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Bug#854822: installation-report: U-boot not correctly installed when partitioning with "Guided - use entire disk"

On Fri, Feb 10, 2017 at 11:51:20AM -0600, Gunnar Wolf wrote:

> Package: installation-reports
> Version: 2.62
> Severity: important
> Tags: d-i
> Boot method: SD card
> Image version: https://d-i.debian.org/daily-images/armhf/daily/hd-media/SD-card-images/firmware.MX6_Cubox-i.img.gz https://d-i.debian.org/daily-images/armhf/daily/hd-media/SD-card-images/partition.img.gz and http://gemmei.acc.umu.se/cdimage/daily-builds/daily/arch-latest/armhf/iso-cd/debian-testing-armhf-netinst.iso downloaded 2017-02-08
> Date: <Date and time of the install>
> Machine: CuBox-i 4 Pro
> I am installing the system on the same media that was used to boot the
> installer from; this is supported according to the installation manual
> sect. 5.1.5 (last paragraph).
> If I ask the partitioner to use the «Guided - use entire disk» option,
> the install process _seems_to_ be successful, but I end up with a
> nonbooting system (U-boot seems to be clobbered, as it does not do
> anything at powerup); selecting «Guided - use the largest continuous
> free space» results in a correctly booting system.


when using the "Guided - use entire disk" option, partman by
default clobbers the boot sector and the area after it (where
u-boot is located) to make sure that there are no remains of old
partition tables.  We have code in partman-base that disables
this clobbering on systems of which we know that u-boot would be
damaged (which includes systems based on Freescale SoCs such as
your Cubox-i), but this doesn't work in your case as we currently
only disable the clobbering for /dev/mmcblk0 while your SD card
shows up as /dev/mmcblk1. I am not 100% sure about that, but IIRC
with older kernels the SD card in the cubox-i has shown up as

The relevant code in partman-base can be seen here:

The easiest solution would be to check for /dev/mmcblk instead of
/dev/mmcblk0. If nobody has objections against this change, I'll modify
partman-base accordingly and upload a new version (CCing the partman-base
uploaders Max Vozeler, Anton Zinoviev, Colin Watson and Christian Perrier
and Kibi as the d-i release manager).

> As a very minor issue, even in the second case, after the install
> notifies «Requesting system reboot», it just hangs. I disconnected and
> reconnected power to get the system to boot — But it booted correctly
> after that.

I have similar experiences with systems based on other ARM-SoCs,
but I have not been able to pinpoint the cause. The hang happens
only when rebooting from the d-i environment; rebooting the
installed system with exactly the same kernel works without

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