Categories
Tutorial Ubuntu Touch

Flashing Ubuntu Touch to your Pinephone’s EMMC memory

You might have already read my first round of ‘flashing 101’ when I successfully flashed Ubuntu Touch to and SD card making it possible to boot the Pinephone that way with Ubuntu Touch. That first blog is a bit more messy because I was learning so in fact, this post here might also help you with flashing to an SD card as it should be more clearly written. If I had more time I’d clean them both up but I don’t so yeah…

The next step in my learning is to figure out how to flash / copy ubuntu touch onto the pinephone’s EMMC (built in) memory. This should make it run faster. There wasn’t a step-by-step that I could find and so I guess I have to write it. Nice folks in the pinephone telegram group said that I would follow a similar method as flashing to the SD card (see my detailed step-by-step on that here so that hopefully is true. Let’s try…

1. Plug in your Pinephone

Unlike my other tutorial, you’ll need the device plugged into your production machine from where the image will be coming.

2. Get latest image

Choose the latest Pinephone image from this page. I choose stable usually but as of today ‘stable’ is a figment of our imagination 🙂 Save it somewhere memorable and probably smart to put it in a dedicated directory so you can run commands more simply and safely. I just realized there is a bmap file sitting with this image download on this page. This could be useful and relevant soon as you read on…

3. Get setup with BMAP

You can just follow my detailed blog if you’d like. If you don’t know what it is, then you probably want to do this.

4. Confirm the source of your ubuntu-touch-pinephone.img.xz file

The file you downloaded in step 2 above which you have on your computer. In my case it’s going to flash from my download directory in my dedicated ‘pinephone_flashing’ directory so mine looks like this:

~/Downloads/pinephone_flashing/ubuntu-touch-pinephone.img.xz

5. Put Pinephone into ‘Yumi Mode’

I didn’t know what else to call this so I named it ‘Yumi Mode’ since that’s the name of the UBports Robot Mascot… I tried to simply plug in the pinephone and do this work but it won’t recognize anything. Thankfully I had read some other tutorial about how to get into this mode. Here’s how

a) Assure device is powered off (you can push / hold power button for about 5 seconds)
b) Press / hold power and volume up buttons together for about 6 or 7 seconds.

If successful, you should start to see a trainload of partitions start to load in your file manager (Nautilus).

6. Identify the destination path to the EMMC

If you’ve done my other blog where you install Ubuntu Touch to the SD card this time we’ll do the same thing but point the destination to the EMMC memory.

  • Hit the super key to the left of the space bar
  • Type ‘disks’ to open the ‘Disks’ utility. You should now see two items related to UT in the left pane of the ‘Disks’ app:

‘Drive | JumpDriv e microSD’

and

‘Drive | JumpeDriv e eMMC’

  • Click the ‘Drive | JumpeDriv e eMMC’ on the left pane
  • Take the path from the ‘Device’ path. In my case it looks like this “Device dev/sdc” but yours can – and very possibly will be – slightly different in the last letter. You can actually just highlight it and copy it from there

path: /dev/sdc

This is a great way to visually identify and confirm which mount point is your eMMC which will help you quickly deal with unmounting stuff in the next section

7. Unmount the partitions on the eMMC drive

If the drive is ‘fully ejected’ by Ubuntu, you will probably get this error when you run the final flashing command:

bmaptool: ERROR: cannot open destination file ‘/dev/sdc’: [Errno 123] No medium found: ‘/dev/sdc’

A reboot of the device again and putting it into ‘Yumi Mode’ again might fix it for you if you are lucky – once this worked for me – but that was it. I do not believe this can be done reliably and thus you should proceed with the command line method. It’s really not that hard if you work together with the Disks utility.

The reason why the ‘eject’ button in File Manager (Nautilus) doesn’t work for this purpose is because ‘it uses udisks ctl which both unmounts and ejects the partition’. We only want unmount, not eject, you see. So, we must ‘terminally unmount’ these as follows:

First, run the mount command which will show you (truthfully) what drives are (actually) mounted on the system. For me these were all located at the very bottom of the terminal output list.

