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Introduction

ARM processors are widely used on various devices, like smartphones, tablets and small computers/boards. The main advantages of the ARM processor are:

For more information about the ARM architecture, please read the following links:

Why CentOS on armv7hl Boards

A lot of people are interested in running Linux on such kind of cheap/small boards, as home server appliance, domestic controller, small VPN endpoint, etc. While there already exists a number of distributions providing support for such boards, someone already using CentOS 7 x86_64 for their servers/workstations/laptops will probably be interested in managing even such small armv7hl boards with the same tools. That's why the CentOS AltArch SIG decided to try to port the existing code from CentOS 7 x86_64 to the armv7hl/armhfp platform.

It's worth knowing that the distribution for armv7hl platform is called "CentOS Userland Linux" and not "CentOS Linux". The reason is that the AltArch SIG can decide to include some other packages, replace some components or not build some packages from the upstream distribution. The most obvious case is the kernel, as kernel 3.10.0-* (used in the CentOS 7 x86_64 distribution) doesn't support the armv7hl architecture.

Supported armhfp Boards

We currently support the following board types:

It is worth noting that we have so the following images:

We still have the RaspberryPi images available, while as of CentOS 7.5.1804 the generic images can be used natively on R-Pi boards with the upstream kernel. (Support is not complete but it is very usable.)

If your device is based on an AllWinner chipset, you should also check https://linux-sunxi.org/Linux_mainlining_effort so you know what to expect.

How to Install CentOS Userland armv7hl

How to Unpack the Image for Your Board

The first thing to do is to download the appropriate image for your board. You will need at least a 4GB SD card (or larger) depending on the package selection (i.e. Minimal, GNOME or KDE): http://isoredirect.centos.org/altarch/7/isos/armhfp

ATTENTION: Be sure to verify the correct device name of, and path to, your SD card as the next command, run with superuser rights, will destroy all existing data on the target device if it has not been correctly identified. Most likely it will be /dev/mmcblk0 but be very careful.

Once you have downloaded the corresponding image for your board model, transfer it to your SD card:

[root@host ~]# xzcat CentOS-Userland-7-armv7hl-$MODEL-$VARIANT-$RELEASE-sda.raw.xz | dd of=$/path/to/sd/card status=progress bs=4M
[root@host ~]# sync

TIP: The 'status=progress' parameter of dd exists in the version supplied with CentOS 7.2.1511. If you are running another version or another distribution, verify first that the parameter is supported. It isn't mandatory but is written here for convenience, to track the status of the transfer rate to the SD card. The 'bs=4M' parameter is also used for a faster transfer rate, as most SD cards have an erase block size of 4MB.

uBoot Setup (Not Needed for the RaspberryPi Boards)

After you have unpacked the generic image to your SD card, you have to do one additional step. The actual commands depend on many things but specially on the SoC vendor and the type of board.

First you need to install uboot images:

[root@host ~]# yum install uboot-images-armv7 uboot-images-armv8

Let's suppose you do this from your linux laptop and that your board is a Bananapro (AllWinner SoC):

[root@host ~]# export boardmodel="Bananapro"
[root@host ~]# export sdcard="/dev/mmcblk0"
[root@host ~]# dd if=/usr/share/uboot/${boardmodel}/u-boot-sunxi-with-spl.bin of=${sdcard} bs=1024 seek=8 conv=fsync,notrunc

Or assuming that your board is a Beagle Bone Black (TI):

[root@host ~]# export boardmodel="am335x_boneblack"
[root@host ~]# export sdcard="/dev/mmcblk0"
[root@host ~]# dd if=/usr/share/uboot/${boardmodel}/u-boot-spl.bin of=${sdcard} count=1 seek=1 bs=128k
[root@host ~]# dd if=/usr/share/uboot/${boardmodel}/u-boot.img of=${sdcard} count=2 seek=1 bs=384k

For your information, here is a list of boards that have a uboot file for armhfp (from uboot-images-2018.09):

