Classic install or sys mode on Raspberry Pi
A how-to for classic ("sys mode") installation.
This method works with a desktop PC under Ubuntu and other Linuxes.
Download the archive from the Rasperry Pi armhf link here. Sha256 and GPG links appear next to the link to check the download.
Create two partitions on an 8 GB (or larger) class 10 sd-card:
- First one, a fat16 type, of 256MB. You may have to set
- The second one, an ext4 type, occupying the remaining space on the media
Eject and re-insert your SD card to ensure recognition of all the partitions.
Go into the first partition (fat16).
Untar the archive with:
tar zxvf ~/Download/alpine-rpi-*-armhf.tar.gz
Due to a bug, it is recommended to add a file named
usercfg.txt into the partition. The file should contain the following single line:
For headless use, you can add the following parameters to maximize available memory (32 megs is required for the rpi bootloader):
to enable audio support:
Eject the SD card properly. Insert it into the Raspberry Pi. Plug in a usb keyboard as well as the HDMI and network cables. Power on.
When the command prompt displays, log in as root. (no password)
OSX Preparation: creating a FAT16 partition on microSD
To create a FAT16 partition with OSX, use the diskutil program and a USB microSD card reader (I used an older version of this: https://www.bestbuy.com/site/insignia-usb-3-0-memory-card-reader/5787406.p?skuId=5787406).
Put the microSD card in the reader. Connect the reader to a USB port and type
ls -1 /Volumes in a terminal. Note the name of the microSD volume; for example, VOL1 in the output below:
$ ls -1 /Volumes Macintosh HD Preboot VOL1 $
Unmount the reader. Disconnect it and re-run
ls -1 /Volumes. Verify the microSD volume name is no longer listed, then re-insert the USB reader.
Find the mount point of your microSD volume. For example, disk3 in the output below:
$ diskutil list VOL1 /dev/disk3 (external, physical): #: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER 0: FDisk_partition_scheme *31.4 GB disk3 1: DOS_FAT_16 VOL1 256.0 MB disk3s1 2: Linux 30.0 GB disk3s2 3: Linux_Swap 1.2 GB disk3s3 $
(For help with the diskutil command, type
diskutil to list all command verbs. For help on a specific verb, add the verb. For example,
Destroy all the existing partitions on the microSD card and create two new ones:
- a 256MB, FAT16, DOS-compatible partition and
- a free space gap for the rest of the card
$ diskutil partitionDisk disk3 MBR "MS-DOS FAT16" VOL1 256MB "Free Space" VOL2 R Started partitioning on disk3 Unmounting disk Creating the partition map Waiting for partitions to activate Formatting disk3s1 as MS-DOS (FAT16) with name VOL1 512 bytes per physical sector /dev/rdisk3s1: 499472 sectors in 62434 FAT16 clusters (4096 bytes/cluster) bps=512 spc=8 res=1 nft=2 rde=512 mid=0xf8 spf=244 spt=32 hds=32 hid=2 drv=0x80 bsec=500000 Mounting disk Finished partitioning on disk3 /dev/disk3 (external, physical): #: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER 0: FDisk_partition_scheme *31.4 GB disk3 1: DOS_FAT_16 VOL1 256.0 MB disk3s1 $
Change your current working directory to the new FAT16 partition then continue with the untar instruction in the parent prep section.
$ cd /Volumes/VOL1/
Execute the following commands. Make sure there is an internet connection available otherwise setting up the apk mirrors will fail.
Set the keyboard map, the timezone, how to connect to the network (dhcp is the best method), say none at
save config and
If the extra space in the sd card was left empty, a partition must be created now:
apk add cfdisk # or the tool of your choice cfdisk /dev/mmcblk0 # create the new partition with the free space mkfs.ext4 /dev/mmcblk0p2 # create the ext4 filesystem in the new partition
Raspberry Pi has no hardware clock, so synchronize with an ntp server:
apk add chrony service chronyd restart apk add e2fsprogs
mount /dev/mmcblk0p2 /mnt # The second partition, in ext4 format, where Alpine Linux is installing in sys mode export FORCE_BOOTFS=1 # work around for issue 12353 setup-disk -m sys /mnt mount -o remount,rw /media/mmcblk0p1 # An update in the first partition is required for the next reboot.
