I'm pretty new to this whole deal. I have an Odroid C1. I recently created a home-server from an old i386 machine I had lying around. I'm starting to get into CLI OS and working with machines as servers, rather than as consoles.

I've had Hardkernel's (The Creators of the Odroid C1) custom Ubuntu image flashed onto my Odroid for a very, very long time. I think now it's time to make the switch over to Debian Jessie, like I did on my home-server. This seems a little more difficult than popping in a USB stick.

Some things I've learned...

  1. The Odroid's architecture is ARMv7. If what I have understood what I have been reading, this architecture supports hard floating point, which is the superior option. So, I should download the ARMHF image from Debian.

  2. The Odroid cannot be reconfigured to boot from anything other than the SD card. I found the Net Install images and decided to go that route.

  3. To boot from the image from the SD card I needed to install a boot-loader, like GRUB.

Knowing those things I decided to (SD Card is 32 GB)...

  1. Reformat the SD card to one 1GB partition and a second 31GB partition, both FAT32.

  2. Install GRUB to the MBR.

  3. Connect the Odroid to the network through Ethernet, let GRUB boot the Network Install Debian Image.

  4. Install Debian to the 31GB Partition.

  5. Move the GRUB configuration file to the 31GB Partition.

  6. Delete the 1GB partition, and add the unallocated space to the 32GB partition.

Forgive me if I'm misunderstanding something here, but to me it seems like this is saying not to do exactly that.

In 4.3.1 it says.

The image must be written to the whole-disk device and not a partition, e.g. /dev/sdb and not /dev/sdb1. Do not use tools like unetbootin which alter the image.

I read a little further down and the article, and it looked like there was an explanation for how to do what I wanted to do in section to However, I quickly became lost in what was going on.

To the best of my understanding, this is the suggested process...

  1. Run install-mbr /dev/sdX on the SD card on my other Debian system. (Q1)

  2. Run mkdosfs /dev/sdX1 on the SD card on my other Debian system. (Q2)

  3. Install the SysLinux Bootloader with syslinux /dev/sdX1 to the new Fat16 Filesystem we created in step #2.

The section continues but I'm completely lost, and Google doesn't seem to be yielding any fruit.

  • Q1) What exactly is this command doing? It can't be installing the SysLinux MBR because we do that in step #3. I thought that the MBR was always the first 512 Bytes of a drive. What is this command doing if it's not installing the SysLinux MBR, and it's not creating an MBR, since the first 512 Bytes are ALWAYS the MBR regardless of anything else.

  • Q2) Here, if I understand correctly, we're creating a Fat16 partition on the disk. This doesn't help my original situation, because now there's no separate partition to install to!

Am I going about this the correct way? Is there a fundamental misunderstanding on my part that is causing me to not understand this process? What is a simplified and well-explained list of tasks that will help me understand this process, as opposed the the official Debian documentation which I cannot understand?


1 Answer 1


Note that this question is Odroid-specific and NOT ARMv7 generic. Depending on the platform in question Debian supports installing directly on the hardware from the official installer. Unfortunately Odroid is not currently one of these platforms.

Your best bet would be to follow the official Odroid docs here: http://odroid.us/mediawiki/index.php?title=Debian_Wheezy_Instructions to get Debian/Wheezy installed on your SD card, in your Odroid and then run a dist-upgrade on the system (like you would on any other architecture) to move it up to Jessie.

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