My NetBSD on Pinebook Pro journey
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First, thank you to all involved in developing these solutions.  I could not design and build a Pinebook, and likely couldn't port NetBSD to it.

A few months ago, I dug out an old laptop to use as a portable VNC terminal to operate and administer the various computers (some "headless") that I have, which run NetBSD and Debian/Raspbian Linux. After finding out that the hard drive was quickly dying, I sought out another cheap, used laptop.  I also found out about the Pinebook which seemed more lucrative, since I wouldn't need to buy new obsolete batteries.  I then found out that it would be quicker to get a Pinebook Pro.  So I ordered one.  A few covid months went by but then one day I got a tracking number.  Two days later I had the Pinebook Pro in my hands, all the way from Hong Kong!  I can't get things that quickly from a hundred miles away.  What an amazing machine.  It seems very well engineered and built, especially considering the price.

I thought I would use the Pinebook Pro to download NetBSD.  I quickly discovered an error in my DHCP server.  The Debian that came with the Pinebook Pro would always clobber /etc/resolv.conf, even though I was using a static IP.  Oddly, I have two other machines running Debian Buster, which do not have this problem.  But I fixed the server, and was able to download a NetBSD image.  I could not boot from the SD card though.  When the SD card was inserted, the eMMC would not boot, but neither did the SD card. 

So I took the bottom off the Pinebook and switched off the eMMC, and switched it back on immediately after the SD card started to boot.  This turned out to be pretty straightforward and not as scary as I had read.  The trick is to open the lid 90°, and lay the Pinebook on its keyboard, with the display overhanging the edge of a table, for disassembly.  I carefully stood the Pinebook up on its side to operate it.  Of course, I made sure to remove the plastic standoffs first.  A speaker did fall out, but I pressed it back in.  When picking up the Pinebook to stand it on edge, I picked it up by the display half so as not to put any load on the hinges.

I tried for several days to use sysinst to install with small partitions.  There is something wrong with sysinst, going back to at least version 8, on every platform I've used it on.  The partitioning barely works and does some very bad things.  I never did get it to give me a working, bootable setup on the Pinebook Pro.  I only tried this because I like to have small partitions so that I can quickly make uncompressed images that easily fit on USB memory sticks.  So rather than try to partition and install manually, I put the installation image on the eMMC and let it grow itself.  When doing this, you can link /targetroot to / and still use sysinst to configure the system and install pkgsrc.

I initially did have some hiccups with the wifi.  I used FTP to retrieve the NetBSD image from a local server.  I had the "flood of checksum errors" problem.  But I rebooted and tried again, and did not have the issue again.  In fact, except for sysinst occasionally crashing, I'm finding NetBSD-current to be very stable.  Right now, it's compiling kde4, and has been doing this for over twelve hours.
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Messages In This Thread
My NetBSD on Pinebook Pro journey - by KC9UDX - 06-21-2020, 11:04 PM
RE: My NetBSD on Pinebook Pro journey - by KC9UDX - 06-23-2020, 01:30 PM
RE: My NetBSD on Pinebook Pro journey - by KC9UDX - 06-27-2020, 02:43 PM
My NetBSD on Pinebook Pro journey - by e-minguez - 06-28-2020, 01:30 AM
RE: My NetBSD on Pinebook Pro journey - by KC9UDX - 06-30-2020, 01:51 PM
RE: My NetBSD on Pinebook Pro journey - by KC9UDX - 07-03-2020, 06:08 PM
RE: My NetBSD on Pinebook Pro journey - by KC9UDX - 07-04-2020, 02:36 PM
RE: My NetBSD on Pinebook Pro journey - by KC9UDX - 09-06-2020, 12:49 AM
RE: My NetBSD on Pinebook Pro journey - by KC9UDX - 09-06-2020, 02:54 PM
RE: My NetBSD on Pinebook Pro journey - by KC9UDX - 09-24-2020, 02:12 AM
RE: My NetBSD on Pinebook Pro journey - by KC9UDX - 12-06-2020, 08:26 PM

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