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Re: [Libreboot] Operating System for Asus C201

From: Daniel Tarrero
Subject: Re: [Libreboot] Operating System for Asus C201
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2016 10:58:21 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.23 (2014-03-12)

good morning folks!

i see, in order to run Triskel the main problem is the Chromebook architecture 
(type of processor).
It's not a well known x86 (386,486,Pentium and so), its more like a smart 
phone: ARM architecture.
Triskel is not compiled to support this processors, so long path going this way.

Debian is compiled to support all the processors they can =)
Just talking about Distro (after libreboot, after boot manager, after kernel) 
you'll find a lot of less problems going with Debian.

You probably can talk with Triskel package maintainers, because they show 
interest in doing it, and help them to compile all the packages in Triskel for 
ARM processors.
Also i think all -APT- based package distribution can be "sourced from sources 
and compiled". If possible, your distribution can be Triskel too, appart from 
Debian, without a lot of headaches. Im not 100% sure this still exists, but 90% 

So the big bone here is the kernel, and there's a couple of bad guys there:

- the google's kernel is signed (EFI stuff, workaround with developer mode)
- the google's kernel has blobs (or binaries), and they are hard to "cut out" 
(they stat that 'linux-libre' script that deblobs the google kernel doesnt work 
right out the box).
- debian kernel in vanilla flavour doesnt look like ready (no screen, no 
serial, no fun)

There are also more paths to follow:

- there seem to be a lot of documentation in building your own chrome-os / 
- there is also a lot for Linux Kernel compile, maybe too much
- there are a several success histories installing Debian there =)

If i were you, i would take the easy way (and from there, complicate the 

You have your libreboot flashed. Try the path to install Debian with Google's 
From there, you will have a full distro to try to compile other kernels (your 
own deblob Google kernel, or maybe a Linux kernel that works) and a working 
boot manager to test them.

somebody looks 4 me, read u latter =)

On Tue, Apr 19, 2016 at 06:32:11PM +0200, Robin Vobruba wrote:
> as i understand, (one of) the main things to do is writing and
> maintaining a linux-libre deblob script for the chromium kernel
> sources, as these sources are quite different form the main-kernel
> sources, for which such scripts exist.
> a thread on the trisquel forum is here:
> relating to one comment on the forum, it might make sense to donate an
> asus C201 to the trisquel devs (or maybe the linux-libre script
> maintainers), in the case that money is something you have a lot of.
> 2016-04-18 16:57 GMT+02:00, Daniel Tarrero <address@hidden>:
> > Hi dude! i add some stuff in between your lines:
> >
> > On Sun, Apr 17, 2016 at 02:23:18PM +0100, Mike wrote:
> >> Hi,
> >>
> >> I recently purchased an Asus C201 and have flashed libreboot to it. I
> >> would
> >> like to express my thanks to everyone involved in the libreboot
> >> development
> >> and in particular to Paul Kocialkowski, your work is very much
> >> appreciated.
> >
> > \\o o// \\o \o/ < me too!
> >
> >>
> >> I am now at the stage of installing an operating system on to the laptop
> >> and
> >> have a few questions that I would very much appreciate some help with
> >> before
> >> I begin:
> >
> > ... you have pass the most hard part!
> >
> >> 1) There was talk approximately six months ago about porting some
> >> libre-linux distributions to this laptop.I have searched online about
> >> this
> >> but not found any updated information.Does anyone know if any progress
> >> has
> >> been made in this area please?
> >
> > libre-linux? Debian and Triskel are cousins =) i explain myself:
> > i think you are worry about what comes inside, isnt it?
> >
> > All is about including (or not, or when) pre-compiled binaries.
> >
> > Triskel distribution refuses to include ANY software in binary that has not
> > its sources published.
> > That's why the hardware support is somehow limited, because a lot of HW
> > manufacturers doesnt offer instructions, sources, and just deliver a
> > precompiled binary that you have to trust.
> >
> > Debian also loves this approach, they dont like binaries, but they are a
> > little less "purist".
> > In the case you use Debian and have, lets call it 'propietary hardware', you
> > can add them to your Debian.
> >
> > Have you read about Debian Main, Contrib and NON-Free repositories? time to
> > do so :)
> >   - Main: GNU, like triskel
> >   - Contrib: Maybe no GNU, but sources available
> >   - Non-Free: binaries, almost all are firmwares and windows drivers
> >
> > Regardless the distribution you choose (good choices i must agree :) you
> > have to pay attention to what you install.
> > Both, with sources or not, all packages are .deb
> > Also sometimes you will find support for the same hardware, in "binary from
> > vendor" and in "community developed sources/binaries".
> > Let's say for example, AWARD bios vs Libreboot, or the other very common
> > "nvidia official drivers" vs "nouveau" community driven.
> >
> > You can have a full "purist" Debian, or not. You can have 'by default
> > purist' Triskel, and install a propietary closed binary somewhere...
> >
> > So pay attention; good start.
> >
> > In the other side, for example, Ubuntu, Suse or Red Hat include binaries
> > from different vendors in default instalations, with less or no advise than
> > more pure GNU distributions.
> > Their approach is "it must work", so they tend to include to avoid common
> > users headhaches.
> >
> >
> >> 2) In the absence of any libre-linux distros I intend to install Debian
> >> and
> >> have been familiarising myself with the online guide for the C201.
> >>
> >>
> >> I understand that this involves copying/reusing the original chrome OS
> >> kernel that came with the device or compiling a chromium OS kernel from
> >> source.Is there any risk that either of these kernels contain any of
> >> Google’s privacy invading/tracking software?
> >
> > Well, when someone distribute sources alongside the binaries, this open two
> > good paths:
> > 1. for you to compile your own binary (in case they put the glitch and
> > remove from sources, you will be safe)
> > 2. for you to read, understand and modify sources, and then compile (nothing
> > hidden here, all in your control, but...)
> >
> > ... but take into account that just kernel sources (the smalles part of a
> > distribution) has around 15 million lines.
> >
> > With binary distribution you close those paths: you cant read sources,
> > hardly modify the binary, and almost impossible to fully understand all this
> > software does.
> >
> >
> >> 3) I suspect that it is preferable to build the chromium OS kernel from
> >> source.I have seen a suggestion that it would be sensible to remove the
> >> binary blobs from the source before compiling .Could anyone please
> >> provide
> >> guidance on what to remove and how to remove it?
> >
> > You are in the edge of a big jump dude; compile a kernel can be hard (or
> > not, depends in your knowledge about kernel itself and the hardware you are
> > running).
> > Read before jump, or maybe can be great if there is an "Install Party"
> > somewhere close to you (meetings where Linux users met and share knowledge
> > to install Linux in PC).
> > There use to be one in each Gamming parties here where i live.
> >
> > If you build it, you can cut down pieces of sources (or included binaries)
> > you dont like.
> > For example, i use to compile "super-mini" kernels for my server (because
> > they almost have no hardware).
> > Also is easy to cut down things you dont know they are needed... ^^ panic
> > for all!! hehehe
> >
> > The boot process should be: Libreboot (done!) > Grub/Lilo (read;) > kernel >
> > Distribution
> > Grub or Lilo are boot managers that will help you to try different kernels
> > (i have a Grub's menu on boot with different kernel to choose on boot).
> >
> > So read and understand how your boot manager works before diving into custom
> > kernels. Will save you a lot of pain in the ass :)
> >
> > Regards,
> > D
> >
> >

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