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Re: [pkg-fso-maint] GSoC 2010: Debian Installer on Freerunner

> > Regarding the FreeRunner, I've got one since the beginning of the year,
> > and I use it as my sole phone.
> > I have flashed SHR unstable on the NAND, and I've manually (reading the
> > so-called install.sh script) installed Debian on a µSD card, although I rarely
> > use it.
> For porting d-i to it it would be good if we could get you a second
> freerunner or if you have another phone you could use during this
> time... Calls won't work during installation ;-) And you probably will
> do many installations...

Yeah, I have another phone that I can use, that's not an issue :)

> > I haven't tried d-i on the FreeRunner yet, but I think the main
> > issues/things to do would be:
> > * Starting d-i. I can see two ways of doing it:
> >   - Putting it on a µSD card, maybe not the easiest thing if there's
> > already something on it.
> >   - Using kexec on a host system to run d-i without altering the
> > partition table beforehand.
> I and Luca Capello (gismo) worked on d-i for the freerunner at Debconf
> 9. We decided back then that whatever method we choose it should be
> supported by the factory default settings of the u-boot on the
> freerunner. 
> This means that you have to combine the kernel and initramfs into one
> u-boot image. This is possible but a bit tricky to get right. 

Yeah, I've made some tests, and I can see how to create a multi-file
u-boot image.
I have yet to build a kernel along with an initramfs and see how to boot
it properly :)

> > * Using the kernel from pkg-fso
> This won't work. Period. If you want to integrate your work into the
> official d-i you have to use a kernel built from the linux-2.6 package
> in the main archive. 
> So first all the bits to support the freerunner so that it can run d-i
> must go into Linus kernel tree. As the kernel team most probably won't
> accept any patches not accepted upstream. 
> We basically need glamo mmc support in addition to basic boot support
> for the freerunner to be able to support d-i. The glamo mmc support is
> needed to access the SD card because the SD card is connected to the
> glamo. 
> Then we need a kernel configuration for the s3c24xx architecture and a
> patch to enable an image for this architecture for linux-2.6. The kernel
> configuration should be as similar as possible to the configurations of
> the other kernel images (especially the other arm images). This is where
> I stopped by the end of last year because of lack of time. If you want
> to continue this work I can provide you with a partially working patch
> for linux-2.6. 

Can't we use, for a start, linux-2.6-openmoko as it is?

> > * Hacking g-i to work with the touchscreen and
> > provide an on-screen keyboard.
> Gismo and I were rahter targetting the network-console mode of d-i that
> is used on headless NAS devices. The idea was that d-i would setup the
> usb network and you could connect to it by sshing over this usb network.
> I think that would be far easier. I will need networking anyway to
> download packages and wifi is not an option for the installer because
> the support for connecting to encrypted networks in d-i is minimal AFAIK
> and ar6000 won't most probably go upstream ever and therefore not be
> included in the Debian kernel.

Didn't think about that, but I guess it's the way to go.

> >   As far as I know, directfb is being dropped in favor of X11, so, it
> > shouldn't be that much of an issue.
> > * Including all those things in a fairly lightweight initrd.
> It depends on your definition of lightweight. I would call all the d-i
> initramfs (it's technically not an initrd anymore) fairly heavyweight. 

Well, with X and so, it might have been quite challenging.

> I expect the core d-i part of all of this to be small and not very
> difficult. AFAIR we had it already running until the bootloader step at
> Debconf with a custom version of the pkg-fso kernel. The hard parts are:
> - Create a kernel package for the freerunner based on the linux-2.6
>   package in main
> - Figure out the best layout for booting Debian in parallel to another
>   distribution in NAND and configure u-boot to do the right thing and
>   warp all this into an udeb for the d-i.
> - Post installation stuff like creating a fso/freerunner task which gets
>   automatically installed if a freerunner is detected. 
> I would be willing to be your mentor if your commited to properly integrate
> your work into the existing Debian infrastructure (like useing a kernel
> based on linux-2.6, make your modifications so that they are acceptable
> to the d-i team). My d-i knowledge is a bit rusty, but I think I know
> the basic things and could point you in the right direction if you have
> any questions.

I was planning to use the kernel package in pkg-fso, at least at the
beginning, because I don't know the main differences yet.
I'm interested in having a clean kernel package, however, I have no
experience in kernel hacking.

> I'm glad to see someone taking up this work, because I fear I won't have
> time to do any serious work on this until next Debconf.
> Gaudenz
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> pkg-fso-maint@lists.alioth.debian.org
> http://lists.alioth.debian.org/mailman/listinfo/pkg-fso-maint

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