You may get some warning about syslinux when you run setup-disk. You can safely ignore this.
Clean up the boot folder in the first partition to drop unused files:
rm -f /media/mmcblk0p1/boot/* cd /mnt # We are in the second partition rm boot/boot # Drop the unused symbolink link
Move the image and
init ram for Alpine Linux into the right place:
mv boot/* /media/mmcblk0p1/boot/ rm -Rf boot mkdir media/mmcblk0p1 # It's the mount point for the first partition on the next reboot
Don't worry about the error when you execute the following:
ln -s media/mmcblk0p1/boot boot
echo "/dev/mmcblk0p1 /media/mmcblk0p1 vfat defaults 0 0" >> etc/fstab sed -i '/cdrom/d' etc/fstab # Of course, you don't have any cdrom or floppy on the Raspberry Pi sed -i '/floppy/d' etc/fstab cd /media/mmcblk0p1
If you want to activate the edge repository:
sed -i '/edge/s/^#//' etc/apk/repositories # But enable the repository for community if you want vim, mc, php, apache, nginx, etc.
For the next boot, indicate that the root filesystem is on the second partition. If the cmdline.txt file
contains a line that starts with
/root, then use sed:
sed -i 's/$/root=\/dev\/mmcblk0p2 /' /media/mmcblk0p1/cmdline.txt reboot
That works on Raspberry Pi 3B and 1B, but if you have the 1B version, you'll need to be very, very patient (several tens of minutes).
If a hard disk is connected via usb, you can replace the
/dev/mmcblk0p2 above with
/dev/sda1, for example.
If you don't want to use sed, you can use the nano editor instead, after executing the following command:
apk add nano
The Raspberry Pi (RPI) has no battery to keep the time updated. Therefore, we need to enable the right service to synchronize with an ntp server:
rc-update del hwclock boot rc-update add swclock boot service hwclock stop service swclock start
Update and upgrade the system:
apk update apk upgrade
If you want a cool editor (), a file manager ( ), and to determine which tasks are running and which services are starting on boot ( ), add the the following packages:
apk add vim mc htop htop rc-update
The RPI 3B has wifi on board. To start the service for the encrypted key using wpa2 protocol:
apk add wpa_supplicant rc-update add wpa_supplicant boot service wpa_supplicant start setup-interfaces
Replace the IP address by dhcp for all the interfaces if necessary; select the SSID network for wifi, add the password.
ip addr # to find the IP address for all interfaces
If you want to connect to your RPI via
ssh, an additional user (foo) and the package are required because it's forbidden to connect as root:
apk add sudo adduser foo adduser foo wheel visudo
Uncomment line #82 with
wheel ALL=(ALL) ALL. If is installed, save the changes by typing Esc :x
Following the preparation instructions for setting up the boot partition as outlined, using the armv7 image (3.10.3), my rpi2 would not even boot, and I was trapped at the dreaded rainbow screen, with the green led blinking a few times in a row, repeatedly.
The rpi2 I had appears to require fat32 for the boot partition, NOT fat16 as suggested in the instructions. Use linux fdisk to set the boot partition type as "c" (for fat32/lba) amd set the lba and boot flags for the partition as suggested. Create the boot partition filesystem as fat32 with:
mkdosfs -F 32 /dev/sdX1
Mount and unpacke the tarball to that, and everything should work as documented after the prep instructions.
After booting, you may find less system memory available than you expect. Currently the Pi requires a minimum of 32 megs of memory for the gpu, to boot unless you have the cut down boot loader installed, in which case you can use 16. However, you may find more gpu memory is still being used, even if you configure it for less, if you enable audio or camera support. To find out how your system is actually split:
apk add raspberrypi /opt/vc/bin/vcgencmd get_mem gpu /opt/vc/bin/vcgencmd get_mem arm