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Re: [nslu2-linux] Newbie questions

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  • list.nslu2-linux@rwhitby.net
    Let s get the terminology right here. DebianSlug is one of the variants of the SlugOS distribution (which also includes OpenSlug and UcSlugC) which is itself
    Message 1 of 15 , May 31, 2006
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      Let's get the terminology right here. DebianSlug is one of the variants of the SlugOS distribution (which also includes OpenSlug and UcSlugC) which is itself based on OpenEmbedded.
      Then there is the debian-installer image which uses the official Debain kernel (built by Debian, not by nslu2-linux).
      Both of them run little-endian, due to a short assembly language prepend to the kernel (i.e. it's not the kernel which does the endian swap, it's a short piece of assembly code that we put just before the kernel is flash).
      So if you want a little-endian version of OpenSlug which has exactly the same set of packages as OpenSlug but runs them little-endian, then use DebianSlug (which will have it's first binary release as part of SlugOS 3.x soon), not the debian-installer image.
      If you want to run the Debian packages, then you have two choices. Either take part in the testing of the debian-installer image (which does not have all the latest kernel patches from nslu2-linux included yet), or use DebianSlug and debootstrap.
      Note that DebianSlug and the debian-installer image will eventually become the same thing (when nslu2-linux is able to get all it's latest kernel patches accepted by Linus and Debian), and nslu2-linux and the Debian kernel team are working closely together to make that happen. We have two kernels (the SlugOS kernel and the official Debian arm kernel) and we are working to make them into a single kernel that can be used by both sets of users.

      -- Rod
      -----Original Message-----
      ffmpeg is not written for the endianess of the slug. In fact: it's written without testing for other endianess. I suggest going debianslug (the debian-kernel switches the endianess at startup).



      cu






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    • h8dc
      ... become the same thing (when nslu2-linux is able to get all it s latest kernel patches accepted by Linus and Debian), and nslu2-linux and the Debian kernel
      Message 2 of 15 , Jun 9, 2006
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        --- In nslu2-linux@yahoogroups.com, list.nslu2-linux@... wrote:

        > Note that DebianSlug and the debian-installer image will eventually
        become the same thing (when nslu2-linux is able to get all it's latest
        kernel patches accepted by Linus and Debian), and nslu2-linux and the
        Debian kernel team are working closely together to make that happen.
        We have two kernels (the SlugOS kernel and the official Debian arm
        kernel) and we are working to make them into a single kernel that can
        be used by both sets of users.
        -----

        Fascinating! Care to offer a ballpark prognostication as to when that
        might be? "This year" or "sometime next year" would be perfectly
        acceptable answers. :-)


        Thanks,
        h8dc
      • Rod Whitby
        ... It s not a fast process. We need to re-base the patches against the latest Linux kernel, then submit them for comment on the linux-arm-kernel mailing list,
        Message 3 of 15 , Jun 9, 2006
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          >> Rod Whitby wrote:
          >> Note that DebianSlug and the debian-installer image will eventually
          >> become the same thing (when nslu2-linux is able to get all it's latest
          >> kernel patches accepted by Linus and Debian), and nslu2-linux and the
          >> Debian kernel team are working closely together to make that happen.
          >> We have two kernels (the SlugOS kernel and the official Debian arm
          >> kernel) and we are working to make them into a single kernel that can
          >> be used by both sets of users.

          > h8dc wrote:
          > Fascinating! Care to offer a ballpark prognostication as to when that
          > might be? "This year" or "sometime next year" would be perfectly
          > acceptable answers. :-)

          It's not a fast process.

          We need to re-base the patches against the latest Linux kernel, then
          submit them for comment on the linux-arm-kernel mailing list, then ask
          the IXP4XX maintainer and the ARM maintainer to approve the patches
          (there is usually a couple of rounds of improvement or changes in this
          step), then wait for the ARM maintainer to push these to Linus for
          inclusion at kernel.org (there is only a two week window per kernel
          version for this), then wait for the Debian kernel team to include that
          new version of the kernel which contains those patches.

          We also need to do some work to make sure that the Debian/NSLU2
          (debian-installer) image has the same recovery, upgrade and
          boot-from-alternate-root-options (like flash sticks and nfs rootfs) that
          DebianSlug (SlugOS) currently has before we can consider them merged.

