Hi! First, sorry not to have posted anything in the last two weeks! I was on vacation, and so, did less work on the project. But in no means it is dead, and development continues!

First week of my vacation was (apart from resting, and vacation stuff) almost entirely dedicated to make my build environment work without internet access. Here, I was lucky to have made a complete debian/main mirror using reprepro before leaving! However, I had to fight a bit with debian-installer: first, for an unknown reason (if someone knows why, speak up!) it didn't search for the debian-installer section and I had to specify 'main/debian-installer' instead of 'main' in sources.list.udeb.local. Second, because I'm lazy, my reprepo repo isn't signed, and so, I had to pass some apt options to make when building d-i.

After this first week, I've been able to work on uboot-installer, that you can find in pkg-fso/d-i.git. Originally written by my co-mentor Per, this package/script is meant to update the device's U-Boot env so it can boot Debian. It installs the uboot-envtools package, tries to read the U-Boot environment to make sure everything is ok, determines the new boot command, and shows/write it in the uboot env. When working on uboot env modification, I ran in a strange issue: I can read the env without problem using fwprintenv, modify it, and read it back, but U-Boot then fails, saying the environment is corrupted. In fact, this is because I've enabled CONFIGMTDNANDS3C2410_HWECC in config.s3c24xx, and it appears to cause invalid ECC values to be written on the flash. Switching it off solved the issue.

Apart from that, I've made some minor modifications in the installation script, and I've (re)installed Debian countless times on my FR, and everything seems to work fine so far (although my kernel is non-installable at the moment because of version mismatch with what's in my repo).

Building d-i for the FR

So, you're welcome to test! Everything is available in the three (pkg-fso/d-i.git, pkg-fso/linux-2.6.git, and usbboot (hg)) repositories. You can rebuild the d-i image and packages the following way:

mkdir ~/incoming/
cd d-i.git/packages/
cd flash-kernel && debuild -uc -us && cd .. && mv *.*deb ~/incoming
cd base-installer && debuild -uc -us && cd .. && mv *.*deb ~/incoming
cd hw-detect && debuild -uc -us && cd .. && mv *.*deb ~/incoming
cd libdebian-installer && autoreconf -i -v && debuild -uc -us && cd .. && mv *.*deb ~/incoming
cd partman/partman-auto && debuild -uc -us && cd .. && mv *.*deb ~/incoming && cd ..
cd arch/armel/uboot-installer && debuild -uc -us && cd .. && mv *.*deb ~/incoming && cd ../..
# For some reason, I had to rebuild installation-locale too
cd installation-locale && debuild -uc -us && cd .. && mv *.*deb ~/incoming

Then, copy everything that is in ~/incoming to your repo. Alternatively, you can use localudebs and add the following lines to pkg-lists/netboot/network-console/armel/s3c24xx.cfg:

# For some reason, flash-kernel-installer brings live-installer in,
# disable it explicitly as we don't want it
live-installer -

Now that you have built every needed package, you can build the d-i image:

make clean_s3c24xx_network-console
# The SECOPTS thing is only needed if you are using an unsigned repository
make build_s3c24xx_network-console SECOPTS="--allow-unauthenticated"

Now, you can find the ready-to-use u-boot image in dest/s3c24xx/network-console/uImage-multi!

There are a few differences between the pre-built image and the one you have generated. Those differences are: the kernel in use (2.6.32 for the pre-built image, 2.6.34 if you follow the steps above), the network config ( for the pre-built image, for your own), security (unauthenticated repositories are allowed in the pre-built image!), and uboot-installer (some changes are still staging on my local working copy).

Testing d-i on your FR

Beware, those images are only for testing (especially the pre-built one, which accepts unauthenticated repositories). It should not harm your device, but use with care anyway.

Now that you have built your u-boot image multi (if you don't want to, you can use the pre-built one), you are welcome to follow the steps described in the How to Boot article.

Now, follow the instructions that appears on the FR screen and you should be able to install Debian like you would on any machine. The equivalent of grub-installer is divided into two steps (the two are needed, but each provides bootable-system, yes, that's a bug): flash-kernel ("Make the system bootable") and uboot-installer ("Modify U-Boot environment on flash").

(Note: SSH password is "install")

What's coming next/has to be done?

I've just arrived at DebConf 10, and some intensive testing should be done here. Apart from that, there are quite a few things left to do (right now, or in a distant future):

  • Merge uboot-installer into flash-kernel, or give it a life on its own
  • Get changes merged into d-i
  • Continue with upstreaming kernel changes (drivers and gta02 machine definition)
  • Make a FSO task, investigate how to run nodm for a normal user
  • Try to get a kernel working on HTC G1
  • Resolve some bugs like #586427
  • Work on MTD support for partman?
  • g-i for the FR?