Script launcher menu and Linux hooks fantasies

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Locutus73
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Script launcher menu and Linux hooks fantasies

Postby Locutus73 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:42 pm

Hi to all.

DISCLAIMER: I perfectly comprehend the open source nature of the project and that anyone, including myself (I'm a software guy), can contribute coding the desired features. On the other side, I think the openness of the open source mindset should not be restricted to coding and source code, but should welcome new ideas, suggestions, documentation and anything else until they are not intended as demands and rants. TL;DR: I'm sharing ideas, I'm not asking Sorgelig or anyone else to implement them.

I was thinking about semiautomatic procedures in order to update MiSTer and its cores and this reminded me something I use on my emulation PC where I launch update scripts through the emulator frontend. So, since we have a hybrid system with an underlying Linux ARM computer, I think that it would be nice to have a function in the main menu that permits browsing the FAT partition in search for *.sh Bash scripts (same interface used for searching *.rbf cores); once selected, the script should be executed by Linux and, eventually, we should be presented with the exit code and/or standard output/error. This way we could launch a script that can scrape GitHub for updates or mount a remote share with adf/roms/whatever for our cores… I mean, we could prepare scrips implementing whatever we want and launch them simply using a joypad.
I'm a complete MiSTer newbie, but it seems to me that the main core is an ARM Linux executable that interacts with menu.rbf for actual screen output, so I suppose this function could be implemented completely in software without any FPGA expertise.

Thinking further about Linux hooks, I ended up imagining (but, once again, I'm a MiSTer newbie, and I could be completely wrong) a core that implements a video/audio output for the underlying Linux through HDMI: selecting that core from the main menu we should end with the console/desktop of the ARM Linux that is executing MiSTer main exec. I think that this is something similar to what happens with the environment distributed with the original DE10-nano SD card; maybe we could even use some rbf extracted from that SD.
Going further with fantasy, once we have audio/video output from Linux we could launch different frontends that, again, could interact with FPGA: i.e. we can imagine an UAE emulator that could interact with FPGA chipset; something similar, but symmetric to what Sorgelig proposed with an Amiga rbf core interacting with a software 68K derived from UAE… but you know, once we use a hybrid architecture, we have infinite possibilities. Another example could be a RetroArch frontend with FPGA cores.

Ok, I think I went a bit further… I think a Bash script launching menu would be a cool feature; personally, I would use it to launch an update.sh in order to refresh main core and add-on cores.



Just my two cents.
Thank you in advance.

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Re: Script launcher menu and Linux hooks fantasies

Postby Sorgelig » Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:16 pm

I also have many ideas. Th only problem - human resources.

Making a display with its driver for linux is in my todo list, but somewhere behind a long queue :)
Display implementation surely can be ripped off from original Terasic linux. But it needs audio implementation as well - as you can see linux from Terasic is completely soundless. I've saw some implementation of HDMI audio device on other similar board. So probably can take it from there.
So, the audio problem should be solved before you move to next stage - adding some linux-based emulators like retro-arch.

Another problem is linux features. I've compiled the kernel with minimum required drivers and without GUI and other heavy services. It's not enough for most software based emulators - all of them require at least X Windows. This will destroy my original idea of fast loading linux on read-only partition.
The possible solution is 2 versions of linux. My recent modifications allow to boot linux from image file, so you can have several images with different versions of linux. Thus it would be possible to use menu to choose to load full featured linux and then have a nice Linux GUI with emulators.
This chooser and specially tweaked linux (need to integrate my patch into kernel) with GUI needs to be implemented.
Currently i have no time to do this. Since it's more or less completely separated project (besides the boot selector) it would be good if someone will do this. It doesn't require much FPGA knowledge since it can be based on linux from Terasic which is already working (except the audio).

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Re: Script launcher menu and Linux hooks fantasies

Postby Sorgelig » Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:18 pm

About the script executor: i think this task can be moved to full-featured linux. So, when you will be able to choose which linux to boot, you will be able to update the SD card files from there.

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Re: Script launcher menu and Linux hooks fantasies

Postby Newsdee » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:36 pm

How about doing those scripts for a PC first? It can connect to MiSTer and update it remotely via FTP.