          Note that no matter which firmware image you use (DebianSlug or
          Debian/NSLU2), you can still use exactly the same resulting Debian
          installation on your hard disk. You can even swap between DebianSlug
          and Debian/NSLU2 kernels (as long as you swap the corresponding kernel
          modules at the same time). So going with one or the other does not make
          it easier or harder to use Debian on an NSLU2 (once you've completed the
          initial Debian installation). It's only the initial installation of
          Debian (via the debian-installer, or via debootstrap) which is different
          (apart from the fact that the Debian/NSLU2 kernel doesn't contain all
          the latest patches).

          I personally currently use DebianSlug and the debootstrap procedure, but
          now that we have released the DebianSlug binary image I will start to
          spend more time on the merge. Other NSLU2-Linux developers use the
          Debian/NSLU2 kernel. There is no one single answer.

          It's a trade-off between ease of installation (Debian/NSLU2) versus
          having a full NSLU2-Linux set of kernel patches installed (DebianSlug).
          Both may need to progress forward independently, even while we are
          trying to merge them (since the path to merging involves pushing thing
          through the official kernel.org release).

          -- Rod
        • andrewnslu2
          ... wrote: ... So I have installed Debian/NSLU2 and enjoyed the easy/standard installation process, and now have a harddrive full of debian
          Message 4 of 15 , Jun 12, 2006
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            --- In nslu2-linux@yahoogroups.com, Rod Whitby <list.nslu2-linux@...>
            wrote:
            <snip>
            > Note that no matter which firmware image you use (DebianSlug or
            > Debian/NSLU2), you can still use exactly the same resulting Debian
            > installation on your hard disk. You can even swap between DebianSlug
            > and Debian/NSLU2 kernels (as long as you swap the corresponding kernel
            > modules at the same time). So going with one or the other does not make
            > it easier or harder to use Debian on an NSLU2 (once you've completed the
            > initial Debian installation). It's only the initial installation of
            > Debian (via the debian-installer, or via debootstrap) which is different
            > (apart from the fact that the Debian/NSLU2 kernel doesn't contain all
            > the latest patches).

            <snip>

            So I have installed Debian/NSLU2 and enjoyed the easy/standard
            installation process, and now have a harddrive full of debian
            goodness, but a kernel which is a little behind the times. Just how
            easy would it be to swap to the SlugOS Debian kernel? I know how to
            reflash with upslug, but how would the hdd filesystem need to be
            changed? would you make a backup of the boot and kernel module
            directories, and install modules again with ipkg? or manually set up
            the modules to agree with whatever modules exists before?

            Or is it not worth bothering with and just wait for an official
            Debian/NSLU2 update?

            Seems to me this could be something that could be easily scripted...
          • John Reiser
            ... It seems to me that the procedure should be something like: 0. e2fsck -f the filesystem on the harddrive (use a different machine.) 1. Flash DebianSlug
            Message 5 of 15 , Jun 12, 2006
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              andrewnslu2 wrote:
              > So I have installed Debian/NSLU2 and enjoyed the easy/standard
              > installation process, and now have a harddrive full of debian
              > goodness, but a kernel which is a little behind the times. Just how
              > easy would it be to swap to the SlugOS Debian kernel?

              It seems to me that the procedure should be something like:
              0. "e2fsck -f" the filesystem on the harddrive (use a different machine.)
              1. Flash DebianSlug firmware into NSLU2 (no harddrive connected!)
              2. Connect harddrive to NSLU2, boot DebianSlug firmware.
              3. "turnup -f disk" which overrides the usual check
              that the filesystem should be empty.

              This should overlay the SlugOS Debian kernel (plus some other files) on
              top of the otherwise-ready filesystem. Then, the kernel and kernel modules
              on the harddrive may be updated only with DebianSlug updates (until Debian
              receives and merges all the NSLU2-specific kernel changes.)

              --
            • Rod Whitby
              ... Make sure you use reflash to do this, as this will save your DebianSlug configuration settings. ... You also should copy the new set of kernel modules
              Message 6 of 15 , Jun 12, 2006
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                John Reiser wrote:
                > It seems to me that the procedure should be something like:
                > 0. "e2fsck -f" the filesystem on the harddrive (use a different machine.)
                > 1. Flash DebianSlug firmware into NSLU2 (no harddrive connected!)

                Make sure you use "reflash" to do this, as this will save your
                DebianSlug configuration settings.

                > 2. Connect harddrive to NSLU2, boot DebianSlug firmware.

                You also should copy the new set of kernel modules from the flash to the
                rootfs on the hard disk.

                > 3. "turnup -f disk" which overrides the usual check
                > that the filesystem should be empty.
                >
                > This should overlay the SlugOS Debian kernel (plus some other files) on
                > top of the otherwise-ready filesystem. Then, the kernel and kernel modules
                > on the harddrive may be updated only with DebianSlug updates (until Debian
                > receives and merges all the NSLU2-specific kernel changes.)

