[debian-yeeloong-project] debian squeeze on fuloong 6004 installation report

David Kuehling 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
(i.e. dm-crypt+lvm).

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 [1] 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 [2].  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
    loads it.

    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 [3])

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
   linked above.  

   Now I can finally go on to configure dm-crypt + lvm.

3. With kernel 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 [4].

   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 [1] 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



[1] http://wiki.debian.org/DebianYeeloong/HowTo/Install
[2] http://www.emdebian.org/crosstools.html
[3] http://mosquito.dyndns.tv/freesvn/trunk/loongson/
[4] http://packages.debian.org/squeeze-backports/linux-image-2.6.38-bpo.2-loongson-2f

GnuPG public key: http://dvdkhlng.users.sourceforge.net/dk.gpg
Fingerprint: B17A DC95 D293 657B 4205  D016 7DEF 5323 C174 7D40
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 189 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://lists.alioth.debian.org/pipermail/debian-yeeloong-project/attachments/20110712/73a54162/attachment.pgp>

More information about the debian-yeeloong-project mailing list