Architectures/ARM/Kirkwood

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Guruplugs used at Seneca College to build Fedora for ARM. There are twenty Guruplugs in the Seneca build farm

Contents

Kirkwood Series

Kirkwood processors were developed for network connected consumer electronic equipment that are used in gateway/access point, set-top boxes, network storage, digital home media servers, point of services terminal, and plug computers (sheevaplug, dreamplug, guruplug, etc).[1]

Plug Computers

A plug computer is a small form factor server, intended to provide network-based services within the home. These ARM based devices provides always-on, always-connected, and environmentally-friendly computing that is readily available for developers.[2]

GuruPlugs

The Guruplugs are one of the popular plug computers. More information on Guruplugs can be found here. Below is the technical specifications for a typical GuruPlug Server Plus

Technical Specifications

  • 1.0 Ghz - 1.2 Ghz Processor (Marvell 88F6281)
  • 512 MB 16-bit DDR2 RAM
  • 512 MB NAND Flash
  • 802.11 b/g WiFi
  • SATA 2.0 port (eSATA)
  • 2 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 2 x 16550 compatible UART interfaces (external JTAG adapter)
  • 2 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 1 x MicroSD Slot

Running Fedora on a Kirkwood Device

This page will give a user detailed instructions for running Fedora 17 GA on a Kirkwood based device. The F17 GA image provides a user with a minimal text based installation to a serial console. At the moment there is no GUI image available. F17 GA image has been tested to run on GuruPlug Server Plus using microSD card.

Downloading the image

The first step is to download the Fedora 17 image. The prebuilt images include kernels and can be written directly to an microSD Card and requires additional steps (uboot configurations) to boot. The serial console image requires a minimum of 2GB card.

Writing the Image

Please be aware that writing the image to any drive (SD/microSD/USB/Hard Drive) will erase any existing data in that drive. Please make sure that the card is not write protected.

Linux Users

The image can be written to a microSD card as long as it meets the minimum size requirements noted above (2GB for the serial image)

  • Connect the microSD card to a computer and make a note of the drive.
  • To write the image to a microSD card run the following command (Please change the drive to the location of the microSD card)
xzcat Fedora-17-arm-kirkwood-mmcblk0.img.xz > /dev/<location-of-the-microSD-card>
  • Once completed run the command below to ensure the entire image is written to the card
sync

Windows Users

  • Download Win32 Image Writer as well as a tool to extract the image such as 7-Zip.
  • Once downloaded and installed right click on the disk image and select "7-Zip->Extract files here"
  • Launch Win 32 Disk Imager and select the extracted disk image and the microSD card to write the files to. Click "Write". Be very careful during this step - all data on the selected drive will be lost!

Mac Users

  • Please note that the Default Archive Utility.app will not extract the .xz file. A third party app will have to be used to decompress it. There are multiple options for that
    1. There is a Free App available in the App Store called Unarchiver.
    2. If mac homebrew or macport is already installed, then the xz utility can be downloaded and installed using one of those.
    3. The xz utils .pkg for mac can be downloaded and installed directly from xz utils
  • Once the xz utility is installed, open a terminal and make a note of the current drives.
ls /dev/disk?
  • Connect the microSD card to the mac and make a note of the drive.
  • Open Disk Utility and make sure that the card and all the partitions in the card (if any) is unmounted
  • Change to the directory where the .xz file is located
  • If xz was installed from the .pkg or macport or homebrew then run the following command
xzcat Fedora-17-arm-kirkwood-mmcblk0.img.xz > /dev/<location-of-the-microSD-card>
  • If the Unarchiver app from App Store was used then just click and decompress the .xz file and then run the following (may require sudo)
dd if=Fedora-17-arm-kirkwood-mmcblk0.img of=/dev/<location-of-the-microSD-card>
  • Click and eject the microSD card

Booting the Image

Connect the newly created media to the Guruplug and power on. Depending on the model/version of the plug/uboot, additional uboot parameters may be necessary or the existing ones could be edited. Here is an example that has been tested to work with the GuruPlug Server Plus

printenv
set bootargs 'console=ttyS0,115200 root=/dev/sdb2 rootwait'
set loadInitrd 'fatload usb 1:1 0x7400000 uInitrd-kirkwood'
set loadImage 'fatload usb 1:1 0x6400000 uImage-kirkwood'
set bootcmd 'usb start; ${loadImage}; ${loadInitrd} ; bootm 0x6400000 0x7400000'
boot

If the above command is successful and the plug boots, then during next boot adding saveenv before boot will save the changes.

Using Fedora on the Kirkwood Device

At this point no further steps should require and the system should boot to a text based log in prompt (serial image). The default root password is "fedoraarm". This should be changed immediately.

Known Issues

  • Some images have ntpdate failed during boot, but expected running inside firewall. The following command can be applied to address the issue
service ntpd stop
ntpdate <LocalNTPServer>
  • Yum requires the system time be correct for HTTPS to function. If yum updates are not working check the clock.
  • The tar.xz rootfs archives do not preserve SELinux information or file capabilities. When creating custom filesystem image, it is recommended that switching SELinux to use warnings instead of enforcing for first boot, then relabel and reinstall packages that rely upon filesystem capabilities such as glibc-common and ping.
  • Images are designed to be written to 2GB (console) or 4GB (xfce) SD cards. On first boot the partition will be resized to the maximum allowable amount. On the second boot the filesystem will be resized to fill the expanded partition. This works for SD cards, SATA Disks, and SSD drives.
  • Known release issues

Additional Support

There are Fedora ARM users all around the globe - if you need assistance, would like to provide feedback or contribute to Fedora ARM please visit us on the IRC - we can be found in #fedora-arm on Freenode. You can also contact us on the mailing list - arm@lists.fedoraproject.org

References

  1. Marvell - Embedded Processors - Kirkwood Series
  2. About Plug Computer