You can, however, in the Disks utility, click through each partition and see at the bottom ‘mounted’ or ‘not mounted` or ‘unkown’ and compare against the terminal output to gain further confidence that you are unmounting and flashing to the right place. The Pinephone image has a mixture of all of these, it seems, so probably better to just manually unmount everything with the terminal. It’s really easy once you identify the actually-mounted drives you just run:

sudo umount /dev/sdc2' sudo umount /dev/sdc4′
etc
etc

**Tip **: If while running the final flashing commands you get this error:

bmaptool: ERROR: the image file ‘/home/wt/Downloads/ubuntu-touch-pinephone.img.xz’ has size 826.3 MiB and it will not fit the block device ‘/dev/sdc3’ which has 1.0 KiB capacity

You are probably writing to a partition like I did instead of the actual device. You probably put in /dev/sdc3 instead of /dev/sdc as an example.

8. Run the flashing command

This assumes you have alread set up and read and understand my blog above.

Format:

sudo bmaptool copy --bmap ~/path/where/your/bmap/file/is/located /path/where/your/image/is/located /path/to/memory/device

My actual example:

sudo bmaptool copy --bmap ~/Downloads/pphone.bmap ~/Downloads/ubuntu-touch-pinephone.img.xz /dev/sdc

Worked for me! Hope it works for you too 🙂

Categories
Business Freedom and Privacy Life Skills

Starting a Company Right with LibreOffice Docs

If you are at a company at the startup phase, and you want to make sure that the company isn’t plagued by proprietary office documents, and to make sure that everyone knows the reason *why* this matters, I have created the attached documents. I will also paste the raw text into this post so you can know what’s in the documents.

You may need to send a very stern and heartfelt email with these documents (edited to your liking) to the Founders of a company to show them that you aren’t trying to make life hard but actually better. Many people who are wrapped up in closed software simply don’t understand they are victims.

I hope these prove to be valuable to you and your startup and that free software is further advanced as a result.

WORKING WITH OFFICE DOCUMENTS AT NEWCO

Working with office documents such as spreadsheets and text documents is fundamental to every business. Here at NewCo, we only work with office document software that respects our privacy and the privacy of those with whom we communicate on a day-to-day basis. By operating in this way, we assure that no one at NewCo (or outside) is forced to purchase expensive or unethical software to perform the task at hand. It also future-proofs NewCo against needs that may require wholesale adjustments to documents and / or implementations of business systems.

What this means on a practical level is that every spreadsheet and text document created, is done so in LibreOffice. LibreOffice is distributed on your Ubuntu operating system distribution and also on many other distributions in the world. LibreOffice also has the capability of opening proprietary software and saving to their formats.

Creating a New Office Document

  1. Open LibreOffice
  2. Select the type of document you want to create from top left icon in menu
  1. Click File / save or ‘control + s’ and it will automatically save in the correct (and ethical) format

Converting Proprietary Documents to LibreOffice

If someone sends you a document in a closed/proprietary format (such as Microsoft’s ‘Word’ or “Excel”) which is to be used for any business purpose whatsoever, especially on an ongoing basis:

  1. Open the document in LibreOffice
  2. Save the document ‘file / save’ or ‘control + s’
  1. If /when a warning appears, accept the ODF option. This will instantly convert the document to a format that works in LibreOffice. Most of the time there is no material damage to the formatting but if there is it is usually a quick fix.

Outbound Company Documents

Default to PDF – Every Time

In the event that someone needs a document from us, we should, unless asked otherwise, always provide the information / document in PDF format. There are three major reasons for this:

1. Security: this is a step way to help make sure information sent from NewCo is not manipulated on the other side (it’s an image file life a photo at its core).

2. Branding and Marketing : companies and their employees who send information in editable documents display their lack of professionalism to the recipient which is something we never want to do from the first day. Sending an editable office document . When someone in business sends a ‘Word or Excel” document, it screams “mom & pop operation” and immediately shows they are not a serious operation which will put NewCo in an inferior brand position.

