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Installing AOSC OS on Raspberry Pi with ARM64 support

With platform support you can easily enjoy your full-featured AOSC OS in your Raspberry Pi.

This tutorial is designed for running under Linux environment. More specifically, AOSC OS.

This tutorial will help you go through the installation process for the Raspberry Pi. We just use plain boot method here, U-Boot and UEFI method are out of scope.

Supported Hardware§

Currently all models armed with chip supports ARM64 may be able to run AOSC OS, including:

Currently only Raspberry Pi 4B is tested, and it works very well.

Working parts§

Almost everything is working. Except:

For best stability you can run a Raspberry Pi distributed kernel, which will be downloaded in this tutorial, or a self-compiled kernel against the raspberrypi/linux tree, or install our distributed kernel.

For advanced users§

The difference between normal setup and RPi is, it needs a FAT partition to store the VC GPU firmware which is necessary to boot, along with basic configuration, kernel and command line options. No bootloader is needed, but U-Boot and TianoCore are available. Kernel should be uncompressed (vmlinux), and initramfs is supported.

Raspberry Pi 4 supports USB boot and network boot out of box, this means you can install an OS into hard drive or SSD directly, just after upgrading your EEPROM. Also, you can use a GPT partition table in your media. This greatly reduces some limitation related to boot and partitioning.


Overall process§

  1. Upgrade EEPROM firmware (Only for Raspberry Pi 4 series)
  2. Partitioning and formatting
  3. Install AOSC OS
  4. chroot and post installation steps


Check if you have everything listed here:

You need to download a few files:

We provide precompiled kernel and necessary firmware, you can simply install them after installing AOSC OS tarball.

Upgrade EEPROM (For Raspberry Pi 4 series)§

If you don't have a Raspberry Pi 4, please skip this process, as older models don't have onboard EEPROM.

1.1 Obtain a copy of latest Raspberry EEPROM firmware.

1.2 Format a SD card as FAT32 filesystem.

1.3 Extract its contents to the root of SD card.

1.4 Make sure all files exists in the filesystem root, then plug it into your Pi and turn it on.

Partitioning the media§

Now you can prepare your SD card for installation.



Plug your installation media into your PC and begin your installation. You need at least two partitions in your media:

Assuming your media presents as /dev/sda, we use fdisk to partition your media.

THIS WILL OVERWRITE YOUR DISK PARTITION TABLE. If you are uncertain about which device is, execute lsblk may help you identify your media.

For Raspberry Pi 4 and up§

We just use GPT partition table for your fresh new Raspberry Pi 4. Here we will set two partitions, boot, root. For swap, you can optionally create a dedicate swap partition or use a swap file in your root filesystem.

  1. Run fdisk with root user:

    # fdisk /dev/sda
  2. fdisk will present you a prompt:

    Command (m for help):
  3. Execute command g to create an empty GPT partition table:

    Command (m for help): g
    Created a new GPT disklabel (GUID: 94AA845B-C24E-2A47-9B5A-22E52786B13E).
  4. Execute n command to create the first partition:

    It will ask you for start sector, leave it default by hitting Enter as we does not need free space before the first partition.

    You can use +<size><K,M,G,T,P> to specify a partition size at ease, e.g. +500M to create a 500MB (500,000 KiB) partition, +500MiB for 500MiB , +5G for 5GiB.

    Command (m for help): n
    Partition number (1-128, default 1):
    First sector (2048-4194270, default 2048):
    Last sector, +/-sectors or +/-size{K,M,G,T,P} (2048-4194270, default 4194270): +200MiB
    Created a new partition 1 of type 'Linux filesystem' and of size 200 MiB.
  5. Create the second partition:

    You can press Enter all along as this is the last partition will be created.

    Command (m for help): n
    Partition number (2-128, default 2):
    First sector (1026048-4194270, default 1026048):
    Last sector, +/-sectors or +/-size{K,M,G,T,P} (1026048-4194270, default 4194270):
    Created a new partition 2 of type 'Linux filesystem' and of size 1.5 GiB.
  6. Change partition type:

    For the boot partition, the partition type can be EFI System, GUID C12A7328-F81F-11D2-BA4B-00A0C93EC93B.

