What OS have you recently flashed onto PBP eMMC?
I hate to post this generic question.

I just got mine yesterday and it was running Manjaro KDE Plasma out of the box. I temporarily bricked my PBP trying to flash the generic Manjaro ARM Team image from here, using this process.

I think this borked my eMMC as I had troubles booting anything afterwards.

I was able to get something working using Kali/Armbian and now PostmarketOS. Kali didn't have WiFi, Armbian couldn't get past the initramfs/busy box (because laptop keyboard wouldn't work).

I'm using PostmarketOS now which I was able to write to the eMMC using their installer image/balena etcher and boot.

Issue is I don't really want to stick with Alpine just because of the package manager/issues... eg. I want VS Code.

I would like to get Manjaro back but I keep having problems trying to run it. I tried this one:

And while it boots, it goes into kernel panic (yellow/green power led flashing).

I also tried manjaro-arm-installer, I used my Pinephone Pro to write it onto SD card.
I went through the interactive guide, but in the end it also would not boot from SD card.

I wish Armbian worked with regard to wanting to use apt.
I wish people would, if they have something works, would make a backup to return from a screwup
I also blame pine64 for not having a factory approved uboot and dtb template
(replace /dev/emmc with right /dev/mmcblkX)
dd if=/dev/emmc bs=1M |gzip >orig-img.gz ,, from & on a mounted usb stick maybe 16G

Many recent images don't seem very reliable, also the uboot that is part of this image
Try an earlier version, at worst the wifi won't work, but there are work arounds for that
If you only want to change DE (desktop environment) just add the packages, maybe task-xfce4
If you have something working, don't be too eager to change it, at least without a FULL backup
This especially applies to uboot
How would you back up the eMMC? Would you boot from SD and then copy the eMMC's contents?

Yeah I assumed (key word) the flashing of images would be trivial. I did have to open mine up/use reset/disconnect the eMMC. Flip the switch (mine is a different switch which is interesting). I think those didn't really matter... it was just the boot was messed up (what Kali/Armbian/PostmarketOS fixed). I later found out about the LED lights being software lit, so it's hard to tell if the PBP is doing anything.

Do you know of a Manjaro image somewhere that works where I can flash it onto SD by balena etcher and then overwrite the eMMC content with it?

I would like to get Armbian to work (for apt/debian) ... but I read in another thread that the devs (or a dev) are not really trying to support it.

Yeah I don't really understand desktop environments enough is that suggesting that you would be able to change the package manager by doing that? I thought the issue with certain software not working with PostmarketOS/Alpine is this musl/libc thing.

I'll keep experimenting with it.

I really like the body of the laptop (sleek type) and the display is great. Physically only thing that could be better is the track pad. Regarding the laptop's body, the plastic is very flimsy without the bottom metal case which is mentioned in the wiki.

I'm going to see about battery life and what not, I used to obsess over that messing with cpu-freq utils.
For reading, a device does not need to be unmounted, I gave the example line
(thinking more, mount and cd to usb stick 1st,,, preface command with sudo)
don't be on internet, do it as a single task so cache is not changing
If you don't have much experience with ARM, the uboot/dtb can be a bit disconcerting
Together, those are your bios
AFAIK, every DM (desktop manager), lightdm, sddm,.... has a drop-down box to select DE,,,
installed obviously from the repository for that distro. There are MANY DE, more than 20
The 3 main, commonest being plasma, gnome, xfce (the pbp is too slow for gnome, IMO)
The difference with the lastest batch of pbp is the wifi chip,
so an earlier release will work except for wifi, for that you need 3 files
2 firmware and 1cfg (for the changed chip) OR a usb->ethernet dongle
I know little about post-market, my imppresion is that it is more for phones,
but anything from the post-market repository will (or should) work with it, but NOT anything else
One of the problems with manjaro is the repository is quite slow, and when pbp goes to sleep
the update gets quite problematic, set it NOT to go to sleep before an update (& not blank screen)
An older manjaro version may work, then update, but maybe not uboot/kernel, at least not without backup
It is possible to "pin" packages, for example the kernel
Some people say 5.10 is the latest for... I forget, something wrong in dtb & emmc
myself, 5.8 is the latest for STR,,,s2ram,,,,,. and I have pinned kernel to that version
a update to uboot requires manual application,,, but an automatic kernel update
comes with a new dtb,,, and this can be problematic
Thanks a lot for the info. I am definitely a noob with ARM.

I got these devices mostly to support this movement, the Pine set is definitely cheaper than another alternative (who did a great job with Phosh).

I am looking to learn to develop native apps for it eg. C/GTK (phone case), need to look into Pinebook Pro.

I would like to move OS's at some point... it takes a bit to flash/try/repeat... I spent two days in a row recently to un-soft-brick myself.

So I will use the PBP for a bit with PostmarketOS I have almost everything I need on there except a couple of things preventing Tauri to run and VS Code.

I want to see how it is battery life wise. I was not able to get the external monitor to work with Plasma. If the phone is similar, Phosh is more reliable/what I prefer on Pinephone Pro.

There is the SD card itself I suppose, I can try OS's on that before wiping off Postmarket.

What's annoying me right now is the KDE wallet thing stopping WiFi login from working/reconnecting automatically on resume.

I know I'm 2 years late on this device ha but I like it, cool little laptop.
Wanted to point out, I ended up putting tow-boot on the SPI from this thread

While it worked for me, it does not seem to work for everyone.

Anyway after tow-boot was installed, I was able to put Manjaro ARM Plasma back onto the PBP eMMC from their downloads page and boot it.
We use the eMMC because it is faster. But if you want to evaluate different operating systems, you're better off (in my opinion) turning the eMMC off and just working with a pile of SD cards with different images.

Be careful writing to the SPI ROM. It is very hard to recover from trouble there.

To directly answer your question. NetBSD. It takes more patience to use it, but it's worth it to me. NetBSD pretty much does what I want it to do, not what someone else decided that I should want it to do.
I have two PBPs, one from early 2021 and one from the mid-2022 production run. Both of mine run NetBSD. I have (or had) a micro-SD card with "Debian Desktop", the pre-Manjaru default PBP OS, for when I need to do things that NetBSD won't easily do. But I can't remember the last time I needed it. I prefer that over Manjaru. My wife has an early PBP from the second production run, and it runs the latest Manjaru. It doesn't get updated. I update it maybe twice a year, and usually an update will brick it, and I get to sort that out. I expect that if it were updated regularly this wouldn't happen.

[ SRA accepts you ]

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