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#26 2009-05-22 11:07:30

markc
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From: Gold Coast, Australia
Registered: 2007-05-15
Posts: 496
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Re: Arch on ARM?

@arew264: Now, if someone had a more workstation-like ARM board with the CPU, RAM, and storage to try and get Arch ported over, that would be worth attempting.

I'm getting one of these next week, http://www.qnap.com/pro_detail_feature.asp?p_id=113, it has 512Mb of ram and a Marvel 6281 1Ghtz cpu which I hope is enough to do native package builds. There is more info about the cpu here @ http://www.marvell.com/products/embedde … /index.jsp and the QNAP system will easily install these packages so it may not be too hard to bootstrap to an Archlinux system... http://ipkg.nslu2-linux.org/feeds/optwa … /unstable/. It's also the same cpu used in this device so the resulting packages could be useful to others and I'm happy to build and host them... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SheevaPlug. I'm not 100% sure but there is a good chance this particular ARM cpu will end up in more than one netbook by the end of this year.

Any suggestions how best to proceed would be most welcome.

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#27 2009-05-22 21:06:01

slint
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Registered: 2009-05-22
Posts: 31

Re: Arch on ARM?

I guess, you should contact the guys doing this:
http://hiciu.rootnode.net/arch/wiki/AFR

I would also be very interested, as I have an N800, whose OS is discontinued, as the successor device will get new hardware. Also arm netbooks seem to be coming soon.

Last edited by slint (2009-05-22 21:11:05)

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#28 2009-05-23 05:17:32

arew264
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From: Friendswood, Texas, US
Registered: 2006-07-01
Posts: 394
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Re: Arch on ARM?

Oh gosh, now I want to get my hands on a SheevaPlug... I've been trying to get a low power server for quite some time...

As for getting Arch on there, you can go with an existing project, or you can get a stable release of buildroot and build a root (heh) for your system with a native compiler. Buildroot does support the full crossover to native compilation. After that, you would compile and install pacman, makepkg, and whatever else you need (you would need to build these yourself, without makepkg or pacman), use the freshly installed utilities to compile packages of the same utilities, install them over the existing files, and start cranking out packages. Once you've got everything you need for a system, you can probably reinstall a pure arch system with no leftover files from Buildroot. Or you can leave it. That should theoretically work, anyway.

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#29 2009-05-28 16:50:14

markc
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From: Gold Coast, Australia
Registered: 2007-05-15
Posts: 496
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Re: Arch on ARM?

FWIW I was going to get a TS-219 but I notice a minor updated version has just been released, a TS-219p @ http://qnap.com/pro_detail_feature.asp?p_id=122 but it's not available in my country yet so I will wait 2 more weeks before getting this ARM based device. If only it had 2 x ethernet ports and 1Gb of ram it would be amazing. Anyway, there will be nothing from me for at least 3 weeks so hopefully someone else will be onto some hardware by then as well. The latest 2.6.30 kernel includes support for this Marvel Kirkwood 6281 CPU. If anyone is in the US then you'll be able to pick up one of these in a week or two for $99 -> http://store.pogoplug.com/ProductDetail … e=POGO-E01. Apparently these kind of devices will drop down to around $50 in a year or so as production runs ramp up and competition kicks in.

There is the start of a set of Debian packages at http://www.cyrius.com/debian/kirkwood/qnap/ts-219/ so if I install gcc and friends and pacman survives a native build on this machine (which I am yet to get) then building a set of core and core-devel packages from ABS should be simply a matter of doing it. I could then install the resulting binary packages on the other drive and then continue to rebuild them under true native Archlinux, and continue with other packages and upload them.

@slint: thanks for the AFR link, that will definitely help.

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#30 2009-05-29 04:16:51

markc
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From: Gold Coast, Australia
Registered: 2007-05-15
Posts: 496
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Re: Arch on ARM?

Another, SheevaPlug based device... http://www.legitreviews.com/article/976/1/, however, this is a bit disconcerting...