    Command (m for help): t
    Partition number (1,2, default 2): 1
    Partition type or alias (type L to list all): 1
    Changed type of partition 'Linux filesystem' to 'EFI System'.

    For the rootfs partition the type can be vary, Linux filesystem, LVM and so on. Type L in the Partition Type prompt will list all available types.

  7. Preview the current partition table: Execute p command to display partition table.

    Disk /dev/sda: 238.5 GiB, 256060514304 bytes, 500118192 sectors
    Disk model: M.2 NVME
    Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 33553920 bytes
    Disklabel type: gpt
    Disk identifier: E34C4CAA-F707-C348-A879-6E3FB8737179
    Device         Start       End   Sectors  Size Type
    /dev/sda1      65535    458744    393210  192M EFI System
    /dev/sda2     458745 491184824 490726080  234G Linux filesystem
  8. Commit changes:

    Execute wq will WRITE ALL CHANGES to your media and exit.

    Command (m for help): wq
    The partition table has been altered.
    Syncing disks.
  9. Format partitions:

    Create a vfat filesystem using mkfs.vfat for boot partition:

    # mkfs.vfat -n "BOOT" /dev/sda1

    Create a ext4 filesystem using mkfs.ext4for root filesystem:

    # mkfs.ext4 -L "aosc" /dev/sda2

    If you have swap partition created, use mkswap to create a swap partiton:

    # mkswap /dev/sdaX

For Raspberry Pi 3 and older models§

Raspberry Pi 3 does not support GPT out of box, so we need a MBR partition table for it.

  1. Run fdisk with root user:

    # fdisk /dev/sda
  2. fdisk will present you a prompt:

    Command (m for help):
  3. Execute command o to create an empty MBR partition table:

    Command (m for help): o
    Created a new DOS disklabel with disk identifier 0xcf4a1231.
  4. Create the boot partition:

    The boot partition must be a primary partition, with the type of 0x0c(Win95 FAT32 LBA).

    It will ask you for start sector, leave it default by hitting Enter as we does not need free space before the first partition.

    You can use +<size><K,M,G,T,P> to specify a partition size at ease, e.g. +500M to create a 500MB (5,000,000 KiB) partition, +500MiB for 500MiB , +5G for 5GiB.

    Command (m for help): n
    Partition type
       p   primary (0 primary, 0 extended, 4 free)
       e   extended (container for logical partitions)
    Select (default p): p
    Partition number (1-4, default 1): 1
    First sector (2048-4194303, default 2048):
    Last sector, +/-sectors or +/-size{K,M,G,T,P} (2048-4194303, default 4194303): +200MiB
    Created a new partition 1 of type 'Linux' and of size 200 MiB.
  5. Create an extended partition to workaround 4 partition limit in MBR:

    This extended partition will take up the whole rest space.

    Or, if you don't need more than 4 partitions or just don't want to create an extended partition, you can ignore this step.

    Command (m for help): n
    Partition type
       p   primary (1 primary, 0 extended, 3 free)
       e   extended (container for logical partitions)
    Select (default p): e
    Partition number (2-4, default 2):
    First sector (411648-4194303, default 411648):
    Last sector, +/-sectors or +/-size{K,M,G,T,P} (411648-4194303, default 4194303):
    Created a new partition 2 of type 'Extended' and of size 1.8 GiB.
  6. Then create a partition for root filesystem:

    At this stage fdisk will tell you the logical partition is taken up the whole disk size (if you have created one).

    Command (m for help): n
    All space for primary partitions is in use.
    Adding logical partition 5
    First sector (413696-4194303, default 413696):
    Last sector, +/-sectors or +/-size{K,M,G,T,P} (413696-4194303, default 4194303): +1G
    Created a new partition 5 of type 'Linux' and of size 1 GiB.
  7. Change partition type (ESSENTIAL):

    Execute t command to change the partition type. We just need to modify the first partition.

