Table of Contents

Downloading install media

The following installer images are suitable for use on your Developerbox:

After downloading an installer image, please carefully study the list of platform quirks and workarounds below. If you need further information to complete the install process then there is a Developerbox specific guide to Booting an operating system installer which should be read together with the Debian GNU/Linux Installation Guide for arm64.

Quirks and workarounds

[Hardware] Enable PCIe transaction size workaround

The current revision of SC2A11 contains PCIe bus integration logic that does not correctly split certain types of bus transaction. These transactions are commonly initiated to PCIe devices with on board RAM, such as graphics cards. The Developerbox firmware is able to partially workaround this issue by using the virtualization hardware to prohibit certain types of memory mapping.

See the Known Issues for more details.

The firmware workaround is controlled by DSW3-2. Ensure this DIP switch is in the on position before starting the installer.

[Hardware] USB/PCIe networking

Debian 9 (stretch) is based on the v4.9 kernel, released at the end of 2016. The v4.9 kernel does not include support for the built-in network interface. This must be worked around by using an external network device.

Both PCIe or USB network devices are suitable for this, although it is important to select a device that is already supported by the Debian kernel. If in doubt, please ask on the Developerbox forum.

[Hardware] Ensure graphics card is in the x16 slot

Debian 9 (stretch) is based on a kernel without sufficient support for Developerbox to access a PCIe graphics card across a bridge.

Both PCIe x1 slots are connected to a bridge. If you have a graphics card installed in your Developerbox it must use the x16 slot.

[Firmware] Set O/S Hardware Description to ACPI

Debian 9 (stretch) is based on the v4.9 kernel, released at the end of 2016. This kernel does not contain sufficient support for boot Developerbox from a device tree. This is solved by changing the hardware description from device tree to ACPI.

To switch to ACPI mode:

  • Press Escape once the Press ESCAPE for boot options message appears
  • Select Device Manager and SynQuacer Platform Settings
  • Select O/S Hardware Description and choose ACPI
  • Press Escape and then press Y to save and exit
  • Press Escape again, to return to the main menu
  • Select Reset

[Install, First boot] Disable incompatible PCIe features (<=9.4 only)

Two features must be disabled to allow PCIe to enumerate and allocate interrupts correctly. Patches to address the underlying issues are regarded as bug fixes and we expect these to be backported to stable kernels. Once these get into the Debian images (expected in Debian 9.5) then these features need no longer be explicitly disabled.

If your kernel is affected the workaround is described below

For install and first boot:

  • Wait for the grub menu to appear, then press e to edit the commands before booting
  • Use the editor to add pcie_aspm=off pci=nomsi to the kernel command line (this is the line commencing with the word linux)
  • Check this document for any other [First boot] workarounds. Once all kernel arguments are updated, boot the kernel by pressing F10.

To make the change permanent:

  • Wait for Debian to boot, then login and start a Terminal application
  • Edit /etc/default/grub as root, for example: sudo nano /etc/default/grub
  • Add pcie_aspm=off pci=nomsi to GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT
  • Save the file and close the editor
  • Run sudo update-grub to regenerate the grub config files

[First boot] Enable GT-710 clock mode workaround

The GT-710 graphics card provided in the kit may occasionally freeze. This is a generic nouveau driver issue that affects many different kernel versions across both x86 and Arm platforms. It can be worked around by passing a config option to the nouveau driver.

On first boot:

  • Press Shift once the Press ESCAPE for boot options message appears, this will bring up the grub menu
  • Press e to edit the commands before booting
  • Use the editor to add nouveau.config=NvClkMode=auto to the kernel command line (this is the line commencing linux /boot/vmlinuz...)
  • Check this document for any other [First boot] workarounds. Once all kernel arguments are updated, boot the kernel by pressing F10.

To make the change permanent:

  • Wait for Debian to boot, then login and start a Terminal application
  • Edit /etc/default/grub as root, for example: sudo nano /etc/default/grub
  • Add nouveau.config=NvClkMode=auto from GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT
  • Save the file and close the editor
  • Run sudo update-grub to regenerate the grub config files

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