Fixing dockstar not booting into Debian using USB stick
October 16, 2010 11:26AM
On a recently purchased dockstar I tried to install Debian Squeeze on a USB stick using Jeff Doozan's script. The script itself ended without an error so I tried to reboot and after a while the dockstar ran in Pogoplug environment. I tried it several times after that again, I tried to use Lenny instead of Squeeze and even tried the separate script for installing latest uboot release on dockstar, all without success. The system kept starting up into Pogoplug. The flashwrite process didn't show any CRC and the stick was detected by system in every situation.

Googling the issue I hit a lot of pages regarding similar trouble providing solutions not affecting my case. Some hits obviously contained reports very similar to mine but ended without a solution or even any reply.

So, personal relationships to the rescue I got the solution I'd like to share here with all of you: try activating the boot partition on USB stick. Though linux isn't used to pay attention to that piece of information, uboot seems to do that nevertheless. When in Pogoplug (simply remove the stick and power-off/on dockstar device)
  1. connect to the dockstar (e.g. over SSH)
  2. insert USB stick and wait a few seconds for its detection/registration
  3. run
    fdisk /dev/sdx
    (with sdx selecting your stick device, e.g. sda)
  4. in fdisk type
  5. fdisk is asking for the number of partition to activate. According to partition layout of Jeff Doozan's script it's
  6. write back MBR to stick and close fdisk by typing
  7. reboot dockstar.

BTW, most available instructions on installing Debian on a Dockstar start with grabbing copies of original firmware, then use linux-based host to partition USB drive and make filesystems on it. Nowadays it's not required to have a separate linux host since fdisk is included in Pogoplug and filesystems are remade by Jeff Doozan's script.

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