Whilst the rest of Debian was very busy actually making the Jessie release, I was trying to prepare the ground to test the armhf installer images.

Cubietruck is fine, it's a nice install and the documentation on the wiki works nicely. I tried to automate it (as it would be something I'd like to test in LAVA & which is new in Jessie) with preseeding but although I have got a jessie-x86 preseed file which works in libvirt, the cubietruck installer doesn't seem to want to listen to all of the preseeding. Some of the options (notably the wifi firmware screen, hostname and user passwords) don't go away. x86 wasn't completely as expected either though & it works nicely in libvirt and Virtual Machine Manager but trying to (automate it again) do it manually on the command line with qemu raised an awkward grub2 bug where it couldn't work out where to install and failed to then reboot if manually installed.

iMX.53 was the next target & got a few steps along the road with that one, except that the kernel in the installer isn't able to see the SATA even though the bootloader can, nor can it see the USB stick. This means that the only media the installer can see is the SD card from which the installer was booted & trying to use that ends badly.

Beaglebone-black required a little bit of tweaking. Don't forget that the firmware & partition.img together don't give a lot of space, so creating a second partition on the SD card upon which to put the CD image itself is useful. The Debian ARMMP kernel in Jessie doesn't see USB, so the option here is actually what I wanted. Install rom SD card onto eMMC. It's a 2Gb space, but it's ideal for a default location, leaving the SD card for other testing. I ran out of time to see about preseeding BBB installs to eMMC but one word of warning, installing to the eMMC doesn't mean that you have a bootloader on the eMMC & the SD card is still needed to reboot, unless that is fixed manually post-install. (Haven't got that working yet either.)

Speaking of time, this post is more brief on the detail than I would like for a couple of reasons:

  1. I haven't actually got things working well enough (clearly from some of the end states above)
  2. the new code to test these in LAVA isn't ready yet either

I did mean to test on an iMX6.quad Wandboard & will see about that, hopefully, later.

In general, the armhf SD card support is the best start for installing Jessie on a range of ARMv7 hardware. (I haven't got as far as ARMv8 yet either.) However, when I describe that as "the best start", it is lacking in many areas & typically due to restrictions in the u-boot support, mainline kernel support and general board variability. It's a lot easier than it used to be but ARMv7 boards are some distance from a "single installer setup" or even a single set of installer documentation, for any distribution.