Apollo Lake pc with emmc storage can't boot Debian

Help with issues regarding installation of Debian

Can't boot installer on "mixed-mode-systems" (Apollo Lake)

Postby TOMillr » 2018-04-24 20:05

I'm trying to install Debian on an Apollo Lake-based mini PC made by Beelink. The AP34 uses a N3450 chip, emmc storage and one of those UEFI-implementation that can only boot Windows.

However, I was hoping to get Debian working on the device as well, as the official documentation refers to similar mixed-mode systems saying:

Some systems have been released containing 64-bit Intel Atom CPUs (such as the Bay Trail), but unfortunately use 32-bit UEFI firmware with no BIOS compatibility mode. Using the 32-bit UEFI x86 support, an i386 installation should be possible on these machines but it won't make the most of the 64-bit hardware.

Debian Jessie (8.0) was the first Linux distribution to include full support for mixed-mode UEFI installation on these machines. The multi-arch installation media (available in netinst and DVD form) include the UEFI boot loaders necessary for both i386 and amd64 boot. By selecting "64-bit install" from the initial boot menu, debian-installer will install a 64-bit (amd64) version of Debian. The system will automatically detect that the underlying UEFI firmware is 32-bit and will install the appropriate version of grub-efi to work with it.


Unfortunately, this does not seem to work on newer Apollo Lake devices:

The system just freezes instantly to a non-blinking cursor the second I select the usb drive holding the Debian install media from the UEFI boot menu.

I've already tried both the regular Debian )debian-9.4.0-amd64-netinst.iso) as well as the multi-arch (debian-9.4.0-amd64-i386-netinst.iso) images.

The iso were copied to a usb stick using Rufus (Fat32/GPT/4096 Bytes/iso & dd image modes). But I also gave Unetbootin and Etcher a try.

Also, I can boot the Debian installer from the very same usb stick on my Mac and NUC without any issues.

Any way to fix this in an upcoming build? Is there a way to somewhere open a ticket regarding this issue?
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Re: Apollo Lake pc with emmc storage can't boot Debian

Postby pylkko » 2018-04-25 08:37

_nobody_ wrote:I have simplified the BSP rules (in other words boot-loader/UEFI). Here are the rules:


No offence, but those rules make little sense to me.
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Re: Can't boot installer on "mixed-mode-systems" (Apollo Lak

Postby pylkko » 2018-04-25 08:40

You know Debian has 4.9 kernel and it might just not be able to boot these new models. Can you boot anything on it with any method?

EDIT: but wait, now I see that you have double posted that you explain all this and more about the problem in the other thread.
viewtopic.php?f=17&t=137301
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Re: Apollo Lake pc with emmc storage can't boot Debian

Postby dilberts_left_nut » 2018-04-25 09:04

Duplicate threads merged.
AdrianTM wrote:There's no hacker in my grandma...
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Re: Can't boot installer on "mixed-mode-systems" (Apollo Lak

Postby TOMillr » 2018-04-25 16:10

pylkko wrote:Can you boot anything on it with any method?

Besides Windows 10 x64 I've been able to only boot AltLinux, the custom Apollo Lake build of Ubuntu by Linuxium or any other distro that uses the rEFInd boot manager.
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Re: Apollo Lake pc with emmc storage can't boot Debian

Postby TOMillr » 2018-05-02 18:34

Anything I can do you help to maybe get support for Apollo Lake devices?
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Re: Apollo Lake pc with emmc storage can't boot Debian

Postby debiman » 2018-05-03 02:54

TOMillr wrote:The only Linux build I've been able to boot, is this Ubuntu iso, which has been specifically modified to run on Intel Atom and Apollo Lake devices:

http://linuxiumcomau.blogspot.com/2018/ ... pollo.html

Is there a way to replicate this process to also get Debian working?

maybe yes, maybe no. you'd need to try it.
maybe debian stable is too old for it already, maybe you'd need to go testing or do some kernel backporting.
but why not stick with ubuntu and save yourself the trouble?
although, fwiw, i'd try to go for the new 18.04 LTS.

i know the feeling, you get a device only to discover that linux support is hardly more than experimental for it, and the choice of available distros that don't require serious tinkering is, erm, usually just ubuntu...
here's some more search results for you.
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Re: Apollo Lake pc with emmc storage can't boot Debian

Postby TOMillr » 2018-05-03 20:50

debiman wrote:but why not stick with ubuntu and save yourself the trouble?
although, fwiw, i'd try to go for the new 18.04 LTS.

