Booting FreeBSD on a Raspberry Pi Zero
Luckily, I was able to get a Raspberry Pi Zero not so long ago. Naturally, my first move was to try to boot FreeBSD on it. Although there is no official support for the Zero on FreeBSD, given that the hardware is very similar to the Raspberry Pi A model, I was able to boot it. The process is quite simple.
- Scope of this guide
- Preparing the SD card
- Downloading and writing the FreeBSD image to the SD card
- Making the SD Card bootable on the Zero
- Booting FreeBSD
- dmesg on the Raspberry Pi Zero
The guide is no longer accurate mainly because FreeBSD 10.3 came out and also 11-CURRENT doesn’t need to be modified in order to boot on the Zero. You can follow this guide with the 11-CURRENT image, it will work without modifying the files on the boot partition. The images could be downloaded from the FreeBSD ARM images page. Look for the RPI-B image. The downloaded image can easy copied to the microSD card and it will boot. There is no need to modify the files in the boot partition.
Scope of this guide
This guide gives instructions on how can one boot FreeBSD 10.2-STABLE on a Raspberry Pi Zero. As a result, the operating system boots up, and is available over SSH. The instructions for the activities on the SD card are written and done on a Fedora 23, but they should apply to many other Linux/UNIX systems. I use the following additional components:
The SD card: Samsung microSD EVO+ 32GB (MB-MC32DAAMZ)
The microUSB - Ethernet adapter: Icy Box IB-AC510
Preparing the SD card
On my system, the SD card came up as /dev/sdb. It is possible that on other systems it would be something else. Checking the dmesg or lsblk could be very helpful. The first step is to “format” the SD card. I zero out the card before doing anything on it.
# dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb bs=4M dd: error writing ‘/dev/sdb’: No space left on device 7633+0 records in 7632+0 records out 32010928128 bytes (32 GB) copied, 2205.6 s, 14.5 MB/s
This process usually takes a long time, but depends on the size and maximal speed of the SD card.
Downloading and writing the FreeBSD image to the SD card
In the meantime, download the actual FreeBSD image and unxz it. I use the 10.2-STABLE image, but it should work with the 11-CURRENT image too. The up-to-date images are available on the FreeBSD ARM Download page. After downloading, the file should be checked against the checksum and then it will be decompressed.
$ sha512sum FreeBSD-10.2-STABLE-arm-armv6-RPI-B-20151229-r292855.img.xz 19e051736e7112e7a0fd699e0d404cde35000b774b3c5fffbd03be35850b0efa4309d9269dd5666d326fd8c8a74ecea9d9b1cf2de28e44cc352e0e91f5e1544f FreeBSD-10.2-STABLE-arm-armv6-RPI-B-20151229-r292855.img.xz
If the checksum is equal to the value shown on the Download page, then decompress it.
$ unxz FreeBSD-10.2-STABLE-arm-armv6-RPI-B-20151229-r292855.img.xz
The result is an IMG file, that should be copied to the SD card.
# dd if=FreeBSD-10.2-STABLE-arm-armv6-RPI-B-20151229-r292855.img of=/dev/sdb bs=4M 120+0 records in 120+0 records out 503316480 bytes (503 MB) copied, 34.9966 s, 14.4 MB/s
A few files need to be replaced on the card in order to make it boot on the Raspberry Pi Zero.
Making the SD Card bootable on the Zero
The easiest way now is to remove and reattach the card. After reattaching, a partition is mounted (if not, it needs to be mounted manually).
# lsblk NAME MAJ:MIN RM SIZE RO TYPE MOUNTPOINT … sdb 8:16 1 29.8G 0 disk ├─sdb1 8:17 1 17M 0 part /run/media/user/MSDOSBOOT └─sdb2 8:18 1 463M 0 part
The MSDOSBOOT partition contains the following files:
$ ls BOOTCODE.BIN FIXUP_CD.DAT RPI.DTB START.ELF UBLDR.BIN CONFIG.TXT FIXUP.DAT START_CD.ELF UBLDR U-BOOT.IMG
The following files need to be deleted:
$ rm BOOTCODE.BIN FIXUP_CD.DAT FIXUP.DAT START_CD.ELF START.ELF
The new files need to be downloaded from the raspberrypi/firmware Github repo. The files then could be copied to the card.
$ cp bootcode.bin start.elf start_cd.elf fixup.dat fixup_cd.dat /run/media/user/MSDOSBOOT/
The card can now be removed and inserted into the Raspberry Pi Zero.
