Vanilla mainline Debian 11 (Bullseye) on the RockPro64
#1
I've been excited about Debian 11 (Bullseye) on the RockPro64 since hearing they've included official support for the board into the Debian installer. So I downloaded the image from https://cdimage.debian.org/debian-cd/11....-DVD-1.iso, dumped it to a USB 3.0 stick (in the blue USB 3.0 port) and booted from the medium with a blank microSD card in the slot. That familiar installer menu comes up and boots the default selection, and then I get dropped to a GRUB command prompt every time. I do not have an eMMC drive installed in the machine. I do have Sigmaris U-Boot installed to the SPI. Any ideas what's causing Debian installer to abort like this?
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#2
It fails at the last stage of the installation process. ('grub-install dummy' failed)
So we have to deal with that part manually, but other than that there are no problems.

If we choose the graphical installation, we can use the mouse/keyboard and the locale will work correctly.

With this workmanship, it is comparable to a standard x86/x64 installer.
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#3
(09-24-2021, 02:32 AM)t4_4t Wrote: It fails at the last stage of the installation process. ('grub-install dummy' failed)
So we have to deal with that part manually, but other than that there are no problems.

If we choose the graphical installation, we can use the mouse/keyboard and the locale will work correctly.

With this workmanship, it is comparable to a standard x86/x64 installer.

Hello, and thank you for taking the time to reply. Unfortunately for my purpose, I can't get past the installer boot menu: After a selection is made the screen goes blank and stays that way, even after waiting for many minutes (it might be worth noting that I'm using an HDMI to VGA adaptor). I've looked for others encountering a similar problem, reading a few possibilities as to why it stalls (i.e. some say the Debian installer was tested from microSD to eMMC, others hint it might be something else altogether), but there's nothing clear in this case. And I don't have a serial console to debug.
On the other hand, I can verify that Armbian Focal works like a champ running off a microSD card on my RockPro64 with exact same configuration intact. I guess there's good reason Armbian goes through the trouble of testing their distribution on specific models, and I'm glad they do... But I really like the flexibility of an installer over that of a filesystem image since I like to customize my partition layout.
I expect to be over-writing a couple more USB sticks with the Debian installer to see if it's an issue with a specific brand and I'll post the details, if I get it work.
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#4
(09-24-2021, 02:32 AM)t4_4t Wrote: It fails at the last stage of the installation process. ('grub-install dummy' failed)
So we have to deal with that part manually, but other than that there are no problems.

If we choose the graphical installation, we can use the mouse/keyboard and the locale will work correctly.

With this workmanship, it is comparable to a standard x86/x64 installer.

I plugged the RockPro64 directly into an HDMI monitor and the installation went exactly as you described, right up to and including the failure to install GRUB.
Now it can't boot with the microSD and I;ve no idea what to do next. Can you please advise?
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#5
> The problem was caused by the "HDMI to VGA adapter",
> and connecting it directly to the monitor solved your second report.

> Then just like my case, you also encountered Error: "'grub-install dummy' failed".

I interpreted your report as such, is that correct ?
If so, you should be able to boot from the SD-Card with the same solution as I did.

But, the conditions are as follows
If the above meets your requirements, I can describe how I did it.

----

In the manual partitioning you mention, there are an infinite number of combinations.
Naturally, it is impossible to try every partition.
Therefore, I have only tried the following standard partitioning that seems to be recommended.

Partitioning method:
--  Guided - use entire disk

Select disk to partition:
--  MMC/SD card #1 (mmcblk?) - 15.9 GB SD SC16G

Partitioning scheme:
--  All files in one partition (recommended for new users)
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#6
(09-26-2021, 04:02 AM)t4_4t Wrote: > The problem was caused by the "HDMI to VGA adapter",
> and connecting it directly to the monitor solved your second report.

> Then just like my case, you also encountered Error: "'grub-install dummy' failed".

> I interpreted your report as such, is that correct ?
> If so, you should be able to boot from the SD-Card with the same solution as I did.

> But, the conditions are as follows
> If the above meets your requirements, I can describe how I did it.

