MultiF100
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 usb boot?

Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:33 am

Hey guys,

does someone know the current develelopement status of the "usb boot for raspi 4" topic?

I was able to find the bootloaders release notes here:
https://github.com/raspberrypi/rpi-eepr ... e-notes.md

It seems like they finished the network boot support and are now working on the usb boot support.
But there is no clear statement for the usb booting support. :x

So, does anybody know anything about the usb boot topic?

( I was a bit cheesed off after finding out that the pi 4 does not support usb boot out of the box :x )

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PeterO
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 usb boot?

Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:10 am

You'll just have to wait patiently like everyone else.
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jamesh
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 usb boot?

Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:44 am

MultiF100 wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:33 am
Hey guys,

does someone know the current develelopement status of the "usb boot for raspi 4" topic?

I was able to find the bootloaders release notes here:
https://github.com/raspberrypi/rpi-eepr ... e-notes.md

It seems like they finished the network boot support and are now working on the usb boot support.
But there is no clear statement for the usb booting support. :x

So, does anybody know anything about the usb boot topic?

( I was a bit cheesed off after finding out that the pi 4 does not support usb boot out of the box :x )
What sort of clear statement is clearer than "we are working on it"?

We never release timescales, because they are rarely accurate and just leaves us open to "Well YOU said it would be ready by blah blah blah".

Interim solution is just to use a small SD card for boot, then transfer to USB. It will actually boot faster that way anyway.
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rjbook51
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 usb boot?

Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:00 pm

USB boot, without the SD card, would be nice and convenient...but I can live without it as the 4B is so much better than the 3B+.

Now getting a damned powered USB 3 Hub to work on the damn things without "backfeed", would really really be nice...really! :)

BTW "wait" is a four letter word, and very rude.
No longer active on this forum

jamesh
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 usb boot?

Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:38 pm

rjbook51 wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:00 pm
BTW "wait" is a four letter word, and very rude.
Not in my dictionary. Waiting is what is required. It'll be released when it's ready.
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W. H. Heydt
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 usb boot?

Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:10 pm

MultiF100 wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:33 am
Hey guys,

does someone know the current develelopement status of the "usb boot for raspi 4" topic?
A snail will get to Easter just as soon as you will.

Risque
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 usb boot?

Sun Jan 19, 2020 1:11 am

I am the happy owner of 3 Raspberry Pi's, a 3B, 3B+ and a 4x4. As an early adopter, you expect there to be some code that will take time to be released. The updates to firmware and software to date have been timely and very useful. This Pi4 is running off a Samsung 64 Gig SD and also has a USB 3 - Sata III adaptor card with 128gig ssd. I am happy with stability and have conservatively overclocked to 1.75ghz. USB boot will be great when it rolls out if you want to try different OS. My Pi 3B+ is housed in one of those great Element 14 cases with ssd hat, the cases only downfall has been lack of access to the sd card if you installed the system initially with it inserted. USB Boot was away around pulling the whole thing apart. I personally rate the Raspberry Pi 4, 10 out of 10.

pandroid
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 usb boot?

Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:44 am

Is there a definitive, easy to follow, step by step guide to USB boot on the Pi 4 using the SD card method? There seem to be many, some more complicated than others. Is https://jamesachambers.com/raspberry-pi ... sh-drives/ accurate and the easiest to follow?


adamreisnz
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 usb boot?

Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:51 am

So... we just ordered 4 pi 4's for our customers, only to find out USB boot is not supported?
Why has this model have been released without it? Shouldn't you at least have feature parity before you release a new version?

And the obnoxious "it will be ready when it's ready" and "you'll just have to wait" answers posted here are obviously helping no one.

What am i supposed to tell our customers? Sorry, it will be ready when it's ready? You'll just have to wait like the rest of us?
Do you know how many customers we'll end up with if we do that? Zero.

How can you be a self respecting company and allow your employees to make such statements to your loyal users and customers.

RonR
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 usb boot?

Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:00 am

adamreisnz wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:51 am
So... we just ordered 4 pi 4's for our customers, only to find out USB boot is not supported?
Why has this model have been released without it? Shouldn't you at least have feature parity before you release a new version?

I've been booting from USB devices for the past 6 years (Raspberry Pi 1/2/3/4): Running Raspbian from USB Devices : Made Easy

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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 usb boot?

Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:13 am

adamreisnz wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:51 am
So... we just ordered 4 pi 4's for our customers, only to find out USB boot is not supported?
Why has this model have been released without it? Shouldn't you at least have feature parity before you release a new version?

And the obnoxious "it will be ready when it's ready" and "you'll just have to wait" answers posted here are obviously helping no one.

What am i supposed to tell our customers? Sorry, it will be ready when it's ready? You'll just have to wait like the rest of us?
Do you know how many customers we'll end up with if we do that? Zero.

How can you be a self respecting company and allow your employees to make such statements to your loyal users and customers.
I could criticize you equally by pointing out that you didn't perform due diligence around this issue. It's been known since launch, and since launch the word has been, "when it's ready."

So why did you buy Pi4Bs for your customer if this feature is critical without checking to make sure the critical feature exists and is ready for general use? What you could do for your customers is to set up the Pi4Bs with a hybrid boot. Bare minimum of files on an SD card and everything else on some other media. Unless your customers are in the habit of using the SD card slot for something else, they probably won't even notice.

I, too, would like to have direct boot from USB but I've known full well from the beginning that the Pi4B doesn't have it...yet. IIRC, it was mentioned in the launch announcement last June. I'm just waiting quietly for it to be implemented. If it isn't in place by the time I'm ready to start setting up Pi4Bs that need to boot from USB media (specifically, SSDs), then I'll go hybrid until the full version is in place. That's what I did with a Pi3B a long time ago.

ejolson
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 usb boot?

Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:52 am

adamreisnz wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:51 am
So... we just ordered 4 pi 4's for our customers, only to find out USB boot is not supported?
Why has this model have been released without it? Shouldn't you at least have feature parity before you release a new version?

And the obnoxious "it will be ready when it's ready" and "you'll just have to wait" answers posted here are obviously helping no one.

What am i supposed to tell our customers? Sorry, it will be ready when it's ready? You'll just have to wait like the rest of us?
Do you know how many customers we'll end up with if we do that? Zero.

How can you be a self respecting company and allow your employees to make such statements to your loyal users and customers.
The usual solution right now is to put the boot partition on an SD card and the root partition on the USB drive. This works well unless you want to carry the USB drives from Pi to Pi, in which case it is possible for the kernel on the SD card to get out of sync with the driver modules in the root partition.

A solution to this is the approach used by the sluggish bootloader:
  • Format an SD card with two boot partitions and a minimal root partition.
  • By default the Pi will boot from the first boot partition.
  • Set that partition to mount the minimal root on the SD card.
  • The minimal root should now scan USB drives looking for one that holds a boot partition and a full Raspbian root filesystem.
  • After finding such an USB drive, the sluggish bootloader automatically uses rsync to copy the boot partition to the second boot partition on the SD card.
  • Note that this second boot partition should specify as root the partition on the USB drive by UUID or label.
  • Once the rsync is finished the sluggish bootloader reboots the Pi using systemctl reboot N, where N is the partition number of the second boot partition on the SD card.
  • The Pi will now reboot using the second boot partition which is now an exact mirror image of the boot partition on the USB drive.
  • This, in turn, mounts root on the USB drive which then mounts the boot partition from the USB drive as well.
  • The system is now running entirely from the USB drive. In particular, all changes to the boot and root partitions affect only the USB drive.
  • Shutting down or performing a reboot goes through whole process again, thus making sure the second boot partition on the SD card is always synchronized with the boot partition on the USB drive.
  • Note that the rsync operation will usually do nothing, because unless a kernel update was performed, the partitions will still be in sync from the previous boot.
  • This double booting process is obviously slower. That's why it's called the sluggish bootloader.
Good luck!
Last edited by ejolson on Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:39 am, edited 2 times in total.

fruitoftheloom
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 usb boot?

Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:11 am

adamreisnz wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:51 am
So... we just ordered 4 pi 4's for our customers, only to find out USB boot is not supported?
Why has this model have been released without it? Shouldn't you at least have feature parity before you release a new version?

And the obnoxious "it will be ready when it's ready" and "you'll just have to wait" answers posted here are obviously helping no one.

What am i supposed to tell our customers? Sorry, it will be ready when it's ready? You'll just have to wait like the rest of us?
Do you know how many customers we'll end up with if we do that? Zero.

How can you be a self respecting company and allow your employees to make such statements to your loyal users and customers.

Where in the Official Blog does it state USB Boot is a "feature" ??

https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/raspbe ... w-from-35/
Thinking outside the box is better than burying your head in the sand...

jamesh
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 usb boot?