    The type of boot partition should be 0x0c. Type c is enough.

    Command (m for help): t
    Partition number (1,2,5, default 5): 1
    Hex code or alias (type L to list all): c
    Changed type of partition 'Linux' to 'W95 FAT32 (LBA)'.
  8. Press p to preview current partition table:

    Command (m for help): p
    Disk /dev/sda: 2 GiB, 2147483648 bytes, 4194304 sectors
    Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    Disklabel type: dos
    Disk identifier: 0xcf4a1231
    Device    Boot  Start     End Sectors  Size Id Type
    /dev/sda1        2048  411647  409600  200M  c W95 FAT32 (LBA)
    /dev/sda2      411648 4194303 3782656  1.8G  5 Extended
    /dev/sda5      413696 2510847 2097152    1G 83 Linux
  9. Execute wq to write the partition table to your media and exit fdisk.

  10. Format partitions:

    Create a vfat filesystem using mkfs.vfat for boot partition:

    # mkfs.vfat -n "BOOT" /dev/sda1

    Create a ext4 filesystem using mkfs.ext4for root filesystem:

    # mkfs.ext4 -L "aosc" /dev/sda5

    If you have swap partition created, use mkswap to create a swap partiton:

    # mkswap /dev/sdaX


After formatting, you can now mount partitions to your system.

Create mount points under /mnt:

mkdir /mnt/{sd-boot,sd-aosc}

Mount the partitions:

mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/sd-boot
mount /dev/sda2 /mnt/sd-aosc


Assuming your boot partition is mounted at /mnt/sd-boot, root filesystem is mount at /mnt/sd-aosc in this section.

This process is simple. cd to your root filesystem mount point and untar the AOSC OS tarball you downloaded:

cd /mnt/sd-aosc
tar --numeric-owner -pxvf /path/to/tarball/tarball.tar.xz

Blah! Installation is done! But we should do some post-installation configuration before we can plug it in to your Pi. Keep your media mounted, and there we go.

Post installation process§

The OS is installed, but we need to do some configuration before we can actually boot it up, for example, setting language, adding user, installing additional packages, etc.

However, this is not just like chrooting to your media:

Chrooting from different architecture§

You may not able to chroot directly if your host architecture is different from Raspberry Pi's ARM64 architecture. If you do so, it will crash and throw a binary format error message.

To chroot to an environment which differs from your host architecture, first please make sure that qemu-user-static is installed.

QEMU will act as an "interpreter" thing, "translates" the instructions between two architectures.

sudo apt install qemu-user-static

Then, restart the systemd-binfmt.service to configure the binfmt configuration:

sudo systemctl restart systemd-binfmt.service

Once done so, you can check the kernel's binfmt status by lsing a directory:

ls /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc/

You can see a lot of binary formats listed here. View the qemu-aarch64 file by cating it to see the configuration:

cat /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc/qemu-aarch64

If it returns like this:

interpreter /usr/bin/qemu-aarch64-static
offset 0
magic 7f454c460201010000000000000000000200b7
mask ffffffffffffff00fffffffffffffffffeffff

Then you are ready to chroot into your media! Assuming your media's root partition is mounted as /mnt/sd-aosc.

We need to copy host's qemu-aarch64-static to chroot environment first:

cd /mnt/sd-aosc
# Backup the file first
mv ./usr/bin/qemu-aarch64-static ./
# Copy host's qemu to chroot environment
cp /usr/bin/qemu-aarch64-static ./usr/bin/

# Then, chroot to your installation using arch-chroot
arch-chroot /mnt/sd-aosc

And here we comes!

Mount partitions§

Now you are in your chroot environment. The first thing is to generate the fstab file, before doing this you must make sure all necessary partition are mounted.

For Raspberry Pi's boot partition, we choose a subdirectory under /boot , not /boot itself. e.g. /boot/rpi

If the /boot is a vfat filesystem, things will break as dpkg is unable to process the update in such filesystem.