                Actually, the SlugOS kernel (there is no such thing as a SlugOS Debian
                kernel - it's either a SlugOS kernel or a Debian kernel, it can't be
                both) is loaded by the bootloader directly from flash before anything
                else. So the contents of /boot on the Debian hard disk is irrelevant
                for SlugOS booting purposes.

                So the SlugOS kernel is loaded from flash, and then runs /linuxrc on the
                internal SlugOS rootfs, which detects that you have turned up to disk
                and then pivots to the Debian rootfs on disk, where you must have the
                SlugOS kernel modules correctly copied to /lib/modules (as these are
                loaded after the Debian rootfs takes control).

                -- Rod
              • andrewnslu2
                ... machine.) ... files) on ... modules ... (until Debian ... OK so the turnup script marks the JFFS2 to point the boot script to the sda filesystem, is there
                Message 7 of 15 , Jun 13, 2006
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                  --- In nslu2-linux@yahoogroups.com, Rod Whitby <list.nslu2-linux@...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > John Reiser wrote:
                  > > It seems to me that the procedure should be something like:
                  > > 0. "e2fsck -f" the filesystem on the harddrive (use a different
                  machine.)
                  > > 1. Flash DebianSlug firmware into NSLU2 (no harddrive connected!)
                  >
                  > Make sure you use "reflash" to do this, as this will save your
                  > DebianSlug configuration settings.
                  >
                  > > 2. Connect harddrive to NSLU2, boot DebianSlug firmware.
                  >
                  > You also should copy the new set of kernel modules from the flash to the
                  > rootfs on the hard disk.
                  >
                  > > 3. "turnup -f disk" which overrides the usual check
                  > > that the filesystem should be empty.
                  > >
                  > > This should overlay the SlugOS Debian kernel (plus some other
                  files) on
                  > > top of the otherwise-ready filesystem. Then, the kernel and kernel
                  modules
                  > > on the harddrive may be updated only with DebianSlug updates
                  (until Debian
                  > > receives and merges all the NSLU2-specific kernel changes.)
                  >
                  > Actually, the SlugOS kernel (there is no such thing as a SlugOS Debian
                  > kernel - it's either a SlugOS kernel or a Debian kernel, it can't be
                  > both) is loaded by the bootloader directly from flash before anything
                  > else. So the contents of /boot on the Debian hard disk is irrelevant
                  > for SlugOS booting purposes.
                  >
                  > So the SlugOS kernel is loaded from flash, and then runs /linuxrc on the
                  > internal SlugOS rootfs, which detects that you have turned up to disk
                  > and then pivots to the Debian rootfs on disk, where you must have the
                  > SlugOS kernel modules correctly copied to /lib/modules (as these are
                  > loaded after the Debian rootfs takes control).
                  >
                  > -- Rod
                  >

                  OK so the turnup script marks the JFFS2 to point the boot script to
                  the sda filesystem, is there anything else it does? specifically -
                  does it clobber anything on the disk?
                  If the ONLY difference between the Debian/NSLU2 and SlugOS EXTERNAL
                  filesystems is the lib/module directory, then that sounds like it
                  would be easy to switch between Slugos and Debian/NSLU2.

                  I do wonder about the startup method though, does Debian/NSLU2 boot
                  the same way? i.e. with the kernel proper & initrd in flash & a pivot
                  root? what about the /linuxrc? would this need to change between the two?

                  My main reason for doing all this is to get the newer kernel with to
                  use stuff like bluetooth. I like running the official Debian distro
                  but the upstream acceptance process sounds like it will take an age!

                  Andrew
                • Rod Whitby
                  ... The turnup script check for some things on the disk, to reduce the chance that the disk is not bootable, and then modified /linuxrc on the flash. As far
                  Message 8 of 15 , Jun 14, 2006
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                    andrewnslu2 wrote:
                    > OK so the turnup script marks the JFFS2 to point the boot script to
                    > the sda filesystem, is there anything else it does? specifically -
                    > does it clobber anything on the disk?

                    The turnup script check for some things on the disk, to reduce the
                    chance that the disk is not bootable, and then modified /linuxrc on the
                    flash. As far as I know, it does not modify anything on the disk unless
                    you tell it to initialise the disk.

                    > If the ONLY difference between the Debian/NSLU2 and SlugOS EXTERNAL
                    > filesystems is the lib/module directory, then that sounds like it
                    > would be easy to switch between Slugos and Debian/NSLU2.