Thu Jan 30, 2020 7:53 am

adamreisnz wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:51 am
So... we just ordered 4 pi 4's for our customers, only to find out USB boot is not supported?
Why has this model have been released without it? Shouldn't you at least have feature parity before you release a new version?

And the obnoxious "it will be ready when it's ready" and "you'll just have to wait" answers posted here are obviously helping no one.

What am i supposed to tell our customers? Sorry, it will be ready when it's ready? You'll just have to wait like the rest of us?
Do you know how many customers we'll end up with if we do that? Zero.

How can you be a self respecting company and allow your employees to make such statements to your loyal users and customers.
Feature parity? Not necessary. Want the same features as the 3B+? Get a 3B+.
Obnoxious? Or just the truth, whether it helps or not.
Tell your customers they will need to boot from sd card and that USB boot will arrive later, and that you didn't check it was available first.

Whining on here about your mistake doesn't make usb boot happen any faster.
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bschatzow
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 usb boot?

Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:38 pm

Not sure you answer is helpful to a frustrated customer. I do not believe it is clearly stated that the pi 4 cannot boot from USB. I just did a search of a couple of the docs available on this site and could not find any reference. I have been looking too upgrade my pi 3+ and due to information posted in other forums I realized it was not available yet.
Bill

ejolson
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 usb boot?

Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:01 pm

jamesh wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 7:53 am
Or just the truth, whether it helps or not.
Tell your customers they will need to boot from sd card and that USB boot will arrive later, and that you didn't check it was available first.
From my point of view, there is no virtue in truth that doesn't help. It's good, however, to know that USB boot is still being worked on for eventual release.

Since almost all computers boot from on-board flash memory, the present situation wouldn't seem so dire if there was an official second-stage bootloader SD-card image designed for people mounting root from their USB drives. Compared to the necessary VC6 code, creating such an image--described above as the sluggish bootloader--even with a nice menu that allows selecting boot order, should not take more than a couple days.

jamesh
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 usb boot?

Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:10 pm

ejolson wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:01 pm
jamesh wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 7:53 am
Or just the truth, whether it helps or not.
Tell your customers they will need to boot from sd card and that USB boot will arrive later, and that you didn't check it was available first.
From my point of view, there is no virtue in truth that doesn't help. It's good, however, to know that USB boot is still being worked on for eventual release.

Since almost all computers boot from on-board flash memory, the present situation wouldn't seem so dire if there was an official second-stage bootloader SD-card image designed for people mounting root from their USB drives. Compared to the necessary VC6 code, creating such an image--described above as the sluggish bootloader--even with a nice menu that allows selecting boot order, should not take more than a couple days.
Couple of days to write, 10 days to test, 20 days to fix, 30 days to document. All adds up!

Pi4 bootloader is undergoing a revamp, some interesting stuff in the pipeline. USB boot still on its way, but been delayed for the revamp. Will be worth it in the long run.

With regard to USB boot itself, it's a big job, requiring an entire USB stack to be ported to the VC6, but that must be open source (not GPL) and has some quite tough constraints.

Current situation is not dire BTW. USB boot is still a very minor use case (comparing people who want it vs total Pi4 sales), SD card boot is orders of magnitude more popular.
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 usb boot?

Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:13 pm

bschatzow wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:38 pm
Not sure you answer is helpful to a frustrated customer. I do not believe it is clearly stated that the pi 4 cannot boot from USB. I just did a search of a couple of the docs available on this site and could not find any reference. I have been looking too upgrade my pi 3+ and due to information posted in other forums I realized it was not available yet.
https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentati ... des/msd.md

Although not the easiest doc to find. Not sure where else the statement could go though.
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GlowInTheDark
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 usb boot?

Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:25 pm

bschatzow wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:38 pm
Not sure you answer is helpful to a frustrated customer. I do not believe it is clearly stated that the pi 4 cannot boot from USB. I just did a search of a couple of the docs available on this site and could not find any reference. I have been looking too upgrade my pi 3+ and due to information posted in other forums I realized it was not available yet.
The problem is that there's ambiguity in the term: USB boot. There are two different, but closely related, things that someone could mean when they use this term.

I won't bore you with the details, but suffice to say that, in the sense that matters, Pi4 *DOES* do USB boot.