The Sheeva CPU is based on ARMv5 architecture and is capable of running any operating system that features support for the ARM9 processor. Included on the HipServ Plug is a modified version of Red Hat Linux Enterprise that has been locked down so that the system cannot be compromised. Due to the device being connected to the Internet, Axentra has gone through many steps to insure security. Because of this the device doesn't have a way to gain root control which means you currently cannot install custom applications on the HipServ Plug.

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#31 2009-05-29 04:27:55

arew264
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From: Friendswood, Texas, US
Registered: 2006-07-01
Posts: 394
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Re: Arch on ARM?

Whatever, if you have a mini-usb cable, you can edit the flash memory directly, so I'm sure there'll be a way to unlock it fairly soon.

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#32 2009-06-14 05:34:26

arew264
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From: Friendswood, Texas, US
Registered: 2006-07-01
Posts: 394
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Re: Arch on ARM?

I ordered a Sheevaplug and a hard drive enclosure today. Dunno if it'll take 4 weeks like they say on the website, but I should have it soon.

It'd be really cool if we could get a repo of Arch-Stable for this...

Last edited by arew264 (2009-06-14 05:34:58)

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#33 2009-06-17 17:51:48

zc00gii
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Registered: 2009-06-13
Posts: 5

Re: Arch on ARM?

I guess we could use a crosscompiler instead....crosstool is great for compiling them.

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#34 2009-08-03 22:19:05

arew264
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From: Friendswood, Texas, US
Registered: 2006-07-01
Posts: 394
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Re: Arch on ARM?

Well, after significantly more than 4 weeks, my Sheevaplug arrived. Now I get to see about Arch-ifying it.

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#35 2009-08-04 01:25:11

markc
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From: Gold Coast, Australia
Registered: 2007-05-15
Posts: 496
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Re: Arch on ARM?

Hey, mine showed up yesterday too! Unfortunately I don't have a lot of time for the next mont but if you post any notes I'll try to follow along and be able to test things out.

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#36 2009-08-04 04:26:35

arew264
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From: Friendswood, Texas, US
Registered: 2006-07-01
Posts: 394
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Re: Arch on ARM?

Well, I've come up with two evil plots:
First I could use buildroot and make a root fs and cross compile a kernel, then boot them over NFS/TFTP and fiddle around until I've got a decent base image.
Second, I could just build things on the plug and try to build up an Arch chroot until I can make it into an image, then use NFS/TFTP and fiddle around until I've got a decent base image.

I've chosen the second plan because it seems simpler. I'll see what I wind up with.

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#37 2009-08-04 05:11:18

markc
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From: Gold Coast, Australia
Registered: 2007-05-15
Posts: 496
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Re: Arch on ARM?

Is there any reason why the Archmobile package set could not be used to ease the bootstrap to Arch step?

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#38 2009-08-04 05:18:51

arew264
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From: Friendswood, Texas, US
Registered: 2006-07-01
Posts: 394
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Re: Arch on ARM?

Well, the main reason it couldn't be used is that I didn't know about it until you wrote that. I'm currently resolving that...

It seems that once again I am out of touch with reality. ArchMobile is building ARMv4T packages, which should run unmodified on an ARMv5 system like the Sheevaplug.
I won't be able to find out how much that helps until tomorrow, but thanks for suggesting it. It may be that the Sheevaplug can just run unmodified ArchMobile, although I don't know how much difference the v5 optimization makes.

Last edited by arew264 (2009-08-04 05:34:00)

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#39 2009-08-04 05:40:12

markc
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From: Gold Coast, Australia
Registered: 2007-05-15
Posts: 496
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Re: Arch on ARM?

Oh right, for anyone else following along -> http://www.archmobile.org/trac/wiki/AFR … nvironment

Do you (or anyone) have any thoughts about a busybox/uclibc based Archlinux system?

