Owing to the fact that Timesys embedded Linux, which comes preinstalled on the Gizmo 2 is designed primarily for use in "deeply embedded" systems as opposed to hobbyist and rapid prototyping usage, I have spent a fair bit of time getting Arch Linux running on the Gizmo2 with nearly full onboard hardware support. Arch Linux is a community supported, desktop oriented Linux distribution designed for ease of modification and customization, with features such as comprehensive documentation, built in package management, and minimally complex abstractions making it easy to modify and customize and therefore excellent for general purpose hobbyist usage as well as rapid prototyping. The official Arch Linux install guide, available at https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/installation_guide covers the installation process fairly well, except that when installing on the Gizmo 2, there are a few cases where one must deviate from the official install guide. For those of you who are already familiar with Arch Linux or other, similar Linux distros, I have provided a basic summary of the special steps necessary. Additionally, I have provided a video walkthrough of the entire installation process of the Arch Linux base system as well as the LDXE desktop environment for those of you who would prefer that. Regardless, I would consider this of intermediate difficulty and would recommend that anyone attempting this have at least a basic understanding of Linux command line usage. Finally, I am currently working on Arch PKGBUILDs for the GPIO, SPI and watchdog timer kernel modules and expect to have those available shortly.

 

Executive summary of modified/additional steps:

  • Supply edd=off kernel boot parameter at all times if a microSD card is inserted (hard freeze otherwise).
  • Connect USB install media to USB 2.0 port if it is not being detected by the BIOS.
  • Format /boot at vfat/fat32
  • Use syslinux bootloader (https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/syslinux)
  • Modify /boot/syslinux/syslinux.conf to reflect correct root filesystem device
  • Add mmc_block, mmc_core, sdhci, and sdhci_pci modules to initcpio by adding them to the modules line in /etc/mkinitcpio.conf
  • Add radeon.audio=1 kernel boot parameter for audio over HDMI.

 

Comprehensive Video Install Guide: