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Author Topic: Raspberry Pi Zero Wireless and piCore14.x LAN Connectivity  (Read 2877 times)

Offline KeithA

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Raspberry Pi Zero Wireless and piCore14.x LAN Connectivity
« on: January 10, 2024, 12:02:21 PM »
I have always found the combination of a Raspberry Pi Zero W and piCore a very useful platform for projects such as remote controllers and a mini NAS. To start a project I initially connect the RPi0W to my router using a USB to LAN adapter so I can SSH into the Pi from PuTTY running on a laptop then use the tce commands to install wifi on the Pi. Once I have wireless connectivity, the USB to LAN adapter can be removed leaving me with a remote wirelessly connected Pi. This worked with piCore13 but with piCore14 I cannot connect via LAN to my router so am unable to use tce commands to install wifi onto the Pi.

As a workaround I downloaded the extensions and their dependencies for firmware-rpi-wifi, wifi and wireless-6.1.68-piCore from the repository http://tinycorelinux.net/14.x/armv6/tcz/ to a USB Flash and transferred them on to the Pi using a similar method as described in the topic:  How to get wifi working on Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W ? https://forum.tinycorelinux.net/index.php/topic,26659.html and I got wifi working on a RPi0W with piCore14.

I've done some investigation and comparing the diagnostic messages dmesg from the Pi for piCore13 and piCore14, although in both cases the USB to LAN adapter is recognised correctly, piCore13 dmesg has the two lines:

Code: [Select]
[    6.639085] cdc_ether 1-1.1:2.0 eth0: register 'cdc_ether' at usb-20980000.usb-1.1, CDC Ethernet Device, 00:e0:4b:36:2d:b3
[    6.639416] usbcore: registered new interface driver cdc_ether

These lines are missing in piCore14.

Listing the loaded kernel modules with lsmod for piCore13 and piCore14 shows cdc_ether present for piCore13.

Code: [Select]
tc@box:~$ lsmod
Module                  Size  Used by    Not tainted
squashfs               40960  3
cdc_ether              16384  0
raspberrypi_hwmon      16384  0
zram                   24576  1
zsmalloc               28672  1 zram

But not for piCore14.

An old post https://forum.tinycorelinux.net/index.php/topic,20082.html  Topic: Pi Zero usb LAN adapter, suggested installing the module net-usb-KERNEL-piCore. This is a single extension with no dependencies so I manually copied the two files net-usb-6.1.68-piCore.tcz and net-usb-6.1.68-piCore.tcz.md5.txt to RPi0w with piCore14's uSD storage partition extensions folder /mnt/mmcblk0p2/tce/optional and added the line net-usb-6.1.68-piCore.tcz to the onboot list file /mnt/mmcblk0p2/tce/onboot.lst

It worked, cdc_ether is back. The Pi connects to the router and I can SSH my way in and tce download and  install wifi. This is much easier than the first method of manually downloading and copying over twenty files to the Pi. Still not ideal though.

I know piCore is a minimal operating system which you customise by installing extensions but expecting users to manually download extensions and copy them to a pi is expecting a bit much, especially for beginners. There are plenty of pitfalls and I'm sure I fell down them all.

A plea to the hard working experts who maintain piCore: Earlier versions of piCore supported cdc_ether for USB-LAN adapter connectivity, is there any possibility it could be re-introduced for the benefit of Raspberry Pi Zero W users? Many thanks.

centralware

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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero Wireless and piCore14.x LAN Connectivity
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2024, 09:16:50 PM »
@KeithA: Thanks for reaching out!

Speaking from personal experience with the RasPi line, I found a solution quite some time ago which may help you with your projects.
Note: This is a one-time necessity for each major release of piCore, though you may wish to tweak it to your needs before calling it complete.
This is being posted in hopes to assist those in similar situations with piCore as it solves a good deal of issues under one roof.