3. Supreme Accessibility: PDF is one of the only formats that is able to be opened and viewed reliably, and with good formatting on any device on earth.

The good news is that in LibreOffice, this is dead easy: there is a one-button PDF creation tool in the menu. 

Creating a PDF Office Document

  1. Open Document in LibreOffice
  2. Click the one-button PDF creation tool
  1. Name it and save it

Increase the PDF Security with a Password (Optional)

The greater news is that by choosing ‘file’ and ‘export’ (instead of the one-button option above) you can easily export the same PDF with a password so that the person opening can only open it with the password you provide them, which further protects the data we send out and puts NewCo a further step above other companies in terms of quality presentation in front of others and in terms of security.

Outbound Company Documents As LibreOffice Only

In the event an external party needs a document that they need to manipulate:

  1. Attach the appropriate LibreOffice document in the LibreOffice format (ie. .odt, .ods)
  2. Copy and paste the following message into the body of the email which explains what’s going on and why:

+++++

I have attached the document you requested in LibreOffice format – a free, robust and ethical office document software suite. If you don’t already have the software, you can download it (for free) here and you and your company can benefit from it: https://www.libreoffice.org/download/download/

+++++

Outbound Company Documents as LibreOffice and Proprietary

If absolutely needed and you deem the recipient to be a ‘lost cause’ (there are many out there) then you can also pre-convert the document to a Microsoft format using LibreOffice and attach that as well with a modified version of the comments.

  1. Attach the appropriate LibreOffice document in the LibreOffice format (ie. .odt, .ods)
  2. Convert the LibreOffice formatted document to Microsoft’s proprietary format by performing a ‘file / save as’
  1. Attach the proprietary format to the email as well
  2. Copy and paste the following message into the body of the email which explains what’s going on and why:

+++++

I have attached the document you requested in LibreOffice format – a free, robust and ethical office document software suite that our company has embraced. If you don’t already have the software, you can download it (for free) here and you and your company can start benefiting from it: https://www.libreoffice.org/download/download/. I have also attached the document as a Microsoft format for the sake of time as I realize many companies out there are still paying for and using it.

+++++

Categories
Technology Tutorial Ubuntu Touch

How to do an Ubuntu Touch Video Screen Cast Recording

Making a video screen cast of your Ubuntu Touch (“UT”) device is a bit difficult as of the date of this blog post, however, thankfully, there is a way to do it with a bunch of scary terminal commands.

This is pretty technical, but is probably the only way (for now) to do this. Special thanks to Amolith who forwarded to Joe (“in here”) who then forwarded it to me. The power of free software communities at work!

First, I’ll just give you the commands in case you are already familiar enough with terminals and commands. Then, I will provide detailed how-to to follow.

Record a big raw video file in interesting .raw format

EDIT 20/06/21
This first command has been updated to reduce ‘terminal weirdness’. Now it works quietly in the terminal. Special thanks to Rodney for that excellent improvement.

adb exec-out timeout 120 mirscreencast -m /run/mir_socket --stdout --cap-interval 2 -s 384 640 > ubuntu_touch.raw

Convert it to ‘normal’ format (mp4) with ffmpeg tool

ffmpeg -f rawvideo -pix_fmt rgba -s:v 384x640 -i ubuntu_touch.raw -filter:v "setpts=2*PTS" ubuntu_touch.mp4

I plan to give a few more how-to details next by editing this blog post but for now I at least wanted it logged somewhere where myself and others can easily find it.

Enjoy

Tutorial – How to actually do it.

Before you begin

I would recommend creating a directory / folder just for doing this stuff. Then, you will navigate in your terminal to this directory. That makes sure that all the video is dumping in a place where you’ll be able to find it and work with it easier. Otherwise, your terminal might autonomously dump it an undesired location (your Home directory if you left everything default…). Once you have created this directory, navigate to it with the terminal’s ‘cd’ command. If you don’t know how to do that, take a few minutes to search and learn? It’s a good life skill and you can brag about it at the coffee machine or water cooler…

Now that you have the scary command line codes above ready to copy and paste, here’s how you do it and what to expect.

