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Author Topic: Why is Pi Zero networking so hard?  (Read 508 times)

Offline MarkF

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Why is Pi Zero networking so hard?
« on: June 21, 2020, 01:48:12 PM »
After spending HOURS trying to get a PI Zero (not W) working with a USB power/ethernet adapter, I am very frustrated.  I want to use a single cable that includes an ethernet adapter/jack as part of the power cable plugged into the micro USB (not power) jack on a PiCore based PI Zero appliance.  These cables are available for streaming sticks (Roku, Chromecast) to allow them to use wired ethernet (10/100) instead of their built-in wifi for <$15 US.  You cannot plug the single cable AND a keyboard into a Zero at the same time.  By the way, these cables work right out of the box on headless PI Zeros running Buster.

I submit that the current state of USB ethernet and wifi support on PiCore is less than optimal.  If you want to use either, there is a special "dance" that you have to perform, outside of the target PI, which is not only hidden in old posts in the forums but not mentioned at all in the readme.  Why not make a PiCore image that includes wifi (for the Zero W) and USB ethernet support so both are available without deleting files and copying new files?  They don't have to load/run automatically; but, make it so I can USE them after unpacking and/or with configuration edits to a few files and document it in the readme.

With class 10 16GB microSDHC cards available for <$3.50 US (32GB, <$5 US), it cannot be an image size issue.  So what is it that stops networking (required for proper PiCore function) on PI Zeros and PI Zero Ws from being supported easier than the current setup?

The Zero is 5 years old.  The Zero W is 3 years old.  Both sip power and are great for appliance use.  Isn't it time to make their use with PiCore a bit easier?

Yeah, I AM a frustrated user. :( I am also retired and still on pandemic lock-down ... is there something I can do at my end to help make this happen? :)

Offline Paul_123

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Re: Why is Pi Zero networking so hard?
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2020, 02:15:27 PM »
Its not hard.  I tested 11.x on a zero/zeroW, in less than 5 minutes.

I never understood why people come say, it works on Buster out of the box, so why cant it work on piCore.  That's what you get in a 4+GB image.   So if Buster is what you want, then why are you looking at piCore.  There has to be a reason!

... is there something I can do at my end to help make this happen? :)

Make a simple howto for others.

Offline Greg Erskine

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Re: Why is Pi Zero networking so hard?
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2020, 04:30:08 PM »
hi MarkF,

You have to fully understand the TinyCore philosophy. Minimal starting point, only add what you need. Need nano, add it.

This is the same for piCore for the Raspberry Pi, but then the RPi0 comes along without any networking!!

What do the TinyCore/piCore developers do, change their philosophy, bloat the piCore distribution with wifi/networking software for ALL piCore users just because the RPF decided to make a model of the Raspberry Pi with no networking. Make a separate image for the RPi0? The tail trying to wag the dog. Interesting dilemma.

regards
Greg

Offline MarkF

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Re: Why is Pi Zero networking so hard?
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2020, 07:07:41 PM »
Thanks for your responses.  All I wanted was a discussion about making PiCore networking easier to configure on a Zero/ZeroW.  Instead I get a flame about PiCore not being Buster (as if I suggested that it should be) and a nice post explaining the TinyCore philosophy.

I do understand the "philosophy" and the tail already wags the dog.

Why is there ANY hardware networking code included in the PiCore image?  On any PI using wifi or USB, built-in ethernet is bloat.  The original PI A had no networking built-in.  This was not introduced with the Zero.

Ahhh, PiCore supports built-in networking hardware, by default.

There IS built-in networking hardware (wifi) on the PI Zero W, 3/4.  It is not in the PiCore image, by default.

If they want to rigidly enforce their "philosophy", then remove the built-in hardware network support.  If they want to support built-in hardware, then add the wifi stuff to the image.  Just be consistent.  it won't fix MY problem; but, you can't always get what you want.

Greg is right, this is an interesting dilemma.  Do you rigidly enforce a philosophy and make the product unusable by all or do you make something that can be configured and used while "bending" the philosophy within reason.

I believe that solutions can occur when people are given time and space to bend things BEFORE being shot down.

For example:  What if all the networking stuff was placed into a second partition in the image.  What if, during first boot, the user MUST identify and install the networking hardware support needed (built-in ether or wifi, USB ether or wifi, etc.) from the second partition, into the first partition.  At that point, I wouldn't need the second partition and could delete it.  Is it bloat if everyone MUST use a subset and then it all can be removed?  Is it bloat if I can then make my own image file from a card that only includes the stuff I want?  Isn't that the philosophy?

In the end, this is my own fault.  I should know better than to post when I'm frustrated.  I use too many loaded words and end up not being clear.  Sorry.

Offline Greg Erskine

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Re: Why is Pi Zero networking so hard?
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2020, 11:22:15 PM »
Hi MarkF,

I forgot about the RPi Model A's. From my experience, I decided to accept piCore is the way it is. It's roots are from TinyCore.

BTW: Steen, Paul and I are part of a team that develop an audio application based on piCore. We do have one image that works on ALL RPi's and it does include all the wifi and USB ethernet stuff. It is designed to install on a headless RPi, so stick a wpa_supplicant.conf on the boot partition and wifi will automatically install and work. Stick an netusb file on the boot partition and USB ethernet will work. Once the RPi is up and running on the network there is a web interface for further configuration. So "our goal" for piCorePlayer is the similar to yours. We took piCore and made it suit our requirement.

regards
Greg





Offline Paul_123

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Re: Why is Pi Zero networking so hard?
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2020, 05:27:43 AM »
You still have not mentioned why you are looking to picore.   What is your goal?

Ethernet is included by default, as piCore uses almost the same kernel config that rpi publishes on their git.  RPi chooses to compile ethernet support built into the kernel and wifi is built as modules.

Greg and I have been here since the beginnning of piCore.   Original images did not even include ssh. So it has evolved, albeit slowly.

Did you get your USB ethernet working?   Assuming your using the latest 11.x image
Step1: Burn your image

Step2: Put the Usb stick in a computer, and download kernel modules matching your kernel.....  for the zero it is.  http://distro.ibiblio.org/tinycorelinux/11.x/armv6/tcz/net-usb-4.19.81-piCore.tcz       put the file in "/tce/optional"

Step3: edit /tce/onboot.lst, and add a line "net-usb-KERNEL.tcz"  (Make sure to use a editor capabile of linux line endings: