> * armhf: The armmp flavour has been added; it covers both mx5 and
>   vexpress.

Because of this I was going to list the versatile express as
supported platform in the installation guide, but I have stumbled
over the fact that it is not listed in the flash-kernel machine
database, which makes me wonder about its status. Can anybody
shed some light on this?

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