Step 2 – Getting Pickle Linux Booting – Attempt 2.4

20 10 2012

Spoier Alert: IT WORKED!

Subtitled: “The Semi Colon Affair”

– – –

Well this morning I finally got the Pickle Linux to boot. Well at least the rights lights turn on and flash around. I still haven’t gotten video output/console session yet but that is of little worry at this point. So why did I call it “The Semi Colon Affair”…simple.  It was a stupid mistake that I should have caught the first time through. But I didn’t, nor the 2nd, nor the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, etc.

So what happened?  Well I noticed this morning when I did and fdisk -l in my knoppix linux environment that even AFTER running “dd” toolset to create the microSD card that there were no valid partitions on the disk.  I had noticed this in passing in Windows but I honestly wasn’t sure what I was SUPPOSED to see so I kept trucking along.  But this time in linux it finally hit me that this is strange.  Linux (and the fdisk -l tool specifically) SHOULD be able to see everything. And no matter what the format of the disk should be it NEEDS partitions and more specifically a partition table to be read much less boot. This immediately made me realize that the image file I was using to put onto the disk was LIKELY my culprit.

I immediately assumed that the original downloaded file was corrupt so I went to download the file again from the pickle linux site. I tried wget from linux to see if the un-compression process on windows was corrupting it somehow.  So I hovered over the link and it reads:

http://dl.picklejar.org/pickle-current.tgz

Great. So I typed it into wget and let it run. At some point I also decided to download via my original windows machine and
I saw the file downloaded is named:

pickle-current.gz

::blink blink::

I had seen pickle-current.gz in my original download folder and assumed I had 1/2 uncompressed it. But clearly this was the file that came down via IE to my computer.  So I did an experiment…

I changed the name to pickle-curent.tgz (as the file says it should be). I opened it with 7-Zip and sure enough there was a pickle-current.tar…

I extracted it… and opened pickle-current.tar with 7-Zip again…. and sure enough in that was a… drum roll please….. pickle.img

JUST LIKE THE WEB PAGE SAID!

So I used win32DiskImager.exe to write THAT pickle.img file to my microSD card.  In windows it now showed as an about 70 mb disk mounted (which is what my reading told me it should have done). So I ejected it and then put it into the BeagleBoard-xm and..

Low and behold the power light came on! The 2 SD card lights started blinking and it looked normal! It booted!!!!!  But no output on the HDMI port.

So now the next step is to get a serial cable hooked up to get into the console via the directions on the pickle linux page.

WHAT WENT WRONG:

Assumptions. And a weird download file.

So when I downloaded the original pickle-current.gz file on my computer I noticed the file that it extracted had no file extension and was named wrong (pickle-current NOT pickle). Well this didn’t tip me off anything was wrong. For 1 file extensions between OSes don’t always follow and file name changes are pretty common in the open source community where documentation tends to lag behind actual changes.  So I went ahead and put a .img file extension on the pickle-current fie I extracted. It was the right size and the win32DiskImager didn’t complain about a bad file type so I assumed I was ok. It wasn’t. I clearly didn’t run an MD5 checksum against the file. I’ve never done it and never run into an issue. But in this case it would have told me immediately something was wrong.

My assumptions got me down the wrong path but the crux of the issue is that Windows 7 + IE 9 downloaded a pickle-current.gz file INSTEAD of the proper pickle-current.tgz file.  Therefore, 7-Zip handled it as the INCORRECT file type.

I just tried it with Firefox and it seemed to save the file as .tgz correctly and I tried IE 9 once again and by default it seems to want to make it a .gz file.  STRANGE!

TO HELP OTHER FOLKS OUT / SUMMARY:

If you are using Windows…

The Steps I Took…

  1. Download the file via Firefox OR rename the file to .tgz if you use IE 9
  2. I used 7-Zip to un-compress the pickle-current.tgz to a pickle-current.tar
  3. I used 7-Zip to un-compress the pickle-current.tar to pickle.img
  4. I used an external card reader per the raspberry pi page
  5. I used win32DiskImager.exe to copy to the pickle.img to the microSD card

Indicators that it Worked:

  1. The file progression with 7-Zip was pickle-current.tgz -> pickle-current.tar -> pickle.img (any other file name progression or lack of extension probably means something is wrong)
  2. After the .img was written to the disk 2 partitions are available.  Windows will ONLY mount the 70 mb partition labeled “boot” (In other words when you are done in “My Computer” Windows will show you a single drive letter (H: in my case) and it will be labeled “boot” and will only be around 70 mb in size)
  3. I didn’t check but I expect windows would see the 2nd partion using disk manager. I expect it is an ext2 parition.
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