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Bug#894849: debian-installer: support dove cubox

Package: debian-installer
Severity: wishlist
Tags: d-i

Dear Maintainer,

Lets figure out how install media can be created that works with the original Dove Cubox.
Bug#876773 has added support for this device to flash-kernel;
Bug#876774 is about adding support to linux-image-armmp.

The goal of this bug is generating a debian-installer image for use with block storage such as 
sata, usb or microsd that will actually boot by itself.
Ideally with at least some packages for doing an offline installation.

So this is the boot process we are working with:
preinstalled U-boot on SPI Flash looks for boot.scr on usb -> mmc -> sata, first in /boot, then /.
This U-Boot is very old and needs u-boot wrapped uImage with appended DTB, and uInitrd.

For reference, this is the boot-script in flash-kernel:
It is usable for booting d-i as is, however I am a little unsure about the substitutions

So we need:

These can manually be created by issueing
cat vmlinuz dtbs/dove-cubox.dtb > vmlinuz-dtb
mkimage -A arm -O linux -T kernel -C none -a 0x00008000 -e 0x00008000 -d vmlinuz-dtb uImage
mkimage -A arm -O linux -T ramdisk -C none -a 0 -e 0 -d initrd.gz uInitrd

I did manage to build debian-installer from source, using the patched kernel package;
and I can say that it boots and has internet access. Installation gets as far as searchign for kernel module packages on the Debian servers. However I have no idea what is required to load drivers for usb, sdhc and sata from the install drive.

Please let me know what can be done to ultimately achieve readily usable installer images, say of the next debian release.

Yours sincerely
Josua Mayer

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-- System Information:
Debian Release: 9.4
  APT prefers stable-updates
  APT policy: (500, 'stable-updates'), (500, 'stable')
Architecture: armhf (armv7l)

Kernel: Linux 4.16.0-rc6-armmp (SMP w/1 CPU core)
Locale: LANG=en_US.UTF-8, LC_CTYPE=en_US.UTF-8 (charmap=UTF-8), LANGUAGE=en_US.UTF-8 (charmap=UTF-8)
Shell: /bin/sh linked to /bin/dash
Init: systemd (via /run/systemd/system)

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