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#1 2020-05-11 21:28:32

seamusdemora
Member
Registered: 2020-04-09
Posts: 8

Installation difficulties

Since mid-March this year I've made several attempts to install Arch Linux on my PC Engines hardware (APU2E4). I have followed the Arch Linux Wiki for PC Engines, and the Installation Guide meticulously. I have also read and consulted the wiki on "Working with the serial console" and the GRUB wiki. The furthest I have gotten with all of this is that GRUB issues a welcome, announces it is "Loading initial RAMDISK", and then nothing - silence. I've let it sit for hours to give it all the time it needs, but of course it never budges from that point.

I posted a help request here recently, but that led to my suspension from the forum. Apparently I was too short with some of the participants. I don't wish to offend anyone, so I'm posting a different sort of question here today. I would ask that if you do not have an informed/knowledgeable opinion, please keep it to yourself. I'll add the following, which is neither here nor there, but offered only to give some background on my experience: This is not offered as an indictment, it is not "finger-pointing", and it is in no way intended to be accusatory. I fully accept that the failure to achieve a successful Arch Linux installation on my hardware is due to my own ignorance, and nothing more. But ignorance is something that can be overcome - that's my motivation.

With all of that apologia and explanation said: The APU is not a mainstream platform, yet since March I've been able to install Ubuntu, OPNsense and Debian on the APU2E4. They all installed routinely, and without failure with the exception of the Ubuntu server installation, and that was an error on my part - the second try went without incident.

I've noticed in my search for a solution, that GRUB seems to fail occasionally at this point in the Arch Linux installation. I say this because a search for the term "GRUB loading initial ramdisk" seems to occur from time to time - in both new installations and even following upgrades in Arch Linux. It's also been reported as an issue with other distros, but it seems to occur with greater frequency here - in ArchLinux. But perhaps that's a false impression due partly to my situation... in my own experience, I've never seen this with other distributions (Ubuntu, Debian, FreeBSD/OPNsense).

And finally to my questions:

Does Arch Linux do something different than other distros that might cause this particular failure to complete the boot cycle?

Is there an "area of focus" where I should concentrate my effort to resolve this?; i.e. is it likely to be a nuance in GRUB that I've overlooked, or a peculiarity in ArchLinux configuration, the hardware itself...

Thanks for your attention.


-----

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure, and the intelligent are full of doubt.
~ Bertrand Russell

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#2 2020-05-11 21:44:57

Zod
Member
From: Hoosiertucky
Registered: 2019-03-10
Posts: 340

Re: Installation difficulties

I wonder what the initramfs of those other distros contain?

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#3 2020-05-11 22:15:50

d_fajardo
Member
Registered: 2017-07-28
Posts: 668

Re: Installation difficulties

Did you install Arch with MBR or EFI? According to your link on PC Engines:

It is a good idea to use a MBR layout with GRUB:
grub-install --target=i386-pc /dev/sda
grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

and that guide seems to target a 32-bit architecture as well.
If that's the recommendation for that particular machine with a GRUB setup, I suggest looking at a different bootloader.

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#4 2020-05-12 12:20:52

Lone_Wolf
Member
From: Netherlands, Europe
Registered: 2005-10-04
Posts: 8,086

Re: Installation difficulties

These systems don't have EFI firmware but use coreboot instead.
GPT drives are useful for systems with drives above 2 TiB or large numbers of partitions .
As the PC engines are embedded devices and probably use SD cards instead of HDD or SSD, MBR-partitioning makes sense.

"--target=i386-pc" is normal for grub on MBR systems and says nothing about bitness.

Is there an "area of focus" where I should concentrate my effort to resolve this?; i.e. is it likely to be a nuance in GRUB that I've overlooked, or a peculiarity in ArchLinux configuration, the hardware itself...

Check /etc/default/grub and remove loglevel=3  and quiet options , so you'll see messages from booting on screen .
This should give you an idea where things hang/crash .

Also add systemd.unit=multi-user.target as kernel parameter to the boot commandline.
That will not start graphical target at all but stop earlier, when ttys / consoles are available.

Last edited by Lone_Wolf (2020-05-12 12:21:04)


Multi-init booting with apg Openrc and systemd coexisting
Automounting : not needed, i prefer pmount
Aur helpers : makepkg + my own local repo === rarely need them

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#5 2020-05-13 19:03:17

loqs
Member
Registered: 2014-03-06
Posts: 10,644

Re: Installation difficulties

What is the command line grub is passing to the kernel?  Particularly the serial port and console options.

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