Release Pandora SD Installer


Dave1234

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This PND automates the process of installing the Pandora OS to an SD card.


EDIT: Don't use this version, the latest one is here.


Instructions:


1. Copy the PND to an SD card in the usual manner. Also copy a firmware image to the same card. You can get one from here, the file "pandora-rootfs.tar.bz2" should always be the latest image, older ones are under the "images" directory.


2. Get a second SD card that you want to install the OS to. This needs to be at least a 2 GB card. Everything on this card will be erased, so choose wisely.


3. Put the card to install the OS to in the LEFT slot and the card with the PND and firmware image in the RIGHT slot.


4. Run the PND and follow the prompts*. You will be asked for the firmware image file, then asked to choose how much space to allocate to the VFAT (Windows) partition (see below).


5. Once you have gone through all the prompts, the firmware image will be installed to the SD card. This will take upwards of ten minutes, so go for a cup of tea, practice the ukulele, whatever you like.


6. Once complete, you will be able to boot your Pandora from the SD card by powering it on with the card in the left slot. Please note that the first boot will take longer than usual, about ten minutes.


* When the PND starts you will be asked for your password. This is needed because the installer needs to run as root in order to partition and format the SD card.


About the VFAT partition thing:


Some older Pandora boot loaders cannot boot from Linux (EXT2/EXT3) partitions on an SD card (I think that this has been fixed now). To allow for maximum compatibility, the installer creates two partitions, the first one is a VFAT (Windows) partition which contains the Linux kernel and boot script, the second is a EXT3 (Linux) partition which contains the rest of the OS.


The VFAT partition can be very small as it only contains two files, but the installer allows you to make the VFAT partition bigger to allow you to install PNDs to it. The installer creates the required directories (pandora/apps, pandora/appdata, pandora/desktop and pandora/menu) for you.


Finally, this is beta software, use with caution, no warranties.


Edit: Added a note about entering your password and listed all the PND directories that the installer will create.

sd_install.pnd
 

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gruso

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I had a 1GB card in the slot ready to test, and it came up 3MB short... then I came back and read the thread properly. Currently installing to a 2GB microSD! (Interestingly, I think it identified a suspect SD card. The first microSD I tried would not report a size, and I could not proceed.)


While the install is in progress, some thoughts. I tend to run a 'permanent' SD in the left slot, and play swapsies on the right. But this installer wants the left slot to be the target. I realise there was never any danger of suddenly formatting my primary card, but perhaps there is a way for the PND to identify the slot it's running from, and inform the user straight away? eg.



Code:
This installer is running from a card in the left slot. It needs to run from the right slot. Please swap slots and start again.


That aside, the rest of the process was smooth as silk. Lots of clear, informative prompts that gave me confidence in the process the whole way through. This is going to open up SD booting to lots more people. Nicely done. :)


(And as I finish typing this, my new welcome screen is up.)
 

milkshake

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can you please add the ability to create a swap partition? and to choose the size of the partition you want to use for the swap?
 

skeezix

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Fyi appdata is made automatically so the only dirs you may want to make are /pandora/menu and /pandora/desktop


Jeffphone
 

milkshake

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is there anyway of hiding/preventing the mounted(system) folder showing up on desktop as as a memory card?
 

Dave1234

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I had a 1GB card in the slot ready to test, and it came up 3MB short... then I came back and read the thread properly. Currently installing to a 2GB microSD! (Interestingly, I think it identified a suspect SD card. The first microSD I tried would not report a size, and I could not proceed.)

Well the minimum size is based on an estimate to be honest. A 1 GB card might work, I'll see if I can find one to test. Odd that your other microSD card doesn't report a size though. Can you do an fdisk -l on that card and let me know what it says?

While the install is in progress, some thoughts. I tend to run a 'permanent' SD in the left slot, and play swapsies on the right. But this installer wants the left slot to be the target. I realise there was never any danger of suddenly formatting my primary card, but perhaps there is a way for the PND to identify the slot it's running from, and inform the user straight away? eg.

I did it that way for clarity but this is an option I could look into adding. It should be possible.

That aside, the rest of the process was smooth as silk. Lots of clear, informative prompts that gave me confidence in the process the whole way through. This is going to open up SD booting to lots more people. Nicely done. :)


(And as I finish typing this, my new welcome screen is up.)

Good news. Thanks for trying it out Gruso.
 

Dave1234

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Does it include a toolchain for compiling stuff, like kernel, or some games?
If you use the official firmware image then no, it doesn't. However, there is no reason why you couldn't use another firmware image and include anything you like.
 

Dave1234

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Fyi appdata is made automatically so the only dirs you may want to make are /pandora/menu and /pandora/desktop
The installer actually creates all four folders (apps, appdata, menu and desktop). I should have made that clearer in the instructions.
 

