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ayayron
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Joined: 11 Dec 2019
Posts: 3
Location: Colorado

PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 10:51 pm    Post subject: USB Live, amd64, mmcblk drive, won't mount main mmcblk drive Reply with quote

Hello. Apologies if this has been answered. I tried looking around, but honestly don't even know what keywords I'd use. I have an old HP Stream 11 laptop that I've been running LXLE on for years. But I've always wanted to take the Gentoo plunge, I've just been too intimidated. Recently though, I've gathered the courage, but have hit a stumbling block right away.

This laptop uses an mmc type drive that's really only about 32GB. What's always struck me as odd is how it's mounted as
Code:
/dev/mmcblk0p1or2
. This as opposed to sda1, which is where all other things like a USB drive mounts. My guess is it's something about how Linux works with these SD like drives.

The important point to note is that when it comes to the part in the amd64 manual about partitioning and prepping the drives, it's using sda as the main drive. I'm guessing this is intended to target the actual, existing system drive, thus eliminating my LXLE install. Which is fine. But, the problem is that the Live USB never "sees" this drive. I notice during the Live boot when all the text is flashing, it does say something like "Some local filesystem didn't load" in red. Don't I need access to my actual drive to do the Gentoo install?

One tangential, or possibly related point is that the Handbook notes under the Booting subsection under Installation, that I will be given some choices. Some involving kernels and what look to be a bunch of hardware options. I am never presented with these options. From UEFI boot, I go to a black screen that gives me the option to enter GRUB, press c for the CLI, or wait for (or press Enter) to go to the LiveCD. Which is what I do and when all of the other aforementioned confusion sets in. I must be doing something wrong.

I have read some people mention using the Stage3 tarball instead. But again, the manual confuses me because it seems like they're alternative installation methods, but then it also seems like the tarball is just a later step in the process. So much confusion.

Thank you for your help on this matter.
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eccerr0r
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Joined: 01 Jul 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2019 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to Gentoo.

The problem you're seeing is that these newer "soldered" systems use a different subsystem to connect the disk media to the System On Chip - probably some SPI instead of SATA.

You'll probably need to bootstrap with another OS or use another machine to build a kernel that understands your system. You may need to look on the web about your exact system to know what kernel options you need. Have you tried building your own kernel before?

What you should try to do now is to use your old Linux to build a kernel that understands your media. Once you get that going, then you can move on. However this will be a fairly challenging ordeal, moreso than a usual Gentoo install. I'd say if you don't have another machine to play with, even if it's a crappy desktop, there is a high risk you may have problems finishing the install. At the very least you would have web access to research new problems that come up.

One thing I'm sure you probably will need is another sacrificial USB stick other than the one you're using to boot as temporary working space to have a stage 3 installed on before you can work on your internal storage.
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NeddySeagoon
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Joined: 05 Jul 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2019 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ayayron,

Welcome to Gentoo.

You can install Gentoo with any bootable media that will show the drive you want to install on.
None of the code on the boot media goes into the the install. Its just a toolkit to accomplish the install.
Your embryonic Gentoo is provided by the stage3 tarball.

You need a 64 bit boot media to make a 64 bit install.

If you use a non Gentoo boot mediad, you may need to do
Code:
mkdir /mnt/gentoo
before you can follow the handbook as most other live system don't provide that.
Its the point in the filesystem tree that your growing Gentoo is attached to before it can boot unaided.

A 32 GB emmc card, which is what you have, is somewhat less than ideal for building Gentoo.
A USB HDD would be better to save using up the limited write life of the FLASH memory in the internal emmc.
The emmc will be fine for installing Gentoo on and running Gentoo but avoid building there.
Put the /var/tmp/portage location on a USB drive. That's the Gentoo file managers build space.

You could do your Gentoo install in two phases.
Phase 1 is install to a USB HDD. This isn't wasted as you can copy the install over later.
Once phase 1 is useful to you, set up the kernel to see your internal emmc card.
That's the end of phase 1.

Phase 2 in to move your install onto the emmc card.