Think of this as the "Universal piCore Boot Image" for RasPi 4, 3, 2, 1, Zero and Zero-2

From your regular PC (or laptop!):
  • Download piCore 14's zip file and extract the picore#.img file
  • Using your preferred method, "install" the image file onto a USB stick, SD card, etc. that you can erase without worrying about what's on it
  • Once installed, open the device on your PC and COPY all of the files from that FAT32 partition onto your computer into a directory called piCore14 (you can erase the USB/SD - it served it's purpose.)
  • Replace the config.txt in your PC's directory with the one provided below
  • Replace the cmdline.txt with the one provided below
  • Create COPIES of the new cmdline.txt naming them cmdline_pi0.txt, cmdline_pi02.txt (for the Pi Zero 2W), cmdline_pi1.txt and so on up to pi4, they're all listed in config.txt, one for each RasPi hardware device. RasPi5 is not supported in this image.
  • Create an empty text file here and rename it to bootmmc.sh
  • In your PC's directory where cmdline###.txt and config.txt files are, create a new directory called tce.  Inside that, create another one called optional.
  • Download firmware and support files from the piCore repository and place them inside /tce/optional/

cmdline.txt
Code: [Select]
zswap.compressor=lz4 zswap.zpool=z3fold console=tty1 root=/dev/ram0 rootwait quiet nortc loglevel=3 noembed tce=LABEL=piCore14* What ever you format/name the SD card must match to what's listed here as tce=LABEL=piCore14

config.txt
Code: [Select]
# For more options and information see
# http://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/configuration/config-txt.md
# Some settings may impact device functionality. See link above for details
#
# For Device-tree overlays, please reference overlays/README on the boot partition.
#

[PI0]
initramfs rootfs-piCore-14.1.gz,modules-6.1.68-piCore.gz followkernel
kernel kernel6168.img
cmdline=cmdline_pi0.txt

[PI02]
initramfs rootfs-piCore-14.1.gz,modules-6.1.68-piCore-v7.gz followkernel
kernel kernel6168v7.img
cmdline=cmdline_pi02.txt

[PI1]
initramfs rootfs-piCore-14.1.gz,modules-6.1.68-piCore.gz followkernel
kernel kernel6168.img
cmdline=cmdline_pi1.txt

[PI2]
initramfs rootfs-piCore-14.1.gz,modules-6.1.68-piCore-v7.gz followkernel
kernel kernel6168v7.img
cmdline=cmdline_pi2.txt

[PI3]
initramfs rootfs-piCore-14.1.gz,modules-6.1.68-piCore-v7.gz followkernel
kernel kernel6168v7.img
cmdline=cmdline_pi3.txt

# Enable DRM VC4 V3D driver on top of the dispmanx display stack
#dtoverlay=vc4-kms-v3d

[PI4]
initramfs rootfs-piCore-14.1.gz,modules-6.1.68-piCore-v7l.gz followkernel
kernel kernel6168v7l.img
cmdline=cmdline_pi4.txt

# Don't have the firmware create an initial video= setting in cmdline.txt.
# Use the kernel's default instead.
disable_fw_kms_setup=1
dtoverlay=vc4-kms-v3d-pi4
max_framebuffers=2

[ALL]
# Run as fast as firmware / board allows
arm_boost=1

# uncomment if you get no picture on HDMI for a default "safe" mode
#hdmi_safe=1

# uncomment this if your display has a black border of unused pixels visible
# and your display can output without overscan
#disable_overscan=1

# uncomment the following to adjust overscan. Use positive numbers if console
# goes off screen, and negative if there is too much border
#overscan_left=16
#overscan_right=16
#overscan_top=16
#overscan_bottom=16

# uncomment to force a console size. By default it will be display's size minus
# overscan.
#framebuffer_width=1280
#framebuffer_height=720

# uncomment if hdmi display is not detected and composite is being output
#hdmi_force_hotplug=1

# uncomment to force a specific HDMI mode (this will force VGA)
#hdmi_group=1
#hdmi_mode=1

# uncomment to force a HDMI mode rather than DVI. This can make audio work in
# DMT (computer monitor) modes
#hdmi_drive=2

# uncomment to increase signal to HDMI, if you have interference, blanking, or
# no display
#config_hdmi_boost=4

# uncomment for composite PAL
#sdtv_mode=2

#uncomment to overclock the arm. 700 MHz is the default.
#arm_freq=800

# Uncomment some or all of these to enable the optional hardware interfaces
#dtparam=i2c_arm=on
#dtparam=i2s=on
#dtparam=spi=on