First, you’ll have to make sure you have adb setup on your ‘production machine’ (the machine that is recording the Ubuntu Touch output video. You should be ok to just do the usual sudo apt install adb and then perhaps you’ll need to be in ‘Developer mode’ to do all this. You might find that your system already has adb. If so, it will tell you that your version is up to date, etc and you can continue. If you need either of these or find it’s not working right, this blog has a lot of good info in one place. Most should be current still at the time of this post.

Next, plug in your UT device and get ready to record. Probably a quick test video is wise, by the way, before you start recording a long meaningful video.

Next, run the first command above by copying/pasting into your terminal. You will see this (or something very similar) in the terminal. Just pretend this means “your raw video is now recording to your production machine” because that’s what’s happening even though you can’t see it:

daemon not running; starting now at tcp:5037

daemon started successfully

When you are done recording, go back to your terminal and press ‘control C’ in to stop the process. You will see absolutely nothing except your ^C. Just pretend this means ‘Your raw video file has now stopped recording and is sitting in the directory where you started it”.

Finally, you’ll need to convert the raw video to a human-usable format – and probably mp4 is what you’re looking for which is why the above command is setup the way it is. Note that if you want to do any other million different things with your video work, you could study the power of ffmpeg and do whatever you like with formats, resolutions, etc, etc….

Now, in your terminal after you run the converting command, you are going to see a lot of ‘stuff’ in your terminal. I’m not going to even paste it here because there is so much. I’m also not going to pretend I know what any of of it means. Just be aware this is ‘normal’.

Once complete you should now have a .raw video and a .mp4 video in your screen casting directory.

Double click your .mp4 file to make sure it’s working and enjoy your new Ubuntu Touch video screen recording.

Categories
Life Skills Parenting Technology Tutorial Ubuntu

Making Roblox Work on Ubuntu in Windows 7 on Virtual Box

IMPORTANT! THIS BLOG POST IS BEING TESTED NOW AND NEEDS SOME WORK. I EXPECT TO UPDATE / IMPROVE THIS AT LEAST ONE MORE TIME. IT’S HERE JUST FOR TESTING PURPOSES. NOTE ALSO THAT AS OF TODAY, EVEN IF YOU GET THIS ALL DONE YOU COULD GET THE SAME ‘KICKED BECAUSE OF WEIRD BEHAVIOUR’ MESSAGE (OR WHATEVER IT’S CALLED). OF COURSE, FEEL FREE TO TRY IT OUT AND LEAVE COMMENTS WHILE I’M ALSO CHECKING IT! 🙂

0. Background

Kids wanted roblox. I hate windows. Roblox only works on Windows. Therefore by deduction, I also hate Roblx. They made their setup so you can play only on windows, android and maybe ios (never checked). But no linux.. what? Serious? A goofy downloadable plugin-app-game kind of thing in 2020? But let’s move on. The fact is, I compromised and made a concession that this setup will be only for this one box for this one purpose and that’s it. I had an old windows 7 machine sticker on one of my ubuntu machines.

1. Find a windows 7 cd rom or some ISO..somewhere…somehow…

Actually this step probably took a whole day. Hadn’t done this in years and windows is so lame that you have to buy their operating system (which isn’t worth paying for) and yeah. So I found some random link online and downloaded windows 7 .iso file professional to match my windows sticker (legitimate key). The fact they even made it hard to download something you already paid for was additional fuel for my Windows fire…

2. Download Virtualbox on Ubuntu

I think this is in the software centre in most Ubuntu Distros. Just search it, install it. Tip: in ubuntu software centre you need to type the whole word for it to show up easily, so ‘virtualbox’ instead of ‘virtual box’

3. Install Windows on Virtualbox

Just start up a “new” machine and point it to your downloaded ISO above. Do the usual windows install that we used to do back when we were slaves…I just accepted all the default suggestions for setting up the box and then adjusted them later. This helps assure a successful install, I believe.

