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Poincare
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:10 am    Post subject: GENTOO on Asus RT-N16 Reply with quote

Hello peoples,

New to this but wanted to say that the Asus RT-N16 has 128MB RAM, 32MB flash and sports a Broadcom BCM4716 cpu @ 480mhz. I believe this is a MIPS processor, but the Gentoo MIPS guide makes no reference to installing on this system/cpu. I could find nothing thru search or elsewhere on the forum and the Gentoo Embedded Handbook also makes no reference and does not--to my knowledge--contain useable information/instruction. Attached to the RT-N16 is a usb drive with ext3 and swap partitions.

I'm not able to find any useful state3 or stage2 references but would have no problem getting some kind of chroot or stage1 or bootstrap(?) thing going, just not sure what I'd need to do. The install section of the Gentoo Handbook doesn't seem to cover devices with flash, how to get a kernel/boot image onto it/etc.

The device currently runs kernel v 2.6.24.111 (dd-wrt) but, again, I'm not sure how to cross-build/transfer things to Gentoo. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers.
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roarinelk
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:01 pm    Post subject: Re: GENTOO on Asus RT-N16 Reply with quote

Poincare wrote:

New to this but wanted to say that the Asus RT-N16 has 128MB RAM, 32MB flash and sports a Broadcom BCM4716 cpu @ 480mhz. I believe this is a MIPS processor,


Correct,

Quote:

I'm not able to find any useful state3 or stage2 references but would have no problem getting some kind of chroot or stage1 or bootstrap(?) thing going, just not sure what I'd need to do. The install section of the Gentoo Handbook doesn't seem to cover devices with flash, how to get a kernel/boot image onto it/etc.

The device currently runs kernel v 2.6.24.111 (dd-wrt) but, again, I'm not sure how to cross-build/transfer things to Gentoo. Any help would be greatly appreciated!


<shameless plug>
I maintain a stage3 for these kind of embedded MIPS32 processors here [1]
(for fpu-less, little-endian cpus). All you need to add is a portage tree.
</shameless plug>

[1] http://mlau.at/files/mips32-linux/mips32elsf-gentoo-rootfs-100504.tar.lzma
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Poincare
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

righto! OK, so how can one get started putting Gentoo onto the RT-N16.....? Do I have to compile the kernel somehow and stick it on the flash (mtd?!) partition? How about a rootfs or initramfs or something like that...?
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Shining Arcanine
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Poincare wrote:
righto! OK, so how can one get started putting Gentoo onto the RT-N16.....? Do I have to compile the kernel somehow and stick it on the flash (mtd?!) partition? How about a rootfs or initramfs or something like that...?


I realize that this is the easy way out in terms of answering your questions, but see the following:

http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/base/embedded/cross-development.xml
http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/base/embedded/handbook/index.xml
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Poincare
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shining Arcanine wrote:

I realize that this is the easy way out in terms of answering your questions, but see the following:

http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/base/embedded/cross-development.xml


There is a big header at the top of this page saying this is deprecated and look in the handbook (which I'm not sure where to look or what to do?!).

Quote:
http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/base/embedded/handbook/index.xml


This link has no information about the RT-N16.... any other ideas?
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roarinelk
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Poincare wrote:
righto! OK, so how can one get started putting Gentoo onto the RT-N16.....? Do I have to compile the kernel somehow and stick it on the flash (mtd?!) partition? How about a rootfs or initramfs or something like that...?


The flash is a bit small for a full-blown Gentoo installation, but you can put it on the USB drive.
Ideally, you should be able to change the kernels commandline (from within the bootloader)
to use the USB disk as rootfs.

And, what Shining Arcanine wrote.
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Shining Arcanine
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Poincare wrote:
Shining Arcanine wrote:

I realize that this is the easy way out in terms of answering your questions, but see the following:

http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/base/embedded/cross-development.xml


There is a big header at the top of this page saying this is deprecated and look in the handbook (which I'm not sure where to look or what to do?!).

Quote:
http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/base/embedded/handbook/index.xml


This link has no information about the RT-N16.... any other ideas?


The RT-N16 is an embedded system and the those two guides are for installing Gentoo Linux on embedded system. I realize that the first is depreciated, but it has some information that the second lacks, so it still has some use as a reference.
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roarinelk
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Poincare wrote:

This link has no information about the RT-N16.... any other ideas?


Unlike a PC, embedded hardware usually needs tailor-made kernels
(since the hardware isn't "standardized" the way pc hardware is).

So, get the kernel sources for it (you wrote it runs DD-WRT, so sources should
be available), build a cross-compiler for mips (here's the crossdev line I use:
crossdev -t mipsel-softfloat-linux-gnu -v -b --b 2.20.1-r1 --g 4.4.3-r2 --k 2.6.33 --l 2.10.1-r1 --without-headers )

Somewhere in the device documentation (or ask google) it should be stated
how to access the bootloader and load custom kernels. Adjust the commandline
to use the usb drive as rootdevice.
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philippefs35
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry for bumping this thread (not too old anyway I guess...), but have you had any luck installing Gentoo on the RT-N16?

Thanks,
Philippe
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ssvb
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have just got RT-N16 device, and installed gentoo on it (for the time being just in chroot, but that's more or less enough for what I need).
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ssvb
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Encountered the first problem already. Apparently wlan driver may cause random memory corruption problem in some cases. I would appreciate if any of RT-N16 owners here could find some time to confirm whether it happens on their devices too.
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Shining Arcanine
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ssvb wrote:
Encountered the first problem already. Apparently wlan driver may cause random memory corruption problem in some cases. I would appreciate if any of RT-N16 owners here could find some time to confirm whether it happens on their devices too.


You could try going back to an older kernel and then applying a patch based on Asus' work. The details are available at the openwrt bug tracker:

https://dev.openwrt.org/ticket/6580
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ssvb
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shining Arcanine wrote:

You could try going back to an older kernel and then applying a patch based on Asus' work. The details are available at the openwrt bug tracker:

https://dev.openwrt.org/ticket/6580

Thanks, that's an interesting link (and most likely useful for RT-N16 owners around). But unfortunately I don't have any free time for tinkering with this device. I only got it to experiment with MIPS DSP ASE assembly optimizations, and this is perfectly usable in a chroot. I don't even have access to serial console, that's why I would not like to touch kernel stuff yet.
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Shining Arcanine
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ssvb wrote:
Shining Arcanine wrote:

You could try going back to an older kernel and then applying a patch based on Asus' work. The details are available at the openwrt bug tracker:

https://dev.openwrt.org/ticket/6580

Thanks, that's an interesting link (and most likely useful for RT-N16 owners around). But unfortunately I don't have any free time for tinkering with this device. I only got it to experiment with MIPS DSP ASE assembly optimizations, and this is perfectly usable in a chroot. I don't even have access to serial console, that's why I would not like to touch kernel stuff yet.


One possibility to consider is kexec. I have never used it, but it might allow you to test a new kernel without replacing the production kernel in flash. If you find time to try this, please post about your results.

I am interested in obtaining a small embedded system for use as a print server. I am considering the RT-N16 based on its hardware specifications and on a sale that 48-hour Newegg has at the moment that lowers its price to $75 after a coupon. If I get it, I might try this at some point if I find time.
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