Install OS from USB-dongle


This is rather directed to Radxa.

Is it possible to have two types of boot ups. For example, if there is a USB dongle in USB port x, then boot from it, if not then boot from device x. With this option, being able to boot lets say Debian with a GUI from the USB dongle and from it, using the regular methods to write lets say Ubuntu server image that is put on the USB dongle to the NVME ssd. This way, the whole device doesn’t need to be disassembled just to be able to upgrade the OS on the NVME ssd.

Why i ask fro this feature? I have the metal case and i also put some cooling past on the CPU to better direct the heat towards the metal case. When lets say Ubuntu server 22.04 image is released, i have to dissamble the whole case, get the NVME etc to just write it to the NVME.

This off course also be it very handy not only for NVME, but also emmc and for microsdcard as well.

UPDATE: a dd to the nvme/emmc/sdcard is what i was imagining. As that does the job.
With this the next option will be available for the users that only have a USB storage device to boot from.

  • Have your OS just put on a USB Dongle or SATA SSD (sata --> USB 3.0 cable/controller attached to the USB 3.0 port)
  • Have your OS on emmc
  • Have your OS on microSDCARD
  • Have your OS on Nvme

We already have the hardware, so just some software changes and we will be able to use that hardware for different purposes as well :).

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This indeed is very needed option.
Dear Radxa Team , we need it, Please help…

I think that not even the Raspberry Pi has this option (only booting from USB) so I wouldn’t hold my breath that they would add it.

I agree that this would be a great feature even if just to test a thing out quickly.

I have a Raspberry pi 4 8 GB with a Argon One M.2 case. So i know what the raspberry pi is capable of :P. I have been booting from my M.2 NGFF sata almost the last two years now. Although the order is different (USB first, then microsdcard). My reason to ditch it is The 2.5 Gbit, 8 cores, 16b GB RAM :P. Radxa 4 president.

These days technology is not the limit, but rather our own skills/knowledge of a certain subject. When it comes to functionality. :heart:Open Source = King :heart:

I and micro SD cards are not really on friendly terms these days :slight_smile:. I dont even care if this is not possible but a PXE boot is, that would also be fine by me if I may say so. I disassembled the Rock 5B now for a few times and I see myself breaking those plastic side covers. It is inevitable for me to breaking it.

This is exactly what I said. You can boot the rpi from USB, but you can’t “install” the os from USB. Unless you dd the whole USB drive maybe.

That is exactly what i was imagining. Just dd a image to the nvme, microsdcard or emmc.

With a good manual describing each and every step, i dont think that most of us would demand more. It does its job.

As the OS that has been put on the USB has its own Linux kernel and sees all the attached devices (emmc, nvme, sdcard).

Even for the guys, that do not want or have a emmc module, nvme drive or sdcard. A USB 3.0 USB storage device (or maybe SATA-> USB 3.0 controller with a SATA SSD attached to it) doing their stuff also suffices right :).

Each owner of a Rock 5 B with their own custom setup.

Maybe any easier way for radxa would be to change the boot order via spi_nor?
Would it not be better to have a sd-card->nvme->emmc boot order than the current nvme->sd-card->emmc boot as sdcard is a easily removable as usb.

It took raspberry a long long time to create usb boot but even then a Arm board is not an x86 machine and has no mobo bios and doesn’t operate the same way. It loads the Arm board ‘bios’ u-boot from the drive not a bios chip.
But likely someone could do a script to install ‘DD’ and image to a /dev of choice from a basic image that gives a selection of OS in a 32gb card.

If that is indeed difficult, then something like that would indeed be a good solution as well.

Its prob not that difficult but with the rk3588 being a new SoC there are prob a whole lot of other priorities, but yeah maybe that might be a quicker and easier way

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We will check this, USB boot should be possible for u-boot in spi flash.

Brother, that is awesome!! Thank you so much in advance!!

Thanks for your positive response.
I have bought 2 boards (one 8 GB and other 16 GB with nvme setup), it is very annoying to remove if something goes wrong).

@jack, is there a estimate date for this release? Because the other day I read that rk3588 drivers will maybe make it in to the mainline Linux kernel 6.3. The amount of choice for Linux distro’s will then explode as you only need a distro with that kernel to run on the Rock 5B.

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