4. Install Guest Additions

This section I’m breaking into two pieces because I’m not 100% sure what’s best. I ‘think’ it depends on what Windows you are using as to whether you need to install guest additions in safe or ‘regular / unsafe’ mode. At least, that’s what my hours of web-searching taught me… So, you can ‘try’ the regular unsafe mode (skip ahead) or, you can do ‘safe mode’ which takes longer and is more annoying. In either case, some of the steps / process might help you along the way so maybe worth a quick read.

A. Installing in ‘Safe’ Mode [this section needs checking / testing]

If you already tried installing guest additions in ‘unsafe mode’you might need to remove guest additions before trying again in safe mode. That’s what I did, anyway. Let’s get this done:

  • When windows is booting you press F8.
  • Choose ‘safe mode with networking’
  • In the Virtual box menu in guest machine window, go to the ‘Devices’ menu
  • Insert Guest additions from bottom of the drop down menu
  • go to ‘start’ menu then ‘my computer’ and the CD rom (in windows)
  • in the ROM directory, double click ‘vboxwindowsadditions-amd64’ (assuming you are 64 architecture…) and a wizard should start
  • Check the ‘direct3D support (experimental)’ checkbox
  • Click ‘install’
  • You may get ‘trust Oracle?’ messages. Even if they can’t be trusted it’s easier to check the box and move on. After all, this is already a highly questionable game and enterprise…
  • Reboot? yes
  • I have notes that said I got a message like “Accept ‘basic 3D’ but I can’t confirm. If you get this, I think you should accept it…
  • After machine comes back, skip ahead and do all the 2D and 3D steps in section below

Here is a helpful [link](this link helped: https://forums.virtualbox.org/viewtopic.php?t=55226) by the way

B. Installing in ‘Unsafe’ Mode

This part got me bad. I also had no idea about ‘Guest Additions’ somehow, so this turned out to be a good learning experience. What ‘guest additions’ does is basically install this big package which gives you more direct and quality connections to the host machines hardware. Before installing I was getting all sorts of video card driver errors. When I opened Roblox Studio it was asking to upgrade to OpenGL 2.0 or higher.

To do this step it was as simple as going to ‘Devices’ and ‘install guest additions’ and walking through the steps. Then it opened a wizard on Windows and walked through the install of the guest addition stuff. Finally it asked for a reboot and when it came back things were already working a bit better. But I was still getting driver errors on Roblox Studio…this ultimately froze the program and demanded to close program which I did. I noticed also that in my ‘device manager’ and then ‘display adaptor’ now it’s listing ‘virtualbox graphics adapter’ which should be best since it’s grabbing host hardware. And this is why I ended up doing all the steps in the ‘safe mode’ section above…

check to see if 3D acceleration is enabled by opening ‘run’ and typing ‘dxdiag’. This link will help if that sounds hard. You should see 3D acceleration as ‘enabled’.Try a round of Roblox? 🙂

5. Enable 3D acceleration in Virtualbox

This one sucked another hour or two of my short life so hopefully this can save you the pain. After doing all of the above I was still getting error after error. In my ‘Directx’ settings I was getting ‘direct3d not available’ messages and another setting ‘not available’. I assumed that Virtualbox would have installed 3D acceleration stuff by default but that was a bad assumption because probably Virtualbox is used by a lot of non-gaming developers who don’t need it nor the drain on the host hardware resources. Anyway, there is likely a good reason for it but the 3D acceleration wasn’t enabled. To enable it, shut down the guest machine, go to ‘settings’ (yellow cogwheel) then ‘display’ then check the 2d and 3d acceleration checkboxes (Not sure if i need 2D but I just wanted to be sure. Probably you should do section 6 below too before starting machine and save a step. Video card stuff may also be linked to the dreaded ‘roblox kicked unexpected client behavior’ message…

A helpful link about 3d acceration stuff.

