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Author Topic: Install of Debian Squeeze to SDHC on Sheevaplug hangs at 33% formatting ext3  (Read 7433 times)
mossroy
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« on: December 20, 2010, 08:14:14 AM »

Hi all,

I had difficulties installing Debian Squeeze on my Sheevaplug, on a 32GB SDHC card, following http://www.cyrius.com/debian/kirkwood/sheevaplug/install.html .
I found a workaround that I'd like to share. On the other hand, I did not find all the explanations yet.

I'm trying to install Debian Squeeze on a 32GB SDHC card (Kingston SDHC 32GB Class10).
As suggested in the Howto, I upgraded my U-Boot to 3.4.27+pingtoo.
I put the uImage and uInitrd on a USB stick (the versions from ftp.debian.org suggested in the Howto, as of december 2010).

The installation proccess ran normally : I chose the guided partitioning, using the entire disk with no separate partition for /home. But it stopped at 33% of formatting the the second partition : "Creating ext3 file system for / in partition #2 of MMC/SD card #1 (mmcblk0)...". I had no error message, and gave up waiting after a few hours.

I first thought it was the same issue as I had with my first sheevaplug/SDHC (see http://plugcomputer.org/plugforum/index.php?topic=352.0 ), so I recompiled the 2.6.32.25 kernel of sheeva.with-linux.com with highspeed disabled : not better
I finally was successful with a manual partitioning of the SD card (within the debian installer) instead of the automatic one.
Then I tried with the latest kernel (2.6.36.2, from http://sheeva.with-linux.com/sheeva/), and without highspeed disabled : it also works with manual partitioning (not automatic).

More precisely :
- 2.6.32 kernel (debian default) + automatic partitionning => fail
- 2.6.32 kernel (debian default) + manual partitionning => fail
- 2.6.32.25 kernel (from http://sheeva.with-linux.com/sheeva/) + highspeed disabled + automatic partitionning => fail
- 2.6.32.25 kernel (from http://sheeva.with-linux.com/sheeva/) + highspeed disabled + manual partitionning => success
- 2.6.32.25 kernel (from http://sheeva.with-linux.com/sheeva/) + automatic partitionning => fail
- 2.6.32.25 kernel (from http://sheeva.with-linux.com/sheeva/) + manual partitionning => success
- 2.6.36.2 kernel (from http://sheeva.with-linux.com/sheeva/) + automatic partitionning => fail
- 2.6.36.2 kernel (from http://sheeva.with-linux.com/sheeva/) + manual partitionning => success

So I think I had two different problems :
- The standard 2.6.32 debian squeeze kernel does not work with my SDHC card : the patches from sheeva.with-linux.com are definitely needed
Even after a successful install, if I boot the standard 2.6.32 kernel, I have I/O errors on the SD card.
If I put the sheeva.with-linux.com 2.6.32.25 kernel instead, it's stable.
I suppose it comes from the mvsdio patches.

- The automatic partitionning of Debian Installer fails on my configuration
The automatic partitionning gives the following :
  │        MMC/SD card #1 (mmcblk0) - 32.3 GB SD SD32G             ▒        │
  │        >     #1  primary  254.8 MB  B  F  ext2     /boot       ▒        │
  │        >     #2  primary   30.6 GB     f  ext3     /           ▒        │
  │        >     #5  logical    1.4 GB     F  swap     swap        ▒        │
... and it fails

If I delete all the partitions (in the debian installer), and try to create the same manual partitionning, it gives me :
  │        MMC/SD card #1 (mmcblk0) - 32.3 GB SD SD32G             ▒        │
  │        >     #1  primary  253.8 MB  B  f  ext2     /boot       ▒        │
  │        >     #2  primary   30.6 GB     f  ext3     /           ▒        │
  │        >     #5  logical    1.4 GB     f  swap     swap        ▒        │
... and it works
Note the size of the first partition : I wrote 254.8 MB  in the installer, and it gave me 253.8 MB (but that should not be important?)
I did not change any manual options other than the filesystem type, the mount point, the size, and the bootable flag

Could it be a bug in the Debian Installer?
Is there a way to have more details on the reason why the automatic partitionning fails? I tried to set the priority=low parameter (see http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/arm/ch05s03.html.fr) : the startup was more verbose, but it did not give me the reason of the partitionning failure.

