[debian-yeeloong-project] debian squeeze on fuloong 6004 installation report
dvdkhlng at gmx.de
Tue Jul 12 09:42:25 UTC 2011
just a short summary of how installation of debian went with the Fuloong
6004 I received last week from hackable-devices.
The objective is to turn this into a replacement for my Via C7 based
homeserver, which is running debian squeeze with an encrypted rootfs
BTW before I start: I noticed that my fuloong only consumes 11 Watt when
idle, not the 17W claimed at various websites. Also the cooler is not
as loud as claimed by those sources. Either my power-meter is
inaccurate, or Lemote is now shipping an updated hardware revision.
1. Pmon (v2.1 bonito #121) seems to be full of bugs.
The 750MB hard-disk (4k sectors) I installed is detected with wrong
capcacity. Doesn't seem to be a problem though (/boot is only 256MB
Starting the squeeze installer as described in the debian-yeeloong
wiki  does not work for me. Kernel says 'unable to mount
rootfs'. Looks like the pmon 'initrd' command is not implemented
Loading 'grub.elf' does not work. It just freezes the machine.
Extracting the intrd onto a usb-stick and using root=/dev/sdb2
doesn't work either, as the kernels supplied by debian do not have
mass storage support compiled-in.
I end up compiling my own kernel using the mipsel binutils from
emdebian sid and mipsel-gcc from emdebian wheezy . I configure
the kernel to *embed* the mips-malta installer's initrd into the
kernel, so I don't need to use pmon's initrd command.
On first try the resulting vmlinuz kernel image is about 9MB and
pmon crashes when trying to load it. At the 3rd try I bring it down
to 7MB (using -Os, stripping out more drivers), and pmon finally
If you want to give it a try, I put an updated kernel+installer
image with kernel 2.6.39 here (6MB, for build-script+config see )
2. Crypto support in the installer does not work. It asserts that
certain 'modprobe' commands work. Well, my kernel contains all the
dm-crypt stuff, why load modules? The workaround is to do:
echo "#! /bin/true" > /sbin/modprobe
chmod +x /sbin/modprobe
Note that these patches are already done to the installer image I
Now I can finally go on to configure dm-crypt + lvm.
3. With kernel 188.8.131.52 I hit the checksum offloading bug during install
(i.e. corrupt downloads), and had to manually install and run
'ethtool' to fix that. The updated 2.6.39 kernel above should not
have that problem.
4. I then chroot into the installed rootfs and install the kernel
package from squeeze-backports .
Turns out it doesn't install an initrd. Without initrd it won't boot
into a system with encrypted root. I have to install initramfs-tools
and manually run:
mkinitramfs -o /boot/initrd-2.6.38-bpo.2-loongson-2f 2.6.38-bpo.2-loongson-2f
to fix that.
I also install grub as described in the wiki  but as I wrote
earlier, grub doesn't load. Instead I configure boot.cfg to directly
load my kernel+initrd. It works, turns out that pmon's initrd
support isn't completely broken after all.
So far I'm pretty happy. hdparm -t reports ca 10MB/s of throughput for
the encrypted partitions (twofish-cbc-essiv:sha256, key-size 256, note
that the kernel's twofish implementation doesn't use any 64-bit ops).
Maybe somebody could upload the squeeze installer image I built to a
reliable (non-dyndns) location that can be linked from the wiki? I can
upload it to the alioth project, if you add my user-id (dvdkhlng-guest).
Thanks and greets to rm for the real-time installation support on
GnuPG public key: http://dvdkhlng.users.sourceforge.net/dk.gpg
Fingerprint: B17A DC95 D293 657B 4205 D016 7DEF 5323 C174 7D40
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