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Re: Script launcher menu and Linux hooks fantasies

Postby alanswx » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:44 pm

Newsdee wrote:How about doing those scripts for a PC first? It can connect to MiSTer and update it remotely via FTP.


A few of us are working on a web server to put onto the linux side that also does installation.. Feel free to contribute, give us suggestions, join us. Here is the start of the repo:
https://github.com/alanswx/WebMister

I think what we are going to do is simplify the file browser so that it handles HFS and other file systems by using FUSE to mount them. I am building a FUSE plugin for HFS:
[url]https://github.com/alanswx/LinuxFuseHFS

[/url]Someone else made one for Commodore:
http://llg.cubic.org/tools/cbmfs/

And a zip one:
https://bitbucket.org/agalanin/fuse-zip/overview


The WebMister code will convert the mame style roms to MiSTer style ROMS. It needs a UI still.

I have the start of some libraries I built on my raspberry pi to get flask/lighttpd up:
https://github.com/alanswx/SD-installer_MiSTer

The SD-Installer changed - if someone could put the unix installer back in so we can build a flash on ubuntu that would be great. I haven't gotten to it yet.

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Re: Script launcher menu and Linux hooks fantasies

Postby alanswx » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:59 pm

BTW - I have been developing this on a normal Ubuntu box, and/or a raspberry pi. I was able to get a web stack up on the MiSTer so I know I can get it back on there. In the mean time it is easier to test/debug on a normal desktop.

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Re: Script launcher menu and Linux hooks fantasies

Postby Eero Tamminen » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:05 am

Sorgelig wrote:Another problem is linux features. I've compiled the kernel with minimum required drivers and without GUI and other heavy services. It's not enough for most software based emulators - all of them require at least X Windows. This will destroy my original idea of fast loading linux on read-only partition.


Why it destroys your idea? If you have just X server without any desktop stuff, it start pretty fast and is also pretty small.

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Re: Script launcher menu and Linux hooks fantasies

Postby alanswx » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:06 am

Screenshot 2018-02-10 16.03.28.png

Here is a first screenshot, we need some work and a way to install everything.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

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Re: Script launcher menu and Linux hooks fantasies

Postby Sorgelig » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:47 am

Eero Tamminen wrote:Why it destroys your idea? If you have just X server without any desktop stuff, it start pretty fast and is also pretty small.

many things are looking small and fast alone, but feature by feature linux will become heavier.
Currently linux on MiSTer is headless. So besides the X Windows itself, it will need more features around it.
Multi boot is the right way to go without overloading the original linux.

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Re: Script launcher menu and Linux hooks fantasies

Postby alanswx » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:58 am

Sorgelig wrote:
Eero Tamminen wrote:Why it destroys your idea? If you have just X server without any desktop stuff, it start pretty fast and is also pretty small.

many things are looking small and fast alone, but feature by feature linux will become heavier.
Currently linux on MiSTer is headless. So besides the X Windows itself, it will need more features around it.
Multi boot is the right way to go without overloading the original linux.


There may be a way to get the emulators up using just SDL instead of SDL on xwindows - to keep things lightweight. I haven't looked at it yet, the question is whether this would be a ton of work to make the framebuffer backend work. The current framebuffer backend requires opengl. Maybe one of the other ones would work, or we could implement something simple.

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Re: Script launcher menu and Linux hooks fantasies

Postby Newsdee » Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:14 am

Sorgelig wrote:many things are looking small and fast alone, but feature by feature linux will become heavier.
Currently linux on MiSTer is headless. So besides the X Windows itself, it will need more features around it.
Multi boot is the right way to go without overloading the original linux.


Yes please keep the boot small and blazing fast. Otherwise it will be hard to diferentiate with all the other RPi emulator devices. "Instant on" was something I always found cool on the MiST, and the MiSTer is quasi-instant (2-3 secs) at least.

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Re: Script launcher menu and Linux hooks fantasies

Postby alfishe » Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:32 am

alanswx wrote:There may be a way to get the emulators up using just SDL instead of SDL on xwindows - to keep things lightweight. I haven't looked at it yet, the question is whether this would be a ton of work to make the framebuffer backend work. The current framebuffer backend requires opengl. Maybe one of the other ones would work, or we could implement something simple.


OR...
just FB/DRM driver directly to FullHD buffer in DDR3 mapped as one of source to FPGA VIP mixer.

