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Re: arm laptops and d-i

Adam Borowski <kilobyte@angband.pl> (2013-08-14):
> I loathe laptops, and thus didn't own one.  Needing one for DebConf (and
> this time no friend had a working one for me to borrow), instead of getting
> an used x86 one, I bought a $150 13.3" android thing.  Because, you know,
> installing a certain universal operating system should be easy, especially
> if it's a popular SoC (Allwinner) and graphics chip (Mali 400), right?
> Oh naive me.

What?! Somebody needs to do some work before new hardware is supported?

> It took me way too much time to figure it out, and I'm not exactly a
> Debian newbie (although no experience with laptops or arm bootloaders). 
> The main block was no way to reflash the machine to a working state,
> making me afraid to touch the nand bootloader in a non-obvious way.  That
> is, until I learned that Allwinners boot first from a sd card; all you
> need to do is to put an ubooted kernel into the right place and copy
> appropriate code into sectors before the first partition.  Sounds... 
> familiar.  That's not enough, of course, as without a module "lcd" there's
> no display, etc -- debugging which requires moving the sd card, plopping
> qemu-static-arm onto it and installing sshd.  Same for trying anything
> else.
> Now imagine a regular user trying that...
> So, whom do I beat with this laptop to get d-i working?
> Looks like a substantial part of Allwinner drivers got converted to DT in
> 3.8, 3.10 and 3.11 kernels, so it might work without a device-specific
> kernel.
> Thus, if anyone would like to play with such an exotic laptop, feel free
> to either catch me on debconf, or send me d-i images to test...  It's an
> Omega OAN133, not a widespread piece of hardware, but we need to do
> something with incoming flood of Chromebooks and so on.

Since you're “not exactly a Debian newbie” maybe you could have figured
out that mailing -boot/-kernel might be a nice first bet, right?

Also, thanks for the “why the hell isn't shiny new hardware working out
of the box” attitude.

Not amused,

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