An unofficial Debian Installer for Pinebook Pro
I've recently spent a little while hacking together a quick 'n dirty Debian installer for the Pinebook Pro.

It is not a fully fledged installer... just some code that run on the Pinebook Pro itself using an existing Debian (or maybe Ubuntu) distro. It will install an operating system from scratch to an alternative media. Nevertheless it is a "real" installer in that sense that there is no downloadable image, no default password and you get to choose the keyboard layout, locale, timezone and desktop environment for yourself!

It uses upstream Debian packages for everything except the kernel and bootloaders. Actually... on that subject I deserve no credit for the kernel (which is the v5.4 close-to-mainline kernel that @tsys has has been hacking on) or the bootloaders (which are simply the binaries from @Mrfixit2001 's update repo).

So far I have only used it to author SD cards (from a distro running from eMMC) however it has been tested with the eMMC disabled so we can be confident the bootloaders work. That means that, in principle, it is also suitable for installing to eMMC when running from SD card. I've also only tested text mode and the Gnome desktop environment (wayland, panfrost, gnome 3.34).

One interesting feature of this installer is that it is trivial to switch from arm64 (default) and armhf (add ARCH=armhf to the make command line). This allows you to run identical distros with the two different instruction sets... which could make for some interesting benchmarks if someone wants to make them.

Check out the Pine64 wiki for feature status, known issues and workarounds.

2019-12-14: Partial LUKS rootfs support, automatic kernel updates, enable audio DAC by default, faster boot times.

2019-12-31: Rewrite as a shell script, automatic unmounting on error, better co-existance of installs to different media on the same machine (e.g. micro SD and eMMC installs).

2020-01-21: In response to user requests, @e-minguez created a wiki page (above) to share features status, known issues and workarounds. Please contribute and help keep it up to date! Note that if you have a forum login then you already have a wiki login.

2020-02-14: Wow! Over 250 posts about a relatively humble bit of code. To be clear this thread is still the best place to discuss and seek support. There's no need to read all the posts... after reading *this* post perhaps skip to the end and only read the last three pages or so to find out what issues people currently care about most!

2020-03-02: Kernel updated to v5.5 (which will also be delivered to existing installs via apt upgrade), direct installation of buster is supported  (and documented) RELEASE=buster is now an install option, installed some extra firmware to help with BT, update to latest u-boot and made it easier to disable panfrost if needed.
PineTime: wasp-os and MicroPython, Pinebook Pro:  Debian Bullseye

Messages In This Thread
An unofficial Debian Installer for Pinebook Pro - by danielt - 12-04-2019, 03:34 AM
First boot - by JaredT66 - 05-19-2020, 09:49 AM
RE: First boot - by carletes - 05-19-2020, 01:35 PM

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