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS works on my system. However, also only buy using the respun iso from Linuxium which uses the rEFInd boot manager instead.

I'd prefer to run Debian because of OpenMediaVault or the extra small DietPi not being available on Ubuntu.
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Re: Apollo Lake pc with emmc storage can't boot Debian

Postby pepemopap » 2018-05-16 07:09

I have exactly the same issue in Apollo Lake laptop. Any advance?
I have tried to to install refind in a USB. It runs and detects debian live in the other USB but freezes when select it.
I have tried to modifi refind.conf file trying to launch debian kernel directrly from usb writing new menuentry, without success.
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Re: Apollo Lake pc with emmc storage can't boot Debian

Postby debiman » 2018-05-26 06:27

pepemopap wrote:Any advance?

i think you're ignorant of debian's release cycle.
ask again in a year or so.
meanwhile, use ubuntu or something even more rolling.
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Re: Apollo Lake pc with emmc storage can't boot Debian

Postby pepemopap » 2018-05-28 08:14

I found in BunsenLabs forum a possible solution: https://www.debian.org/releases/stretch/amd64/apds03.html.en
The idea is install basic Debian from Ubuntu and install refind for boot.

debiman wrote:i think you're ignorant of debian's release cycle.
ask again in a year or so.
meanwhile, use ubuntu or something even more rolling.

The best thing about Linux is the possibility to fix and configure systems, no need to wait next release. And some people have fun doing it. May be you ignore that, Debiman.
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Re: Apollo Lake pc with emmc storage can't boot Debian

Postby debiman » 2018-05-29 01:15

The best thing about Linux is the possibility to fix and configure systems, no need to wait next release. And some people have fun doing it.

maybe so, but not debian stable.
there's plenty other distros you can do that with, we are not trying to take your toys away!
again, you clearly have not understood debian's release cycle.
don't spout, read.

i think you didn't even read all of this thread, just thought the title is close enough to some problem you're experiencing.
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Re: Apollo Lake pc with emmc storage can't boot Debian

Postby pepemopap » 2018-05-31 21:47

debiman wrote:
The best thing about Linux is the possibility to fix and configure systems, no need to wait next release. And some people have fun doing it.

maybe so, but not debian stable.
there's plenty other distros you can do that with, we are not trying to take your toys away!
again, you clearly have not understood debian's release cycle.
don't spout, read.

i think you didn't even read all of this thread, just thought the title is close enough to some problem you're experiencing.


Thanks you very much for your answer
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Re: Apollo Lake pc with emmc storage can't boot Debian

Postby pepemopap » 2018-06-01 10:13

Finally I have made it work. Despite the confusion of Debiman, my problem is the same than TOMillr: a new laptop with Apollo Lake processor (Teclast F7 with intel n3450) cant boot using Grub. When Grub start only appear black screen with no blinking cursor.

Refind loader is the solution. These steps are for run USB Debian installer using Refind instead preinstalled Grub:
  • Download Debian netinstall iso and dump it to usb: dd if=debian-9.4.0-amd64-netinstall.iso of=/dev/sdX bs=1M
  • Use fdisk for delete the existent small EFI partition in USB and create new 100MB EFI partition.
  • Format the new partition: mkfs.vfat /dev/sdX2
  • In the USB EFI partition create the directoroy: /EFI/install/
  • Mount or extract debian-9.4.0-amd64-netinstall.iso and copy the files /install.amd/gtk/vmlinuz and /install.amd/gtk/initrd.gz to /EFI/install/
  • Download refind bin zip file: http://www.rodsbooks.com/refind/getting.html
  • Copy refind dir from the zip to /EFI/refind
  • Rename the file /EFI/refind/refind.conf-sample to refind.conf
  • Edit refind.conf and add:
    Code: Select all
    menuentry Debian Install {
       volume "Debian 9.4.0 amd64 n"
       loader /EFI/install/vmlinuz
       initrd /EFI/install/initrd.gz
       options "root=/dev/sdb1 rw video=vesa:ywrap,mtrr vga=788 boot=install.amd/gtk"
    }
  • Reboot and load refind loader. One option is enter in EFI shell, and exec the commands:
    Code: Select all
    fs3:   (change 3 for the correspondent number of filesystem)
    cd EFI
    cd refind
    refind_x64.efi
  • In Refind menu select DEBIAN INSTALL option and install bunsen. No install GRUB and no change EFI partition.
  • Once installed copy refind dir to EFI partition in hard drive for boot. This recognics automatically Debian installation and others OS.


And now enjoying Debian in my new Laptop!
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