6/22 run of PBPs - is reimaging eMMC with new OS possible still?
#1
Hi,

I have flashed multiple OS images available from the wiki (besides Manjaro) to the eMMC but consistently get stuck at the Manjaro logo/boot screen without getting to set up the prebuilt armbian, or DietPi, or Kali, but have been hesitant to overwrite the boot partition on the eMMC itself due to the news regarding the bootloader.

Is it possible to install anything but Manjaro on the new runs of the PBP now?
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#2
It should be. But most of the official images that worked are just not available anymore. Unless you can find a copy of one of those, you may have to cook your own.

What is this news regarding the bootloader?
:wq



[ SRA accepts you ]
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#3
It should work. I ended up installing Tow-Boot on the SPI, which eliminates the need to have the bootloader on the emmc flash. I have only installed Manjaro on the emmc, but a fresh install worked fine.
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#4
+1 to @snorwood

The basic process I followed was to have two thumb drives that contained nothing, a copy of the distro I wanted to install, and a copy of Tow-Boot.

First, download the most recent Tow-Boot for PineBook Pro and dd it over to one of your thumb drives following the instructions here: https://tow-boot.org/devices/pine64-pinebookPro.html .  Then shut down and reboot, ensuring that you can boot using Tow-Boot (it'll show you it's little logo once you start booting).

Once Tow-Boot is safely in place, download your desired distro and write the image to one thumb drive, and copy the .img file over to the other.  The concept is that you'll boot off of the one and use it as a live distro to dd the other copy of the image onto the eMMC.  Technically, you'd PROBABLY be safe dd'ing the live image that you'll boot off of, but I didn't want to chance it.  It ended out working very well for me: I overwrote the default Manjaro Plasma distro with Manjaro XFCE.  I really think that Manjaro Plasma was just a bit too heavy for the hardware.  At the very least, it seems much happier with Manjaro XFCE.
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#5
Perhaps you mis-typed,,"thumb drive" ???
The unchangable, fixed code in cpu can ONLY load idbloader from SPI, emmc, SD, (and usb for ONLY writting emmc)
The last needs a usb driver loaded too
So,,, if you are seeing towboot, it is somewhere on SPI, OR emmc, OR SD
once idbloader runs, then there is enough mem to load uboot, it can and does change boot order
(and adds usb0 amongst others)
Most DM (display manager) have a menu to chose desktop environment,,, so ......
if you add most of xfce4 to a plasma install, you can choose to run the xfce DE (at login, drop down menu)
OR logout, change DE, login
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#6
(08-24-2022, 03:11 PM)wdt Wrote: Perhaps you mis-typed,,"thumb drive" ???
The unchangable, fixed code in cpu can ONLY load idbloader from SPI, emmc, SD, (and usb for ONLY writting emmc)
The last needs a usb driver loaded too
So,,, if you are seeing towboot, it is somewhere on SPI, OR  emmc, OR  SD
once idbloader runs, then there is enough mem to load uboot, it can and does change boot order
(and adds usb0 amongst others)
Most DM (display manager) have a menu to chose desktop environment,,, so ......
if you add most of xfce4 to a plasma install, you can choose to run the xfce DE (at login, drop down menu)
OR logout, change DE, login

Nope, I didn't mistype, but I think we may be talking about the same thing.  The boot loader installed in the SPI from the factory allowed booting from USB.  The instructions on the Tow-Boot site describe making a bootable USB with a Tow-Boot image that can be installed over the stock SPI.  Once this is installed, you can then boot (or maybe call it a secondary boot if you wish) from eMMC, MicroSD, USB, and NVME.

Once I did the install of Tow-Boot onto the SPI, the rest of the install went as described.  That way I didn't have all of the extra Plasma stuff that I was not planning on needing.
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#7
>The boot loader installed in the SPI from the factory allowed booting from USB.
Do you have any details about this? what version?
Did you make a backup of it before overwriting it with towboot?
uboot is more like firmware, it is hardly a boot
when the OS is loaded, that is a boot
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#8
(08-24-2022, 07:43 PM)wdt Wrote: >The boot loader installed in the SPI from the factory allowed booting from USB.
Do you have any details about this? what version?
Did you make a backup of it before overwriting it with towboot?
uboot is more like firmware, it is hardly a boot
when the OS is loaded, that is a boot

From what I read, Tow-Boot was a fork of UBoot, so they're both filling the same niche and doing the same thing.  It just makes more of the storage devices available for booting an OS.  Also, from what I saw when trying to move to a different OS for my PBP, the version of UBoot installed in the SPI at the factory only guarantees to boot with Manjaro, and that others have had problems flashing and booting other operating systems with that version of UBoot.

Regardless of the semantics, the steps I outlined above do work and should work for pretty much any OS you want to dd back over your eMMC module.
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#9
Well no
Nearly every image will have a uboot package in 1st 16M, I have only seen 1 without
(and I have a uSD wallet with 24 sd cards in it... for pbp ... hard to keep track)
So manjaro on emmc has a not very good MAINLINE uboot , almost certainly
BSP uboots have 3 files, idbloader, uboot and trust, all .img
Mainline has 2, uboot and trust are merged, uboot is often uboot.itb or u-boot.itb
There is 1 other than towboot that can drive display, all other are serial comms only
All uboot does is search (&manage) storage, copy kernel, initrd and dtb to specific memory locations
and do serial comms
The dtb does the other 'bios' type configuration (and also manage storage, replacing uboot config)
Once kernel, initrd and dtb are loaded, uboot is done, releases its memory, exits
---
BTW, I just tested towboot again, still poor vis a vis sleep, ~5 d from my 1/2 d test
uboot (and towboot) have recently increased capability for usb carriers,,,, uSD or SD in usb dongle
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#10
I was able to reimagine the eMMC with a Pinebook Pro Manjaro image but I only make it to the U-Boot screen. If I try to boot any Manjaro kernel my system enters a kernel panic.

I can drop to the U Boot console but I can’t access or determine the mount point of the SD card so I may install Tow-Boot to the SPI. Can someone just post a functioning Manjaro image so I can see if I may boot from that? I have the switch set away from the display in order to not prioritize eMMC booting but I can’t seem to boot from the SD card.

Is there any place Pine hosts the factory eMMC image, so I may just return my device to factory? My backup causes kernel panics so I am concerned the drive I flashed the backup image to is faulty and I no longer have a backup to use.

Everyone would appreciate the ability to reset the device.

Is the factory UBoot image on the SPI only able to boot the factory image? Is that some one-off checksum that is irretrievably lost if your backup gets corrupted?
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