I've spent the last week looking at Alpine (http://alpinelinux.org/) which uses a very Archlinux-like package and build system. It is a very nice system and already busybox/uclibc based for i486 (Sokeris boards etc). I'm trying to "port" it to x86_64 so I can use that as a base to then port the Alpine system to ARM (and PPC, MIPs eventually) but I'm stuck atm because their apk-tools/abuild system is changing for v2 with signed packages and it needs a bit more work on it's dependency chain. I would put some effort into an Archlinux busybox/uclibc system but I'm not sure anyone else here would find that of interest whereas the Alpine folks are beyond the uclibc vs glibc argument and already have a comfy uclibc based toolset (albeit only i486).

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#40 2009-08-06 03:19:36

arew264
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From: Friendswood, Texas, US
Registered: 2006-07-01
Posts: 394
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Re: Arch on ARM?

Well, I can see how such a system would have practical use, but in my case, I have enough room for the root partition that I'm not worried about the size, so glibc wins over uclibc due to better performance.


I've gotten Arch Mobile running on the Sheevaplug by plugging their latest snapshot into the unofficial Sheevaplug Installation/Recovery Application. I can prepare a full image for it if anyone wants it.

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#41 2009-08-06 05:11:41

markc
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From: Gold Coast, Australia
Registered: 2007-05-15
Posts: 496
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Re: Arch on ARM?

Thanks for your comment about glibc being better for performance. I assumed that because uclibc uses less runtime and storage memory that it would provide for faster execution, or at least leave more ram available for better performance no matter how much ram was available. My main concern is just having a simpler core system (busybox/uclibc) with less code to maintain but "simpler" is relative as building packages with glibc is a lot easier.

I've got ArchMobile on a USB stick but I have not yet found a kernel that will successfully boot from the stick so I would be interested in your image and some specific clues how to use it.

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#42 2009-08-06 17:28:36

arew264
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From: Friendswood, Texas, US
Registered: 2006-07-01
Posts: 394
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Re: Arch on ARM?

Well, I downloaded the install/recovery app from http://plugcomputer.org/plugforum/index.php?topic=355.0 and moved the "installer" directory (which contains an Ubuntu installer) somewhere else. I then made my own installer directory, replacing rootfs.tar.gz with the latest snapshot from Arch Mobile, modules.tar.gz and uImage with their counterparts from http://sheeva.with-linux.com/sheeva/ind … .6.30.4%2F .
I then copied initrd and uboot-custom.txt back from the Ubuntu install directory.

When you put these all together and then follow the directions to run the installer, it'll update U-Boot, install your kernel to flash, install the Arch Mobile snapshot to a root filesystem on UBIFS (which is better than JFFS2) in flash, add your kernel modules to that root installation, reboot you into Arch, and fix your kitchen sink.
The Arch installation is initially broken because /etc/fstab has a line to mount the root filesystem on a different system. It stops booting when it tries to mount the filesystem, and from there I went into maintenance mode by entering the root password (which is "root" by default, apparantly) and remounted the root filesystem as rw (the Kernel automatically mounts it ro based on the kernel boot arguments that U-Boot is set to use). I then fixed fstab, rebooted, and grinned.

The only thing I still need to do before I write a full guide is get temporary filesystems mounted for things like /var/log and /var/run so that the root partition is written to as little as possible. I put noatime in the options in fstab as well.
If anyone has any suggestions as to what would be best here, I would really appreciate it. I'm just trying to prevent writes to the root partition as much as possible to try and extend the life of the onboard flash.

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#43 2009-08-06 23:20:55

markc
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From: Gold Coast, Australia
Registered: 2007-05-15
Posts: 496
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Re: Arch on ARM?