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Re: Script launcher menu and Linux hooks fantasies

Postby Sorgelig » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:57 am

alanswx wrote:There may be a way to get the emulators up using just SDL instead of SDL on xwindows - to keep things lightweight. I haven't looked at it yet, the question is whether this would be a ton of work to make the framebuffer backend work. The current framebuffer backend requires opengl. Maybe one of the other ones would work, or we could implement something simple.


Keep in mind, DE10-nano has no GPU, so OpenGL is not possible (well, unless you have GPU implementation in FPGA). Thus emulators requiring OpenGL won't work.

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Re: Script launcher menu and Linux hooks fantasies

Postby Locutus73 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:58 am

Sorgelig wrote:My recent modifications allow to boot linux from image file, so you can have several images with different versions of linux. Thus it would be possible to use menu to choose to load full featured linux and then have a nice Linux GUI with emulators.
This chooser and specially tweaked linux (need to integrate my patch into kernel) with GUI needs to be implemented.

Sorgelig wrote:About the script executor: i think this task can be moved to full-featured linux. So, when you will be able to choose which linux to boot, you will be able to update the SD card files from there.


Sweet, I like the idea of multiboot, so we could retain the lightness of your hardcore stripped-down Linux along with a full-fledged distribution. Ideally, we could use an image of the original Terasic Linux SD along with yours. I'm not a u-boot expert, but I peeked your work on socfpga_de10_nano.h. It seems to me that u-boot can load an uenv.txt or boot.ini file on the first partition (the FAT one, right?) in order to bypass precompiled parameters. We could launch scripts in order to edit this file, changing the bootimage (kernel) and loop (root image) parameters. Problem is that this approach requires launching scripts (so my initial idea of a script launcher menu), requires similar scripts on the other Linux images (in order to switch back to MiSTer) and, in general, I think that a GRUB style boot menu should be presented before loading Linux. I see it exists a grub-uboot package on Debian (https://packages.debian.org/stretch/grub-uboot); it should be a GRUB boot loader tailored in order to be loaded by u-boot. It would provide the flexibility of GRUB, with an interactive menu, but I think it would expect a "real" video output, so it would need a specific rbf file, putting this out of my abilities, and, in general, making this approach a long-term goal. For now, I'm out of ideas.

Going back to the "script launcher menu", I love the multiboot possibility, but, on the other side, I think it would be overkill for simple tasks like my original updater script idea; on one side (full blown Linux) we would have the flexibility of a feature rich environment, on the other side (MiSTer script launcher menu with stripped down Linux) we would have the convenience of fast and easy mindless launcher. I imagined this solution for a couch potato like me who'd use MiSTer connected to a HDMI matrix that, through HDBaseT extenders, goes to different TV/Projectors in my home; I'd use wireless keyboard/touchpad and wireless joypad; ideally, I'd like run MiSTer and launch the cores updater with few joypad clicks, the same I do with my emulation PC and with modern consoles.

Anyway, going on with my mental ramblings about scripting and Linux hooks, I think that something similar to Linux command "dialog", let's say a "mister-dialog", with similar syntax and display output using menu.rbf and calls to the same functions used by Main_MiSTer (OsdWrite?) could lead to a cool scripting facility for the whole MiSTer environment. For instance my original "script launcher menu" could be moved to a MiSTer pre-launch script: MiSTer base Linux image, instead of directly launching MiSTer main executable, could search and possibly launch an optional bash script on the FAT partition; here, using mister-dialog, we could present a menu with optional choices like "Launch MiSTer", "Update MiSTer", "Update Cores" and a timeout for the default option ("Launch MiSTer"); ideally this menu should be navigable with the same interaction of the main MiSTer executable (keyboard, joypads) etc. Main MiSTer executable would remain unchanged this way (maybe just a "quit" option in order to return to the main script menu loop).



Thank you in advance.
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Re: Script launcher menu and Linux hooks fantasies

Postby Locutus73 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:06 pm

Sorgelig wrote:
alanswx wrote:Keep in mind, DE10-nano has no GPU, so OpenGL is not possible (well, unless you have GPU implementation in FPGA). Thus emulators requiring OpenGL won't work.

