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Re: Feedback from the community -> ARM

Hi Andrew,

On 2021.06.14 12:46, Andrew M.A. Cater wrote:
And by the way, this method of installing Debian from a single media by
leveraging the ESP is something that's also frequently used on x86 UEFI
based PCs, so there's really nothing "custom" about that method, apart from
the fact that you need to sprinkle a couple extra files besides the
extracted ISO content.

This didn't work for me yesterday on two occasions.

You're going to have to provide more details about what you did in these 2 attempts (preferably in the Debian thread on the Raspberry Pi forums [1], since this is getting off topic).

People following the steps detailed at [1] don't appear to have much of an issue, outside of the various problems that came from using an unfinalized RC, and which should now be sorted. Also note that the guide is for USB install only, since we are still missing an SD driver with ACPI binding in mainline kernel, to work with UEFI. Some folks are still working on it and it should naturally percolate to vanilla Debian media once that's done just like networking and other things already have (which is how you want things to happen). The guide makes it very clear that it's USB only for now.

What _did_ work was
creating the ESP partition and formatting it [using parted for the creation
of the partition and fdisk to mark it as fat32. I put in an ESP partition of
512M, which appears to be too small to hold the contents of the  Bullseye

So, for one thing you're using the full Bullseye rather than netinst. That's one major deviation from the guide, though using full should work too.

But the point of using netinst (or mini) is to avoid having to sacrifice too much space for the ESP, since the install files are only used once. In other words, if you need more than 512 MB, you're going to be wasting a lot of space, in which case you're better of using 2 drives (one with the installer, one for the target). But if you do that, then you have to make sure that the UEFI firmware and Pi blobs get copied into the target disk ESP before the first reboot, and this is something that is not covered from the guide.

I then copied over the firmware and UEFI zip.

I used dd to put the iso onto a USB drive and used that to boot from.
Result: one successful install. [Only to discover that my RPi4 is one of the
very early ones and appears limited to 3GB even if I toggle the setting under

I have a relatively early Pi 4 with 4 GB RAM, along with a more recent one with 8 GB, and I am not aware of such a limitation. Do you have a link to this?

We've had some issues getting the "more than 3 GB RAM" to stick when changing the option in the UEFI firmware settings, but that should have been fixed when using a recent version of it.

Of course, it may require distro maintainers to shift from the idea that
"people should only use DD when writing ISOHybrids". But then again,
considering that the whole point of UEFI was to make booting possible from a
simple media content extraction to a FAT32 partition (and even for ARM there
are simple ways [2] to work around the 4 GB FAT32 limitation, if your worry
is that you may have a >4 GB file on your ISO), this method should always
have been something that image creators need to consider, along with some
awareness that DD mode is not always the panacea that it's cracked up to be,
as it can be very problematic for Windows users [3].

See above - not a problem for me. In fact, the Raspberry Pi Foundations
imaging software appears to work fine to write an iso to an SD card or USB
and that or Rufus would be a better thing to advise.

The guide at [1] also describes how one can use Rufus on Windows to create the installation media (since Microsoft in their great wisdom decided to make accessing ESP way more difficult than it should be on recent versions of Windows).



[1] https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=282839

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