# Uncomment this to enable infrared communication.
#dtoverlay=gpio-ir,gpio_pin=17
#dtoverlay=gpio-ir-tx,gpio_pin=18

# Additional overlays and parameters are documented /boot/overlays/README

# Enable audio (loads snd_bcm2835)
dtparam=audio=on

#dtoverlay=vc4-fkms-v3d

Finally, wipe out your intended Micro-SD card and create a single, primary partition on it (say 512MB for a little extra elbow room) and format it FAT32 with a name/label of piCore14  Once formatted, simply COPY your files from this directory on your PC onto the newly formatted SD partition and properly eject the SD card to ensure it writes and releases from the PC.

Boot the SD card from your RasPi. Type in the following command to check it:
Code: [Select]
readlink /etc/sysconfig/tcedirIf it returns /mnt/mmcblk0p1/tce we're in business.  If it returns /tmp/tce something went wrong above.
Edit /opt/bootsync.sh and bootlocal.sh to create a "universal" start-up that does everything you want it to do whether it's fired up on a Pi4 or a PiZero.  Disregard the USB WiFi for the moment as this is specific to a single device, not "all" of them.  In addition, inside bootlocal.sh right after the # line that says to add things "here" add the following lines as being the first thing(s) bootlocal.sh does:
Code: [Select]
mount /mnt/mmcblk0p1 >/dev/null 2>&1
. /mnt/mmcblk0p1/bootmmc.sh

Entering
Code: [Select]
filetool.sh -b should back up changes you've made to bootlocal.sh and/or bootsync.sh onto the SD card.

Code: [Select]
sudo poweroff when you're done tweaking and have backed up the system for ALL RasPi types of devices.  Eject the SD card and put it back into your PC.
COPY the files from the SD card's partition back into your existing PC directory, overwrite everything when prompted and then set that directory aside.  Again, you can wipe the SD card as it has served its purpose.  Your PC/laptop now contains everything you need for any of the supported devices.  Simply follow the creation instructions below:
  • Insert an appropriate SD card into your PC
  • Remove all SD partitions, create a single partition >128MB
  • Format the partition FAT32 and label it to match the cmdline###.txt tce=LABEL=something
  • COPY the contents from your PC to the SD card
  • EDIT the config/cmdline files if necessary to accommodate your needs
  • EDIT the bootmmc.sh file to execute start-up needs (see below)
  • EJECT the SD and insert/boot your RasPi with it
Now, for your USB WiFi needs...  Create an SD card as described above.
EDIT the SD card's bootmmc.sh file from your PC OR the Pi -- up to you, and add
Code: [Select]
su -c "tce-load -i net-usb-KERNEL.tcz" tc
Hope this helps!

centralware

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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero Wireless and piCore14.x LAN Connectivity
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2024, 09:32:09 PM »
In regards to whether or not include usb-net-KERNEL there's a level of inconvenience if we do, or if we don't.

A) If we INCLUDE drivers specific to a given hardware layout, everyone who does NOT have that layout would have to recompile the kernel in order to rid themselves of all the unnecessary content; and those percentages are pretty large.

B) If we do NOT INCLUDE hardware-specific drivers (like the many, many USB devices on the market) it may in fact be a pain for some users who rely on those devices to get online in order to download drivers (etc.) but we can't predict how each user is going to put their devices to work.

NOTE: You CAN, however, build your own customized kernel with what ever drivers you wish to have as part of it and alleviate the need for driver extensions completely - with the understanding of A/B above.  It's not all that difficult to do, but does take quite a while to compile on a Pi.

The main goal is to include the required basics (in this case, all of the hardware devices that come built into the RasPi 0,1,2,3,4,0-2 and I think the 400/SOM series are in there as well.  (For example, we have a couple USB Ethernet dongles we use while flashing RasPi-Zero boards...  the drivers aren't built in because the other hundred or so images we used throughout the year don't have need for it and would otherwise just add bloat to the kernel.)