# sync # umount /run/media/user/MSDOSBOOT
The first boot takes a lot of time, because the second partition gets resized. After booting up, it is possible to log in over SSH, or locally. The default user and password combos are:
freebsd / freebsd
root / root
dmesg on the Raspberry Pi Zero
KDB: debugger backends: ddb KDB: current backend: ddb Copyright (c) 1992-2015 The FreeBSD Project. Copyright (c) 1979, 1980, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved. FreeBSD is a registered trademark of The FreeBSD Foundation. FreeBSD 10.2-STABLE #0 r292855: Tue Dec 29 16:17:05 UTC 2015 firstname.lastname@example.org:/usr/obj/arm.armv6/usr/src/sys/RPI-B arm FreeBSD clang version 3.4.1 (tags/RELEASE_34/dot1-final 208032) 20140512 VT: init without driver. CPU: ARM1176JZ-S rev 7 (ARM11J core) Supported features: ARM_ISA THUMB2 JAZELLE ARMv4 Security_Ext WB enabled LABT branch prediction enabled 16KB/32B 4-way instruction cache 16KB/32B 4-way write-back-locking-C data cache real memory = 503312384 (479 MB) avail memory = 483176448 (460 MB) random device not loaded; using insecure entropy random: <Software, Yarrow> initialized kbd0 at kbdmux0 ofwbus0: <Open Firmware Device Tree> simplebus0: <Flattened device tree simple bus> mem 0x20000000-0x20ffffff on ofwbus0 cpulist0: <Open Firmware CPU Group> on ofwbus0 cpu0: <Open Firmware CPU> on cpulist0 bcm2835_cpufreq0: <CPU Frequency Control> on cpu0 intc0: <BCM2835 Interrupt Controller> mem 0xb200-0xb3ff on simplebus0 systimer0: <BCM2835 System Timer> mem 0x3000-0x3fff irq 8,9,10,11 on simplebus0 Event timer "BCM2835 Event Timer 3" frequency 1000000 Hz quality 1000 Timecounter "BCM2835 Timecounter" frequency 1000000 Hz quality 1000 bcmwd0: <BCM2708/2835 Watchdog> mem 0x10001c-0x100027 on simplebus0 gpio0: <BCM2708/2835 GPIO controller> mem 0x200000-0x2000af irq 57,59,58,60 on simplebus0 gpio0: read-only pins: 46,47,48,49,50,51,52,53. gpio0: reserved pins: 48,49,50,51,52,53. gpioc0: <GPIO controller> on gpio0 gpiobus0: <OFW GPIO bus> on gpio0 gpioled0: <GPIO led> at pin(s) 16 on gpiobus0 iichb0: <BCM2708/2835 BSC controller> mem 0x205000-0x20501f irq 61 on simplebus0 iicbus0: <OFW I2C bus> on iichb0 iic0: <I2C generic I/O> on iicbus0 iichb1: <BCM2708/2835 BSC controller> mem 0x804000-0x80401f irq 61 on simplebus0 iicbus1: <OFW I2C bus> on iichb1 iic1: <I2C generic I/O> on iicbus1 spi0: <BCM2708/2835 SPI controller> mem 0x204000-0x20401f irq 62 on simplebus0 spibus0: <OFW SPI bus> on spi0 bcm_dma0: <BCM2835 DMA Controller> mem 0x7000-0x7fff,0xe05000-0xe05fff irq 24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,36 on simplebus0 mbox0: <BCM2835 VideoCore Mailbox> mem 0xb880-0xb8bf irq 1 on simplebus0 sdhci_bcm0: <Broadcom 2708 SDHCI controller> mem 0x300000-0x3000ff irq 70 on simplebus0 mmc0: <MMC/SD bus> on sdhci_bcm0 uart0: <PrimeCell UART (PL011)> mem 0x201000-0x201fff irq 65 on simplebus0 uart0: console (115200,n,8,1) dwcotg0: <DWC OTG 2.0 integrated USB controller> mem 0x980000-0x99ffff irq 17 on simplebus0 usbus0 on dwcotg0 fb0: <BCM2835 VT framebuffer driver> on ofwbus0 Timecounters tick every 10.000 msec usbus0: 480Mbps High Speed USB v2.0 bcm2835_cpufreq0: ARM 700MHz, Core 250MHz, SDRAM 400MHz, Turbo OFF ugen0.1: <DWCOTG> at usbus0 uhub0: <DWCOTG OTG Root HUB, class 9/0, rev 2.00/1.00, addr 1> on usbus0 mmcsd0: 32GB <SDHC 00000 1.0 SN 999A04A8 MFG 03/2015 by 27 SM> at mmc0 41.6MHz/4bit/65535-block fb0: 640x480(0x0@0,0) 16bpp fb0: pitch 1280, base 0x5eb64000, screen_size 614400 fbd0 on fb0 VT: initialize with new VT driver "fb". random: unblocking device. Root mount waiting for: usbus0 uhub0: 1 port with 1 removable, self powered ugen0.2: <vendor 0x0b95> at usbus0 Trying to mount root from ufs:/dev/ufs/rootfs [rw]... warning: no time-of-day clock registered, system time will not be set accurately GEOM_PART: mmcsd0s2 was automatically resized. Use `gpart commit mmcsd0s2` to save changes or `gpart undo mmcsd0s2` to revert them. axe0: <vendor 0x0b95 product 0x772b, rev 2.00/0.01, addr 2> on usbus0 miibus0: <MII bus> on axe0 ukphy0: <Generic IEEE 802.3u media interface> PHY 16 on miibus0 ukphy0: none, 10baseT, 10baseT-FDX, 100baseTX, 100baseTX-FDX, auto, auto-flow ue0: <USB Ethernet> on axe0 ue0: Ethernet address: 00:0e:c6:e0:0d:84 ue0: link state changed to DOWN ue0: link state changed to UP
Thank you for reading.