6. Boosted video memory

I also noticed an ‘invalid setting’ in virtualbox saying that I was less than 27MB of video memory so I raised it from 16MB up to 32 to see if that made things better in the settings of the guest machine.

7. Overcoming the ‘roblox kicked unexpected client behavior’ issue

Frankly, I don’t have the answer yet but working on it. It ‘seems’ unsolvable for both Wine and Virtualbox in Ubuntu but I don’t quit easily. For now it would be nice to have others help on this one since I did all the heavy lifting. I feel there might be a browser hack or some other simple work around to stop the player from getting kicked for no reason.

Categories
Freedom and Privacy Technology Tutorial Ubuntu

How to use this Bmap Tool Thing…

So someone said ‘use bmap tools instead of dd because it’s faster and better’.
It sounded good but as usual when I went searching for documentaion on how to simply use this tool I was left in another command line dizziness. You can check their read me file on the git repository here for yourself if you’d like. This blog here was also even better than the read me file, so thanks to whoever this is as well.

So, hopefully this blog will help you step by step setting things up because I can confirm indeed this thing is blazingly fast compared to dd or other direct image copying things!

Assumptions

  • you are running Ubuntu
  • You know how to find your terminal and type in it
  • you want to flash / copy something to something 🙂

1. Get Bmap

sudo apt install bmap-tools if you have not done so already. This will install in ubuntu

2. Create your Bmap file

This is the thing that seemed to be not explained anywhere well. So what this step does it it creates a file formatted as ‘.bmap’. It’s an xml file. Somehow this file is what makes the magic work so if you create it with the bmap tool and use it in the bmap command line, copying is way faster.

Name your bmap file

You can name this file anything you want. I chose to call it something completely different from my image file so that I don’t accidentally type a wrong command. In my case I was flashing a pinephone image to a micro SD card so I named the bmap file ‘pphone.bmap’ and then the image file remained the way I downloaded it as ‘ubuntu-touch-pinephone.img.xz’.

Select a location

Next, select a nice directory on your computer where you want to run these commands. You can make your own directory or just use the Downloads directory – it’s up to you. I’ll use “Downloads’ for my example.

Run the bmap file creation command

This part here will create the bmap file now that you’ve thought everything through. Just open a terminal and enter this:

bmaptool create /path/to/your/image > /path/where/you/want/bmap/file/saved/bmapfilename.bmap

Here is my actual example with some filled in info:

bmaptool create ~/Downloads/ubuntu-touch-pinephone.img.xz > ~/Downloads/pphone.bmap

— PLAY BY PLAY COMMAND COMMENTARY —

  • ‘bmaptool’ calls the app.
  • ‘create’ : a bmap tool command that says ‘make a bmap file’
  • ~/Downloads/ubuntu-touch-pinephone.img.xz: the location of your image
  • ‘>’ thing is… who knows! But it does stuff
  • ~/Downloads/pphone.bmap: destination of where you want your .bmap file to end up.

Press enter and you should see an output in your terminal something like this:


bmaptool: WARNING: all 826.3 MiB are mapped, no holes in ‘/home/wt/Downloads/ubuntu-touch-pinephone.img.xz’
bmaptool: WARNING: was the image handled incorrectly and holes were expanded?

wt@wt-Lemur:~$ cd Downloads/


Not sure what the warnings were but it seemed to be ok 🙂

3. Copy / Flash your image to your desintation drive, card, whatever

Now that you have your .bmap file created (and you should go to that directory to make sure before proceeding, by the way) you are ready to start blazingly fast copying! Woot woot. This is a simple change from the command above. If you look at my example, I think you’ll figure it out pretty quick.

