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Re: Guix on Novena

From: Vagrant Cascadian
Subject: Re: Guix on Novena
Date: Sun, 06 Sep 2020 07:23:33 -0700

On 2020-09-06, Andreas Enge wrote:
> On Wed, Sep 02, 2020 at 11:33:22AM -0700, Vagrant Cascadian wrote:
>> Yes, I would recommend installing Guix System directly to SATA, since
>> u-boot can boot from SATA partitions marked bootable (either MBR or GPT
>> though what GPT calls it I forget), and SATA will perform better, of
>> course.
> So far, I am using an external USB disk, which probably is not in the
> boot sequence.

From the u-boot prompt:

  printenv boot_targets

Should output something like:

  mmc1 mmc0 sata0 usb0 pxe


  setenv boot_targets usb0

Might get it to boot from usb only... I've also had occasional troubles
with some USB ports on the novena, so you might need to move it between
ports to find one that works consistantly.

> This is why the configuration has this:
>   (bootloader (bootloader-configuration
>                (bootloader u-boot-novena-bootloader)
>                (target "/dev/mmcblk1")))
> to boot from the SD card. By the way, why /dev/mmcblk1, which also appears
> in the installation-os? Is this valid when an additional SATA disk is plugged
> in? My SD card is called /dev/mmcblk0, and there are several partitions;
> do I give /dev/mmcblk0 or /dev/mmcblk0p1 as the argument?

The bootloader needs to be installed on the raw SD device, not a
partition, so /dev/mmcblk0 or /dev/mmcblk1 (or if you're installing the
bootloader using an sd-to-usb adapter, /dev/sd{a,b...}).

I'm not sure if the bootloader can be installed on the full-sized SD
slot, but certainly works with the annoying microSD slot. Sometimes the
enumeration of the device number may vary from one kernel version or
even boot to the next (though it's gotten more stable in recent years).

I forget off the top of my head how you can pass a no-op to the boot
configuration to just generate the extlinux.conf that is used by u-boot,
but that's also an option to relying on the existing boot loader,
presuming it supports all the features you need to boot (e.g. u-boot's
distro_boot support).

> Then later I have:
>   (file-systems (cons* (file-system
>                          (device (uuid 
> "f1062993-3776-47d2-8900-9e4f1d9fc8aa")) ; /dev/sda1
>                          (mount-point "/")
>                          (type "ext4"))
>                        %base-file-systems))
> so that the store and everything else should be on the disk.
> Will this separation work?

Should be fine, yes.

> Will mounting /dev/sda1 to /mnt and issuing "guix system init config.scm /mnt"
> work? (The handbook suggests to do "herd start cow-store /mnt", but I forgot
> what this is needed for.) Will it populate only /mnt/gnu/store, or also
> /gnu/store from the place where I call "guix system init"? Since the latter
> is almost full.

Someone else will have to answer this; it's been too long since I've
installed that way.

Thanks for working on getting some armhf build machines going!

After nearly a full day of building guile-static, I finally managed to
get the novena installation updated to a recent guix, running
linux-libre@5.8 (as well as testing 5.4 and various
linux-libre-arm-generic builds).

live well,

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