I second alfishe with the FrameBuffer and DRM/KMS suggestion. Going back to the roots, one of the main and basic ideas of FPGA simulation/emulation/recreation, is to keep latency as low as possible, so we should avoid layers and layers of overgrown APIs.

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Re: Script launcher menu and Linux hooks fantasies

Postby Locutus73 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:16 pm

Newsdee wrote:How about doing those scripts for a PC first? It can connect to MiSTer and update it remotely via FTP.

Yep, obviously this is the first step: a bash script that fetches main and optional cores from GitHub can be run wherever we want. Just for a WOW effect, I could run on the debian VM I use for homebridge and update MiSTer just shouting "Hey Siri: activate MiSTer update". But eventually I find a self-contained MiSTer solution more elegant.

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Re: Script launcher menu and Linux hooks fantasies

Postby Locutus73 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:20 pm

alanswx wrote:A few of us are working on a web server to put onto the linux side that also does installation.. Feel free to contribute, give us suggestions, join us. Here is the start of the repo:
https://github.com/alanswx/WebMister

Very very interesting. I like this option, and, anyway, more options are always better. Personally, I would prefer a simple self-contained MiSTer one click update solution; something like main menu->scripts->update.

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Re: Script launcher menu and Linux hooks fantasies

Postby alanswx » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:19 pm

Locutus73 wrote:Very very interesting. I like this option, and, anyway, more options are always better. Personally, I would prefer a simple self-contained MiSTer one click update solution; something like main menu->scripts->update.


Obviously, we plan a one click update, and a page that shows what is new. Hopefully we can suck in some markdown from github for directions (not sure if we should use the github README.md or a new page on the Wiki). And links to the appropriate forum for each core.

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Re: Script launcher menu and Linux hooks fantasies

Postby Sorgelig » Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:38 pm

No GRUB is required. U-boot is enough to do multiboot. MiSTer menu will have a special fake core entry. So you launch it and MiSTer will set special variables in memory and will reboot where U-boot will pick these variables and launch required kernel with specific parameters.
Partly it's implemented, but still need some more support code which is not a problem, actually.

I just have no time yet to extract a working .config along with source code of kernel used in Terasic Linux. Kernel requires my patches for initial loop support. Also exFAT driver should be added and compiled as built-in since linux image is on exFAT partition.
All this should work on separate SD card with same layout (new layout) as on MiSTer. - Is there anyone would like to do this?

Then it will be ready to be merged into a single SD card - i will handle this task.

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Re: Script launcher menu and Linux hooks fantasies

Postby Eero Tamminen » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:27 pm

Sorgelig wrote:
alanswx wrote:There may be a way to get the emulators up using just SDL instead of SDL on xwindows - to keep things lightweight. I haven't looked at it yet, the question is whether this would be a ton of work to make the framebuffer backend work. The current framebuffer backend requires opengl. Maybe one of the other ones would work, or we could implement something simple.


Keep in mind, DE10-nano has no GPU, so OpenGL is not possible (well, unless you have GPU implementation in FPGA). Thus emulators requiring OpenGL won't work.


Then you need to use old & obsolete SDL1 instead of current SDL 2. Latest Hatari supports both SDL1 & SDL2, older versions supported only SDL v1. I think SDL1 should support running in plain framebuffer.

(Framebuffer is often slower than X11 though as it's normally pretty much without any acceleration.)

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Re: Script launcher menu and Linux hooks fantasies

Postby alfishe » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:17 am

Eero Tamminen wrote:Then you need to use old & obsolete SDL1 instead of current SDL 2. Latest Hatari supports both SDL1 & SDL2, older versions supported only SDL v1. I think SDL1 should support running in plain framebuffer.
(Framebuffer is often slower than X11 though as it's normally pretty much without any acceleration.)


SDL 1/2 contain tons of code that might be needed by someone but go with such heavy dependencies just to write pixels? come one.
Framebuffer is slower on machines with GPU where X11 uses blit operations HW acceleration. Since there is no GPU => no acceleration => X11 slow as hell.
Lightweight GUI framework (embedded style) and raw framebuffer access - simple and effective. Yes, then DMA or FPGA logic can accelerate some things but it requires significant development efforts and at the end - useless.

For fans - Xilinx UltraScale+ SoCs already have 2 64bit ARM cores, 2 realtime ARM cores, GPU and even videocodec hardened. Costs a fortune but it's already exist, so will be mass thing in 5 years or so.