Note 1: Sudo required for this one.
Note 2: Be CAREFUL before you hit the enter key because if you map this to the wrong desintation, you could damage stuff. I always remove any external drives I don’t want to accidentally kill 🙂

sudo bmaptool copy --bmap ~/path/where/your/bmap/file/is/located /path/where/your/image/is/located /path/to/memory/device

Here is my example with stuff filled in:

sudo bmaptool copy --bmap ~/Downloads/pphone.bmap ~/Downloads/ubuntu-touch-pinephone.img.xz /dev/mmcblk0

  • — PLAY BY PLAY COMMAND COMMENTARY —
  • ‘sudo’ -gives you super powers
  • ‘bmaptool’ calls the app.
  • ‘copy’ is the command to copy (smart name…)
  • ‘–bmap’ : says ‘hey! here’s my bmap file so you copy this thing fast”
  • ‘~/Downloads/pphone.bmap’ : this is the path to my bmap file
  • ‘~/Downloads/ubuntu-touch-pinephone.img.xz’ : this is the location of my image that I want to flash onto something. In my example it’s the pinephone image
  • ‘/dev/mmcblk0’ : the destination of where you want your .bmap file to end up. This this case it’s the SD memory card but yours could be /sdc /sda or whatever depending.

Here is the output of my terminal doing this. I find it’s helpful to see terminal stuff so you don’t think you’re going crazy if stuff looks bad in your opinion 🙂


bmaptool: info: block map format version 2.0
bmaptool: info: 211529 blocks of size 4096 (826.3 MiB), mapped 211529 blocks (826.3 MiB or 100.0%)
bmaptool: info: copying image ‘ubuntu-touch-pinephone.img.xz’ to block device ‘/dev/mmcblk0’ using bmap file ‘pphone.bmap’
bmaptool: WARNING: failed to enable I/O optimization, expect suboptimal speed (reason: cannot switch to the ‘noop’ I/O scheduler: [Errno 22] Invalid argument)
bmaptool: info: 100% copied

bmaptool: ERROR: checksum mismatch for blocks range 0-211528: calculated 92c113dde2f5836ccdfc756c2713965bcbd49e5fd9208f0ff89bba4df904f3e2, should be e8648c7193ae920c23de5dcbb23be9ecdca0c94dbfd16b4c003ec9f0511e4406 (image file /home/wt/Downloads/ubuntu-touch-pinephone.img.xz)


Well hopefully this blog was good payback for the nice guy who recommended it. Definitely it’s a time saver and ‘not so hard’ if you have some instruction.

Categories
Tutorial Ubuntu Ubuntu Touch

Flashing Ubuntu Touch onto SD Card for Pinephone Braveheart Installation

EDIT 20/06/19
I have done a fairly extensive post about how to use BMAP properly so here is a link to my post. You should probably read this to know that the true benefits of speed from Bmap tools comes from following the instructions in my other blog. Otherwise, you might as well just use ‘dd’ or other flashing techniques. Bmap is indeed faster!

EDIT: 20/06/14

I tried with Etcher and had problems booting (not sure this was actually the cause) so now I’m trying with a tool recommended bmap-tools by someone in the Pinephone Telegram group. This tutorial includes instructions for getting set up and using this bmap tools tool.

This tutorial assumes you are running Ubuntu on your desktop/pc/laptop…

It’s a command line tool, it seems so yeah. No GUI. Hopefully my commands and instructions will remove the CLI mystique…

Apparently bmap-tools also automatically unzips/uncompresses your ubuntu-touch-pinephone.img.xz image as well, so you don’t have to do that step before.

  1. Get Ubuntu Touch image currently here
  2. Install to ubuntu: sudo apt install bmap-tools
  3. Confirm the source of your ubuntu-touch-pinephone.img.xz file which you have on your computer from this instructional page your source and destination addresses. In my case it’s coming from my download directory and going to my SD card so my source location looks like this:

~/Downloads/ubuntu-touch-pinephone.img.xz

  1. Confirm the destination path of your SD card. This step is important because if you goof this you risk (probably) writing your image to the wrong drive and killing it. How I do this is
    a) Hit the super key to the left of the space bar
    b) Type ‘disks’ to open the Disks utility
    c) Click my SD card on the left pane (graphically)
    d) Take the path from the ‘Device’ path. In my case it looks like this “Device dev/mmcblk0p1” You can actually just highlight it and copy it from there
  • path: /dev/mmcblk0

Important note on this last step: I had a lot of annoyances in the terminal related to ‘memory errors’ and it was because I had copied the entire item. In my case it looked like this: mmcblk0p1. Make sure that you do not have anything like ‘p1’ or ‘p2’ on the end of your destination path. These are for ‘partitions’ and is the incorrect path. should be just : /dev/mmcblk0not something like this –> /dev/mmcblk0p1. If you run it with the latter you will get those memory errors like me.

