Mainline Debian Buster on RockPro64 ?
#5
In theory, you could bootstrap your Debian manually as described here for Devuan (the process is basically the same):

https://www.kulesz.me/post/120-devuan-arm/

The major difference between installing Debian on the well-supported platforms (like the A64) and the RockPro64 are the kernel and the bootloader. Debian unstable meanwhile ships Kernel 5.5, so I guess it should work fine for most server needs on the RockPro64. But I will have to try that myself first. The second thing is the bootloader - but imho you should be fine with building it yourself once and then flashing it once and keeping it there (unpackaged) until the board gets official support in Debian 11.

Another approach for installing is installing it on a different but supported board of the same architecture (e.g. on a Pine64 or in qemu), then making the desired changes to support your board (e.g. installing kernel from unstable) and then just copying over the boot and root partitions to a device that already contains the boot loader for your rockpro64.

Armbian is an interesting option if you want something "almost debian" with the least effort. However, it ships custom kernels in an own repository that often have several unofficial patches (for the Rockpro64 it's even kernel 4.4). Also, I don't like some of the changes they make to the userland as I prefer having a "pure" Debian experience. On the other side, these unofficial patches often greatly enhance hardware support so it remains a matter of what is more important to you.

My goal would be to run the Rockpro64 with a pure stable Debian buster release and just an official unstable kernel (prefered) or one from a third-party source.
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RE: Mainline Debian Buster on RockPro64 ? - by kuleszdl - 04-17-2020, 07:21 PM

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