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Re: Debian on Raspberry Pi and Pine* and probably ARM support in general (was Re: Debian on Pine64 H64B?)

On Sat, Sep 04, 2021 at 08:31:11AM -0700, Vagrant Cascadian wrote:
> On 2021-09-04, LinAdmin wrote:
> > The unnamed decision makers of Debian some unknown time ago
> > decided that Pi and Pine stuff won't be supported by Debian.
> I personally have added support in Debian for:
>   Raspberry Pi 1
>   Raspberry Pi 2b
>   Raspberry Pi 3b+
>   Pine64+
>   Pinebook
>   Pinebook Pro
>   RockPro64
>   Rock64
> And other platforms... others have added support for other Raspberry PI
> and Pine64 platforms, as well as numerous other platforms...
> I used the Pinebook as my primary computer for over a year, using
> absolutely zero software from outside of Debian...

I was going to point out that Vagrant was probably the person very likely
to be able to contribute most. I note from 
https://wiki.debian.org/InstallingDebianOn/Allwinner that the H64 from Pine
is supported in Bullseye. 

Sometimes it comes down to the fact that we haven't got the hardware -
most of the people who run ARM have at some point bought dead end
ARM projects that never actually went anywhere in an attempt to get them

Sometimes it comes down to problems beyond Debian's control: most often
a vendor kernel with no source / with other issues / tied in to hardware
in obscure ways, a U-Boot similarly ... Often, if you contact the vendor
they have no real understanding of why a Debian person would be asking.
> Debian isn't a consumer product, it is a community project. It is
> largely a volunteer effort, suppored by the community, so... if you want
> something supported, please help to add the support.
> It pretty much comes down to submitting patches, bug reports, merge
> requests, etc. to enabled the appropriate kernel options, bootloader
> support, and debian-installer support.
> Debian doesn't generally support patches that wouldn't be acceptible in
> upstream projects, or support non-free binary blobs out of the box, so
> maybe the support isn't as good on a per-platform basis as some other
> targeted distros willing to use vendor forks or patches for various
> components.

Armbian / DietPi / Raspberry Pi OS have different viewpoints, include
different amounts of vendor code / have different attitudes to firmware.
Things "based on" Debian do things differently and sometimes it's hard
to see what they've done. As a consumer: if there's difficulty getting
Debian to work on the board you bought, help us by going back to the
manufacturer/vendor and politely pointing this out as a problem for you.

Help the maintainers of the ARM64 and armhf installers by using them - 
and using reportbug to tell people what went wrong where.
> The support isn't always perfect; maybe all features don't always work;
> I don't and can't personally test all combinations of features on all
> platforms, nor have the time to enable all features on all combinations
> of platforms. Thankfully, there are others in the community who test and
> improve what they can.
> Debian could always use more people helping with testing and perhaps
> more importantly, upstreaming of support to make sure it works for their
> use-cases...
> I know not everybody can dive in and fix all kinds of issues, but there
> is a pretty broad spectrum of ways to help out... sometimes things are
> even supported but undocumented. Documenting workarounds and filing bug
> reports appropriately is one angle that could potentially help.
> > I switched to Ubuntu LTS which made me (and many others) happy.
> Curious what exactly is different with Ubuntu that makes it work for
> you...

Real Ubuntu LTS from Canonical or, to take the H64 from Pine example, the
Armbian based on Ubuntu Focal? https://www.armbian.com/pine64/ [or
any other third party rebuild similarly].

If you're on the Raspberry Pi4 - yes, you have Ubuntu LTS - but you also
have Debian https://raspi.debian.net.

Strictly, discussion of other distributions is off topic here unless you've
documented issues of where XYZ distribution works and Debian doesn't on
the same hardware. I await these direct comparisons from you with interest.

All the very best, as ever,

Andy Cater
> live well,
>   vagrant

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