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Re: Script launcher menu and Linux hooks fantasies

Postby Sorgelig » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:16 am

Blitting acceleration isn't hard to implement in FPGA, actually. It's just simple rectangle memory copy. Even copy with transparency isn't hard to implement. It can be more hard to to tell to Linux/SDL that display supports blit acceleration.

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Re: Script launcher menu and Linux hooks fantasies

Postby Locutus73 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:43 pm

Sorgelig wrote:No GRUB is required. U-boot is enough to do multiboot. MiSTer menu will have a special fake core entry. So you launch it and MiSTer will set special variables in memory and will reboot where U-boot will pick these variables and launch required kernel with specific parameters.
Partly it's implemented, but still need some more support code which is not a problem, actually.

Ok, so the fake core will let us choose a specific kernel image and a specific root partition image, possibly some extra settings (i.e. single/double core), and it will reboot in the new kernel/root combo. Once completely reset (power off, power on?) the board will boot the standard MiSTer environment again. Possibly this fake core will let us save specific configurations. Did I understand correctly?

Now, can I ask you why did you choose the fake core implementation instead of a submenu of the main MiSTer core? For the sake of functional separation/plugin implementation? Maybe in order to maintain the MiSTer main menu structure? Excuse me if I’m bothering you (please tell me), but I’m asking this in order to understand your preferred structure: let’s say I’d like to implement the “script launcher menu”, would you prefer it and accept it as a fake core?

Sorgelig wrote:I just have no time yet to extract a working .config along with source code of kernel used in Terasic Linux. Kernel requires my patches for initial loop support. Also exFAT driver should be added and compiled as built-in since linux image is on exFAT partition.
All this should work on separate SD card with same layout (new layout) as on MiSTer. - Is there anyone would like to do this?

OK. I’m still awaiting for my DE10-nano to arrive, but let’s see if I understood correctly the steps needed in order to proceed:
1. I download one of the original Terasic Linux images, i.e. “Linux LXDE Desktop (kernel 4.5)” or “Linux Console (kernel 4.5)” and prepare a bootable SD
2. I run the Terasic Linux and, if the kernel has the IKCONFIG support, I get the kernel configuration from /proc/config.gz
3. I download Terasic Kernel sources from https://github.com/altera-opensource/linux-socfpga and apply your patches (but, if we are going to use kernel 4.5, could I download directly sources from https://github.com/MiSTer-devel/Linux-K ... 5.0_MiSTer ?)
4. I put the .config extracted at 2 in the downloaded sources and run “make ARCH=arm menuconfig”
5. I add the static exFAT driver
6. I compile the Kernel
7. I append socfpga.dtb to the zImage in order to get zImage_dtb file (where do I get or how do I compile socfpga.dtb?)
8. I extract the root filesystem image from the Terasic SD image fiddling with sfdisk and dd
9. I prepare a regular MiSTer SD with https://github.com/MiSTer-devel/SD-Inst ... n64_MiSTer and replace zImage_dtb and linux.img with the new ones
10. I put the SD in the DE10-nano, give it current and cross fingers…

Am I right? I think I can work on this task.

Sorgelig wrote:Then it will be ready to be merged into a single SD card - i will handle this task.

Great! I hope I'm not missing anything.
Thank you in advance.



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Re: Script launcher menu and Linux hooks fantasies

Postby Sorgelig » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:59 pm

Locutus73 wrote:I hope I'm not missing anything.

Pretty much like you've described.
If they use Kernel 4.5.0 (which probably true), then simply use the kernel from my repository. It has all patches already. Just need to find correct kernel .config for their linux.

Using fake cores to launch scripts is not convenient because you won't have any output and won't be able to control the script execution.
I still think it's better to move all these scripts to separate full-featured linux.

On power up and reboot, the MiSTer linux will be launched. Since it's all about MiSTer, it's logical to make it MiSTer-centric. Anyway, booting to MiSTer is just couple of seconds, so you can choose to boot another linux again if for some reason you need to reboot and continue to use other linux.

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Re: Script launcher menu and Linux hooks fantasies

Postby Sorgelig » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:00 pm

By the way, DE10-nano comes with 8GB SD card with linux already. So, you don't need to download the whole linux. Just backup the SD card.


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