I downloaded the Archlinux arm .img file for the Raspberry Pi and installed it onto my SD card.

Is it possible to use a different partition instead of FAT16 that is in the .img? Or will the GPU not detect it at all?

I ask because it would be a huge performance boost if I could use squashfs as the boot partition.

  • Welcome to RaspberryPi.SE :) I hope you don't mind, I added the archlinux tag to your post to help other Arch users like ourselves find it. – Jivings Jul 3 '12 at 1:21
  • Technically it's Archlinux arm but thanks anyway for inserting the tag. :D – ArchHaskeller Jul 3 '12 at 1:27
  • Don't worry, the ARM architecture is implied. – Jivings Jul 3 '12 at 1:28
  • @Haskeller Why don't you want it to be FAT? It is a small partition, with no writes. – Alex Chamberlain Jul 3 '12 at 8:07
  • File permissions,time stamps, and read performance improvements(loading kernel). – ArchHaskeller Jul 3 '12 at 17:36

This is the only mention of the boot partition I can find in the chip documentation:

The split between ARM and GPU memory is selected by installing one of the supplied start*.elf files as start.elf in the FAT32 boot partition of the SD card.

Therefore I assume it will only read FAT.

Just found this on the Raspberry Pi forums:

There is firmware on the SOC that you will not be able to touch. It is pre-programed from the factory. And yes it is required to boot, and this is why the first partition has to be FAT because this is how the firmware is designed. You only need a FAT partition big enough to hold a bootloader of some type.

  • Does Broadcom have any other versions of GPU firmware that will load the Archlinux arm kernel on a filesystem besides FAT? – ArchHaskeller Jul 3 '12 at 1:48
  • I assume the root partition isn't FAT? – Alex Chamberlain Jul 3 '12 at 6:25
  • @AlexChamberlain: Root partition is EXT4. – Jivings Jul 3 '12 at 8:05
  • @Haskeller: Not as far as I am aware. What is your use case? – Jivings Jul 3 '12 at 8:05
  • @Jivings I thought it would be... – Alex Chamberlain Jul 3 '12 at 8:06

To answer your question in the most literal sense, the partition could be FAT32, instead of FAT16. The Debian image uses FAT32.

  • Pretty sure Arch is also FAT32 and OP was mistaken. – Jivings Jul 12 '12 at 8:42
  • @Jivings Nope, it is definitely FAT16. You can use piimg list. – Alex Chamberlain Jul 12 '12 at 8:46

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