Offline Paul_123

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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero Wireless and piCore14.x LAN Connectivity
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2024, 03:43:38 AM »
My usb Ethernet modules do not use that module, so moving that one module to the initrd is not going to help everyone.  If you plug in a usb Ethernet device, you need the net-usb modules package.


Offline KeithA

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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero Wireless and piCore14.x LAN Connectivity
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2024, 12:36:26 PM »
Hi CentralWare, Thanks for your prompt and very detailed response.

I agree with you absolutely that piCore should avoid creeping bloat. I usually use piCore in copy mode to provide uSD card resilience and regard ram, especially the miserly 512 MB on the Raspberry Pi Zero W, as a valuable resource not to be squandered.

However, I think there are two considerations to be made in this case.

The first is that given a Raspberry Pi Zero W and piCore14 there is no way of accessing the piCore repository over the internet without "cheating"
and many users will be put off using piCore by this inability to plug and play.

The second is that I'm not asking for anything new. I'm asking for a feature that was present in piCore13 and dropped in piCore14 to be re-introduced.

Incidentally, Raspberry Pi Zero 2W and piCore64-14 will connect to my router through a USB to LAN adapter. No problem there

Many thanks for your help.

Offline Paul_123

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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero Wireless and piCore14.x LAN Connectivity
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2024, 07:07:32 PM »
True, piCore 13.1 (Only 32 bit)  did have a few net-usb drivers added to the initrd, however it was not a complete set.  And like I mentioned previously, it did not support any of my USB based network devices.  So when I packaged piCore14, I packaged it the same way I have been doing the 64bit version....putting all usb network drivers in an extension.

I remember the early piCore versions, when including ssh by default was a big conversation.

As for piCore64 working.  If you have a network device that uses the similar chipsets to what raspberry pi puts on their boards, then you just get lucky, since they build ethernet support for their chips in the kernel.  I use Raspberry pi configs and package everything the same way.

Where to draw the line in what we put on the image.

centralware

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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero Wireless and piCore14.x LAN Connectivity
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2024, 11:06:21 PM »
As for piCore64 working.  If you have a network device that uses the similar chipsets to what raspberry pi puts on their boards, then you just get lucky, since they build ethernet support for their chips in the kernel.  I use Raspberry pi configs and package everything the same way.

@KeithA: The instruction sheet I sent earlier was to create a universal image that can be used for virtually any flavor of RasPi (except Pi5 - which is being treated as a completely different monster for the moment) the problem is, you're asking for all of the USB network drivers out there to be included in the universal piCore release...  but even if that were done, you STILL would need to go online and "cheat" in order to get wifi, wireless* and wpa_supplicant downloaded to the device in order for the device to then be able to go online for itself and grab anything else it may need.

@Paul_123: Keith brings up a good point for the Pi-0, Pi-0W, Pi0-2 (which have no NIC) and the bigger Pi3/4 which have NICs, but not necessarily users who have a router/switch/hub nearby whereas there's a reasonably simple method we could support NICs/WiFi without touching the existing boot image.  (Take the typical USB ether/wifi drivers, wifi*, wireless* and wpa* extensions and CPIO them into an add-on image which can be downloaded onto the SD card via Linux OR Windows (since it's FAT/32) and can be added to the RasPi config in the same manner.)  We may not have a fool-proof image for every single USB or HAT based Ethernet or Wireless device on the planet, but in theory, it should cover the majority!)  Even if this were just the means to get the device "online" so the end-user can tweak it to their needs and remove it later, it does seem, to me, like a worthwhile venture.

@Rich, @bmarkus, @Paul_123:
If everyone is in agreement with this concept, I still have a few things on my plate that take precedence but I can add the task for later in the month unless someone volunteers for the job.  @KeithA  LOL...  You made this mess! You're going to help test it! :)  If you're okay with that, we'll be in contact when the image and how-to instructions are available.  Send me a list of the Pi devices you currently have access to and I'll have someone here put a bench together with the remainder.  Again, we're aiming at Zero through 4 for the time being; not Pi5.  We no longer have a RasPi "One" in-house; testing for that far back will have to rely on anyone who still does.

NOTE: This process is purely theoretical; the outcome should be a success but promises cannot be made until it is a reality.

