upgrading u-boot--what version? where to get it?
#1
I have a pinebook pro with a rather old version of u-boot on it (it says U-Boot 2017.09-04094-g969502b-dirty), and I was thinking it would probably be a good idea to update it.

What version/versions are known to work, and are there binary releases available to download, or should I compile it myself?
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#2
Read the wiki for your specific distro; implementations vary and you can soft-brick your device by doing it wrong.

Typically your package manager will put the correct / up-to-date U-Boot binary somewhere on your file system (/usr/share/u-boot/... on pmOS, /boot/... on Manjaro etc), but you have to manually issue the correct set of dd/flashrom commands to actually update it.
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#3
(05-18-2024, 07:58 AM)Pavlos1 Wrote: Read the wiki for your specific distro;

Are you referring to the Pine64 wiki (and saying there's distro-specific sections in it), or are you saying that my distro should have their own wiki?

I had assumed that different distros had different ways of configuring (i.e. setting up config files after it's built) u-boot, but in terms compiling/building u-boot, I had thought/hoped that there would be a relatively standard build that all/most distros would use. Does each distro really brew their own builds of u-boot for the Pinebook Pro?

Would that mean that a "manjaro version" of u-boot wouldn't be compatible with Debian, and a "FreeBSD version" of u-boot wouldn't be compatible with Manjaro or Debian? (Or just wouldn't "support" the other distros/OSes?)
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#4
(05-19-2024, 10:23 AM)bsammon Wrote:
(05-18-2024, 07:58 AM)Pavlos1 Wrote: Read the wiki for your specific distro;

Are you referring to the Pine64 wiki (and saying there's distro-specific sections in it), or are you saying that my distro should have their own wiki?


Ideally your distro has its own wiki (e.g. postmarketOS). In any case the relevant information should be available somewhere, but certain distros make it a pain to find.



(05-19-2024, 10:23 AM)bsammon Wrote: I had assumed that different distros had different ways of configuring (i.e. setting up config files after it's built) u-boot, but in terms compiling/building u-boot, I had thought/hoped that there would be a relatively standard build that all/most distros would use.  Does each distro really brew their own builds of u-boot for the Pinebook Pro?


So, some distro maintainers agree with your sentiment, and have decided to standardize on Tow-Boot. But the ones that haven't (e.g. Manjaro, postmarketOS, etc.) will indeed ship their own builds.



(05-19-2024, 10:23 AM)bsammon Wrote: Would that mean that a "manjaro version" of u-boot wouldn't be compatible with Debian, and a "FreeBSD version" of u-boot wouldn't be compatible with Manjaro or Debian?  (Or just wouldn't "support" the other distros/OSes?)


This is like asking whether you can use an Arch Linux kernel on an Ubuntu install on your desktop. There's a good chance that it'll work, but that doesn't make it a good idea.

One thing you can do is install Tow-Boot to the SPI, even if your distro doesn't normally ask you to. This tends to work pretty well, and lets you take control of bootloader updates back from your distro. (Note: the SPI is a higher priority boot device so if the SoC finds a valid bootloader there it will use it instead of the U-Boot binary that your distro bakes into the eMMC/SD card.)
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#5
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Yes there are U-Boots that only work with certain operating systems. The one that comes with Manjaru will not boot NetBSD, for instance.
:wq



[ SRA accepts you ]

Everyone wants me to quit using NetBSD
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#6
I agree with KC9UDX, I wouldn’t update it unless there was/is a security problem.

I’m running an older version as well and everything works reliably with Kali.

If you just want to test stuff out, check out their site: https://docs.u-boot.org/en/latest/
Satisfied PinePhone, Pinebook Pro & PineTab2 owner; Thank you Pine64Team for your work!  Smile
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#7
(05-19-2024, 11:49 PM)Pavlos1 Wrote: This is like asking whether you can use an Arch Linux kernel on an Ubuntu install on your desktop.

Sort of... But if I want to have my system be dual- or triple- boot between multiple linux distros (and/or BSD versions), it's easy to have multiple kernels installed on my system (obviously only *using* one at a time). However, it's not easy to have multiple U-Boots installed on my system. (Or is it? I know it's sometimes possible to have multiple GRUB installs and chainload one from another -- can/should I do that with U-boot?)

In any case, when doing dual-boot, it's not always straightforward to consider the boot-loader to be "part of" the OS/distribution (which one?)

(05-20-2024, 04:19 AM)KC9UDX Wrote: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Yeah... I started this thread because it *might be* broke. Currently my four-year-old Pinebook Pro with its four-year-old U-Boot can boot from an SD card that I imaged around four years ago. But I've had problems booting from SD cards that I set up more recently.

And standard advice in the open-source world when you think your software might be broken is "Upgrade to a recent version before reporting bugs". (And yes, I realize that the problem may just be with the SD card)
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#8
It depends on what configuration you're going for.

If you want to have multiple OSes installed on one boot device, I would install Tow-Boot to the SPI because it has a built-in boot selector.

If you're going to be swapping between multiple SD cards containing your various OSes .. Tow-Boot might still work, but you may also want to consider rk2aw. (That way it will pull the correct U-Boot image straight from the SD card, if one is available.)
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#9
4 years is great for an SD card. In my area, I’ve found that some shop’s SD cards/pen-drives just don’t work well with the PBP/Olimex, mainly sold by Spar covering all major name brands. I don’t know what the cause is, but I made a post-it a year ago not to buy any pen-drive or SD card from them, due to the high failure rate.

It’s really odd, because the same brands work when purchased through Media Markt, so I think it must be how they process incoming inventory.

I’ve recently changed to AliExpress for SD cards and they’ve been working well; I won’t give links, as this is not an advertisement. I can however say: Avoid “Shop1100281068 Store” as their products only work for about 4 months.
Satisfied PinePhone, Pinebook Pro & PineTab2 owner; Thank you Pine64Team for your work!  Smile
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#10
(05-21-2024, 12:28 AM)Pavlos1 Wrote: If you want to have multiple OSes installed on one boot device, I would install Tow-Boot to the SPI because it has a built-in boot selector.

Hah... yeah, it's Tow-Boot that started me down this path. The Tow-Boot install instructions (the ones I read) say it should be installed by creating a bootable-SDCard installer, and then booting from it. Guess what wouldn't boot with my 4-year-old u-boot?

Also, now that I finally have serial console set up, I see that u-boot (at least the version on my PBP) has a built-in boot selector as well.
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