Previously, we discussed how to build Linux for the new Allwinner A80 Optimusboard ARM Microserver using the SDK. Now, let’s go through the process of installing it to the board and getting Linux actually up and running.
We’ll pick up where we left off previously, with the build process having just completed.
Next, we are going to create an image that can be flashed via LiveSuit. LiveSuit is going to need a rootfs.ext4 file as input for the process, and it will be looking in the A80/lichee/out/sun9iw1p1/dragonboard/common directory. This file should have been created automatically during the build process. After verifying it exists, we can run our ‘pack’ command.
If successful, you will get an output file of sun9iw1p1_dragonboard_optimus.img in the A80/lichee/tools/pack directory. This is the file we will use in LiveSuit to push Linux to the Optimusboard. Load LiveSuit from its directory via:
We need to choose the file to flash, so we navigate to the proper location and select our sun9iw1p1_dragonboard_optimus.img file.
The A80 Optimusboard does not have a dedicated FEL button on it like some other devices, so, to get the board ready for the flash we have to attach a Serial cable and manually intervene with it’s boot process. We hook up the cable to the UART port, use the ‘screen’ command to capture the input and output, and plug it in to a USB port. While the board initializes, we press any key on the keyboard to interrupt the autoboot and are presented with a command prompt. The ‘efex’ command will launch FEL mode for us.
The board will switch to FEL mode, and LiveSuit will automatically recognize that it is now ready to flash the image to the NAND. It will take a couple of minutes to complete, and once done, we should now have Linux installed. Leaving the console cable attached, we reboot the board, and we can now see that it boots up and has a Linux filesystem installed and running. Keep in mind, its pretty minimal at this point, as we have not built a robust, feature rich environment like Ubuntu, Fedora, or other Linux distributions. But this is a good base to build upon as we continue further development and leverage ARM processors for use as microservers.