[ARMedslack] Installing Slackware 14.0 on Sheevaplug (with ESATA)

Michael Langfinger slackware at langfinger.org
Mon Oct 1 15:32:41 UTC 2012


 i am currently installing the new Slackware for ARM on my Sheevaplug 
 (with ESATA) following the guide (INSTALL_KIRKWOOD.TXT). During the 
 installation process i stumbled upon some problems/deprecated 
 information regarding U-Boot and creating the partitions on the sd card. 
 Maybe the following information helps someone else who encounters the 
 same kind of problems. :-)

 It seems like you can't boot the new kernel that is delivered with 
 Slackware 14.0 (3.4.11) with an older U-Boot version (mine was from mid 
 2011, iirc). The bootup process will hang after "Uncompressing linux 
 kernel...". My first guess was a wrong machine id set in u-boot, but the 
 kernel and the init ramdisk from Slackware 13.37 work fine. 
 Nevertheless, upgrading u-boot to a current version (i used one from 
 March 2012) solves the problem. You can find instructions on how to do 
 this and links to current versions here:


 WARNING: Do not use the version that is located under "2012.04.01-2"! 
 You will be able to boot the slackware installer with this version, but 
 booting the system from sd card will fail because verifying the checksum 
 of the kernel image fails. This seems to be a bug, you can find a 
 discussion about the matter under the following link if you're 


 The version located under 2011.12-3 works fine, so just use this one.

 I wasn't able to create the partitions (/boot, swap, root) with fdisk. 
 Opening /dev/mmcblk0 with fdisk works, but as soon as you try to write 
 the changes to the sd card you get the error message "unable to write 
 /dev/mmcbklk0p: bad file descriptor". I haven't found out what causes 
 this problem yet. As a workaround you have to partition the card on some 
 other computer (i used my desktop computer). Creating the file system 
 with the slackware installer works.

 Installation Guide:
 The guide says that you have to set the variable "arcNumber" to 
 2678/0xa76 in u-boot, but in fact you have to set the variable "machid" 
 to 0xa76 (on the Sheevaplug with ESATA). Setting the variable arcNumber 
 has no effect. I think that this also applies to the other mentied 
 devices (at least the Guruplug), but i am not 100% sure about that. 
 Maybe someone who owns a Guruplug is able to verify this. I am also not 
 sure if you really need to set the variable mainlineLinux, i will test 
 this later.

 Nevertheless: Thanks a lot Stuart for all the time and the effort that 
 you put into Slackware for ARM! I have been using Slackware on my 
 Sheevaplug and on a Dreamplug for several months now and i am looking 
 forward to install it on my new Raspberry PI. It's a great distribution!

 Michael Langfinger

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