Debian on raspberry pi zero w

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Debian on raspberry pi zero w

Postby ljones0 » 2017-10-29 23:32

Hello all!

Was wondering - how easy (or otherwise) is it to create some sort of debian installation to run on a raspberry pi zero w?

From what I have read, the zero and zerow are both armel devices, just like the older raspberry pi devices. The newer pi 2 and 3 are both armhf.

I understand that raspbian exists and works on all devices but although it will work on the zero w there's a problem. Since the zero w is an armel (not armhf) device but if you use raspbian on the zerow it reports it as being armhf(!). This confusion can mean some things don't work - and the reason I'm wanting to create some sort of debian/armel install is so I can use the TDE (trinity desktop). However it only works on a armel or armhf device and not the mixed-up zero w! And no you can't run armel code on armhf (mixing them up) without problems.....

Also how much (or little) support does debian have in its kernel for the zero w? Or would it require a completely new compiled kernel? I am guessing just pinching the kernel from raspbian would not work again because of armel/armhf differences.

I have found scripts that can generate images that can be written onto a micro sd card, but those are only for the pi 2 and 3. Nothing seems to exist for zero w!

Can anyone help? Thanks

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Re: Debian on raspberry pi zero w

Postby pylkko » 2017-10-30 21:07

There are indeed projects that have used Debian on Raspberry pi by pinching the kernel from RPI foundation, but only on hardfloat, because this is supported by Debian officially. This means later RPi's with armv7 architecture.

However, in your case I believe you are approaching the problem in a perhaps inappropriate manner. If indeed you only want to use Debian because of TDE, would it not be much easier to compile the DE from the source for Raspbian armv6? You could use another computer for faster compilation time (cross compile).
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Re: Debian on raspberry pi zero w

Postby debiman » 2017-10-31 06:12

not sure i understand the question.
search for 'armel' on this page:
https://www.debian.org/distrib/netinst
?
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Re: Debian on raspberry pi zero w

Postby pylkko » 2017-10-31 12:59

debiman wrote:not sure i understand the question.
search for 'armel' on this page:
https://www.debian.org/distrib/netinst
?


Debian armel, unlike Raspbian, does not utilize hard floating point math at all (or well). And you need to use the custom kernel still. The foundation is aiming to get full mainline support in the future, however.

Raspbian is Debian armhf rebuilt for the RPi's ARMv6+VFP2 ARM variant. Source:

https://wiki.debian.org/RaspberryPi

And normal Debian armhf only supports armv7 and better, so cannot be used on Raspberry pi's with the BCM2835 processor (although it can be used on the ones with the BCM2836 or BCM2837 processors)
In light of all this, I would consider compiling TDE for Raspbian instead. The TDE site has info on how
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