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PDP11

Devuan Armbian?

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Right - we're all pretty sick of systemd controversy, and no intent to rehash that all here again with mostly marketed fanboy-ism on either side.

 

Without trying to be a geezer that want's to go back to the old days, I think that at least offering an interesting choice for Armbian using Devuan and the classic style of init might be worthwhile.

 

An interesting perspective might be seen from our BSD brethren, who of course don't take to systemd lightly, yet still see things interesting they may want to incorporate:

 

Benno Rice provides an interesting talk about it.

 

 

Hey, let's not start yet another fanboy war about it that will never get resolved.  All I'm saying is maybe a Devuan based Armbian might be interesting.

 

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Clarification:  The point here is that with an SBC running just to monitor the temperature of your beer-fridge, then maybe a classic style of init, say with Devuan - might work just fine. :)

 

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28 minutes ago, PDP11 said:

Clarification:  The point here is that with an SBC running just to monitor the temperature of your beer-fridge, then maybe a classic style of init, say with Devuan - might work just fine. :)

 


it would be interesting to make the builder a little more plugable as far as the upstream debian used, but a lot of the optimizaions are fairly OS centric.

I'm generally a fan of systemd with the exception of systemd resolver..  Pretty much all of the DNS bolt-ons that Ubuntu and friends do drive me nuts since they by-pass my internal resolver for my inside domains.

 

I *thought* I had scrubbed out most of that stuff wiht hte build scrips, but a recent image was still being funny in Chromium

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You know I thought I had this under control after the initial controversy died down and everyone succumbed.  I was happy.

 

But now, with something as simple as the shutdowns in Armbian XFCE not working on my Potato to full completion (it just goes into a reboot loop) - it has me in a crisis of conscience about it.

 

Sure, I can use the terminal to do a proper shutdown.  Not a problem.  I LIKE using the terminal.

 

But now, is the xfce shutdown an issue with systemd, or is it because XFCE is not "systemd compliant" somehow?   Perhaps it isn't a "board issue" at all ?

 

Maybe too much caffeine again, but I'm a little stirred up when I thought I had it under control. :)

 

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3 hours ago, PDP11 said:

But now, with something as simple as the shutdowns in Armbian XFCE not working on my Potato to full completion (it just goes into a reboot loop) - it has me in a crisis of conscience about it.

 

Lol.  My potato does the same with mate desktop with lightdm starting the session.

 

Honestly ive never seen shutdown totally work right on any of these SBCs...  best cause scenario they halt and just suck power

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9 hours ago, PDP11 said:

something as simple as the shutdowns in Armbian


Its mainly outside our power to fix. Board makers usually doesn't add power management chips (or design doesn't allow them) which could actually power the machine off. If you have a such chip, this is simple. If you don't have it becomes complicated. If you want to understand the problem, start here: http://linux-sunxi.org/AR100 Its an example how this is solved in another cheap Allwinner H3 or H5. We have it working in H5 but not in H3 ...

Single board computers have many quirks and dealing with user space problems (systemd vs initd) is out of primary focus but anyone is welcome to do changes in here - without breaking anything :) 

 

Oh, and someone hacked http://www.devuan.org/pwned.html :P

 

D3AtAa4X0AARsu3.png:large

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Heh, no sweat.  Good to know about the board since I don't want to unduly blame systemd.

 

But I get it more than some.  Ok, it aint Unix in it's purest form.  Been through that before -- "System V - consider it standard" pins being thrown in the trash by the BSD crowd.  Streams / sockets et all .. Ugh.

 

As punishment for the defacement, I'm going to make those guys load Software Tools on a Pr1me computer, and brush up on their Ratfor. :)

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_tools_users_group

 

I'll see if an image will come up when access is restored.  

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Remember when sites were written to be "Lynx friendly"?

 

I still use it to this day as a local file browser appending a period afterwards

 

lynx .

 

It's a little more lightweight than mc ...

 

Getting a bit OT again - but for small SBC boards, I dig busybox.  Don't need VIM?

busybox vi

Or just make a link to it to call it from a link.

 

HTTP server?  Busybox will do that too.  All sorts of stuff.  Unfortunately the busybox included with most Debian-based distros is the old and very crusty ver 1.22, and not the latest, which I usually compile myself  - or grab a prebuilt binary from Busybox site directly when I'm lazy.  And an init if you want that too. :)

 

Anyway, straing too far.  I'll fire up the aarch64 image for the RPI later as I don't have the other boards.  I'll bet it could definitely use the Armbian touch.  Well, Allwinner boards that is...

