Did you notice that rather than on PC where you download a generic image which you can just live boot from USB, on ARM every distro needs to support every device individually? It's not just lacking mainline Linux support, it's also lacking a generic way to boot these devices like x86 has. #SPIflash can solve this perfectly by implementing UEFI on a dedicated chip but current new @PINE64 devices are lacking this. Let's get loud to make them add this again in new devices!
Flashing so-called "platform firmware" which implements #UEFI, like u-boot, to this #SPIflash would allow the user to boot generic UEFI images not made specifically for the device in question. Finally you'd be able to properly live-boot a distribution through e.g. sdcards, USB sticks, etc. And you no longer have to wonder if your distro supports your particular device, you just have to download their generic UEFI image!
Modules like #SPIflash are really important to achieve the goal we've set at #postmarketOS: device support for 10 years and more. Once a device is fully mainlined and can boot using a generic #UEFI image we no longer have to put any effort in supporting this particular device. Everything will "just work". Just like no distro put any effort in making it boot with my particular desktop and laptop.
It does exactly this: provide "platform firmware" for devices that implements #UEFI allowing you to boot generic UEFI ARM image. Myself and @martijnbraam are going to make postmarketOS support this kind of booting and I hope we can make this mandatory for every device that uses u-boot to boot. And I need _you_ to tell other distros to support this method of booting as well!
As a proof-of-concept, changing 3 lines made our pmOS image "just work" using tow-boot!
I read the web page you linked in your first toot. Not being very technical, I'm not sure about the status of the original Pinephone: is it possible to have SPI flash support it, or is it too late?
OMG, I have been *wishing* for the ability to multiboot my phone so desperately! It would be so amazing to have the 3-4 most interesting OS's all installed on my #PinePhonePro, and just boot in and update occasionally without having to reinstall and set up each from scratch every. single. time. there's a new release. It would definitely make me use that distro more.
Note that of course distributions will have to change their install methods, as right now most, including pmOS, just wipe the medium you're installing it on before installation. That shouldn't happen if you want to have 3 distros on your SD 😛
@ledoian The platform firmware tells the kernel what device it is booting, the kernel can then load the correct device tree.
Not sure why the recovery mechanism would be different with dedicated boot storage. You just tell the platform firmware (e.g. u-boot) to boot from a different medium. Or are you talking about flashing the platform firmware itself?
In the #Librem5, this function could be served by the eMMC storage, which contains extra "boot" partitions that are not normally visible from the OS, but the CPU can boot from them.
Placing u-boot there with some common interface like UEFI was always something I wanted to have.
I'd love it if the Librem 5 had something comparable, it would be good to discuss this with the Tow-Boot author!
@craftyguy @dcz @bart @PINE64 For the record, there's nothing that inherently prevents u-boot on L5 from accessing the SD card (which is a mass storage device connected over USB) to boot the kernel from it. All it needs is drivers and correct configuration, which simply hasn't been done yet. Angus has mentioned that it should be easier now on mainline u-boot, so there's a chance it may be there soon(ish).
@craftyguy @dcz @bart This is basically all I know: https://source.puri.sm/Librem5/librem5-devkit-tools/-/commit/8bdf9d43a2b748b358d6a006f2ac0eca7ef1a4bd
Did you notice that rather than on PC where you download a generic image which you can just live boot from USB, on ARM every distro needs to support every device individually? It’s not just lacking mainline Linux support, it’s also lacking a generic way to boot these devices like x86 has.
I didn’t understand what was going on when i got my first arm device(s) a while back. Once i found out, i sold them.
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