UFS Boot Environments for ARM

Several days ago I introduced UFS Boot Environments that work great on AMD64 (or 64-bit PC if you prefer). I was interested it it will also work on less powerful devices that ZFS is not always the best idea – ARM based devices. After some testing I found out that after one simple modification the UFS Boot Environments work like a charm on ARM devices.

The Table of Contents is as follows.

  • ARM Testing
  • Setup UFS Boot Environments
  • Needed Fix to Make FreeBSD bootme Flags Work
  • Reboot into Other Boot Environment Test

There is not suitable TL;DR here – you will have to read it all or not at all this time πŸ™‚

ARM Testing

I currently do not own 64-bit ARM device … so I thought I will try the qemu(1) emulator and ready to download and use ARM images provided by the FreeBSD project.

First we will install needed packages and fetch the ARM64 (also known as aarch64) images.

host # pkg install -y qemu u-boot-qemu-arm64

host % fetch https://download.freebsd.org/ftp/releases/VM-IMAGES/13.0-RC4/aarch64/Latest/FreeBSD-13.0-RC4-arm64-aarch64.raw.xz

host % xz -d FreeBSD-13.0-RC4-arm64-aarch64.raw.xz

We will now increase the image size to add additional boot environment partition.

host % ls -lh FreeBSD-13.0-RC4-arm64-aarch64.raw 
-rw-r--r-- 1 vermaden vermaden 5.1G 2021-04-04 12:37 FreeBSD-13.0-RC4-arm64-aarch64.raw

host % truncate -s +9G FreeBSD-13.0-RC4-arm64-aarch64.raw

host % ls -lh FreeBSD-13.0-RC4-arm64-aarch64.raw
-rw-r--r-- 1 vermaden vermaden 15G 2021-04-04 12:38 FreeBSD-13.0-RC4-arm64-aarch64.raw

Using qemu(1) emulator we can boot using either UEFI or U-BOOT option. We will test both as some ARM devices use UEFI and some (like Raspberry Pi devices) use U-BOOT mode.

host % export VMDISK=FreeBSD-13.0-RC4-arm64-aarch64.raw

// UEFI
host % qemu-system-aarch64 \
         -m 4096M \
         -cpu cortex-a57 \
         -M virt \
         -bios edk2-aarch64-code.fd \
         -serial telnet::4444,server \
         -nographic \
         -drive if=none,file=${VMDISK},format=raw,id=hd0 \
         -device virtio-blk-device,drive=hd0 \
         -device virtio-net-device,netdev=net0 \
         -netdev user,id=net0

// U-BOOT
host % qemu-system-aarch64 \
         -m 4096M \
         -cpu cortex-a57 \
         -M virt \
         -bios /usr/local/share/u-boot/u-boot-qemu-arm64/u-boot.bin \
         -serial telnet::4444,server \
         -nographic \
         -drive if=none,file=${VMDISK},format=raw,id=hd0 \
         -device virtio-blk-device,drive=hd0 \
         -device virtio-net-device,netdev=net0 \
         -netdev user,id=net0

After starting the qemu(1) process it will display the following information.

(...)
QEMU 5.0.1 monitor - type 'help' for more information
(qemu) qemu-system-aarch64: -serial telnet::4444,server: info: QEMU waiting for connection on: disconnected:telnet::::4444,server

We can now use telnet(1) to connect to our serial console on emulated ARM64 system. We will add additional freebsd-ufs partition for our second boot environment.

host % telnet localhost 4444
(...)

login: root

ARM # pkg install -y lsblk

ARM # lsblk
DEVICE         MAJ:MIN SIZE TYPE                              LABEL MOUNT
vtbd0            0:62   14G GPT                                   - -
  vtbd0p1        0:63   33M efi                          gpt/efiesp /boot/efi
  vtbd0p2        0:64  1.0G freebsd-swap                 gpt/swapfs -
  vtbd0p3        0:65  4.0G freebsd-ufs                  ufs/rootfs /

ARM # gpart show
=>       3  10552344  vtbd0  GPT  (14G) [CORRUPT]
         3     66584      1  efi  (33M)
     66587   2097152      2  freebsd-swap  (1.0G)
   2163739   8388608      3  freebsd-ufs  (4.0G)

ARM # gpart recover vtbd0
vtbd0 recovered

ARM # gpart add -s 4G -t freebsd-ufs vtbd0
vtbd0p4 added

ARM # gpart show
=>       3  29426709  vtbd0  GPT  (14G)
         3     66584      1  efi  (33M)
     66587   2097152      2  freebsd-swap  (1.0G)
   2163739   8388608      3  freebsd-ufs  (4.0G)
  10552347   8388608      4  freebsd-ufs  (4.0G)
  18940955  10485757         - free -  (5.0G)

We will now make some manual preparations for ufsbe.sh to work.

For example the FreeBSD images come with GPT labels used in /etc/fstab file which are currently not supported by UFS Boot Environments so we will modify the /etc/fstab file to mount root filesystem from raw devices and partitions.

