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Old 02-20-2021, 07:55 PM   #1
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Arrow The Modded Kernels Thread

Hi all,

So in the last few days I made a big leap forward in my Kobo hacking and connected mines to my Rasberry Pi's serial port. Now I could mod the device as I wanted, installing a new OS if I wanted, and have full control over it. So far I've successfully installed some Linux distros in there, such as Alpine Linux 3.13, Debian 6/7/8.

However, to make them run, I had to recompile the kernel because some crucial features weren't there (e.g. cgroups for Debian 8 w/ systemd). I spent some time in the menuconfig and found some interesting options that I enabled. Now, I know that compiling kernels isn't an easy thing for some people here, and I think that everyone deserves to enjoy a better kernel with better features.

So here I am, with the Modded Kernels Thread!
Here you'll find a better kernel for (hopefully [WIP]) all Kobo devices, which will have the following additionnal features:

- SquashFS 4.0 support (compressed read-only mountable filesystem, like a tar.xz archive but you can mount it and therefore not extract it, so it takes up less space)
- NFS server/client support so you can enjoy sharing network filesystems!
- FUSE support + character device support
- kexec syscall support permits you to run other kernels without flashing them to the eMMC/MMC. Needs more testing on Kobos.
- Experimental sound card support (some devices only) added ALSA support, but something has to be developed/added to the device, it won't work right away since the Kobos don't have a sound output device (at least for now)
- Btrfs, ext2/3/4 support
- probably some others...

Note: USB-OTG isn't there yet because I didn't figure out how to compile it. Will probably be done later this week.

Currently supported devices:
Kobo Glo HD, Mini

The main downloads are hosted in KoBox's Gitea, just there. You should follow thoroughly the instructions to be sure not to brick your Kobo and pick only the kernel that was compiled for your Kobo model.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible, nor any Kobo developers, of any damage done to your device due to flashing custom kernels. Use at your own risk. You have been warned.
You might encounter Wi-Fi issues, so please report them and if you know what's causing them, please post a way to fix them.

Enjoy

Last edited by NiMa; 02-22-2021 at 11:32 PM.
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Old 02-20-2021, 07:55 PM   #2
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Please delete. Thanks for moving the thread.

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Old 02-20-2021, 09:04 PM   #3
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So you posted it! Amazing work!
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Old 02-21-2021, 01:08 PM   #4
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How would the soundcard work? Nickel can't play mp3's...
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Old 02-21-2021, 01:11 PM   #5
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Keep in mind that the kernel sources are dropped early after a device release. As such, they're generally slightly outdated. This is problematic on a number of devices (generally, the first two devices in a Mark), with the top contenders for shit going awry (panic, deadlocks) held by the Aura and the Forma.

So, while this is fun for tinkering, I'd keep to custom *modules* on production devices.

Or you can try to beg Kobo for up-to-date source drops .
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Old 02-21-2021, 02:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NiLuJe View Post
Or you can try to beg Kobo for up-to-date source drops .
Yep, I'm definitely planning to do that... newer sources would be awesome. EDIT: filed an issue here and you may want to come and beg with me, gtalusan replied . Though, on some devices the original source worked perfectly fine (e.g. Glo HD and Mini), but yes, some devices are impacted while running newer firmwares.

Also, I didn't find the Wi-Fi driver, which for those that doesn't hook up their Kobo to serial, will render SSH & telnet access... difficult. I've got sdio_wifi_pwr.ko, but dhd.ko's missing. Any pointers to its sources (assuming it is open source) ?
thanks!

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Old 02-21-2021, 02:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elektron View Post
How would the soundcard work? Nickel can't play mp3's...
something like "aplay" and IceCast2 should do.

btw, the Mini kernel's slowly coming up, but I have to compile it on my 32-bit Debian machine (which I currently don't have access to), as NickelTC doesn't like it (though it compiles the Glo HD's kernel perfectly fine)
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Old 02-21-2021, 03:17 PM   #8
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Ha!
https://github.com/kobolabs/Kobo-Rea...w/imx6sl-glohd

Well, that was easy.
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Old 02-22-2021, 11:31 PM   #9
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Mini kernel is out!

So it's been compiled, all *should* work except Wi-Fi, if anyone knows where to find the source for the dhd.ko module, it'd be greatly appreciated.
Thanks!
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Old 02-22-2021, 11:38 PM   #10
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There's one here: https://github.com/kobolabs/Kobo-Rea.../hw/imx508/ntx

(That's the proper tree for the Mini, actually, right? Can never remember where it fits, something weird like the final Mk. 4?)
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Old 02-23-2021, 12:00 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NiLuJe View Post
There's one here: https://github.com/kobolabs/Kobo-Rea.../hw/imx508/ntx

(That's the proper tree for the Mini, actually, right? Can never remember where it fits, something weird like the final Mk. 4?)
Oh, interesting. I built the Mini's kernel with the tarball provided in the imx507 folder. But thanks for the pointer, I'll try it and see what happens.
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Old 02-23-2021, 01:40 AM   #12
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Like I said, I don't actually remember which is which, and haven't diff'ed em (and the latest commit in the imx507 folder does mention the Touch C/Mini/Glo, so, wheee!).

If you do have one, check /proc/cpuinfo, with a bit of luck it says something more detailed than i.MX50x .
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Old 02-23-2021, 08:42 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by NiLuJe View Post
Like I said, I don't actually remember which is which, and haven't diff'ed em (and the latest commit in the imx507 folder does mention the Touch C/Mini/Glo, so, wheee!).

If you do have one, check /proc/cpuinfo, with a bit of luck it says something more detailed than i.MX50x .
Hmm last time I checked it was imx507 IIRC
But then what's the imx508 for? Maybe it's for one of some Touch derivatives?
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Old 02-23-2021, 01:59 PM   #14
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In a fun twist of product marketing, it appears that the i.MX 507 is the *successor* to the i.MX 508... >_<".

So it's likely that the Touch (A) / B ran on a 508, while the C/Glo/Mini switched to a 507 .

Broadcom being broadcom, there's a chance the wifi driver was never updated in the process.
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Old 02-23-2021, 07:39 PM   #15
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The N905 Touch has the i.MX 508. I don't remember what the N905B had.
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