----

Yes, the error I'm getting is "grub-install dummy failed," and at the exact point which you described.
I was looking at some potential solutions, like the one at https://wiki.debian.org/GrubEFIReinstall
but when I got to step 2 there were some immediate problems:
I tried passiing the kernel parameter "efi=runtime" by pressing the 'e' key with Graphical Rescue selected, then adding that parameter to the line beginning with 'linux.' I then booted (Ctrl-X) into rescue mode, but the directory /sys/firmware/efi/efivars remains empty, and any attempt to mount it results in failure, just as it did when automatically selecting the default rescue mode parameters.
I'm very interested in learning your method of getting Debain to boot off the microSD.

> In the manual partitioning you mention, there are an infinite number of combinations.
> Naturally, it is impossible to try every partition.
> Therefore, I have only tried the following standard partitioning that seems to be recommended.

My partitioni scheme is heavily cutomized but I don't think it'll be an issue in this case, as all directories mentioned in the tutorial are contained on the root (/)  parititon (/, swap, /home, /srv, /tmp and /var are their own separate primary partitions). There is also an EFI partition that I created first during setup.
I'm definitely willing to give your way a try with this setup.
Thanks again for your detailed instructions. esterday I didn't even think I'd get this far.
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#7
https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugrepor...bug=963208

The version of the installer is different, so the specific steps are different, but the overall process is the same as above.

The following is the manual process after "Executing 'grub-install dummy' failed.".

1. Go back to the upstream menu, and select "Execute a shell" to execute.
2. From the shell, execute the following command.
Code:
# cp -ar /cdrom/EFI/boot /target/boot/efi/EFI/
# chroot /target/
# update-grub

# exit
# exit
3. Go back to the upstream menu, and select "Continue without boot loader" to execute.
4. The rest of the process will be completed (password, etc. will be written back? for a few tens of seconds), you are done.
5. When the installation is finished, the system will automatically reboot and boot from the SD-Card you installed.

Good luck.
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#8
(09-26-2021, 08:47 AM)t4_4t Wrote: https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugrepor...bug=963208

The version of the installer is different, so the specific steps are different, but the overall process is the same as above.

The following is the manual process after "Executing 'grub-install dummy' failed.".

1. Go back to the upstream menu, and select "Execute a shell" to execute.
2. From the shell, execute the following command.
Code:
# cp -ar /cdrom/EFI/boot /target/boot/efi/EFI/
# chroot /target/
# update-grub

# exit
# exit
3. Go back to the upstream menu, and select "Continue without boot loader" to execute.
4. The rest of the process will be completed (password, etc. will be written back? for a few tens of seconds), you are done.
5. When the installation is finished, the system will automatically reboot and boot from the SD-Card you installed.

Good luck.


That worked. Re-booted and got to a Debian desktop.

In my case, I had to mount /var as /target/var due to my particular circumstances.

Your instructions are concise and accurate!
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#9
You seem to be stumped on "GRUB" .

> Is there a way to get the text consoles active in Debian.

If your goal is to solve the above problem, and not to play with "GRUB".
The solution is to boot directly from "u-boot" as in other distributions.
That way, the "boot messages" output, and the console switching by "Ctrl+Alt+Fn", both will work properly.
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#10
(10-01-2021, 01:24 PM)t4_4t Wrote: You seem to be stumped on "GRUB" .

> Is there a way to get the text consoles active in Debian.

If your goal is to solve the above problem, and not to play with "GRUB".
The solution is to boot directly from "u-boot" as in other distributions.
That way, the "boot messages" output, and the console switching by "Ctrl+Alt+Fn", both will work properly.

I have the Sigmaris U-Boot flashed to SPI. What did you mean by boot directly from U-Boot?
Aside from running the Debian installer, I've pretty much treated the Debian process as any other distro I've tried.
I'm clearly missing something here. Could you please elaborate?

On the other hand, I'm not afraid of modifying GRUB config. I just need to know the right entries.

If you're inclined to provide me with both methods, I'd be glad to give them a try.

And please forgive my ignorance as I'm a neophyte to the world of ARM. Your assistance is much appreciated.
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