Custom Debian Root Filesystem Image
This page details how a Debian root file system for the odroid can be created. Following the steps will not give you exactly the same results as in the prepared images because packages are periodically updated.
Debian is Debian. If you have any Debian system, it can be updated or upgraded -- without having to go through your own bootstrap process. It can be difficult to go through a bootstrap for a number of reasons including:
- Crossing processor architectures is always an issue. If you are building for x86, no problem. Most utilities work. But, most people are not faced with building custom x86 distros
- Debian has been around a long time. Tools and approaches are always changing. Googling is helpful, but you get a lot of information that is dated.
- If you are bringing up a new platform, you don't have a known-good starting point. For example, to do a network install, you need to have a root file system of some sort and you need a working network connection.
I did not invent any of this stuff, I just put it together and tested it specifically for use on an odroid target.
- 1 Setup sudo on the host
- 2 Install Prerequisites
- 3 Use debootstrap to Create Debian Root File System
- 4 Fixup Virgin Root File System
- 5 Create a Root File System Tarball
- 6 Create a File System Image to use with QEMU (optional)
- 7 Boot the Target
Setup sudo on the host
You might want to install the sudo package and add yourself to the sudoers list if you have not already done it. This section is optional, but if you object to using sudo, there are commands you need to run as root.
As root (on the host):
apt-get install sudo # You need to add yourself to the "sudoers list", and how exactly that is done depends on the distribution. # This hack works for Debian Wheezy # as root, add normal user (named user) to adm group adduser user adm # configure the adm group to have no restrictions echo "%adm ALL=(ALL) ALL" >> /etc/sudoers # sudo will complain if it cannot resolve the hostname echo "127.0.0.1 $(hostname )" >> /etc/hosts
You need to logout/login after making the change to the sudoers list in order for it to take effect
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install binfmt-support qemu qemu-user-static debootstrap
We must have the qemu-arm-static binary to bring up the system and qemu version 0.12.5 is known to fail. As of this writing, qemu 1.4.0 is current and is known to work. Interim versions might also work.
If it helps, you might be able to use one of the binaries I built, posted here: http://odroid.us/odroid/users/osterluk/debian-armhf/
wget http://odroid.us/odroid/users/osterluk/debian-armhf/debian-armhf.tgz wget http://odroid.us/odroid/users/osterluk/debian-armhf/debian-armhf.tgz.md5sum md5sum -c debian-armhf.tgz.md5sum # if the checksum is OK, then extract the files: tar -xvzf debian-armhf.tgz
The files are:
launch-wheezy-no-bridge A script to launch the root file system on the host using qemu-system-arm qemu-arm-static-i386 Statically built, current version of qemu-arm for 32-bit Linux host qemu-arm-static-x86_64 Statically built, current version of qemu-arm for 64-bit Linux host zImage-vexpress-a9 A kernel built for a cortex-a9 machine, vexpress-a9 that is a good stand-in for
The -i386 version will probably run on and x86 Linux host, but only because it is statically linked. Just rename it to qemu-arm-static. The x86_64 will not run on a 32-bit host.
Check the "Building QEMU" section of this tutorial if you need to build an updated qemu-arm-static binary: Building QEMU
Use debootstrap to Create Debian Root File System
To get started, we need a root file system that has all the components needed to boot Debian. Once we have that, we can configure the system and add more packages. This technique uses qemu-system-arm, so qemu (quick emulator) needs to be installed.
# Go to a convenient directory cd $HOME # make a place to work mkdir debian-bootstrap # and go there cd debian-bootstrap # Create the root file system, this can take some time... sudo debootstrap --verbose --arch armhf --foreign wheezy $PWD/armhf http://ftp.at.debian.org/debian # Now the directory $HOME/debian-bootstrap/armhf holds a wheezy root file system, built from binary packages
We are going to chroot into the the armhf directory and we need qemu-arm-static available to be able to run the bootstrap script while hiding the rest of the host files from the process. qemu-arm-static knows how to run armhf binaries on our x86 machine -- cool when you think about it. Quite a nice piece of work.