As has been pointed out by at least one head honcho, the kind of USB boot that does work is, in fact, the superior one and the one that should be used.

The other one - the so-called "pure" USB boot - is mostly a vanity project.

As I said, I won't bore you with the details, but I've never seen the reason for the "pure" variety, beyond vanity.
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3) USB 3
4) Bluetooth

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jamesh
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 usb boot?

Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:45 pm

GlowInTheDark wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:25 pm
bschatzow wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:38 pm
Not sure you answer is helpful to a frustrated customer. I do not believe it is clearly stated that the pi 4 cannot boot from USB. I just did a search of a couple of the docs available on this site and could not find any reference. I have been looking too upgrade my pi 3+ and due to information posted in other forums I realized it was not available yet.
The problem is that there's ambiguity in the term: USB boot. There are two different, but closely related, things that someone could mean when they use this term.

I won't bore you with the details, but suffice to say that, in the sense that matters, Pi4 *DOES* do USB boot.

As has been pointed out by at least one head honcho, the kind of USB boot that does work is, in fact, the superior one and the one that should be used.

The other one - the so-called "pure" USB boot - is mostly a vanity project.

As I said, I won't bore you with the details, but I've never seen the reason for the "pure" variety, beyond vanity.
Whilst GitD is right that SD card -> USB MSD is actually better in some ways (it's faster), let's not start a flame war about this. We know people want raw USB boot, and it will turn up at some point.
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thagrol
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 usb boot?

Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:53 pm

jamesh wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:10 pm
Couple of days to write, 10 days to test, 20 days to fix, 30 days to document. All adds up!
And that's an optomistic estimate. At least based on my experience in software test and QA it is.

Plus even then edge case will get missed.
Arguing with strangers on the internet since 1993.

ejolson
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 usb boot?

Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:55 pm

GlowInTheDark wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:25 pm
As I said, I won't bore you with the details, but I've never seen the reason for the "pure" variety, beyond vanity.
If you read every post in this thread (not recommended) then you will realise that splitting the boot and root partitions on different devices means you can't carry a single USB drive between machines to boot them. This is important because
  • Students lose microSD cards while carrying them from place to place, especially if one of them sneezes while doing so.
  • The mechanical plug used for USB is more durable for heavy use.
  • The USB port can be brought out with an extension cable in situations where the Pi is locked out of reach.
I'm sure there are more reasons other than vanity why people might want to boot from a single USB drive. For most of these, a second stage bootloader such as uboot or even the sluggish bootloader described above would suffice, however, for the 4B there is no official standard. If the needs of a few are ignored because many are satisfied, I think each person will soon have a need which is not met.
Last edited by ejolson on Thu Jan 30, 2020 6:31 pm, edited 3 times in total.

W. H. Heydt
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 usb boot?

Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:02 pm

jamesh wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:45 pm
Whilst GitD is right that SD card -> USB MSD is actually better in some ways (it's faster), let's not start a flame war about this. We know people want raw USB boot, and it will turn up at some point.
If one runs a given Pi continuously for months at a time, boot speed is an extremely minor consideration. It takes more time to verify that database replication is running properly than it does to boot. However, I know people get excited over how fast *any* computer boots.

As already stated, I am comfortable that raw USB boot will happen when it happens. If I'm ready to set up the systems I want to use it on before raw USB boot is ready, I'll use hybrid boot in the interim. I'm not going to get excited over it, either way. Once it *is* ready, I expect to use it for 4 systems: one running from a PiDrive (upgraded from a Pi3B+), a primary Convention Registration server, a replicated ConReg server, and a testing ConReg server. "Production" operation for the ConReg servers will begin just before the end of August. Work will start on the new ConReg servers in March. Once they are up and operating, the system will be completely Pis except for a PC used to download files and write them to USB sticks. So you can see why I'm patient. I can afford to be.

ejolson
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Re: Raspberry Pi 4 usb boot?

Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:04 pm

thagrol wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:53 pm
jamesh wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:10 pm
Couple of days to write, 10 days to test, 20 days to fix, 30 days to document. All adds up!
And that's an optomistic estimate. At least based on my experience in software test and QA it is.

Plus even then edge case will get missed.
Documentation is not needed, because users can read the source. Debugging is not needed, because users can fix the source. However, someone initially needs to write some code to have an open-source project at all.

While GitHub is nice, if people are going to trust the resulting SD card image enough for testing, it needs to come from an official source.
Last edited by ejolson on Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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