We strongly recommend you to mount your boot partition to /boot/rpi . This will be a de facto standard in future when we release images for Raspberry Pi.

mkdir /boot/rpi

Then mount necessary partitions:

mount -o remount,rw /dev/sda2 /
mount /dev/sda1 /boot/rpi

Generate fstab file§

All necessary partition is mounted. Invoke the script to generate it:

genfstab -U / > /etc/fstab

Before we proceed we need to remove the swap partition entry as it do not exist in your media (even if it exists its UUID is different from the one in fstab file):

To obtain UUID information of one partition, one can use lsblk -f to locate that partition and then invoke blkid to get UUIDs.

sed -i '/swap/d' /etc/fstab

Adding bsp-rpi repository§

We have a repository specially designed for Raspberry Pi. You can add an entry to your apt sources list by executing:

echo "deb stable bsp-rpi" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/10-bsp-rpi.conf

Then run apt-update.

This repository contains Raspberry Pi kernel, firmware and precompiled userland libraries.

Miscellaneous post installation process§

Please refer to Installation/AMD64 for detailed steps. This process is identical to normal installation.

Upgrade your system§

Let's upgrade your system now. Before anything going on, you should do this first.

apt update
apt full-upgrade

Kernel and firmware§

Thanks to our contributors, we are now providing kernel and firmware package, users can simply installing them without manual configuration.

Installing kernel§

Make sure you have bsp-rpi added to your sources list, then you can simply install the linux-kernel-rpi64 package. This kernel is compiled from raspberrypi/linux tree, so it is fully functional.

apt update
apt install linux-kernel-rpi64

Installing firmware§

You need to install the Raspberry Pi boot firmware in order to make your Pi working. The rpi-firmware-boot package provides a config.txt file, and other firmware necessary to boot (bootcode.bin, start.elf etc).

apt install rpi-firmware-boot

It provides a default configuration file (config.txt). It will not overwrite existing config.txt file.

For WiFi or other parts, you need to install firmware-nonfree package in order to make your hardware working. In your chroot environment:

apt install firmware-nonfree

If you want to enable onboard Bluetooth, you need to install rpi-firmware-bluez first:

apt install rpi-firmware-bluez 

And uncomment dtparam=krnbt=on in config.txt .

Configuring Pi§

config.txt stores hardware configuration, this file is read before the kernel load. Some parameters can change the behavior of your Pi. This file should be present in the root directory of your Pi.

This file is already installed if you have the package rpi-firmware-boot installed. You can ignore this step if you want to use the default configuration. But you still need to create a cmdline.txt manually (see following instructions).

One line per parameter, using sharp symbol to comment on the file.

For all Pis, arm_64bit=1 should be set in order to load 64bit kernel.

For all configuration parameters, please refer to Raspberry Pi Documentation.

We recommend you use a separate file to store boot related settings, then use include in the main config.txt to merge the configurations. e.g:


# other configurations...

include distcfg.txt


initramfs initrd followkernel
Kernel parameters§

Kernel command line should be stored in cmdline.txt , presents in the root directory of your boot partition, and should only contain one single line. Contents of the file is kernel parameters, which will be passed to kernel during boot. Parameters should divided by space.

For a normal Pi installation, these options should present no matter how you install or boot your Pi:

Optionally, you should set a serial console on /dev/ttyS0, e.g. console=ttyS0,115200 . This helps you monitoring or debugging the boot process, and provide a easy way to fix up the problem without mounting them to your PC.

A least complete cmdline.txt should contain these options above, for example:

console=ttyS0,115200 root=/dev/sda2 rootfstype=ext4 rw rootwait

If all above are set, you can exit your chroot environment, unmount them, plug it in to your Pi and boot!

umount /boot/rpi
umount /mnt/sd-{boot,aosc}

Additional notes§


We are now providing a distribution kernel for Raspberry Pi (ARM64), and it is downstreamed. Some important parts are not upstreamed to mainline kernel, e.g. VideoCore GPU interface. So display will not work under mainline kernel.

