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openSUSE earlier than 11.1 Alpha 2 don't install on SD card

Feature state

Rejected Information
Rejected Information


[Please note that I'm working for the CPU+Chipset maker VIA and this is an
actually important feature for the 'netbook' class of devices in the coming months]

Recently, BIOS vendors have been starting to implement a 'boot from SD card' feature, much like they have added 'boot from USB memory stick' some years ago.

The only SD-card host controller that I've seen this implemented for is SDHCI compliant host controllers.

While this is a nice feature to support, for most systems it is just a gimmick and not something neccessarry.

However, there are hand-held devices such as netbooks in the pipeline which do not have any other mass storage device. No hard disk and no IDE-attached flash disk or the like. They just have one (more likely two or more) SD card slots and you install and store not only your data but the entire operating system on that SD card.

Furthermore, there are products like Samsung moviNAND which are basically a SDcard in a BGA package that can be soldered onto a PCB. So from a protocol and software point of view it is a SD card, but it is mechanically soldered onto the board. Such device have gained some popularity in ARM-based designs, but we'll likely see them in the x86 world, too.

To make this happen,

The distribution installation initrd needs to

1. include and auto-load the sdhc.ko and sdhci_pci.ko kernel modules
2. create the /dev/mmcblk* device nodes as per udev/hotplug events

The actual distribution installation program needs to

1. recognize /dev/mmcblk* as block devices that can be used as target device
2. use a grub-install or similar program that can discover the bios drive number to /dev/mmcblk* device name mapping

I have outlined the full details at http://wiki.gpl-devices.org/wiki/Installing_Linux_on_booting_SD_card



icons/user_comment.png J. S. wrote: (9 years ago)

Jozef did some testing with openSUSE 11.1 final, with following results (laptop had both SD-card as well as internal drive as provided by the mobile devices team):

  • parted has problems with SD cards which have not alligned partitions (is the case of some cards, others work well). IMO this should be handled as bug for parted.
  • 11.1 installaiton worked without any problems, just with manual bootloader adjustments (boot device, disk order)

However, our machine had the card reader internally connected via USB.

Steffen, would it be possible to add the modules listed in the initial request into initrd as well as add probing for the disks?

Arvin, can partitioner work with /dev/mmcblk* at all? If not, how much work would it mean?

Christian, do we have any device which accesses the SD card as /dev/mmcblk* (not necessarily with the booting options for the development, but will be needed for testing)?

icons/user_comment.png S. W. wrote: (9 years ago)

I've added the mentioned modules; they should be automatically loaded. Not sure about mmc_block, though.

icons/user_comment.png A. S. wrote: (9 years ago)

Extending storage to handle /dev/mmcblk* should be easy if those devices behave like normal hard disks.

icons/user_comment.png C. Z. wrote: (9 years ago)

Maybe the Acer Aspire One is the rigth system. Vladislav is just checking that.

icons/user_comment.png G. K. wrote: (9 years ago)

On the Acer Aspire One machines I have access to, they do not have BIOS support to boot from the SD reader.

icons/user_comment.png J. E. wrote: (9 years ago)

Hm. Installing SUSE 11.0-factory onto a CF card (with ATA interface controller) seemed to work already. Is there lots of difference towards SD?

icons/user_comment.png J. S. wrote: (9 years ago)

From my POV, this feature is mostly about checking that it works. Anything connected via ATA, SATA or USB shall work, as long as it gets /dev/sdx device name.

However, so far it has not been tested at all to install system on /dev/mmcblkx at all (in 11.1, needed kernel drivers are not in the ramdisk). In theory, everything should work, given there is no hardware available, we have no way to find out.

icons/user_comment.png A. S. wrote: (9 years ago)

I have added support for the partition naming of mmcblk devices to libstorage and yast2-storage.

icons/user_comment.png M. M. wrote: (7 years ago)

mkinitrd in 11.2 and 11.3 adds the mmc_block if the root fs is on /dev/mmc*. Can someone test to see if there is anything else to do?

Last change: 7 years ago
Score: 5
  • Negative: 0
  • Neutral: 2
  • Positive: 5
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