 

 

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Devuan on ARM is up!

 

Ok, so all I had was an RPI3, but yeah it's a base system.  Classic root/toor .  You do the rest.  Noted that /etc/fstab might need some Armbian love to save your sd card.  Crusty old 1.22 ver of busybox included as a catastrophe fallback.  Yeah, replace that if you like with an up to date version pronto. :)

 

Beginners who cut n paste docs might get frustrated by not seeing an mmcblk0 device from some other box when dd'ing the image, and using /dev/sdx initially. :)

 

So there you go.  Kernel 4.9.16, classic init style.  Whaddya know?  It works!  Rock systemd if you want, but nice to know Devuan is more about choice than the init drama itself. (other than luser fanboy stuff...).

 

DIAGNOSTICS:

Interestingly enough, my usb mouse kept on disconnecting and reconnecting at random intervals spewing itself on the console while doing so.  Makes me wonder if something like that could be *hidden* by systemd constantly babysitting it and only a binary log review would reveal it?  Dunno - too many variables - luser talk.  Might be interesting to bring up the same systems with different inits to see who's talking and who's not. :)

 

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Devuan site-hackers caught!

 

I had a talk with the main perpetrator of the takedown.  When he found out I had the power to send him back in time to this Pr1me computer to do his evil deeds, the site was restored immediately.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJeu3LCo-6A

 

Phht.  Kids these days.

 

 

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I don't object to Devuan, per se, but I think Armbian is already being really, really nice by providing 2 (of the most well-known, popular) distro choices for almost all boards.

 

Attracting legions of serious Linux geeks to Armbian is hard enough, even by offering those much-closer-to-mainstream distro choices.  Every contribution matters, and watering down everyone's efforts by supporting too many things will furtherly slow down the overall progress of the whole project.

 

I say that when you take off your "technical glasses", and put on your "Sociological glasses" (as in, don't get too hung up on technicalities, and be honest about available manpower/woman power/personpower), then Devuan becomes a really bad idea fast, never mind which init systems they use. 

 

I say Armbian needs to tighten its focus, conserving its rare, precious manpower/woman power/personpower the best it can, not loosen the focus wider by including another (far less popular) distro choice.  Supporting a whole 'nother distro will surely be a large undertaking. 

 

There are still many smaller, more realistic-to-tackle, outstanding issues even with the two current distro choices, which, if left unfixed, might still be seriously off-putting for a much larger, less geeky, yet linux-appreciating audience. 

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The request for a Devuan option was just to give some thought for a way out in case one is forced into a corner by any upcoming events or code-blockers.

 

Fortunately, Devuan is not some kid's re-spin of Debian, but is a project maintained by actual Debian developers.  But yeah, like all projects, manpower is always the 600 pound gorilla. :)

 

For sure, I'm not going off on a socialogical bend either.  For example, this reply comes from a Chromebook, which is using systemd to my knowledge, so it would be highly hypocritical of me to go cheerleading against it.

 

I'm just trying to think a few years ahead into the future - just in case.   *If* there comes a time when systemd scope creep becomes intolerable (it's more than just init now), Devuan might be a reasonable option.   Will this creep extend to hardware itself?  Redhat-Inside stickers?  Are we cool with that?  Maybe so.

 

As a geezer, I'm just trying to think about options.  If I want it bad enough, I'll just have to "shut up and hack" since we're blessed by having full source code.  (Many thanks to Keith Bostic [CSRG - BSD] for seeing that through - they could have just closed up shop and called it a day - we're pretty lucky for that.)

  

Straying OT again - but of course thanks to RMS - even though Keith and RMS didn't see totally eye to eye, there was enough cooperation to help see that through - well before the Linus days when he was only hacking a Vic-20. :)

 

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@esbeeb

 

This subforum is about capturing ideas, not squashing them due feasibility, priority, or any other concerns about praticality.

 

If you feel you have a good grasp on the projects needs, perhaps you could add to the Get Involved section of the documentation and send a PR.

