[Tinkerphones] Testers needed for upgrading your GTA04 to U-Boot 2016.11 + Letux-4.10.4 + Debian/LXDE 8.7

Andreas Kemnade andreas at kemnade.info
Thu Mar 23 12:56:41 CET 2017

On Thu, 23 Mar 2017 08:12:38 +0100
"H. Nikolaus Schaller" <hns at goldelico.com> wrote:

> Hi Andreas,
> > Am 23.03.2017 um 07:40 schrieb Andreas Kemnade <andreas at kemnade.info>:
> > 
> > Hi,
> > 
> > On Mon, 20 Mar 2017 12:42:44 +0100
> > "H. Nikolaus Schaller" <hns at goldelico.com> wrote:
> > 
> >> Hi,
> >> in parallel to trying to handle all the other GTA04 tasks, I have fixed
> >> some minor issues in kernel, u-boot and rootfs so that we have first release
> >> candidate for a new production SD image.
> >> 
> >> A production SD image is used for flashing (unbricking) a GTA04 device.
> >> The last one [1] was based on kernel 3.12 and Debian Wheezy which wasn't
> >> bad at all, but did not support the OneNAND of the GTA04A5.
> >> 
> >> The biggest visual change is that there are some LXDE desktop icons for
> >> starting Simple-Gsmgui [2] (developed by our commmunity member akemnade),
> >> Camera Demo (camera driver is not working) and GPS demo (well this is
> >> not even a demo but full FoxtrotGPS). So it should become possible to
> >> operate the most basic functions from NAND only.
> >> 
> >> If you have a little time and want to test/upgrade, please follow
> >> these instructions and report issues and observations.
> >> 
> >> Please note that if anything fails you might need the RS232 cable
> >> and the original production image [1].
> >> 
> > 
> > well, if anything fails (besides uboot) I will try to boot from another
> > partition. and fix things over ssh.
> > To me, having multiboot is one of the most important features of the
> > gta04.
> > I do not see any instructions here to have some multiboot system or
> > replace a single one of the installed systems. I have a partition
> > specially reserved for some testing systems.
> Hm. I do not exactly understand what the problem is for you. You can simply
> use your multipartition SD card after doing these tests and upgrades and it
> should still boot fine.
Yes and no. For the nand + uboot stuff it is correct.
For rootfs:
Maybe I understood you wrong. If it is only for testing the procedure of
installing a lxde system: also yes.

And I will test it.

For testing if the system works well: only theoretically yes.

If I give it a real world test (when not sitting near my pc), I need to
be able to switch to something known working. That would either mean
that I need to have a known-good microsd with me and switch them. But
microsd cards have a quite low "sublimation" temperature when not
inserted into a device (like pens). Or another partition with a known
working system.

On my bigger hardware I also do not switch a hard disk because I want
to test a new system. I just direct the installer to use an empty
partition for that.

> The only risk I have experienced is that the old U-Boot environment in NAND
> may be incompatible with the new one and then U-Boot stops before flashing
> anything new.
> Then, one must do the nand-erase procedure I have mentioned. And that one
> can only be commanded easily through the RS232 console.
> In theory one could boot back to Linux with a working SD card, log in through
> ssh and overwrite /dev/mtd2 but I have never tried that. And it has the risk
> that after doing this, you can't boot the working SD card any more. And if you
> try the production card and it still fails you have no access any more.
> > Of course *I* now how to do it but it should be a really well documented
> > and prepared path.
> I assume all those who want to be testers of new base software like this know
> what they do...

All I am asking for is to have also e.g.

PART=/dev/sdd3 ./makesd your_favorite_root_fs

That would make that usecase as easy as technically possible.


PS: If you wonder why I was a bit more silent the last two weeks: I
accidentially have bought a dvb-t2 stick not supported by linux to
have my cubietruck+vdr ready for the upcoming dvb-t2 switch in Germany.
So I had to add kernel support for it which was more work than just
adding a device id somewhere. But the patch series is now submitted to
LKML. So I will have time again for gta04 stuff. 
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