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Last week, Jürgen Löb, a Debian user, discovered a bug in the linux-image-4.9.0-8-armmp-lpae package of the Debian system. The version of the system affected is 4.9.144-3.
The user states that he updated his Lamobo R1 board with apt update; apt upgrade. However, after the update, uboot was struck at “Starting kernel” with no further output after the same. The same issue was faced by him on Bananapi 1 board. He performed the following steps to recover his system:

  1. downgrading to a backup kernel by mounting the boot partition on the sd card.
  2. dd if=boot.scr of=boot.script bs=72 skip=1 (extract script)
  3. replaced the following command in boot.script:
    setenv fk_kvers ‘4.9.0-8-armmp-lpae
    setenv fk_kvers ‘4.9.0-7-armmp-lpae’  (backup kernel was available on his boot            partition)
  4. Then execute:
    mkimage -C none -A arm -T script -d boot.script boot.scr

After performing these steps he was able to boot the system with the old kernel
Version and restore the previous version (4.9.130-2) with the following command:
dpkg -i linux-image-4.9.0-8-armmp-lpae_4.9.130-2_armhf.deb

He cross-checked the issue and said that upgrading to 4.9.144-3 again after these steps results in the above unbootable behavior. Thus concluding, that the upgrade to 4.9.144-3 is causing the said problem.

Timo Sigurdsson, another Debian user stated that “I recovered both systems by replacing the contents of the directories /boot/ and /lib/modules/ with those of a recent backup (taken 3 days ago). After logging into the systems again, I downgraded the package linux-image-4.9.0-8-armmp-lpae to 4.9.130-2 and rebooted again in order to make sure no other package upgrade caused the issue. Indeed, with all packages up-to-date except linux-image-4.9.0-8-armmp-lpae, the systems work just fine.
So, there must be a serious regression in 4.9.144-3 at least on armmp-lpae”.

In response to this thread, multiple users replied with other instances of broken packages, like plain armmp (non-lpae) is broken for Armada385/Caiman and QEMU’s.
Vagrant Cascadian, another user added to the list that all of the armhf
boards running this kernel failed to boot, including:

  • imx6: Cubox-i4pro, Cubox-i4x4, Wandboard Quad
  • exynos5: Odroid-XU4
  • exynos4: Odroid-U3
  • rk3328: firefly-rk3288
  • sunxi A20: Cubietruck

The Debian team has not reverted back with any official response. You can head over to the debian bugs page for more information on this news.

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