ARM # mkdir -p /ufsbe/3 /ufsbe/4

ARM # cat /etc/fstab
# Custom /etc/fstab for FreeBSD VM images
/dev/gpt/rootfs  /          ufs      rw  1 1
/dev/gpt/efiesp  /boot/efi  msdosfs  rw  2 2
/dev/gpt/swapfs  none       swap     sw  0 0

ARM # vi /etc/fstab

ARM # cat /etc/fstab
# Custom /etc/fstab for FreeBSD VM images
/dev/vtbd0p3     /          ufs      rw  1 1
/dev/vtbd0p4     /ufsbe/4   ufs      rw  1 1
/dev/gpt/efiesp  /boot/efi  msdosfs  rw  2 2
/dev/gpt/swapfs  none       swap     sw  0 0

ARM # newfs /dev/vtbd0p4
/dev/vtbd0p4: 4096.0MB (8388608 sectors) block size 32768, fragment size 4096
        using 7 cylinder groups of 625.22MB, 20007 blks, 80128 inodes.
super-block backups (for fsck_ffs -b #) at:
 192, 1280640, 2561088, 3841536, 5121984, 6402432, 7682880

We now have second boot environment ready and /etc/fstab file modified to boot from raw devices instead of GPT labels. We will now reboot(8) to make these changes apply.

ARM # reboot

Setup UFS Boot Environments

We will not fetch the ufsbe.sh command and finish the setup process.

ARM # fetch https://raw.githubusercontent.com/vermaden/ufsbe/main/ufsbe.sh

ARM # chmod +x ./ufsbe.sh

ARM # ./ufsbe.sh

NOPE: did not found boot environment setup with 'ufsbe' label

INFO: setup each boot environment partition with appropriate label

HELP: list all 'freebsd-ufs' partitions type:

  # gpart show -p | grep freebsd-ufs
      2098216   33554432  ada0p3  freebsd-ufs  [bootme]  (16G)
     35652648   33554432  ada0p4  freebsd-ufs  (16G)
     69207080   33554432  ada0p5  freebsd-ufs  (16G)

HELP: to setup partitions 3/4/5 as boot environments type:

  # gpart modify -i 3 -l ufsbe/3 ada0
  # gpart modify -i 4 -l ufsbe/4 ada0
  # gpart modify -i 5 -l ufsbe/5 ada0

ARM # gpart show
=>       3  29426709  vtbd0  GPT  (14G)
         3     66584      1  efi  (33M)
     66587   2097152      2  freebsd-swap  (1.0G)
   2163739   8388608      3  freebsd-ufs  (4.0G)
  10552347   8388608      4  freebsd-ufs  (4.0G)
  18940955  10485757         - free -  (5.0G)

ARM # gpart modify -i 3 -l ufsbe/3 vtbd0
vtbd0p3 modified

ARM # gpart modify -i 4 -l ufsbe/4 vtbd0
vtbd0p4 modified

ARM # ./ufsbe.sh 
INFO: flag 'bootme' successfully set on / filesystem
usage:
  ufsbe.sh (l)ist
  ufsbe.sh (a)ctivate
  ufsbe.sh (s)ync

The UFS Boot Environments are now properly deployed on this ARM64 test system.

Needed Fix to Make FreeBSD bootme Flags Work

At the first try I was not able to use UFS Boot Environments as the bootme flag was ignored.

I then submitted a FreeBSD bug – 254764 – GPT ‘bootme’ flag is not respected on AARCH64 – to make sure I am doing everything well on my side. As it turns out the bootme flag is a FreeBSD specific extension and nobody else uses it. The needed fix is to copy /boot/gptboot.efi in place of bootaa64.efi file.

Lets now make that fix.

ARM # cp /boot/gptboot.efi /boot/efi/EFI/BOOT/bootaa64.efi

Reboot into Other Boot Environment Test

We will now synchronize boot environments 3 and 4 and then reboot into the 4 boot environments.

ARM # ./ufsbe.sh list
PROVIDER LABEL        ACTIVE
vtbd0p3  ufsbe/3      NR  
vtbd0p4  ufsbe/4      -  

ARM # ./ufsbe.sh sync 3 4
INFO: syncing '3' (source) => '4' (target) boot environments ...
INFO: boot environments '3' (source) => '4' (target) synced

ARM # ./ufsbe.sh activate 4
INFO: boot environment '4' now activated

ARM # reboot

After the reboot the currently active boot environment is 4. It means that UFS Boot Environments work properly on ARM devices.

ARM # ./ufsbe.sh list
PROVIDER LABEL        ACTIVE
vtbd0p3  ufsbe/3      -   
vtbd0p4  ufsbe/4      NR  

ARM # df -h
Filesystem         Size    Used   Avail Capacity  Mounted on
/dev/vtbd0p4       3.9G    2.6G    935M    74%    /
devfs              1.0K    1.0K      0B   100%    /dev
/dev/vtbd0p3       3.9G    2.6G    932M    74%    /ufsbe/3
/dev/gpt/efiesp     32M    1.3M     31M     4%    /boot/efi

I have tested both U-BOOT and UEFI boot modes and they both allow to use UFS Boot Environments.

EOF

4 thoughts on “UFS Boot Environments for ARM

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