FYI, for those reading, this is in the NX forum, but the platform is actually Xavier (full, not NX).
Do you know which L4T release version is on this Xavier?
Can you provide any more details about the USB storage showing up? For me this is sort of trial and error, but it sounds like there might be some of possible benefit to further testing of this.
Regarding SD card, I’m not sure if I can help with this. A bit of explanation can hopefully clarify why it is difficult.
Most Jetsons use U-Boot for the boot loader. All of the Jetsons have earlier boot stages, up to CBoot. Once CBoot is done most Jetsons then load U-Boot, and this is what loads the Linux kernel. However, Xavier and NX skip U-Boot. Some partial functionality is provided in CBoot to emulate U-Boot. My current Xavier is a bit out of date, and thus I’m not sure if more U-Boot compatibility has been added, but in all cases the U-Boot compatibility within CBoot would be only a partial emulation of U-Boot options.
Normally, on a model with eMMC (and all Xaviers are like this, although not all NX are), the flash provides what is more or less a pointer to where to find the “
/boot/extlinux/extlinux.conf” file. However, there are a series of U-Boot macros which will normally recognize if there is an
extlinux.conf on alternate media, and can then switch to that due to the macro finding this (e.g., U-Boot might normally use the eMMC “
/boot” content, but have the option, when detecting other media, to use that media’s “
/boot” content instead). When you specify to flash to
mmcblk0p1 this becomes the device with the default pointer. This is true regardless of using CBoot or U-Boot. However, the macros used for searching for other media may or may not exist on CBoot…don’t know since my release does not allow CBoot to print environment variables. If you put what is a more or less bootable SD card in, and if CBoot searches for alternate media, then it might be possible to create the SD card rescue.
Your partial success with a USB device for storage might indicate that CBoot is in fact searching for external media to boot…don’t know, but perhaps it is so. The trouble is that the “
/boot/extlinux/extlinux.conf” on the USB device would need to be edited to tell it to use the rootfs on that instead of the one on eMMC. This would be similarly true if you were using an SD card to boot.
If you examine the host PC which performed the flash, then you will find this directory:
You will also see an “almost” copy of the full filesystem flashed at “
Linux_for_Tegra/rootfs/”. Prior to flash the
apply_binaries.sh script is used to add some NVIDIA-specific content into the
rootfs/ (a one-time need). During a specific flash arguments passed to the flash script will also copy some content into the “
rootfs/boot/” directory, and this contains any
extlinux.conf such that the default boot is to the device you named in the flash (the pointer I mentioned earlier).
Once that content is in place, if you were to create the first partition of an SD card as ext4 type and correctly copy that
rootfs/ content in to the partition, followed by editing the
extlinux.conf to change the rootfs to the SD card instead of the eMMC, then you would have your rescue. Or if it is a USB storage device, then the
extlinux.conf of that device would need to be edited to point the rootfs to the USB first partition instead of the eMMC.
If you still have the generated image from your original flash (which would be “
Linux_for_Tegra/bootloader/system.img”, then you could use this instead to create your rescue device partition. You’d actually use the “
bootloader/system.img.raw” so you could edit the “
extlinux.conf” prior to creating the partition, such that this points the rootfs at the rescue device for rootfs instead of pointing at the eMMC.
An example of loopback mounting a
sudo mount -o loop ./system.img.raw /mnt
# ...now edit the extlinux.conf to name your rescue device instead of eMMC...
sudo umount /mnt
One could then use
dd with the
system.img.raw as the source and the rescue partition as the destination and have a rescue disk (still not guaranteed to work). A correct recursive copy of the loopback mounted
system.img.raw could also be used similarly to
dd to create that content on your rescue device.
Like I said though, I’m not sure if the CBoot of Xavier will actually search for alternate boot media since I cannot see how macros work in CBoot (I can’t
printenv). Maybe it will work if the search macro content is there. If your USB device is searched, then this hints that it will work. Maybe your USB device would have worked if the
extlinux.conf had been edited to point at the new rootfs. Thus anything you can provide about the boot from the USB device would be of interest (a serial console boot log would be very useful when using the USB device).
Just to throw a twist in this, the
system.img.raw is no different than if you had cloned the Xavier (clones produce a sparse image equivalent to
system.img, plus a raw image equivalent to
system.img.raw). The difference is that if you create a rescue system with the
system.img.raw or the
rootfs/ content, then everything is default, but if you use a clone instead, then your rescue image would be an exact copy of the running system (but you could edit the clone the same way you can edit
system.img.raw to point at alternate boot media…but instead you’d simply fix it by removing some unimportant content to free space…in which case you could use that for rescue or flash with that clone directly and simply have it “fixed”).
Having a clone would imply that even if you wiped out the Xavier you’d still have the full content. Clones do take a lot of space on the host PC (figure at least 32GB, possibly temporarily up to 64GB since both a raw and sparse image are created, where the sparse image approaches the size of the raw image as the filesystem fills up). A clone would free you to make mistakes and experiment without worry. This can also add over an hour for the clone to complete, but overall, I really think your clone would be the best approach since rescue media might fail, and then you’d need the clone anyway.
A typical clone would go like this:
# Make sure the Xavier is connected with the USB-C and is in recovery mode.
# Make sure you have a lot of spare disk space, e.g., check "`df -H .`".
sudo ./flash.sh -r -k APP -G my_backup.img jetson-xavier mmcblk0p1
…then you will find you have files “
my_backup.img” (sparse) and “
my_backup.img.raw”. I throw out the sparse image and keep only the raw image. If you finish working with this, then you could compress it to save space (takes a lot of time). However, it would then be trivial to complete the rescue without losing anything even if an SD card or USB device fail as alternate boot media.