Dave1234

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I had a 1GB card in the slot ready to test, and it came up 3MB short... then I came back and read the thread properly. Currently installing to a 2GB microSD! (Interestingly, I think it identified a suspect SD card. The first microSD I tried would not report a size, and I could not proceed.)
I´ve tried a 1 GB card now and it's worked with no problems:



Code:
Pandora:~$ sudo fdisk -l /dev/mmcblk0


Disk /dev/mmcblk0: 1030 MB, 1030225920 bytes

4 heads, 3 sectors/track, 167680 cylinders

Units = cylinders of 12 * 512 = 6144 bytes

Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes

Disk identifier: 0x3bd28fd1


        Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System

/dev/mmcblk0p1   *           1         684        4102+   b  W95 FAT32

/dev/mmcblk0p2             685      167680     1001976   83  Linux



Code:
Pandora:~$ df -h

Filesystem                Size      Used Available Use% Mounted on

/dev/root               963.1M    670.4M    243.7M  73% /

tmpfs                    40.0K         0     40.0K   0% /mnt/.splash

none                    121.5M    220.0K    121.3M   0% /dev

/dev/mmcblk0p2          963.1M    670.4M    243.7M  73% /media/mmcblk0p2

/dev/mmcblk0p1            4.0M      2.2M      1.7M  56% /media/mmcblk0p1

/dev/mmcblk1p1            1.9G      1.1G    777.9M  59% /media/mmcblk1p1

tmpfs                   121.5M      1.5M    120.0M   1% /var/volatile

tmpfs                   121.5M         0    121.5M   0% /dev/shm

tmpfs                   121.5M         0    121.5M   0% /media/ram


As you can see, there is plenty of space left, so my minimum size estimate was off. I´ll change it in the next version.
 

gruso

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I guess some 1GB cards will still come up a little short like mine did. That's a random product issue though, not yours!


I love cosurgi's idea of adding a compiler etc, but the best options in that area may evolve, so I agree that it should be a separate install for the user. (Or this stuff should be included in the stock firmware image by OPT. But that's another discussion.)


As an aside, that first microSD I tried showed up in gparted as having no partition at all. Fixed and behaving normally now.
 

Dave1234

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I guess some 1GB cards will still come up a little short like mine did. That's a random product issue though, not yours!

I'll still tweak the size limit though, as my tests show that 1 GB is enough for a workable system.

I love cosurgi's idea of adding a compiler etc, but the best options in that area may evolve, so I agree that it should be a separate install for the user. (Or this stuff should be included in the stock firmware image by OPT. But that's another discussion.)

Another option would be a PND that runs opkg to install the relevant packages for you.

As an aside, that first microSD I tried showed up in gparted as having no partition at all. Fixed and behaving normally now.

I wonder if this is a problem with SD cards with no partition table, just a single FAT filesystem that takes up the whole card? I'll try it out.
 

gruso

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Since you're looking further into that, I'll do my best to remember exactly what happened... it recognised the card, and reported the size without a number, something like this:



Code:
 MB card detected in left slot

I continued on to setting the vfat partition size. It told me to enter a figure between 4 and -1024. No number, positive or negative, was accepted as a valid figure. At that point I cancelled and moved on to the next microSD which was fine.
 

Dave1234

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Since you're looking further into that, I'll do my best to remember exactly what happened... it recognised the card, and reported the size without a number, something like this:



Code:
 MB card detected in left slot

I continued on to setting the vfat partition size. It told me to enter a figure between 4 and -1024. No number, positive or negative, was accepted as a valid figure. At that point I cancelled and moved on to the next microSD which was fine.

I've tried reformatting a 1 GB card to have a single FAT filesystem without a partition table and the size was still detected correctly, so it's not what I thought it was.


My guess is that something about the card confused fdisk (which is used to do the size detection) and it returned an error which was not trapped.


Even if I don't figure out what the problem is, I'll add a sanity check to the size detection routine so it at least gives you a sensible message.
 

peelie

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hi


will this work only using pandora-rootfs.tar.bz2 files or can it be worked with the following image files:


bootf.tgz


boot.scr


rootfs.img


cheers


note i want to downgrade to HF4 and only have the above type of files
 
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Dave1234

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Feb 26, 2009
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hi


will this work only using pandora-rootfs.tar.bz2 files or can it be worked with the following image files:


bootf.tgz


boot.scr


rootfs.img


cheers


note i want to downgrade to HF4 and only have the above type of files
Right now you need a rootfs.tar.bz2 file, but you should be able to find the one for HF4 in this directory. Unfortunately, they are not marked as which hotfix they are. Unless someone can tell you which one is which, it's a case of trial and error.
 
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