Offline Rich

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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero Wireless and piCore14.x LAN Connectivity
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2024, 06:32:55 AM »
Hi CentralWare
... (Take the typical USB ether/wifi drivers, wifi*, wireless* and wpa* extensions and CPIO them into an add-on image which can be downloaded onto the SD card via Linux OR Windows (since it's FAT/32) and can be added to the RasPi config in the same manner.) ...
Just a thought, but wouldn't rolling a copy of the contents of those extensions
into an  AllWireless.tcz  extension accomplish the same thing?

Quote
... Even if this were just the means to get the device "online" so the end-user can tweak it to their needs and remove it later, it does seem, to me, like a worthwhile venture.
 ...
Then the user can download what they think they need, remove  AllWireless.tcz
from  onboot.lst , reboot and test. If they find they missed something, add
AllWireless.tcz  back to  onboot.lst , reboot, download what they need.
This way they can do everything with the apps tools instead of mounting
partition 1 and fooling with command.txt or whatever the boot config is called.

Offline KeithA

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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero Wireless and piCore14.x LAN Connectivity
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2024, 11:25:40 AM »
Hi CentralWare,

Count me in, I would be delighted to help. The Raspberry Pis I have are:

RPiZeroW v1.1
RPi(1) v1.2
RPi2 v1.1
RPi3B+
RPi4B

Since I rarely use the Raspberry Pi 1, I would be more than happy to donate it to the piCore team if it will be of use.

centralware

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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero Wireless and piCore14.x LAN Connectivity
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2024, 12:04:45 AM »
Just a thought, but wouldn't rolling a copy of the contents of those extensions into an  AllWireless.tcz  extension accomplish the same thing?

Friday Evening: (Before the massive back to back outages/brown-outs caused my UPS units to say "I quit!")

@Rich, the only problem with extensions via piCore on the Raspberry Pi is how to GET the extension ONTO the device - on CERTAIN devices especially.

Hardware specs:
With Pi-4 down to Pi-1 there's an Ethernet port which some users can put to use in order to get things moving forward if they know how to wire in.
For the Pi-Zero-W and Pi-Zero-2, WiFi and BT are the only built in modes of connectivity.  Pi-3 and Pi-4 are happy campers... they can go either direction.
Pi 1 and 2 are Ether only.  For the Pi-Zero...  without the "W" (for wireless) you're without connectivity completely unless you OTG a USB Ethernet or WiFi.
For ALL of the listed units, USB dongles are optional in one fashion or another. NONE with WiFi support WiFi with the initial cpio.

piCore specs:
The piCore image consists of a primary FAT/32 partition and a second, tiny EXT partition (which is expanded later to what ever the max SD card size is -- makes fdisk-ing "automated" for the user.)  The FAT partition contains only the necessary files and overlays to act as a hardware boot-loader, a config file which take place of BIOS settings and a cmdline file which steps in for syslinux/grub settings.  Being a FAT partition, permissions are "very limited" at best so there's no resemblance of /opt (for bootsync/local), there's no tce directory (so nowhere to PUT AllWireless.tcz if we wanted to) and the only hopeful if we HAD to follow that path is the not-fool-proof "auto search for a tce folder on any block device" in tc-config BUT requires a more intimate knowledge by the user of how to manually set up tce/optional, tce/ondemand and tce/onboot.lst from outside world (ie: PC/laptop) AND becomes an obstacle for if/when the second partition is resized - with the intention of eventually becoming the "real" tce.

UPDATE: It's now Saturday morning and to quote the movie Hook
Quote
Smee:            I've just had an apostrophe.
Captain Hook: I think you mean an epiphany.
Smee:            No... lightning has just struck my brain.
Captain Hook: Well, that must hurt.

What about "Best of Both Worlds?"
We update our piCore DISK image to contain both the normal picore-##.gz cpio, our wireless.gz add-on cpio, the kernel and the normal Pi-Only stuff.
We're now adding ###MB of bloat to a user who does NOT need wirless, BUT, to rid ourselves of that bloat, there's two reasonably simple steps:
  • Remove wireless.gz from config.txt in the FAT partition.
  • Delete the file wireless.gz from the FAT partition.
ALL of which can be done before the SD card is even placed into the RasPi device.