If you want to use the Raspberry Pi distributed kernel, the configured default CPU governor is powersave. You have been warned.

If you run a mainline kernel, you can't run raspi-config because VC interface does not work, and so do other tools, e.g. raspi-config.

You can build your own kernel against raspberrypi/linux tree.

Raspberry Pi Userland programs§

We have a prebuilt package for userland libraries. If you are required to run vcgencmd or something (rpi-update and raspi-config requires this), then you need to install this package first.

apt install rpi-userland

Make sure you are running a downstreamed kernel e.g. the kernel from Raspberry Pi and our linux-kernel-rpi64.

3D Acceleration§

With the help of Mesa you can get OpenGL working on your Pi.

sudo apt install mesa
sudo usermod -aG render <user>

Reboot and run glxinfo , you can clearly see the V3D driver is enabled.

Hardware accelerated video decoding§

MMAL is not supported under 64-bit OS yet. So you will not get a accelerated video decoding under AOSC OS.


If you encounter a problem, here are some possible causes and workarounds/solutions:


No output at all§

For Pi 4 and up:

For all models, the status of the Green Activity LED is an indication to the problem.

If Activity LED does not flash at all:

If it flashes with a specific pattern:

If above attempt still can not fix the problem, make sure you have a good power supply.

Stuck at rainbow screen§

The rainbow screen is a good sign because your Pi does read your media, and start.elf is being executed.

How long this rainbow screen lasts depends on your kernel size and the reading speed of your media. Normally this should just last about a few seconds.

If it stuck, then your Pi can't boot the kernel, or the kernel file is not found.

Check your boot partition to see if kernel8.img does exist and looks good. If you have custom kernel defined in config.txt, make sure it is in the root of boot partition, and double check the filename.

If it is a Pi 4, make sure your HDMI cable is plugged into HDMI0 port, the one next to the USB-C port. This is because the second display is only activated after a successful boot.

So there's a case that your kernel panicked during boot, but the second display is completely frozen so you can't see the panic output.

Only four Raspberry Pi logos showed at the top-left corner§

This means your kernel is being executed. It's a good sign because your Pi is booting into Linux.

If quiet option is present, you should remove it because kernel output is useful to debug booting process.

If it stuck, watch the screen carefully before you proceed.

With a blinking cursor

It means your kernel is booting, maybe a slow media makes it hard to boot. Wait a few minutes it should bring you to a successful boot.

If it still stuck at this stage, it means your kernel is waiting for such root partition showing up. Check your cmdline.txt , make sure your root= parameter is correct and try again.

With a frozen cursor

If the cursor is not blinking, then it means your kernel is panicked and you have quiet option enabled in your cmdline.txt. Remove quiet option to see how it panicked.

Kernel panic§

The reason why it panics are vary, but mostly we can figure it out by checking the console output.

When a kernel panics, the cause of the panic is printed out to the default console. If a screen is attached, then the panic information is on your screen, otherwise you have to attach a Serial console to your Pi, reboot to reproduce the problem.

Panic messages are started with kernel panic: not syncing . Take a close look at this line, and find a match in follows.


Poor performance / Low Frequency§

If you are using the kernel obtained from Raspberry Pi's firmware repository, then you need to set CPU governor.

The default CPU governor configured in the kernel is powersave, but other governors are available.

To set a CPU governor, run:

sudo cpupower frequency-set -g <governor>

The ondemand and conservative is good enough for ARM processors. Or you can use performance if you have a good cooling system.

Long boot time due to network delay§

If your Pi boots fast but you should wait a few minutes to bring up the network, try to disable NetworkManager-wait-online.service and systemd-networkd-wait-online.service .

sudo systemctl disable NetworkManager-wait-online.service
sudo systemctl disable systemd-networkd-wait-online.service

If you use Ethernet only, you can disable WiFi by rfkill as this would reduce the boot time:

sudo rfkill block wifi

See also§