Well done. I'm not experienced enough to go down that path so I opted to start on a USB stick and leave the original system intact, for now. I still haven't got a newer kernel to boot from the USB stick itself but I managed to tftpboot a Gentoo kernel/initrd which allows me to chroot onto the USB stick with the ArchMobile package set. Their kernel gives an "illegal instruction" error. I am currently building armv5tel packages on the plug to get an idea of how easy, or not, it is to use the standard ABS source packages and how long it takes. So far I've just set CARCH=arm5 (to distinguish them from ArchMobile packages) and CFLAGS="-march=armv5te -O2 -pipe" and added arm and arm5 to the arch=() in the PKGBUILDs. The 1/2 dozen packages I've tried so far have built okay. The only gotcha is that the openssl package won't work when building openntpd (but ntp built) with a "configure: error: OpenNTPd requires a self-seeding OpenSSL" which doesn't bring up many Google references and none with a solution or clue as to WTF. I'm about to try building a kernel and I guestimate it'll take around 3 hours.

I'm really looking forward to following your guidelines. Where is the best place to document this stuff do you think?

Doh, I had a page open that detailed a couple of points for running a live system from flash, can't find it now. You've covered the main things.

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#44 2009-08-07 02:43:47

arew264
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From: Friendswood, Texas, US
Registered: 2006-07-01
Posts: 394
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Re: Arch on ARM?

I used the installer and the Arch Mobile snapshot to avoid building packages. I'm kinda lazy like that.

The thing is that once you give the installer the files it needs (rootfs.tar.gz, modules.tar.gz, uImage) and put the original files you need back in (uboot-custom.txt, initrd), it does the whole thing for you in a few automatic reboots. The whole thing took about 20 minutes at most, and fixing the fstab afterward isn't bad. This is what fstab looks like right now:

#
# /etc/fstab: static file system information
#
# <file system>        <dir>         <type>    <options>          <dump> <pass>
none                   /dev/pts      devpts    defaults            0      0
none                   /dev/shm      tmpfs     defaults            0      0
ubi0:rootfs            /             ubifs     defaults,noatime    0      0

If you want, you could probably fix this before you put in the rootfs.tar.gz.

Oh, and also, from what I've read, building a kernel takes about 70 minutes on the plug. I've built one, but I wasn't there to time it. I built it on the default Ubuntu installation and used the config generated by `make kirkwood_defconfig`. It did run, but I went with a more accepted standard kernel for my final install.

Update:
Okay, after a bit of research into tmpfs and a bit of checking, my fstab now looks like this:

#
# /etc/fstab: static file system information
#
# <file system>        <dir>         <type>    <options>          <dump> <pass>
none                   /dev/pts      devpts    defaults            0      0
none                   /dev/shm      tmpfs     defaults            0      0
ubi0:rootfs            /             ubifs     defaults,noatime    0      0
tmpfs                  /var/lock     tmpfs     defaults,size=50m,mode=0755 0 0
tmpfs                  /var/log      tmpfs     defaults,size=50m,mode=0755 0 0
tmpfs                  /var/run      tmpfs     defaults,size=50m,mode=0755 0 0
tmpfs                  /tmp          tmpfs     defaults,size=100m,mode=1777 0 0
/tmp                   /var/tmp      bind      defaults,bind       0      0

My understanding is that in other distros, it's completely normal to put /var/lock, /var/run, and /tmp on tmpfs, but I added /var/log. This has the disadvantage that logs will be lost on reboot, but stability isn't a problem, so I'm not too worried about it. Persistent logs would be good, though, so I'll probably put lines in /etc/rc.d/syslog-ng to backup and restore the logs to flash memory. I just don't want them being written to the flash perpetually.
I still need to find a good way to integrate an external hard drive into all this, and if anyone has any suggestions for that, I'd love to hear them.

EDIT:
I decided to just use my hard drive in a USB enclosure as my rootfs, and I think it'll make me sleep better. At any rate, this installation works, so I'm happy.

Last edited by arew264 (2009-08-07 22:40:09)

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#45 2009-09-29 16:49:34

rott_at
Member
Registered: 2009-01-24
Posts: 37

Re: Arch on ARM?

hey arew264

How is it going on? i am from the Arch Mobile Team and i would really love to see Arch Mobile on a Sheevaplug. Could you join us on IRC? #arch-arm on Freenode.
And it would be awesome if you create a WikiPage about 'How to run Arch Mobile on a Sheevaplug' smile


Kind Regards, naeg.