A10-OLinuXino-Lime
A10s-OLinuXino-M
A13-OLinuXino
A13-OLinuXinoM
A20-Olimex-SOM-EVB
A20-OLinuXino-Lime
A20-OLinuXino-Lime2
A20-OLinuXino_MICRO
a64-olinuxino
am335x_boneblack
am335x_evm
am335x_evm_usbspl
am57xx_evm
Ampe_A76
arndale
Auxtek-T003
Auxtek-T004
avnet_ultra96_rev1
ba10_tv_box
Bananapi
bananapi_m2_berry
Bananapi_M2_Ultra
bananapi_m64
Bananapro
chiliboard
CHIP
Chuwi_V7_CW0825
clearfog
cl-som-am57x
cm_fx6
Colombus
colorfly_e708_q1
CSQ_CS908
Cubieboard
Cubieboard2
Cubieboard4
Cubietruck
Cubietruck_plus
db-mv784mp-gp
difrnce_dit4350
dragonboard410c
dragonboard820c
dserve_dsrv9703c
espresso7420
evb-rk3229
evb-rk3328
evb-rk3399
fennec-rk3288
firefly-rk3288
firefly-rk3399
geekbox
helios4
hikey
Hummingbird_A31
Hyundai_A7HD
i12-tvbox
icnova-a20-swac
inet1
iNet_3F
iNet_3W
inet86dz
iNet_86VS
inet97fv2
inet98v_rev2
inet9f_rev03
inet_q972
Itead_Ibox_A20
jesurun_q5
jetson-tk1
kc1
khadas-vim
Lamobo_R1
libretech_all_h3_cc_h2_plus
libretech_all_h3_cc_h5
libretech-cc
Linksprite_pcDuino
Linksprite_pcDuino3
Linksprite_pcDuino3_Nano
liteboard
marsboard
Marsboard_A10
Mele_A1000
Mele_A1000G_quad
Mele_I7
Mele_M3
Mele_M5
Mele_M9
Mini-X
mk802
mk802_a10s
mk802ii
MK808C
MSI_Primo73
MSI_Primo81
mvebu_espressobin-88f3720
mvebu_mcbin-88f8040
mx6cuboxi
nanopi-k2
nanopi_m1
nanopi_m1_plus
nanopi_neo
nanopi_neo2
nanopi_neo_plus2
novena
odroid
odroid-c2
odroid-xu3
omap3_beagle
omap3_pandora
omap4_panda
omap5_uevm
Orangepi
orangepi_2
orangepi_lite
Orangepi_mini
orangepi_one
orangepi_one_plus
orangepi_pc
orangepi_pc2
orangepi_pc_plus
orangepi_plus
orangepi_plus2e
orangepi_prime
orangepi_r1
orangepi_win
orangepi_zero
orangepi_zero_plus
orangepi_zero_plus2
origen
p212
p2371-2180
p2771-0000-500
paz00
pine64_plus
pine_h64
polaroid_mid2809pxe04
poplar
pov_protab2_ips9
q8_a13_tablet
q8_a23_tablet_800x480
q8_a33_tablet_1024x600
q8_a33_tablet_800x480
qemu_arm
r7-tv-dongle
riotboard
rock
rock2
rock960-rk3399
rpi_2
rpi_3
rpi_3_32b
Sinlinx_SinA31s
Sinovoip_BPI_M2
Sinovoip_BPI_M2_Plus
Sinovoip_BPI_M3
smdkv310
sopine_baseboard
stih410-b2260
sunxi_Gemei_G9
tbs_a711
tinker-rk3288
trimslice
turris_mox
turris_omnia
udoo
udoo_neo
usbarmory
UTOO_P66
vexpress_aemv8a_dram
vexpress_aemv8a_juno
vexpress_aemv8a_semi
vexpress_ca15_tc2
vexpress_ca9x4
wandboard
warp
warp7
Wexler_TAB7200
Wits_Pro_A20_DKT
xilinx_zynqmp_zcu100_revC
Yones_Toptech_BS1078_V2
zynq_microzed
zynq_zed
zynq_zybo

Once the image is transferred, you can put the SD card in the dedicated slot for your ARM device and boot it up.

The default settings for the installed image are:

How to Resize/Expand the RootFS for the Whole SD Card

Depending on the SD card size you used, you will probably want to expand the RootFS (/) to the maximum capacity of the underlying SD card. For your convenience we've added the cloud-utils-growpart tool, packaged as an rpm file and available through the Extras repository for armv7hl.

If you just want to use/expand the whole remaining capacity, just run (either as root or as a normal user with sudo rights) the following command:

[root@host ~]# /usr/bin/rootfs-expand

WiFi on the RaspberryPi 3B and 3B+

The CentOS Project is not allowed to distribute the RaspberryPi 3B/3B+ firmware files. You can use the following articles to understand the issue, to get the firmware and to set up the WiFi.

The Raspberry Pi 3 B+ in Fedora

Connect to a wireless network using command line nmcli

Installing an armv7hl (32 bit) VM on an aarch64 (64 bit) Machine

Do you have a CentOS-7 aarch64 machine and need to run a 32 bit arm Virtual Machine? ... If so, here is an outstanding blog post by Fabian Arrotin (one of our core CentOS team members):

Using CentOS 7 armhfp VM on CentOS 7 aarch64

Interacting with the AltArch Arm32 Group

Getting help

Contributing to the Arm32 Group

FAQ

How Can I Update My Kernel?

Depending on which board image you're using, it can use the generic kernel or the RaspberryPi variant. It's normally all configured automatically but even if you point to the correct repository, you'll have take care of the following (depending on the board variant):

RaspberryPi 2 and 3

yum update will bring the updated kernel and nothing else needs to be done. Just reboot and you'll be using the new kernel.

Generic Kernel

Before centos-userland-release-7-5.1804, in order to activate the new kernel and edit /boot/extlinux/extlinux.conf, you had to run /usr/bin/update-boot. This is no longer valid and it is done automatically by grubby.

How Can I Enable EPEL 7 on armhfp ?

The answer is easy in a sense that there is no official EPEL repository for armhfp. But because lot of users were asking for this, we decided to use the centos armhfp builders to (re)build Source packages from EPEL 7 (and try to track those automatically) when they're idle. Please note that it's just an automatic rebuild without any QA/test and also the resulting packages are not signed. To use that repository, proceed as follows:

[root@host ~]# cat > /etc/yum.repos.d/epel.repo << EOF
[epel]
name=Epel rebuild for armhfp
baseurl=https://armv7.dev.centos.org/repodir/epel-pass-1/
enabled=1
gpgcheck=0

EOF
[root@host ~]#

SpecialInterestGroup/AltArch/armhfp (last edited 2019-08-14 21:01:35 by AkemiYagi)