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Re: Debian on Pine64 H64B?

Hi Gunnar,

On 2021.09.06 18:59, Gunnar Wolf wrote:
Gene Heskett dijo [Sat, Sep 04, 2021 at 09:43:07AM -0400]:
So I found my own solutions. So, debian-arm, please make up your mind, do
you support the pi's or do you NOT support the pi's?

Debian has a very clear line set: We do _NOT_ ship non-free software,
no exceptions. Given the Raspberries need a non-free firmware blob for
the GPU to hand over execution to the ARM CPU at bootup... Yes, that
clearly means no official Debian images exist for Raspberry Pi

I'd say that's not really true, since it's very much possible to install Bullseye on the Pi 4 using *vanilla* unmodified ARM64 Debian ISOs [1]. And the same has been true for Buster on the Pi 3 for some time too [2].

So there are official Debian images for the Raspberry Pi hardware in the form of the vanilla ISOs that are already being published, and that let users sort the install issue by letting them bring the proprietary blobs along with an SBBR compliant UEFI firmware, to make the whole process work (and the same will apply to any ARM platform that is made SBBR compliant, as this is the whole point of introducing a boot standard).

Granted, that wasn't possible for the Pi 1 and Pi 2 platforms, so your original point stands, but the situation has been evolving and, as much as I appreciate the work you did, I think it is time to seriously look at whether Debian wants to continue promoting the use of *custom-built* images for the installation of the system on modern Raspberry Pis' (which, in my view is a dead end) or whether we should start advocating for a more universal approach that no longer relies on volunteers like yourself investing a lot of time to produce said pre-built images, with all the drawbacks that that entails.

Now, I'm not going to pretend that everything is peachy with this new UEFI/SBBR mode of installing vanilla images, because it's still fairly new, and there are still quite a few rough edges to sort out (for instance, the Debian installer appears to have a multiple problem with the provision of firmware blobs, one of which being that is chokes on ones that contain spaces, which means that it'll request "brcm/brcmfmac43455-sdio.Raspberry" instead of "brcm/brcmfmac43455-sdio.Raspberry Pi Foundation-Raspberry Pi 4 Model B.txt", and also it doesn't seem to be able to look up a blob on USB drives unless the media is re-plugged for each blob) as well as missing drivers. But I'm continuing to be concerned that Pi users coming to this list are still being painted the picture that there is no salvation outside of the use of pre-built images, when there much certainly exist an alternative.

Whatever floats your boat.

Exactly. I think it should be better for us to provide users with a choice when there exist multiple ones when it comes to installing Debian on the Pi, and not give the impression that pre-built images is the only way.

Please bear in mind that some people have probably worked as hard as you did on making sure that there exists an alternative to pre-built, so, as much as I understand that you want to promote your work, I'd also appreciate if you started to paint a more accurate picture when it comes to not being able to use official images for the installation of Debian on modern Raspberry Pi's, especially after some people, including Debian maintainers who worked on fixing bugs related to UEFI/SBBR boot, invested time and effort making sure that this statement was no longer true.



[1] https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=282839
[2] https://pete.akeo.ie/2019/07/installing-debian-arm64-on-raspberry-pi.html

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