Just to leave it as reference the errors caused by the mistake above look like this:

bmaptool: info: no bmap given, copy entire image to '/dev/mmcblk0'
bmaptool: WARNING: failed to enable I/O optimization, expect suboptimal speed (reason: cannot switch to the 'noop' I/O scheduler: [Errno 22] Invalid argument)
/
bmaptool: info: synchronizing '/dev/mmcblk0'
bmaptool: info: copying time: 17m 13.1s, copying speed 13.5 MiB/sec
  1. Run the command
    Pre-cautionary step 1: remove all external drives before doing any of this.
    Pre-cautionary step 2: Other tutorials I read did not explain that you should unmount your drive before beginning. So in your Nautilus just go through and ‘eject’ anything showing up as ‘ejectable’.

As a reference, this tutorial was helpful for tool usage but still not quite clear enough so I’ll go even slower…

EDIT 20/06/14 – Apparently this next bit of my advice is bad and slows down the process. Apparently you should just make sure you run the command in the same directory as the image, and then it will work faster and without the need for the –nobmap tag. I will leave this here as a reference just in case you need it but as of today it was advised to not follow it:

—-

With bmaptool when you are doing straight flashing you can just add the --nobmap tag to the command, which I think means ‘just do this thing without routing through other specific instruction file’. So that’s what I’m going to do.

—-

I am still not 100% sure if this step is required, but it helped me so I’m leaving it as a reference: I also got some ‘no space left on device’ errors so I decided to first format the drive with Disk tools before trying again. I did this by opening the ‘Disks’ graphical utility again by clicking the SD card I wanted to format and then selecting ‘format disk’ from the top right hamburger menu. Takes about 2 seconds to wipe whatever is on there… after doing this step everything finally started working better. I created a linux ext4 partition next to see if that helped. I made the first partition with 21GB (for the image) and then a trailing 10GB for ‘whatever’. These were just choices I made thinking that I could maybe use the trailing 10GB for phone storage.

Here are, therefore, the steps, assuming you have done all of the above:

  1. Open the terminal
  2. Make sure you have navigated (with terminal commands) to the directory where your image is
  3. Type the following command replacing the source and path with whatever is correct from your device as per instructions above:

bmaptool -E copy /path/to/ubuntu-touch-pinephone.img.xz /path/to/SD/card

My example that finally worked looked like this for your reference:

sudo -E bmaptool copy ~/Downloads/ubuntu-touch-pinephone.img.xz /dev/mmcblk0

Boot it

Apparently just inserting the SD card and turning the power on should do it, but yeah. Depends on a ‘few things’ as to whether this will be your experience 😉

This was actually harder than I thought. I’m not sure if this was the cause of my pain but I’m going to list it anyways. I had to do about 100 reboots and it still wasn’t working. I couldn’t seem to get past the ubuntu purple splash startup screen. I ‘think’ I had interrupted a process the first time so i did all of the above steps againb but this time I held down the power button until the green indicator light came on and then everything started as expected and I was able to start using Ubuntu Touch. Members of the community indicated it may be related to a faulty build and to try other build numbers to see if that helps. We shall see.

Issues flashing cards

I had an interesting issue where I couldn’t unmount a card. System said ‘not mounted’ when I tried umount command. Amazingly, just a reboot of computer allowed the ‘Disks’ utility to start working again as normal. Others were reporting that one should consider using gparted tools instead of Disks utility just as another related tip if you are interested.

I hope this helps and have a great day

Resources

Pinephone images for Ubuntu Touch here

How to telnet into the device here

My bmap tools tutorial here