Installation

This document guides the user how to install mobian on their pinephone (chose analogue image directories if you want to install to the Librem 5 or the Pinetab). The rather brief list of supported devices can be found here.

In essence, it boils down to 1. obtain the correct mobian image, and find the easiest method to 2. flash it on either your SD card or the internal storage of your pinephone (eMMC).

Obtain the image

You can download pre-built images from this link (recommended). The directory contains the latest image that we consider stable, after upgrading it will be quite the same as a nightly image though (“*terms and conditions apply”). The image file is named “mobian-pinephone-YYYYMMDD.img.gz”. Once you have downloaded an image, you can flash it to a SD-card or to internal eMMC storage. These images will exand themselves to use up the full disc, but do not allow full disc encryption (FDE). For this, you need our installer images, which are not covered in these instructions to keep them simple.

You are already done with step 1! Note: Those .bmap files are only interesting if you want to use the bmaptool to download/install the image. Note: If you build the image yourself using debos recipes, the image file will be named “mobian-pinephone-YYYYMMDD.img” and there is no need to unzip an archive.

Flash the image

Follow below steps on how to flash to emmc (these pine64 wiki instructions contain more ways on how to access the emmc of the pinephone).

Installation to SD card

To flash Mobian onto a SD card, simply insert the card into a computer of your choice and flash the card there using any of the methods described below. Be advised that the first boot will take longer due to the automatic resizing of the filesystem.

Installation to eMMC using JumpDrive

You can install the image to eMMC using the latest release of JumpDrive. Follow the steps described below.

First, you need to identify the correct device representing the phone/tab eMMC. Identifying the right flashing target is the most difficult step and should be done with care, as you can easiily wipe out the wrong disk by accident.

You can either access your phone through USB from a laptop and flash from there (recommended) or put the image file on the jumpdrive sdcard, log into the jumpdrive shell (using telnet) and flash from there (more difficult). If using the latter procedure, logging into the Jumpdrive shell through telnet, the pinephone should be exposed as /dev/mmcblk0 (for the jumpdrive SD card) or /dev/mmcblk2 (for eMMC, its size should be around 16GB or 32GB).

If using the former (recommended) method of directly accessing your phone/tab from a computer, the phone will be exposed as /dev/sdX devices. For instance, on my computer it assigned /dev/sdb1 to pinephone'​s emmc/boot partition, /dev/sdb2 to emmc/rootfs and /dev/sdc1 to the SD card (jumpdrive itself) (/dev/sda was already used for the laptop's own disk). In this case you would want to flash to /dev/sdb. Your naming can differ!)

You can also use device names by-id for increased safety, e.g. /dev/disk/by-id/mmc-SU16G_0x1d6654fd. Be careful not to write to the wrong device! Replace the “X” in /dev/mmcblkX or /dev/sdX or use /dev/disk/by-id/.

These are the steps to follow:

  1. Download the Jumpdrive image and flash the Jumpdrive image to a micro SD card from your computer. (using dd a graphical app like balenda etcher,…)
  2. Boot the PinePhone from the Jumpdrive micro SD card
  3. Connect the PinePhone to your computer using a USB cable
  4. The sdcard and the emmc will become available as block devices on your computer (in the form of /dev/sdX block devices).
  5. Flash the exposed (mounted) PinePhone drive with the Mobian image using one of the methods below.
  6. Disconnect the PinePhone from your computer and remove the Jumpdrive SD card
  7. Power in the PinePhone and boot Mobian from eMMC.

Method 1a: bmaptool using an URL

bmaptool is a comfortable means to flash your image (available in Debian as package bmap-tools). It handles sparse files, so it can be considerably faster than plain dd. It also handles both .bmap and .gz files and can download them directly from an URL. Execute

sudo bmaptool copy https://images.mobian-project.org/pinephone/CHANGEME $BLOCKDEVICE

with $BLOCKDEVICE the blockdevice to flash, e.g. /dev/mmcblkX, /dev/sdX [in the case of jumpdrive], or /dev/disk/by-id/XXXXXX).

Example:

sudo bmaptool copy https://images.mobian-project.org/pinephone/nightly/mobian-pinephone-20200517.img.gz /dev/disk/by-id/mmc-SU16G_0x1d6654fd

Method 1b: bmaptool with a local image file

You can also use bmaptool to flash a local image. As it handles sparse files, it can flash considerably faster than plain dd

sudo bmaptool copy $IMAGE $BLOCKDEVICE

with $IMAGE, the path to the compressed or uncompressed image file and $BLOCKDEVICE the blockdevice (/dev/mmcblkX or /dev/sdX - if you are using jumpdrive - or /dev/disk/by-id/).

Example:

sudo bmaptool copy mobian-pinephone-20200801.img.gz /dev/disk/by-id/mmc-SU16G_0x1d6654fd

Method 2: dd

To use dd, you need to unzip the image using one of the following commands:

gunzip mobian-pinephone-YYYYMMDD.img.gz    
gzip -d mobian-pinephone-YYYYMMDD.img.gz

Then flash with the following command:

sudo dd bs=64k if=mobian-pinephone-YYYYMMDD.img of=/dev/mmcblkX status=progress

(the status= option will display some progress while flashing, dd is awfully silent otherwise)

Method 3: A graphical flashing app

Of course, you can use any graphical app to burn/flash/etch the images to your target. Some popular ones are balenda etcher.

Post-installation

Default pin and password

The default user is mobian with password: 1234 in the image. User root has a disabled login and cannot be logged in directly as by default (use sudo -i to become root). mobian's password is also used as PIN on the unlock screen. You should change it using the command:

passwd

and remember that you can currently only input numbers on the lockscreen, so chose your password wisely.

Automatic resizing of your filesystem on first boot

After flashing the image and booting for the first time, Mobian will resize the root filesystem to take all possible space on the disk. Depending on card sizes and file system type, this can take a while and will only happen on first boot. So grab a ${DRINK_OF_CHOICE} and be patient.

Accessing the SD card

The SD card will be automatically mounted on demand, using the path /media/sdcard. There is no need to change fstab or anything else.

Connecting to Mobian

There are a few ways to connect to Mobian from another computer. To begin, install SSH server by opening up King's Cross from the main menu and install the SSH server by entering this into the terminal: sudo apt install openssh-server. You should protect your ssh server to not allow logins via the numeric password if you want to remain safe.

Next, you can connect to your Mobian device through an USB connection, or through a WiFi connection.