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    Monday, 05 September 2011

    Armhf buildds and porter box hosted at ARM

    I'm in the middle of setting up new build machines for the armhf port (see the wiki for more details). We'll shortly have six machines set up in the machine room here at ARM in Cambridge:

    • harris as a porter box
    • hartmann, hasse, hebden and henze running buildd software
    • hoiby as a hot spare

    hartmann

    All of these machines are Freescale i.MX53 Quickstart (aka "loco") development boards. They include a 1GHz i.MX53 CPU (based around the ARM Cortex A8, one of the ARMv7-A family). They have 1GB of RAM and native SATA. They're lovely little machines, measuring just 3 inches square. To mount them usefully in a machine room, I've mounted each board with a 320GB notebook hard drive and the necessary cabling onto a small perspex card as you can see here. Then we can fit 6 such machines and a normal PC-style ATX PSU into a 3U mini-rack. Well, it almost fits - the power supply pokes out a little so we'll need 4U of space when we come to mount it.

    armhf mini rack

    The Quickstart boards have been sponsored by Linaro, and ditto my time setting up these machines. Thanks!

    As is common with new development boards, these machines are not quite fully supported in Debian yet. The kernels we're using are locally-built, using the sources supplied by Freescale. For now, that means a heavily-patched "2.6.35" kernel but we're expecting to be able to switch to mainline very soon. The .config I'm using is kernel.config, and I've built it natively on harris using

    fakeroot make -j2 deb-pkg DEBEMAIL=93sam@debian.org DEBFULLNAME="Steve McIntyre" KDEB_PKGVERSION=1buildd1

    Similarly to the setup for the armel machines, for now I've tweaked things when installing the kernel:

    • depmod:
      • Need to make sure that depmod is run so the new kernel can find and load modules at boot. Added trivial script in /etc/kernel/postinst.d/depmod to do this.
    • initramfs-tools:
      • Needed to copy the file /etc/kernel/postinst.d/initramfs-tools into place from my amd64 machine; I'm guessing this would be there automatically on a new-enough version of initramfs-tools on the armel machines, but we're still using Lenny as a base system for now even if I'm using a Squeeze-based kernel.
    • flash-kernel:
      • Add support for these boards
      • #550584: kernel postinst hook script (/etc/kernel/postinst.d/zz-flash-kernel) to create uImage and uInitrd files from the kernel zImage and the initramfs.

    Finally, I've tweaked the uboot config on the machines to use the uImage and uInitrd files that are generated by flash-kernel:

    MX53-LOCO U-Boot > setenv loadaddr 0x70800000
    MX53-LOCO U-Boot > setenv initrdaddr 0x71000000
    MX53-LOCO U-Boot > setenv bootargs_sata set bootargs \$\{bootargs\} root=/dev/sda2 rw rootwait
    MX53-LOCO U-Boot > setenv load_sata_kernel ext2load sata 0:1 \$\{loadaddr\} /uImage
    MX53-LOCO U-Boot > setenv load_sata_initrd ext2load sata 0:1 \$\{initrdaddr\} /uInitrd
    MX53-LOCO U-Boot > setenv load_sata run load_sata_kernel load_sata_initrd
    MX53-LOCO U-Boot > setenv bootcmd_sata sata init\; run bootargs_base bootargs_sata load_sata\; bootm \$\{loadaddr\} \$\{initrdaddr\}
    MX53-LOCO U-Boot > setenv bootcmd run bootcmd_sata
    

    And I've added extra config into uboot to use the pre-installed Ubuntu system on the micro SD card as a fall-back:

    MX53-LOCO U-Boot > setenv bootcmd_rescue sata init\; run bootargs_base bootargs_sata\; mmc read 0 \$\{loadaddr\} 0x800 0x1800\; bootm
    

    17:15 :: # :: /debian/arm :: 3 comments