Back in November, Michael Stapelberg blogged about running (pure) Debian on the Raspberry Pi 3. This is pretty exciting because Raspbian still provide 32 bit packages, so this means you can run a true ARM64 OS on the Pi. Unfortunately, one of the major missing pieces with Debian on the Pi3 at this time is broken video support.

A helpful person known as "SandPox" wrote to me in June to explain that they had working video for a custom kernel build on top of pure Debian on the Pi, and they achieved this simply by enabling CONFIG_FB_SIMPLE in the kernel configuration. On request, this has since been enabled for official Debian kernel builds.

Michael and I explored this and eventually figured out that this does work when building the kernel using the upstream build instructions, but it doesn't work when building using the Debian kernel package's build instructions.

I've since ran out of time to look at this more, so I wrote to request help from the debian-kernel mailing list, alas, nobody has replied yet.

I've put up the dmesg.txt for a boot with the failing kernel, which might offer some clues. Can anyone help figure out what's wrong?

Thanks to Michael for driving efforts for Debian on the Pi, and to SandPox for getting in touch to make their first contribution to Debian. Thanks also to Daniel Silverstone who loaned me an ARM64 VM (from Scaleway) upon which I performed some of my kernel builds.


Comments

comment 1

Hi Jonathan,

What do you mean by "broken video support"? No video at all, or you can't do something specific.

Thanks for the post!

-m

Comment by Matt Zagrabelny
comment 1

With only 4 GiB RAM, you can run a 32-bit system on it.

Actually, you’d probably want for something like x32 for ARM (basically arm64-but-ILP32). The net gain is likely not as high as with x86, where i386→x32 more than doubled the number of available registers in addition to widening them, but possibly still decent.

Comment by mirabilos
comment 3

What do you mean by "broken video support"? No video at all, or you can't do something specific.

No video at all, after the GFX card initialisation image that you get (the colour square).

jon