                    Yes, as long as you are careful with the /lib/modules directory, you can
                    easily switch between the two kernels.

                    > I do wonder about the startup method though, does Debian/NSLU2 boot
                    > the same way? i.e. with the kernel proper & initrd in flash & a pivot
                    > root? what about the /linuxrc? would this need to change between the two?

                    To tell you the truth, I don't know what the latest status of this is.
                    That's what I need to find out now that the SlugOS release is done.
                    Martin M. (tbm) would be the person to ask.

                    > My main reason for doing all this is to get the newer kernel with to
                    > use stuff like bluetooth. I like running the official Debian distro
                    > but the upstream acceptance process sounds like it will take an age!

                    I personally run the latest NSLU2-Linux kernel and modules, and the
                    official Debian distro for userland. The best of both worlds. I expect
                    it will take some time to get the kernel patches upstream and down into
                    Debian, but that is definitely the goal.

                    -- Rod
                  • andrewnslu2
                    ... to the ... on the ... two? ... If anyone is interested - I did replace the DI kernel with the SlugOS 3.1, and it seems to work! A couple of minor issues
                    Message 9 of 15 , Sep 8, 2006
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                      --- In nslu2-linux@yahoogroups.com, "andrewnslu2" <andrewnslu2@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > --- In nslu2-linux@yahoogroups.com, Rod Whitby <list.nslu2-linux@>
                      > wrote:
                      > >
                      > > John Reiser wrote:
                      > > > It seems to me that the procedure should be something like:
                      > > > 0. "e2fsck -f" the filesystem on the harddrive (use a different
                      > machine.)
                      > > > 1. Flash DebianSlug firmware into NSLU2 (no harddrive connected!)
                      > >
                      > > Make sure you use "reflash" to do this, as this will save your
                      > > DebianSlug configuration settings.
                      > >
                      > > > 2. Connect harddrive to NSLU2, boot DebianSlug firmware.
                      > >
                      > > You also should copy the new set of kernel modules from the flash
                      to the
                      > > rootfs on the hard disk.
                      > >
                      > > > 3. "turnup -f disk" which overrides the usual check
                      > > > that the filesystem should be empty.
                      > > >
                      > > > This should overlay the SlugOS Debian kernel (plus some other
                      > files) on
                      > > > top of the otherwise-ready filesystem. Then, the kernel and kernel
                      > modules
                      > > > on the harddrive may be updated only with DebianSlug updates
                      > (until Debian
                      > > > receives and merges all the NSLU2-specific kernel changes.)
                      > >
                      > > Actually, the SlugOS kernel (there is no such thing as a SlugOS Debian
                      > > kernel - it's either a SlugOS kernel or a Debian kernel, it can't be
                      > > both) is loaded by the bootloader directly from flash before anything
                      > > else. So the contents of /boot on the Debian hard disk is irrelevant
                      > > for SlugOS booting purposes.
                      > >
                      > > So the SlugOS kernel is loaded from flash, and then runs /linuxrc
                      on the
                      > > internal SlugOS rootfs, which detects that you have turned up to disk
                      > > and then pivots to the Debian rootfs on disk, where you must have the
                      > > SlugOS kernel modules correctly copied to /lib/modules (as these are
                      > > loaded after the Debian rootfs takes control).
                      > >
                      > > -- Rod
                      > >
                      >
                      > OK so the turnup script marks the JFFS2 to point the boot script to
                      > the sda filesystem, is there anything else it does? specifically -
                      > does it clobber anything on the disk?
                      > If the ONLY difference between the Debian/NSLU2 and SlugOS EXTERNAL
                      > filesystems is the lib/module directory, then that sounds like it
                      > would be easy to switch between Slugos and Debian/NSLU2.
                      >
                      > I do wonder about the startup method though, does Debian/NSLU2 boot
                      > the same way? i.e. with the kernel proper & initrd in flash & a pivot
                      > root? what about the /linuxrc? would this need to change between the
                      two?
                      >
                      > My main reason for doing all this is to get the newer kernel with to
                      > use stuff like bluetooth. I like running the official Debian distro
                      > but the upstream acceptance process sounds like it will take an age!
                      >
                      > Andrew
                      >

                      If anyone is interested - I did replace the DI kernel with the SlugOS
                      3.1, and it seems to work! A couple of minor issues but nothing that
                      could not be debugged with a serial cable.

                      Is this something that people whould like a how-to on? it looks like a
                      smooth update for the DI kernel is still a way off...
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