 

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@lanefu, fair enough.  :mellow:

 

@PDP11, I too have a little confession.  After just discouraging a non-systemd-based distro just above, my daily driver laptop has MX Linux, which defaults to a non-systemd init system.  So there's irony in the exact opposite direction of you on your systemd-based chromebook.  :P

 

Having said that, I had to use the boot-to-temporary-use-of-systemd option (that MX Linux includes in their Grub menu), because I needed to install and use a snap, and snapd requires systemd (at this time).

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Hey guys no hard feelings - this is just a feature-request area just zinging some ideas about - like a plan-b type of thing.

 

In hindsight, I think I'm just paranoid - not fully trusting *any* corporation too much having lived through the ATT/BSDI thing.  And coming back for round-2 to try and get the pound of flesh with the whole SCO debacle.

 

Somewhere in the back of my mind I guess I'm waiting for the shoe to drop a 3rd time.  Perhaps many of us geezers may feel similar, and any dinking around with Unix means an agenda comes with it.

 

Still happy with Armbian as is!

 

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I would input that for a lot of the supported boards, systemd's size (runtime, specifically) is particularly unfriendly, especially to the boards with 512MB of RAM (or worse). Ignoring any other issues with it, this alone would be a disqualifying factor for embedded development.

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26 minutes ago, Neko May said:

this alone would be a disqualifying factor for embedded development.

 

Agree. But Armbian primary focus is CLI / server / light desktop with running full featured Debian like system on hardware that is nowadays closer (2-4G / NvME, USB3, PCI) to desktop computers then embedded world ... Yes, we do support boards with 512Mb and even less, but they are rare and there we could save some memory ... but its a lot of work with resources we don't have for little gain. If the initiative of change will be strong enough and conduct most of this painful change, change is probably possible. And - IMO both ways must be possible which adds even more complexity.

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In the past I did hope that the "minimal-image" would save memory, but I looks to me to have only less included packages.
The "minimal-image" do use also around 60-90MB after bootup, but I dont know if I do need every loaded package.

 

I did wonder about the 60-90MB from armbian when I did see a x86 PC after debian netinstall OR my old trusty Marvell Kirkwood devices

Linux excito-b3 4.19.59-1 #1 Wed Jul 17 14:58:51 EDT 2019 armv5tel GNU/Linux

which do start up with 25-35MB of Memory-usage.

So I did also having a strip-down-script, but I dont know which packages do eat up the additional Ram, because the Excito-B3-image also do use already systemd.

 

With a footprint of 25-35MB even a 256MB device like the OPi R1 is very useable ;)

 

Excito_B3_buster.jpg

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53 minutes ago, guidol said:

In the past I did hope that the "minimal-image" would save memory,


Already removing packages and don't break anythings is a challenge. I had to replace lsb_release package, which needs Python, to substantially lower the size.If you use armbian-config ... you are back. This is planned https://armbian.atlassian.net/browse/AR-50 while for making lower memory print that is far more complex job and if this includes going away from systemd ... recreating all scripts and services. Perhaps by the end of 2022 if you wait me to do that ;)
 

59 minutes ago, guidol said:

do eat up the additional Ram


This is always a trade between features and performances. Kernel (dependent) memory reservations, caching ... kernel modules needs memory.

 

In embedded world system is usually optimised for single task while Armbian is general purpose OS. You can do anything with it, not just one task.

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4 hours ago, Igor said:

while for making lower memory print that is far more complex job and if this includes going away from systemd ...

recreating all scripts and services.

 

In embedded world system is usually optimised for single task while Armbian is general purpose OS. You can do anything with it, not just one task.

Does this mean my Excito B3 or LicheePi Zero does use only less systemd parts?

Because they do use systemd - I think - because ther are some processes named systemd.

 

The LicheePi Zero has only 64MB of RAM (OK, some swap used) but also with some systemd processes it starts with 17MB of RAM usage (plus some swap).

 

Sure, armbian is more useable from the start - but I do get wide eyes when I see what can be done with such low memory (less than 256MB) ;)

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7 minutes ago, guidol said:

but I do get wide eyes when I see what can be done with such low memory


You can go way way lower :P
"It's possible to shrink it down to ~600 KiB."
https://stackoverflow.com/questions/27941775/what-is-the-minimum-amount-of-ram-required-to-run-linux-kernel-on-an-embedded-de

... but why? Especially it becomes an issue when you start to trade performance and security to gain memory ... which you don't need. If you need it, go for a different hardware.

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