That approach will stand you in good stead everywhere in Gentoo. It can be summed up by 'baby steps' or 'building on what you know works'.
Its also true that you can't cross a chasm in two small jumps but crossing chasms is best avoided if at all possible.

The preferred approach is any boot media that will see your internal memory, followed by the two stage approach.

Once you have a boot media that sees the emmc, we can look at its
Code:
lsmod
output or even its /proc/config.gz to see how it does it.
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NeddySeagoon

Computer users fall into two groups:-
those that do backups
those that have never had a hard drive fail.
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ayayron
n00b
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Joined: 11 Dec 2019
Posts: 3
Location: Colorado

PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eccerr0r wrote:
Welcome to Gentoo.

The problem you're seeing is that these newer "soldered" systems use a different subsystem to connect the disk media to the System On Chip - probably some SPI instead of SATA.

You'll probably need to bootstrap with another OS or use another machine to build a kernel that understands your system. You may need to look on the web about your exact system to know what kernel options you need. Have you tried building your own kernel before?

What you should try to do now is to use your old Linux to build a kernel that understands your media. Once you get that going, then you can move on. However this will be a fairly challenging ordeal, moreso than a usual Gentoo install. I'd say if you don't have another machine to play with, even if it's a crappy desktop, there is a high risk you may have problems finishing the install. At the very least you would have web access to research new problems that come up.

One thing I'm sure you probably will need is another sacrificial USB stick other than the one you're using to boot as temporary working space to have a stage 3 installed on before you can work on your internal storage.



My goodness. First off, thank you for your help. My Gentoo intimidation factor just went up to 11. I have never built my own kernel before. How would I go about building one using my old Linux? If you have any online or book resources on the topic(s) I'd appreciate it. I don't care the length or technicality either. I'm determined! Also, I'm not sure I follow why I'd need another sacrificial USB. Could you expand an that please?

Thanks again!
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ayayron
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Joined: 11 Dec 2019
Posts: 3
Location: Colorado

PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NeddySeagoon wrote:
ayayron,

Welcome to Gentoo.

You can install Gentoo with any bootable media that will show the drive you want to install on.
None of the code on the boot media goes into the the install. Its just a toolkit to accomplish the install.
Your embryonic Gentoo is provided by the stage3 tarball.

You need a 64 bit boot media to make a 64 bit install.

If you use a non Gentoo boot media, you may need to do
Code:
mkdir /mnt/gentoo
before you can follow the handbook as most other live system don't provide that.
Its the point in the filesystem tree that your growing Gentoo is attached to before it can boot unaided.

A 32 GB emmc card, which is what you have, is somewhat less than ideal for building Gentoo.
A USB HDD would be better to save using up the limited write life of the FLASH memory in the internal emmc.
The emmc will be fine for installing Gentoo on and running Gentoo but avoid building there.
Put the /var/tmp/portage location on a USB drive. That's the Gentoo file managers build space.

You could do your Gentoo install in two phases.
Phase 1 is install to a USB HDD. This isn't wasted as you can copy the install over later.
Once phase 1 is useful to you, set up the kernel to see your internal emmc card.
That's the end of phase 1.

Phase 2 in to move your install onto the emmc card.

That approach will stand you in good stead everywhere in Gentoo. It can be summed up by 'baby steps' or 'building on what you know works'.
Its also true that you can't cross a chasm in two small jumps but crossing chasms is best avoided if at all possible.

The preferred approach is any boot media that will see your internal memory, followed by the two stage approach.

Once you have a boot media that sees the emmc, we can look at its
Code:
lsmod
output or even its /proc/config.gz to see how it does it.



This is fantastic. Thank you! So would I have to do the USB build from my laptop, or could I build on my (more powerful) desktop via the USB (s/h)dd and then proceed to Phase 2 as you suggested? Or does the build really depend on architecture of system? My guess is it does. So it's probably a stupid question. But man, a Celeron seems like it will take awhile.

Assuming it does have to be through the USB on my laptop, would a USB flash drive do? Or would you recommend getting a SATA adapter and using a full-blown ssd or hdd? Does size matter in either case?
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