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Re: BoF at DC19

On Ma, 07 mai 19, 14:23:16, Steve McIntyre wrote:
> Hey folks,
> I've just registered a session for the usual BoF at DebConf. If you
> have any specific topics you'd like to raise, please let me know...

As a Debian user I'd like to suggest providing a straightforward way to 
install Debian on recent arm64 devices, some of which are already 
powerful enough as a desktop replacement (ROCKPro64, ODROID-N2, etc.).

For someone coming from Wintel platforms the current situation is very 
confusing and users will most likely end up just using some ready-made 
image downloaded from (hopefully) the device maker's site, with old 
(BSP) kernels, questionable security and poor update mechanisms (custom 

For someone coming from Lintel platforms (assuming zero previous 
knowledge of u-boot, serial consoles and possibly even EFI) the 
situation is slightly better:

1. The board supports EFI

   Debian Installer should work OOTB provided sufficient support in the 
   Linux kernel. It's not very obvious which image to download (though 
   admittedly I didn't look too much into it as I don't own such 
   This probably needs only some documentation improvement.

2. Use a Debian provided image with u-boot and Debian Installer
   Currently partially available, only for the PINE A64+ (might support 
   other PINE64 devices, but the image name is very specific), and with 
   minimal documentation.

   This needs more images and better documentation.
   I could start working on this provided I know how this will look like 
   (more images under u-boot/?).

3. The board has sufficient[1] support in Debian's u-boot / kernel
   Use some other image to manually debootstrap Debian or create an 
   image with the installer. AFAICT this not documented at all at the 
   moment, users have to assemble the pieces themselves from various 

   With proper tools and documentation on how to install u-boot for 
   $DEVICE (do other platforms have scripts like 
   u-boot-install-sunxi64?) this becomes a special case of 2.

In my humble opinion the goal should be to provide Debian Installer 
images for all devices with reasonable support in Debian's u-boot and 
kernel, at least until the one image to rule them all[2] becomes 

[1] In my not so humble opinion sufficient support for desktop-grade 
devices means it boots to a common output device (e.g. HDMI) and accepts 
keyboard input. Serial console is for developers, not users and should 
be optional.
[2] https://fosdem.org/2019/schedule/event/one_image_to_rule_them_all/

Kind regards,

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