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

H. Nikolaus Schaller hns at goldelico.com
Thu Mar 23 13:17:19 CET 2017


> Am 23.03.2017 um 12:56 schrieb Andreas Kemnade <andreas at kemnade.info>:
> 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.

That is the main purpose of this image. Provide the freshly produced GTA04A5
(and older GTA04A4) with a common modern boot stuff.

> For rootfs:
> Maybe I understood you wrong. If it is only for testing the procedure of
> installing a lxde system: also yes.

Ah ok.

Yes, this rootfs is intended for
* testing if the board works (pass hw-test)
* flashing itself into NAND so that NAND has a bootable OS when shipped to users

For a daily use capable UI there are much better alternatives:
Replicant, QtMoko, FSO, ...

> 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

me too... It will be interesting where the answer comes from :)

> for is to have also e.g.
> PART=/dev/sdd3 ./makesd your_favorite_root_fs

Yes, you can do that and even specify up to 4 rootfs for a single makesd command.
E.g. "makesd all" as described on


The problem is that we don't have enough good and maintained rootfs images
to be installed by makesd.

* QtMoko isn't maintained and maintainable. So it is not kernel-compatible.
* AFAIR, Replicant needs some additional installation step.
* LXDE and XFCE4 exist, but are not well configured to be used as a phone UI at all.
* QuantumSTEP has some memory leaks and missing frameworks.

So all of them need work and do not work out of the box.

> That would make that usecase as easy as technically possible.

Sure. I also dream of this :)

Maybe we need more community support.
And if the maintainers of QtMoko or FSO would want to roll up their sleeves again...

> Regards,
> Andreas
> 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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