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Re: cannot boot from microSD card on aarch64 machine

From: Ricardo Wurmus
Subject: Re: cannot boot from microSD card on aarch64 machine
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2022 23:35:52 +0200
User-agent: mu4e 1.6.10; emacs 28.0.50


>> I mounted the target disk (an SSD) at /mnt, made sure that the microSD
>> card was inserted, unmounted, and available at /dev/mmcblk1, and then
>> ran
>>    guix system init config.scm /mnt
>> This was successful.
>> Unfortunately, rebooting failed.  There is seemingly no activity at all
>> when I power on the board, so something’s not right with how u-boot was
>> installed on the microSD card.
>> Does it perhaps install the u-boot files at the wrong offsets?  How
>> would I begin to debug this?
>> I’d appreciate any hints.
> Sorry, I don't have any clue to offer, but were you able to solve or
> workaround your problem?

Not quite, but I’ve learned more and understand the problem better.

I manually copied the two u-boot files to the expected offsets on the
microsd card, and that let me boot Guix System from USB.  But I have so
far been unsuccessful in my attempts to do this automatically as part of
“guix system init” (I haven’t tried this much) or to successfully patch
u-boot to boot from the SSD on the PCIe card (I have tried this a lot).

My next step is to attempt to install the whole system onto the microsd
card, just to end up with a usable system.  If that works then nothing
is wrong with Guix (except for a lack of documentation), but it would be
a disappointing workaround.

I think it should be possible to patch u-boot to initialize the PCIe
card and boot from the attached disk (with the patched u-boot residing
on the microsd card).  I tried the relevant subset of the netbsd
patches, but the CPU keeps resetting after (successfully) enumerating
the PCI devices.

I hope I can make some more time for this soon and overcome that last
hurdle — and then write a cookbook entry for all this :)


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