To sum up, here is the workaround that works on my config :
- follow the instructions of http://www.cyrius.com/debian/kirkwood/sheevaplug/install.html , with a few exceptions :
    - don't use the uImage from debian.org : download one from http://sheeva.with-linux.com/sheeva/ (I tried 2.6.32.25 and 2.6.36.2)
    - there will be warnings during the install about some modules that can not be found : simply ignore them (but note that you won't be able to set up LVM or RAID)
    - don't use the automatic partitionning. Instead, through the Debian Installer, delete all the existing partitions, and create them from scratch (see above)
- when the installation is finished, don't boot directly on the SD card : you will need to replace the kernel on the SD card :
    - remove the SD card from the sheevaplug and mount it on another computer
    - in the first partition (containing a uImage file), replace this uImage file by the one you used for the installation
    - put the SD card in the sheevaplug back, and boot on it
    - there will be some warnings about some modules that can not be found : ignore them for now
    - install properly a kernel from http://sheeva.with-linux.com/sheeva/ . For example, for 2.6.36.2 :
        - wget http://sheeva.with-linux.com/sheeva/README-2.6.36.2
        - sh ./README-2.6.36.2

If you have any suggestion on how to further investigate the automatic partitionning problem...

Hope this helps
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mossroy
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« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2010, 10:20:00 AM »

I ran the same performance test as in http://www.computingplugs.com/index.php/SheevaPlug_Performance on this installation (the underlying filesystem is ext3) :
Write speed : 4.6 MB/s
Read speed : 16.7 MB/s

That's really disappointing for a class 10 card : in the above link, they achieve 6.5 MB/s on write & 19.0 MB/s on read, on a class 6 card.
So I tried to plug the same SD card on my PC, and ran the same tests :
Write speed : 6.0 MB/s
Read speed :  19.1 MB/s

Conclusions :
- my class 10 SDHC card is not faster than a class 6
- it is slower on the sheevaplug than on the PC (13% on read, 23% on write)
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con
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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2011, 04:00:13 PM »

The hanging at 33% is known and it's not actually hanging. From Cyrius' trouble shooting page.

Debian installer
Formating the disk is stuck at 33%
Formating the disk may take a long time, especially if you have a large disk. Unfortunately, the progress bar is not updated while the disk is being formated so you may think that it is stuck (at 33%). If this happens, just be patient. The installer is in fact formating your disk.

http://www.cyrius.com/debian/kirkwood/sheevaplug/troubleshooting.html
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mossroy
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« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2011, 03:01:54 PM »

Well, I think I have waited several hours before giving up.
That might have been an explanation, but I don't understand why it would take several hours with the automatic partitioning, and only several minutes with a manual partitioning.

I'll try again next time I reinstall the plug. Debian squeeze is now final so maybe it will be better...
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areguly
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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2011, 01:46:51 PM »

Hi, thanks for the report

Did you reinstall? any better with squeeze final ? I have the same thing only using a  8 gig SD card
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mossroy
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« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2011, 02:05:45 PM »

No, I did not reinstall this 32GB SDHC so far.
I installed another 8GB SHDC card successfully, with debian squeeze final. The process did not stop at 33%, even with automatic partitionning.
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mossroy
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« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2011, 06:47:54 AM »

Today I tested a reinstall on the 32GB SDHC card I was mentioning, on the same sheevaplug.
I upgraded u-boot to version 2011.03, and used latest version of debian squeeze installer (dated 2011-06-22).

I had the exact same behavior : the standard install fails. I need to use a patched kernel from sheeva.with-linux.com (I used version 3.0.4) AND a manual partitioning for the install to succeed.
The patched kernel prevents I/O errors during install, and the manual partitioning prevents the formatting process to stop at 33% on the ext2 partition.
More precisely :
- 2.6.32 kernel (debian squeeze default) + automatic partitionning => fail
- 2.6.32 kernel (debian squeeze default) + manual partitionning => fail
- 3.0.4 kernel (from http://sheeva.with-linux.com/sheeva/) + automatic partitionning => fail
- 3.0.4 kernel (from http://sheeva.with-linux.com/sheeva/) + manual partitionning => success

Then I tried to install wheezy, to see if it's better, using uImage and uInitrd from http://ftp://ftp.debian.org/debian/dists/wheezy/main/installer-armel/current/images/kirkwood/netboot/marvell/sheevaplug/
I had the exact same behavior on these 4 tests. But I suspect the wheezy installer for sheevaplug to be out of date for now (the uImage and uInitrd are dated 2011-01-17...)

On manual partitioning, I used the same partition sizes as above (except that I did not create the swap partition, and let the ext3 partition go to the end)

To conclude, I think that my SDHC card is to blame.
Before making this reinstallation, I sometimes noticed I/O errors on the SD card. So I recompiled my kernel with highspeed disabled and the sheevaplug was stable.
I'll see if I still need to disable this highspeed feature with 3.0.4 kernel.
In any case, I'll try to keep this SD card as long as I have a workaround...

Hope this might help other unlucky SD card owners...
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