Deban installer CD for PC Engines APU board with mSATA drive
Latest commit cda8b22 Sep 15, 2016 @ssinyagin committed on GitHub Merge pull request #8 from waja/mirrors
Use as mirror, is deprecated


Debian installer CD for PC Engines APU board with mSATA drive


This is a set of configuration files for building a Debian installation
CD optimized for the APU platform of PC Engines:

This installation is only intended for an mSATA drive on the APU
board. If you plan to boot from SD card, use Voyage Linux instead:

The configuration files can build either an i386 or amd64 installer for
the APU platform (but not both architectures inside the same path).

The build machine should be of the same Debian release as the image that
you are building: a Wheezy host can produce a Wheezy ISO, and a Jessie
host can produce a Jessie ISO.

Before using these scripts, have a look at the files in profiles/, and
you may want to change some options. The "wget_debian_mirror" parameter
should point to a working FTP mirror, so you may want to select a mirror
near you.

The default hostname is set to "apu", unless DHCP delivers a different
name. Default root password is "pcengines", and it is defined in

By default, the installer asks for the host name (this is the only thing
that is manually entered). If you want to skip the hostname prompt,
comment out the following line to "profiles/apu.preseed":

d-i netcfg/get_hostname seen false

The disk layout does not allocate a swap partition (the APU board has 2
or 4GB RAM). If you need swap, you can add a swapfile in root
partition. The system is optimized for minimal swap usage:
vm.swappiness=1 in /etc/sysctl.d/pcengines_apu.conf

The profile adds an hourly cronjob
(/etc/cron.hourly/pcengines_apu_fstrim) which performs fstrim command on
root and boot partitions once a day.

The kernel boots with "elevator=deadline", which optimizes the I/O
performance for SSD drives.

See also SSD optimization tips:

If you need a live or rescue CD, you can get a Live CD from Voyage
Linux. It works fine, the only minor issue is that it switches the
serial console to 9600 baud:

Jessie notes

The SSH daemon now has `PermitRootLogin without-password` by default,
which disallows the root to login with a password. You either need to
install your public SSH key in root's autorized_keys, or change the SSH
daemon configuration.

Binary releases

64-bit installer ISO images are available at GitHub in Releases section:


WARNING: this is a fully automated installation. Once you boot from the
USB stick, it will only give you 5 seconds in the initial menu, then in
a couple of minutes it will ask for the hostname, and the rest will be
done automatically, and a new Debian system will be installed on mSATA
SSD drive.


The build machine needs to be Debian Wheezy. Other Debian versions or
Ubuntu are not fully tested and there are some issues, not yet fully

Both the build machine and the APU board need the Internet connection
during the installation. The installer assumes that eth0 (marked as LAN1
on the APU board) is connected to a network with DHCP service and
Internet access.

The installation ISO image is about 200MB in size.

Build the CD image on the build machine:

## install prerequisites
apt-get update
apt-get install -y simple-cdd git

## get our latest files
mkdir /opt/pcengines
cd /opt/pcengines
git clone .

## build the installation CD image (32bit or 64bit version). If you need
# to build another ISO image of a different architecture inside the same
# path, delete the contents of "tmp/" subdirectory.

build-simple-cdd --conf profiles/apu64.conf --dist jessie --force-root
# alternative commands for different builds:
# build-simple-cdd --conf profiles/apu32.conf --dist jessie --force-root
# build-simple-cdd --conf profiles/apu64.conf --dist wheezy --force-root
# build-simple-cdd --conf profiles/apu32.conf --dist wheezy --force-root

# In case of a failure, delete the contents of tmp/ subfolder.
# Sometimes problems with accessing the mirror leave garbage in tmp/
# and this breaks the execution of build-simple-cdd

## insert the USB stick into the build machine

## check where your USB stick is
fdisk -l

## copy the installer CD image
dd if=images/debian-8.3-amd64-CD-1.iso of=/dev/sdc bs=16M

## Insert the USB stick into APU board and connect a serial terminal at
## 115200 baud rate.  The terminal emulator should be vt220 or xterm
## (vt100 does not have F10 and F12). APU model 1 uses F12, and APU
## model 2 uses F10 in the boot prompt. When the prompt appears, press
## F12 or F10, correspondingly, and select your USB stick as boot
## source.

## The installation starts automatically, and it will ask for a hostname
## within a couple of minutes. Then it will continue, and halt when the
## installation finishes.

Stanislav Sinyagin