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-   -   Slackware ARM port, how to install? (http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/slackware-14/slackware-arm-port-how-to-install-4175458206/)

rrbert 04-15-2013 11:12 AM

Slackware ARM port, how to install?
 
Congratulations to Alien Bob and others involved in the new optimization for ARM hardware that has a floating point unit.
This will create more interest in installing slackware on the modern devices that are in the market today.
A remarkable achievement, on a budget of 300 euros and 3 weekends of spare time.
I also appreciate the work of Stuart Winter, whose slackware arm port I hope to install with Eric's fpu support one day when I get time to learn more about the ARM architecture.
Not to mention Pat and other not so visible members of the slackware crew who work so hard to build such a well organized distro that makes this all possible.

I would be very interested to hear of other peoples experience in installing to android devices.
rrbert

Edit-- I have cleaned up my original post after learning a bit more about the slackware ARM port. As has been pointed out by pointed out by experts in the field, this post mischaracterizes the complexities of porting to the ARM hardware. For a more accurate description see the comments below.

ottavio 04-16-2013 04:17 AM

You have to give credit to Stuart Winter first. He was the first to port Slackware to ARM and as long as I know he's still the official maintainer of the ARM port.

rrbert 04-16-2013 10:19 AM

You're quite right. In fact I have often looked at the armedslack pages, and got the impression that it was geared more towards hard core systems programmers.
ie those people who have the enthusiasm, time and skill to create a webserver from a guruplug, or miniature robotic systems ala arduino.
Absolutely fascinating, however the people actually doing this are only a small subset of the population.

The revolutionary aspect of the new ARM port is that it may be applied to the millions of cheap devices that are flooding the market now (slackware for the masses).
It's just wonderful that slackware isn't leaving this field to be dominated by the big distributions that have commercial interests in steering the user experience in various ways.

In the future, there may be pages appearing on docs.slackware.com along the lines of

-----hypothetical example----
Galaxy tab model XXX
1 head over to xda-developers and get ROM build number 12345, (mirrored here)
2 install a minimal subset needed for basic wifi
3 set up a pxe server
4 etc
--------------------------
rrbert

drmozes 04-16-2013 10:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rrbert (Post 4932501)
You're quite right. In fact I have often looked at the armedslack pages, and got the impression that it was geared more towards hard core systems programmers.
ie those people who have the enthusiasm, time and skill to create a webserver from a guruplug, or miniature robotic systems ala arduino.
Absolutely fascinating, however the people actually doing this are only a small subset of the population.

All ARM devices I've ever used (apart from the Acorn RISC OS machines) have required some set up using the command line boot system, but once that's done, you boot the regular Slackware installer. There's no real difference in user experience *at all* once you're running the installer, which continues into when you boot into your newly installed OS. The documentation I've written for the officially supported platforms (QEMU, Kirkwood (*Plug) and Tegra20 (TrimSlice)) is very comprehensive and if followed exactly, will present you with a Slackware ARM installation with minimal effort.

In addition, I already had Slackware ARM running KDE on the Samsung Chromebook 2012 within 30 mins of unpacking the miniroot file system I provide, and using the instructions Fedora supply. I think there's quite a bit of misunderstanding and misconceptions about how Linux is installed upon ARM devices - in that there *is* some work to do. You don't just pop in a CD and hit your BIOS's 'Boot options' key, or have a nice SYSLINUX PXE boot menu. If you read the installation docs (linked off http://arm.slackware.com), it may look 'hard core', but that's just the way that it works in the ARM world - no matter which distribution you're using.


I am interested in how the web site (or any other content) has given you another impression.
Slackware ARM runs on all of the hardware on the market, but obviously won't be as performant when rendering multimedia as it's unable to use the FPU (unless you compile your binaries to use 'softfp' which allows usage of the FPU under the softfloat ABI). The reason Eric's making a new port (apart from because he enjoys this sort of thing ;-) ) is because Slackware does not have an ARM port that's optimised- out of the box- for the devices that have FPUs, and it's important that the Slackware distribution has this gap plugged.

So essentially, the practical difference between the Slackware ARM (soft float) port and the hardware FPU port will be just a matter of base line target and inherent optimisations. Eric also wants the hardware floating point port to be more in line with the x86 source tree (and perhaps if things work out, Slackware ARM soft float will end up using it too, but we'll see) -- but this has no bearing whatsoever on the user experience when using the OS.

Also, as to the edit in your original post -- I don't see Eric's port as a 'refinement'. My port is perfectly 'refined' as it is, and it's been over 10 years in the making. Eric's port is to allow Slackware to be optimised on ARM hardware that has a floating point unit. And whilst I fully stand behind what Eric's achieved in a very short time period, and recognise how it's going to be a great asset to the Slackware distribution, I do take personally what amount to nothing more than unfounded criticisms based on 100% a misunderstanding of what my hard work has been all about.

rrbert 04-16-2013 01:01 PM

Hi Stuart, I was unaware that Slackware ARM runs on so many devices, thanks for pointing that out. I got the wrong impression from the list of supported platforms, and hadn't read down the page that newer devices were also supported.
ARM architecture is still a mystery to me, but when I get time, I hope to learn more about it.
I have edited my original post again to help clear up any confusion.

rrbert

ottavio 04-17-2013 03:58 AM

When I first installed Slackware on the Chromebook, I used the original soft-float port from armedslack.org, despite ChromeOS using hard float.