Make a local copy, for clarity: (copy from your downloads folder, if you plan to use the pre-built binary)
sudo cp /usr/local/bin/qemu-arm-static .
copy qemu-arm-static into what will be the chroot jail:
sudo cp qemu-arm-static armhf/usr/bin
Run debian second stage: (this is the place where a downlevel qemu-arm-static will fail)
DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive DEBCONF_NONINTERACTIVE_SEEN=true \ LC_ALL=C LANGUAGE=C LANG=C sudo chroot armhf /debootstrap/debootstrap --second-stage
Trigger post-install scripts:
DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive DEBCONF_NONINTERACTIVE_SEEN=true \ LC_ALL=C LANGUAGE=C LANG=C sudo chroot armhf dpkg --configure -a
Fixup Virgin Root File System
Edit inittab to put a getty on the serial console -- and also to boot to the root shell since I don't know the default username/password. (maybe there is a better, more general way to do this)
Make sure to notice: if you want to boot with qemu, then you must change ttySAC1 below to ttyAMA0. If you do not do this, you will not get an initial console and the problem will not be obvious...
As root, in armhf/etc/inittab, change:
#T0:23:respawn:/sbin/getty -L ttyS0 9600 vt100
# To use with qemu, in next line, replace ttySAC1 with ttyAMA0 T0:23:respawn:/sbin/getty -L ttySAC1 115200 vt102
As root, in armhf/etc/inittab, change:
Drop in Kernel Modules
Kernel modules must always match the kernel in use. If you don't care about bring up the network, you can come back to this step later.
See the main page for a list of kernel building tutorials: 
You need to either build a custom kernel and the kernel modules (drivers) that go with it or you need to extract the kernel modules from an existing root file system that you know has a set matching the kernel you want to use. Kernel modules would be stored at /lib/modules/3.0.68 for example, if you have a set for 3.0.68.
[TODO: add a link to the HardKernel kernel update repository ]
Add Device Nodes
Drop in some device nodes to let us run the root file system with qemu or real hardware
sudo mknod armhf/dev/ttyAMA0 c 204 64 sudo mknod armhf/dev/ttySAC0 c 204 64
Create a Root File System Tarball
It is convenient to make a tarball of the root file system.
cd $HOME/debian-bootstrap/armhf sudo tar -cvzf ../rootfs-wheezy-custom.tgz . cd ..
Mount the SD-Card on your host and follow the tutorial: Updating from Root File System Images to update your SD-Card.
Create a File System Image to use with QEMU (optional)
Convert the root file system to a filesystem image. If you host has enough memory, you could increase the 500M to some larger value.
qemu-img create rootfs-wheezy.ext4 500M sudo mkfs.ext4 rootfs-wheezy.ext4
And the second step:
# We are going to need a mount point mkdir mnt sudo mount -o loop rootfs-wheezy.ext4 mnt sudo cp -a armhf/* mnt sync sudo umount mnt # Now rootfs-wheezy.ext4 has the same contents as the bootstrapped Debian
Boot with QEMU
TBD show how to use the qemu example to boot the RFS
Boot the Target
The system will come up in a root shell. We should change the passwords. If you want to match the Hardkernel Ubuntu image, set the root password to root and the user password to password.
passwd root # answer with the root password you will remember -- consider making a note # Add a user to login with adduser user
As root, in armhf/etc/inittab, change back to a password-protected shell, and make sure the serial console name and terminal type are correct:
id:1:initdefault: T0:23:respawn:/sbin/getty -L ttyAMA0 9600 vt100
id:3:initdefault: T0:23:respawn:/sbin/getty -L ttySAC1 115200 vt102
You probably want to change the hostname too. For the debootstrap build, the hostname will be the same as the host you built it on. To set the hostname to odroidu2, do this: (as root)
echo odroidu2 > /etc/hostname
No need to keep the binary packages (about 50MiB) so clean them up like this: (as root)
Now, we can (as root) set the apt sources, bring up the network and update. You should choose a nearby mirror (respository)
echo "deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian wheezy main" > /etc/apt/sources.list dhclient eth0 apt-get updateThe system is complete.