PinePhone, Fedora on Mobile

The PinePhone is a recently released gnu/linux smart phone.
It runs the allwinner soc from the Pine64+ board, aarch64.

I am trying to find a way to get Fedora Silverblue onto the phone.

So far I have built the custom Pine64 kernel, the u-boot (u-boot-sunxi-with-spl.bin), and dtb (sun50i-a64-pinephone.dtb).
I am stuck in trying to figure out how to make a bootable image from Silverblue using these three pieces instead of the usual pieces (such as fedora’s kernel, u-boot and say the rpi dtb file).

Is there any tool I can use to make such a custom image? Or to customize the aarch64 Silverblue iso I found to add these missing pieces?

2 Likes

Using similar instructions other OS’s are doing, it is now possible to boot fedora aarch64 on PinePhone. And it actually looks pretty good!

Still needs a fair bit of work and then some. But off to a fun start.

Pretty much I was wrong in my assumptions.
A high level list of what has to happen to work as is:

  1. Download and extract the rootfs from Fedora Workstation aarch64.
  2. Sfdisk and make 2 partitions. 1 for boot and 1 for root.
  3. Flash boot to the phone from a custom kernel
  4. Copy rootfs to phone and modify fstab.
  5. Copy the lib modules from the same place you get the kernel.
  6. Chroot to create a user.

Now it works.

4 Likes

Is this vanilla Fedora or the Silverblue version?

Very cool that this runs. Obviously the GNOME desktop needs its fair share of optimizations for mobile. Desktop icons, a cleaner top bar, hide the dash, better way to access the application menu, etc. All doable with extensions, but basically it needs everything Posh Desktop has…

This is currently the default aarch64 workstation image. Not silverblue yet (making this not the correct topic tag).

There is a current plan to switch to the minimal image and use Phosh instead of GNOME. And someone is trying to look into using a hardened kernel too.

I will try the aarch64 silverblue image later though because that would be I think great for a mobile OS.

Silverblue isn’t just the future of workstations, it’s architecture is indeed definitely the way to go for mobile devices. So an aarch64 Silverblue version is needed and expected sooner or later. I guess this kind of ties into the final decision on when Silverblue will become the default Fedora edition.

Phosh is really cool. My only gripe is that it and Phoc are forks of GNOME and Mutter. I’d like to see the changes merged back into GNOME and Mutter so there’s one unified code base and the few developers working on these aren’t spread thin over too many projects.

I’d love to see a fully responsive GNOME that can distinguish between phone, tablet and laptop size and purpose and switch UX accordingly. Just like with libhandy (which should become part of core GTK and used by all app developers) and web frontend development it’s all about breakpoints. In the long run we’re still heading towards phones/tablets as our primary devices, and docking terminals so you can connect large screens and input devices to turn it into a workstation. Would be awesome if GNOME is the best at seamless switching interface and UX for that.

2 Likes

Hell Yeah this sounds awesome I am trying next Fedora aarch64 on Mobile (PinePhone and Librem)
Thank you for the instructions on how to install it, well I hope Fedora Mobile gets official support soon.

And I do agree that silverblue is a revolutionary architecture and I am glad I can have GNOME on phone, Fedora GNOME since fedora is my OS of choice for years I am glad to have the mobile option.

Well I switched my desktop with laptop many years ago, I assume using the mobile phone / tablet on a docking station as a replacement for the traditional desktop / laptop is the way to go in the next years.

Regards, Alex

1 Like

Here are some scripts to get you going. Be advised they do require customization to work with your setup. Use at your own risk.

1 Like

ok thanks, yeah I am used to use at your own risk do it a lot routers and lots of other devices.

Regards, Alex

I was asking about Fedora Mobile about half a year ago Mobile phone version of linux / fedora like OS (replacement for Android) I am glad their is progress.
Tested the Fedora mobile works great and I expect I might be able to contribute if I can.

Regards, Alex

This wouldn’t be a replacement for android on android devices are far as I know. But works on phones like PinePhone and Librem5 that can load a mainline linux os.

There is definitely a good amount of stuff to be done.

Things on the list that I know of:

  1. Phosh and Phoc need to be built and packaged for aarch64.
  2. Uboot and device tree related stuff needs to be put somewhere. Upstreamed somewhere? Not sure the terms for those. The files required for the device to be able to boot with the hardware.
  3. A push to harden linux and packages.
  4. Get the modem to work so we can actually phone with the phone lol.
1 Like

Another thing I wish I could get working was Silverblue. But I’m not sure how to acquire a rootfs for that to flash an SD like we do with the current setup.

1 Like

Good day,
Thanks a lot @Tor for posting your experiences with Fedora on the Pinephone. This actually looks promising.
Maybe can install Ofono API on Fedora. I presume, though I know nothing for sure, that this is what manages the calls. Not sure either, if this is just what’s needed to manage access to the mobile network, or if anything else is needed.

Actually, I would like a “minimal” Silverblue, targeted at “phone”, though default desktop Silverblue is already pretty minimal. Some already talked on how to make a “custom” Silverblue image .

My knowledge of Fedora and Silverblue is also “minimal”, I just switched at the end of Xmas holidays, so I presume I’m of no help here.

Nonetheless, great work you are doing. Thanks.
Regards,
RR

1 Like

I tried fedora on both PinePhome and Librem 5, I hope it will be a finished product soon and depending on my work and free time I am interested in helping at Least with beta testing. I work as data scientist and know coding, I use Fedora at work so I could help out.

Regards, Alex

Credit goes to others mostly. I’ve just been testing what they put out. But hopefully tonight I can get phosh running :slight_smile:

Please, keep posting your advances. As @roired said, this is very promising. I wish I had the skills (and the phone) to help you!

@Tor, I guess you looked already but the PostmarketOS people has worked quite a lot in the Pinephone and maybe some docs/patches could be useful for you:

Also I’ve found this:

1 Like

I’ve been to most of these, but thanks for sharing here! The first thing I tried on my PinePhone is PostmarketOS with Phosh.

Just need to figure out how to bundle it up for Fedora now (Phosh I mean).

1 Like

Making custom Silverblue images is quite easy once you get it, which I did for a month or so when I was experimenting with SIlverblue. Feel free to ping me if you have questions regarding this.

2 Likes

Due to priority work and RL issues I cannot participate in Fedora Mobile, but is a good project to join.
Also doing a long travel not sure when I will check msg or get to respond, hence apologies in advance.
Wishing everyone all the best with it and I hope Fedora Mobile becomes an official ISO one day.

Regards, Alex