I hope Stuart won't mind if I quote part of my private mail exchange with him, I'm not revealing any sensitive information:

Quote:

From:Ottavio
to: Stuart
date: 23 November 2012

Ok, so I have managed to boot Slackwarearm current (or so I think) on
the ARM Chromebook, reusing the Chrome OS kernel (3.4.3 at the
moment). It's a minimal text-based environment but has full network
connection. It's barely usable and I haven't tried sound or anything
but it can connect to the web using Links.

As you're the gaffer, would you like to see a verbose debug of the
whole installation (I tell you in advance it's painful!) at all? And
if so would you like to see it beforehand or would you like it posted
onto the list or on Linuxquestions? Or is it better to wait until I
have a usable system with xorg, sound, browser, window managers and
all the whisle and bells?
I sent it to the wrong email address (my fault) and it took a few days for Stuart to recover it. By the time he replied I had lost interest in the Chromebook and I then returned it back to Amazon.

All this just to say that a soft float port can work perfectly on modern devices.

On the other hand, if I had had hf binaries, that would have made my installation easier as I would have reused the Slackware installer on a chroot from ChromeOS, as explained here:
http://lists.armedslack.org/pipermai...er/001432.html

drmozes 04-17-2013 05:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ottavio (Post 4932984)
On the other hand, if I had had hf binaries, that would have made my installation easier as I would have reused the Slackware installer on a chroot from ChromeOS, as explained here:
http://lists.armedslack.org/pipermai...er/001432.html

The reason it didn't work at the time you tried, was probably due to the older version of Xorg. Eric had trouble on the Chromebook using his hfp packages that he'd built quite some time ago, but when I installed it (only last month), I had all of the latest packages and it just worked once I'd grabbed some config files from a guy's site who'd been hacking on it.

ottavio 04-17-2013 06:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by drmozes (Post 4933057)
The reason it didn't work at the time you tried, was probably due to the older version of Xorg.

No Stuart, Xorg worked perfectly with your miniroot. I could also run Seamonkey fine. The only problem I had afterwards is that the sound didn't work at all.

The sound thingy required a hack that I found later (after I returned the evil device) on a related site. The fix is here:
http://www.whatthetech.info/fixing-s...ook-chrubuntu/

But it was too late for me to try it. See if it is on any help to you and others. (But beware, somebody managed to fry their speakers with that).

Alien Bob 04-17-2013 01:02 PM

A bit late to the discussion here, much to do at work.
My own ARM port was initiated for various reasons, all of which I stated in my blog post. As already said by Stuart, in part I do this just to satisfy my curiosity. And he has been an invaluable source of knowledge, because like everybody else, I could not wrap my head around the concepts of the ARM based hardware at first. I was able to get my own Trimslice, and then the Chromebook, up and running pretty fast because of the groundwork he had already done before me.

SLackware ARM is the official port of Slackware to ARM. As it stands, my own efforts are a collection of sources and packages, but not yet a real distribution. Also, I am not in sync with the Mothership, and that will be hard with the limited time I have.

One important thing is available though: a set of simple script that let you build a cross-compiler and a rootfs yourself, you do not have to depend on 3rd party (non-Slackware) binaries to bootstrap an ARM port anymore. And technically speaking, these scripts are not meant for just a port to my armv7 hardware - they should make a port to any architecture possible. Also, these scripts are available in a GIT repository. As such, I want to make it possible for other people to start tinkering, on a deep level. Too many of the ARM playgrounds are limited to "download this image, dump it on your device, and voila, it works!". We are still Slackers here, and I expect people to tinker. Else, just grab an Ubuntu image and be done with it... but what's the fun in that!

Eric

rrbert 04-17-2013 02:56 PM

Hi Stuart, I apologize for any confusion my original post may have caused, and now have a better understanding of porting to the ARM hardware after your explanation. I also made another clarification in my original post.
rrbert

bg4 04-18-2013 06:15 AM

G'Day All,

I am following this thread with interest as I wish to learn about the ARM architecture and being a Slacker I intend deploying Slackware wherever possible.

Question to Alien Bob, do your scripts, etc allow me to create a port for the Beagle Board? I have a few projects I would like to try out on the beagle Board.

Thanks, bg4.

Alien Bob 04-18-2013 06:49 AM

All the armv7 binaries which I have built and will build, will work on the Beagle Board, since that too is powered by an armv7 CPU. You may need some packages and a kernel specifc to that board (in order to enable custom hardware or access a custom boot process), but you do not have to start a new "port". Look at slackwarearm, that too has kernels for several different types of hardware, but the rest of the packages can be used unchanged on all that hardware.

Eric


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