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Best practice for firmware and kernel updates?

  • Hi All,

    I'm currently developing on the Omega 2+ and am confused as to how I should handle maintaining the latest firmware/kernel/package builds.

    I notice that the latest Onion firmware build v0.1.10-b160 (http://repo.onion.io/omega2/images/) is from March 1, 2017 and is running kernel version 4.4.46-1-611bddde2031bc44b7d050f62495d77

    Let's assume I want to upgrade all packages on my Omega 2+, for example "kmod-fs-ext4". When I run "opkg install kmod-fs-ext4" opkg gives me the following dependency error:

    Upgrading kmod-fs-ext4 on root from 4.4.46-1 to 4.4.74-1...
    Downloading http://repo.onion.io/omega2/packages/core/kmod-fs-ext4_4.4.74-1_mipsel_24kc.ipk
    Collected errors:
     * satisfy_dependencies_for: Cannot satisfy the following dependencies for kmod-fs-ext4:
     *      kernel (= 4.4.74-1-97eec485b1ee24d5b1ca0357d1dd7304) *
     * opkg_install_cmd: Cannot install package kmod-fs-ext4.

    On the surface this seems like an easy fix, install the specified kernel first then try again.

    From browsing http://repo.onion.io/omega2/packages/core/ I can see that the newest three kernel builds are as follows (all newer than what is found on b160):

    kernel_4.4.46-1-a034340f992dd68b87dc5b7a57950bb..> 02-Mar-2017 19:50                 790
    kernel_4.4.46-1-70b845231417daffde6a00b449f8955..> 20-Apr-2017 21:44                 791
    kernel_4.4.74-1-97eec485b1ee24d5b1ca0357d1dd730..> 19-Sep-2017 15:39                 781

    This is where I get confused...

    • Is updating the kernel considered safe?

    • Are specific kernels more stable than others?

    • Will it likely break other installed packages?

    • If I update to kernel 4.4.74 does that mean I need to update all other currently installed kmods as well (to avoid incompatibility)?

    • What is the best approach to using the latest packages releases while maintaining compatibility? (eg. update kernel first, then update kmods, then update all other packages?)

    • Is there an easy way I can incorporate the latest kernel and packages into a .bin for me to flash?

    • Not a critique of Onion, but any idea why Onion would build new kernels and packages, but not build a new firmware to include them?

    I went ahead and decided to install the new 4.4.74 kernel, but when I update "kmod-usb-net" to kmod-usb-net_4.4.74-1_mipsel_24kc I am presented with the following opkg error:

    Downloading http://repo.onion.io/omega2/packages/core/kmod-usb-net_4.4.74-1_mipsel_24kc.ipk
    Configuring kmod-usb-net.
    failed to find a module named usbnet
    Collected errors:
     * pkg_run_script: package "kmod-usb-net" postinst script returned status 255.
     * opkg_configure: kmod-usb-net.postinst returned 255.

    I have noticed that many other kmod packages that rely on the 4.4.74 also report the same "255" error. Any idea why this is happening?

  • @Steve-Veerman at the present time it may be easier to look into the attempts to run opentwrt/lede systems/builds on the omega2[+] mostly for the very reason you outline. as you state there has been no working update since b160 [there was a b161/b162 put out but both of those did not work well so they were withdrawn]. so my opinion is if you need to go beyond what is in b160 you should try building a alternate mediatek mt7688 MIPS systems that are somewhat more current and maintained by community because besides a little lip service to the effect there is no real indication that onion plans any further updates for these devices other than what might have been done for the alarm clock with omega2s module but those builds are closed except for those who bought the developer package that allows access to software on a certain hazy level. good luck.

  • @Douglas-Kryder thanks for the info.

    I'll explore the official latest lede firmware.

    Two questions/concerns about the official lede firmware:

    1. If I want to continue using the Onion Omega OLED, would it be as simple as including the Onion opkg repo and installing packages such as oled-exp and libonionoledexp?

    2. Any idea what wifi performance looks like on the latest lede builds? From what I've read there were wifi woes and performance issues with the open source driver. That said, in the recent months the openwrt (lede) github repo for the MediaTek MT7688 mac80211 driver seems to have had an uptick in developer commits.

  • @Steve-Veerman i think your best source for information is the search function on this forum because building lede has, or was, a fairly common topic once it was determined that onion kinda put system development on "hold". as for the oled, don't know enough to give a answer. the wifi on lede builds is also kinda iffy. but as mentioned, lede topics well discussed with the wifi issues being in top 5. my biggest problem is age related memory faults so very weak on specifics. and btw , onion had said last sept. that a rewritten wifi was on the way but it has not yet arrived. my guess is it won't until oboo [clock] is released in july, if at all.

  • @Douglas-Kryder all great information, thank you. Your guess of a new wifi driver release seems realistic. If it doesn't arrive by July (which would be nearly 1 year late) then it probably won't ever come. I'll start testing the official lede builds with Onion packages and report back my findings.

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