Kernel compilation

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Kernel compilation

Sébastien NOBILI
Hi,

I recently got an old N770 tablet. It works correctly with OS2005 version of
Maemo. I installed OS2008-HE, which is also working quite correctly (I have an
issue with WiFi but I'll address it later).

My plans with this machine is to upgrade it to a Debian distro (I'm quite
comfortable with Debian). Before this can be achieved, I need to install a
recent kernel on the N770. The current Debian stable kernel is 2.6.32.

I installed a cross-compiling environment (scratchbox2) on my PC and compiled
the 2.6.32 kernel for the N770. I have a zImage that I can flash on the device.

I compiled my kernel with the following commands:
    sb2 make n770_defconfig
    sb2 make zImage
    sb2 make modules

I've flashed the kernel, modified the initfs to include 2.6.32 modules and tried
to boot, but it fails. I have the Nokia splash screen for around 20 seconds,
then the device halts.

I enabled R&D mode, expecting messages to be displayed on spash screen, but no
message is printed. I guess the kernel is not even loaded.

Is it possible to have a "vanilla" kernel working on such a device (I guess so) ?

Are there any specific steps I should have run to have my kernel working
(bootloader stuff, etc.) ?

Did I miss something (I also guess so) and what ?

Are there (for testing purpose) any ready-to-use recent kernel images for N770 ?

Thanks.
Sébastien
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Re: Kernel compilation

Pali Rohár
On Tuesday 22 January 2013 11:02:04 Sébastien NOBILI wrote:

> Hi,
>
> I recently got an old N770 tablet. It works correctly with
> OS2005 version of Maemo. I installed OS2008-HE, which is also
> working quite correctly (I have an issue with WiFi but I'll
> address it later).
>
> My plans with this machine is to upgrade it to a Debian distro
> (I'm quite comfortable with Debian). Before this can be
> achieved, I need to install a recent kernel on the N770. The
> current Debian stable kernel is 2.6.32.
>
> I installed a cross-compiling environment (scratchbox2) on my
> PC and compiled the 2.6.32 kernel for the N770. I have a
> zImage that I can flash on the device.
>
> I compiled my kernel with the following commands:
>     sb2 make n770_defconfig
>     sb2 make zImage
>     sb2 make modules
>
> I've flashed the kernel, modified the initfs to include 2.6.32
> modules and tried to boot, but it fails. I have the Nokia
> splash screen for around 20 seconds, then the device halts.
>
> I enabled R&D mode, expecting messages to be displayed on
> spash screen, but no message is printed. I guess the kernel
> is not even loaded.
>
> Is it possible to have a "vanilla" kernel working on such a
> device (I guess so) ?
>
> Are there any specific steps I should have run to have my
> kernel working (bootloader stuff, etc.) ?
>
> Did I miss something (I also guess so) and what ?
>
> Are there (for testing purpose) any ready-to-use recent kernel
> images for N770 ?
>
> Thanks.
> Sébastien
Hello,

Maemo systems needs its own patched kernel by Nokia. Prior N900
device kernels contains some close source kernel drivers which
working only on some specified kernel versions. So upstream
kernels will propably not work with Maemo.

If you want to use another linux distribution you propably want
to try use patched Nokia kernel which working. But if your
distribution depends on some new version, then you have problem.
Upstream kernels does not have proper support for Nokia devices.
More drivers missing and other does not working correctly. Also
there is no support for watchdogs (for 770/N8x0) in upstream
kernels, so you get instant reboot after few seconds.

You can try to look at meego/mer/nemo team. They have some
updated kernels for N8x0, so maybe you find something for 770 too.

Btw, for testing kernels, do not flash it into device, rather load
it. Nokia flasher has option for it (-l) which load kernel+initfs
images via usb and then run it without flashing. 0xFFFF flasher has
this option too.

And do you really want to have Debian on Nokia 770? Maemo is
Debian like distribution, so you have dpkg/apt-get on device and
you can compile and install deb packages without problem.

--
Pali Rohár
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Re: Kernel compilation

Sébastien NOBILI
Thanks for your quick answer.

Le mardi 22 janvier 2013 à 11:40, Pali Rohár a écrit :
> Maemo systems needs its own patched kernel by Nokia. Prior N900
> device kernels contains some close source kernel drivers which
> working only on some specified kernel versions. So upstream
> kernels will propably not work with Maemo.

Bad news…

> If you want to use another linux distribution you propably want
> to try use patched Nokia kernel which working. But if your
> distribution depends on some new version, then you have problem.
> Upstream kernels does not have proper support for Nokia devices.
> More drivers missing and other does not working correctly. Also
> there is no support for watchdogs (for 770/N8x0) in upstream
> kernels, so you get instant reboot after few seconds.

That's the problem I have. I installed a small Debian system in a directory and
tried to chroot to it, which failed because kernel (2.6.16 in 0S2006) is too
old.

> You can try to look at meego/mer/nemo team. They have some
> updated kernels for N8x0, so maybe you find something for 770 too.

I had a look to MER project but quickly gave up because RPM-based. I'm
comfortable with Debian-based systems, but not that much with Red-Hat-based
ones.

I'll try to extract a kernel from one of these MER images and hope it works !

> Btw, for testing kernels, do not flash it into device, rather load
> it. Nokia flasher has option for it (-l) which load kernel+initfs
> images via usb and then run it without flashing. 0xFFFF flasher has
> this option too.

Yes, that's the way I'm doing it, thanks for the advice.

> And do you really want to have Debian on Nokia 770? Maemo is
> Debian like distribution, so you have dpkg/apt-get on device and
> you can compile and install deb packages without problem.

Not that much, what I want is a free system (at least as free as it can be) with
security-related updates, which is no more possible with Maemo on n770.

I'll go deeper in MER project images and post feedback later to this list.

Thanks.
Sébastien
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