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#46 2009-09-29 23:56:34

arew264
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From: Friendswood, Texas, US
Registered: 2006-07-01
Posts: 394
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Re: Arch on ARM?

rott_at wrote:

hey arew264

How is it going on? i am from the Arch Mobile Team and i would really love to see Arch Mobile on a Sheevaplug. Could you join us on IRC? #arch-arm on Freenode.
And it would be awesome if you create a WikiPage about 'How to run Arch Mobile on a Sheevaplug' smile


Kind Regards, naeg.

I was on IRC for a while, and I'll quite happily write a Wiki page, but... I switched to Ubuntu for the plug. Arch Mobile is a good solid project, but it became quite clear to me that its package selection is quite limited and targeted at a mobile application platform, and while I was willing to deal with that and compile my own server-oriented packages, I wasn't wanting to deal with keeping packages up to date when security issues made upgrades a necessity, and I'm sure I would have eventually hit issues with getting packages working on ARM. Ubuntu is stable, secure, and generally a solid server OS. They also have a full ARM port, and Marvell, the company behind the Sheevaplug's CPU, recommends and ships Ubuntu with the Sheevaplug.
I still run i686 and 64 bit Arch on my desktops and laptop though, so I'm not just distro hopping. Arch Mobile is a great project, but it didn't seem like the right choice in this instance.

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#47 2009-09-30 06:05:54

rott_at
Member
Registered: 2009-01-24
Posts: 37

Re: Arch on ARM?

Hey arew264,

we want to be as flexible as Arch is. Arch Mobile aims to be a general Arm Port too, so Server will come one day too, but why should we provide Server Packages if we don't need them yet? wink If you don't want to maintain them, you might find someone. You could write us a Ticket, with all the Packages you want. I'll surely create some of them.

Greetings, naeg

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#48 2009-09-30 20:22:47

arew264
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From: Friendswood, Texas, US
Registered: 2006-07-01
Posts: 394
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Re: Arch on ARM?

rott_at wrote:

Hey arew264,

we want to be as flexible as Arch is. Arch Mobile aims to be a general Arm Port too, so Server will come one day too, but why should we provide Server Packages if we don't need them yet? wink If you don't want to maintain them, you might find someone. You could write us a Ticket, with all the Packages you want. I'll surely create some of them.

Greetings, naeg

Well, my conclusion was also based on a general discomfort with using Arch on a server that needs to have near 100% uptime, so while I'm a fan of an ARM port of Arch, I'm not really a potential user. Arch is great on workstations and computers I use daily because I can quickly and easily adapt my system to whatever task I need to pursue, but I prefer a distribution without a rolling release model for a server. People will think I'm criticizing Arch when I say that, but there's really nothing wrong there. Ubuntu is a solid distribution where I can get a server set up, and it will pretty much never hit an issue. Arch gives me simpler system management and more up to date software, but every so often, stability is compromised by package upgrades and serious system changes. On my workstations and general-use computers, I can stop and fix the problem, but with a server (especially a permanently headless server like the Sheevaplug), I definitely prefer stability over simplicity.

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#49 2009-10-04 17:21:22

mikestaszel
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From: Chicago, USA
Registered: 2009-08-19
Posts: 14
Website

Re: Arch on ARM?

Hey arew264, can you post a guide on how to install Arch on the Sheevaplug? I've got the ArchMobile chroot made (and that's about it...). I'd like to install it to the internal NAND if possible. I just don't know what env variables to set and what to modify. A full guide would be greatly appreciated!

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#50 2009-10-05 12:30:23

arew264
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From: Friendswood, Texas, US
Registered: 2006-07-01
Posts: 394
Website

Re: Arch on ARM?

I'd love to, but my schedule for the last weekend and today is just insane, so I might not get to it until tomorrow.

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