HumBo - Configure a microSD Card


Choosing a suitable microSD card

In order to boot the HummingBoard you need to prepare a microSD card. This guide covers preparation of a microSD card for both Linux and Windows users. Size matters because an 8Gb microSD card is an absolute minimum to complete a full install, and that will leave you with very little free space to work with. A 16Gb microSD card (or larger) is recommended. The type of microSD card you use *is* important because cards vary greatly in performance. For example, a class 10 card will be much faster at reading and writing than a class 4 card. Therefore, the time it takes for you to run a program, or complete an installation, with a faster card will be much shorter. Be aware that "The faster the microSD card, the better it is!" does not always apply. ;-)

FatDog says ... At FatDog.eu we have found the Samsung EVO range of microSD cards to be relatively inexpensive, lightening fast, and 100% trouble-free while running Slackware ARM on the HummingBoard. They totally out-perform most other microSD cards from Kingston, PNY, Sandisk, etc. Samsung EVO microSD cards are very highly recommended!

Windows users click here!


Configure a microSD card to install Slackware ARM... Linux Users

We will be using a Slackware 14.1 Linux system to prepare a microSD card. If you are using another Linux distribution the command structure may be a little different (e.g. you have to type 'sudo' before a command on some systems). As stated previously, we have given the name 'mynixbox' to our Linux system and we are using a 16Gb microSD card (Samsung SDHC EVO MB-MP16D). Using larger capacity microSD cards works too! You might struggle using 8Gb microSD cards as a full install takes up most of the capacity, leaving you with very little free space remaining. Of course, it's still possible to install Slackware ARM on an 8GB microSD card and omit some packages (such as KDE) during installation in order to gain more free space. Experienced Slackware users will already know what to do under these circumstances. If you're installing Slackware ARM for the first time, it's recommended you go for a full installation on an 16Gb (or larger) microSD card.

So, assuming you have at least an 8Gb microSD card, here's what you need to do:
• put the microSD card into the card reader of your Linux system
• login as root user
• at the command prompt type the following command:

root@mynixbox:~# fdisk -l

This will give you details of all the drives currently connected to your system. You're looking for the 16Gb drive you've just plugged in. On our system we received the following information:

So we now know that our microSD card is device /dev/sda on the system. That's the important bit. We can also see there is no file system on the card. It's blank. Yours may have existing data and/or file systems. Be sure you do not use a microSD card that contains important information because this process will overwrite everything!

Next, you're going download the Slackware ARM installer image file. This installer is optimised for the HummingBoard and uses the latest kernel and firmware from the official SolidRun GitHub repository. But first, we are going to change to the /tmp directory. At the command prompt type the following:

root@mynixbox:~# cd /tmp/
root@mynixbox:/tmp#
wget http://humbo.fatdog.eu/files/install/humbo-slackwarearm-installer_latest_fd.img.xz
FatDog says ... You may also want to verify the integrity of the installer image file using the MD5 checksum. If so, type the following:

root@mynixbox:/tmp#
wget http://humbo.fatdog.eu/files/install/humbo-slackwarearm-installer_latest_fd.img.xz.md5
FatDog says ... Now you can check to see if the contents of the installer image are genuine. You should see "OK" after the filename:

root@mynixbox:/tmp# md5sum -c humbo-slackwarearm-installer_latest_fd.img.xz.md5
/tmp/humbo-slackwarearm-installer_latest_fd.img.xz: OK

NB: The Slackware ARM installer is also available from the Downloads section, along with the latest packages.

So you should now have the Slackware ARM installer image file in the /tmp directory on your system. You can check by typing 'ls' at the command prompt. If you carried out the MD5 check you'll already know you have the file. ;-)

root@mynixbox:/tmp# ls
humbo-slackwarearm-installer_latest_fd.img.xz
root@mynixbox:/tmp#

If you see something similar to the above (given that there may also be other files of your own already in this directory) you have downloaded the installer image file successfully. So the next thing to do is write the installer image to the microSD card. Remember, in this guide our microSD card was /dev/sda (yours might be a different designation) and we're going to use that in the next command. Type the following command, where [device] is the given designation of your microSD card (e.g. /dev/sdb).

root@mynixbox:/tmp# xz -dvc humbo-slackwarearm-installer_latest_fd.img.xz | dd of=[device] bs=65536

Example: xz -dc humbo-slackwarearm-installer_latest_fd.img.xz | dd of=/dev/sda bs=65536

FatDog says ... xz may be a package you need to install on your Linux system if you do not already have it. The currently available releases of Slackware Linux comes with xz installed by default. If you need to install the xz package from source, it's available from the XZ Utils website.

It takes a moment for the installer image to be written to your microSD card, after which it will be configured to boot with the Slackware ARM installer. You can check this by typing:

root@mynixbox:/tmp# fdisk -l

The results from the fdisk command will show you there is a partition on your microSD card. You should see something similar to the following:

If you can see there is a *bootable* FAT32 partition (/dev/sda1), a Linux swap partition (/dev/sda2), and a Linux root partition (/dev/sda3) then this is looking very good indeed! Now you can remove the microSD card from your card reader.

If you don't see the partition listed try writing the image to the microSD card again using the xz command shown above. Also try removing the microSD card from your system and plugging it in again. If this process fails continually you may have a faulty or incompatible card. In this case, locate another microSD card.

Once you have configured your microSD card, you now have the option to continue to the next section... Get Slack, where you can download the Slackware ARM source media. If you are using a USB stick to store your Slackware source media then you will want to do this.

However, if you plan to use a FTP/HTTP server for your Slackware source then skip to the Install Slackware section.



Configure a microSD card to install Slackware ARM... Windows Users

Using a Microsoft Windows based system with a microSD card reader, it's possible to configure a microSD card to boot the Slackware ARM Installer on your HummingBoard. Here's what you need to do:

• Download and install Win32DiskImager.
• Insert your microSD card into the card reader on your Windows system.

Next, download the latest Slackware ARM installer .zip file: humbo-slackwarearm-installer_latest_fd.img.zip [MD5]

Unzip the contents of the .zip file to your Desktop (or temporary directory). This compressed file contains the same installer image as the Linux .xz image but in a .zip format.

Using Win32DiskImager, write the humbo-slackwarearm-installer_15Mar15_fd.img image file to your microSD card:

• Open Win32DiskImager and click on the folder icon in the top right of the window.
• Browse to the location where you unzipped the humbo-slackwarearm-installer_latest_fd.img.zip archive.
• Select the humbo-slackwarearm-installer_15Mar15_fd.img file and click the open button.
• Click the write button to write the humbo-slackwarearm-installer_15Mar15_fd.img to your microSD card.

Check that the boot files are actually on the microSD card by viewing it in Windows Explorer. Although there are 3 partitions on your microSD card, you will only be able to read the FAT32 (boot) partition. Windows cannot read Linux partitions. :-P

Now you have the option to continue to the next section... Get Slack, where you can download the Slackware ARM source media. If you are using a USB stick to store your Slackware source media then you will want to do this.

If you are planning to use a FTP/HTTP server for your Slackware source media then you can skip to the Install Slackware section.