Additionally, this technically COULD be somewhat automated - say, in tc-config we
Code: [Select]
if [ $RASPI == "Pi-2" ]; then ASK TO DELETE THESE CHANGES; fiLOL - sorry, intended for point, not actual verbiage.

For Pi-1 through Pi-4 we can launch piNoWiFi.sh which asks them if they want to remove the wireless extension, per-se' and we only pester once after the initial setup.
For everyone else, it's likely a vital component save for Pi-Zero (non-wireless) who more times than not these days get used for non-networking purposes in the first place, so an easy launch manually of piNoWiFi.sh tends to this, too.  Or so says my Apostrophe! :)

Thoughts and suggestions requested!
« Last Edit: January 13, 2024, 12:06:57 AM by CentralWare »

Offline Rich

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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero Wireless and piCore14.x LAN Connectivity
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2024, 01:08:08 AM »
Hi CentralWare
In Tinycore there's a  Core  and a  CorePlus.  Why not just
simplify the process and make a  piCorePlus  that includes the
wireless extensions. Users that need the help can then download
piCorePlus  and those that don't can download  piCore.  The
piCorePlus  users can then delete the extensions they don't need.

No custom cpios and no custom extensions that way.

centralware

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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero Wireless and piCore14.x LAN Connectivity
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2024, 01:45:54 AM »
@Rich: Being that piCore currently comes in four flavors (three of which are really viable) we would technically be doubling this -- not that this isn't the solution in the end.

Think of the differences between x86 and x86_64 - each has its own core, coreplus, etc.
With Raspberry, it's very similar: armv6, armv7, (armv7l) and now aarch64, all home to picore-####.zip (containing an .img file to burn onto SD as described previously.)
I'm sorry to say that I'm not entirely certain as to who is in charge of the piCore releases these days (bmarkus, Paul_123, etc.) so their input would be ideal as I cannot predict how much of a pain it would be to double that work-load.

ASSUMING arm 6, 7 and aarch cannot share the same wireless drivers, three cpio modules would be required (where I think 7L would function on the same arm7 drivers, but I'd have to confirm.) As such, the same should be said about creating entire releases for each - I just cannot confirm how much effort this would entail.  It may be as simple as extracting the existing .IMG file, adding the contents of the mentioned extensions and re-packaging the image with a new file name.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2024, 03:59:00 AM by CentralWare »

Offline Paul_123

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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero Wireless and piCore14.x LAN Connectivity
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2024, 05:43:21 AM »
The 32bit images require 3 different kernels/modules.  That’s why I separated the modules initrd from the rest of initrd, to avoid too much duplication.  To add WiFi or net usb, requires all 3 variants of each extension.  Plus you need to add all of the network firmware packages.

It’s very easy to do, but adds a lot to the image.

Offline Rich

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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero Wireless and piCore14.x LAN Connectivity
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2024, 07:09:20 AM »
Hi Paul_123
... It’s very easy to do, but adds a lot to the image.
It did the same for x86:
Code: [Select]
Core-14.0.iso                                      12-Apr-2023 13:12            17870848
CorePlus-14.0.iso                                  12-Apr-2023 13:12           260046848
But it provided those without a wired connection another option.

@Rich: Being that piCore currently comes in four flavors (three of which are really viable) we would technically be doubling this -- not that this isn't the solution in the end ...
Yes, but armv6, armv7, and armv7l repos all use the same  piCore-14.1.0.zip  file.

centralware

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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero Wireless and piCore14.x LAN Connectivity
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2024, 03:23:52 PM »
Yes, but armv6, armv7, and armv7l repos all use the same  piCore-14.1.0.zip  file.

Sorry, I was trying to word things so that it was easier to visualize the comparative between piCore and TinyCore.  ALL of the different kernels and cpios are inside the zip/img for Pi-0 through Pi-4.

@Paul_123, how challenging would this be in aarch64?  (Sorry to say I haven't even opened it yet; too much still on the plate before unboxing the Pi-5.)
« Last Edit: January 13, 2024, 03:25:24 PM by CentralWare »