Integration Stories

Integration Story One - Nexus

Important

This use case is merely illustrative and not a detailed guide. The device integration guidelines can only highlight certain aspects of previous device integrations in the hope that the experience will be useful. There is no step-by-step guide to any device integration into LAVA.

Google Nexus devices are standard devices which once unlocked or rooted will get into fastboot mode without any requirement for manual intervention. A suitable AOSP build (See assumption 4 above) flashed to the Nexus can make use of adb reboot bootloader in order to get into fastboot mode.

Deploy

The only supported operating system on the Nexus would obviously be AOSP and this reduces the problem space to a greater extent. In case of Nexus devices the AOSP is supplied as images for the following partitions:

boot
cache
system
userdata
vendor

Which are straightforward to flash using fastboot command during the deploy stage or action. flash_cmds_order parameter from the device dictionary is used to determine the order in which the above images will be flashed to their respective partitions.

Boot

In case of boot action the fastboot boot sequence comes into place which is simple as seen below:

- reboot
- wait-usb-add
- lxc-add-device

When the device is still in fastboot mode after the deployment of images to the respective partitions fastboot reboot is issued which will reboot the Nexus device to the AOSP operating system. We wait for a udev add event and then once the event happens, we add the device to the LXC container using the device_info values.

Thus the device is booted and ready for running tests via ADB from an LXC container.

Issues

There is no serial console hence we cannot monitor the kernel boot log or messages while Nexus device boots. We need a mechanism such as reboot-to-fastboot set to false in order to not reboot the Nexus device to fastboot mode, since most of these devices do not charge in fastboot mode, hence the battery drains if the device is in fastboot mode which calls for manual intervention to juggle with the volume and power buttons at different combinations to make the device useable for automation. Nexus devices have inbuilt battery, hence these are not suitable for controlling them with a Power Distribution Unit (PDU). So hard reset literally means adb reboot bootloader (provided the AOSP build installed on the Nexus device is stable) or fastboot reboot bootloader (provided we are in fastboot mode), both of which are software triggered and not a proper hard reset.

Sample job run - https://staging.validation.linaro.org/scheduler/job/175653 Currently LAVA V2 supports the following Google Nexus devices (provided suitable builds are available):

  • Nexus 4
  • Nexus 5x
  • Nexus 9
  • Nexus 10

Integration Story Two - Pixel

Important

This use case is merely illustrative and not a detailed guide. The device integration guidelines can only highlight certain aspects of previous device integrations in the hope that the experience will be useful. There is no step-by-step guide to any device integration into LAVA.

Pixel

Google Pixel is same as the Google Nexus device with very minimal differences. Everything said above for Nexus devices applies to Google Pixel except for the following described in the issues below.

Issues

Google Pixel requires latest versions of fastboot and adb tools. The version of fastboot (4.2.2) and adb (4.2.2) found in Debian Jessie does not work correctly with Google Pixel. It requires a pretty recent version which is now available in Debian Stretch - fastboot (1:7.0.0) and adb (1:7.0.0).

Google Pixel has two system partitions which is different from old Google Nexus devices:

system_a
system_b

The partitions or images supplied for deployment in case of Google Pixel are as follows and the order in which they are flashed are of prime importance which is handled by flash_cmds_order:

boot
userdata
system_a
system_b
vendor

Sample job run - https://staging.validation.linaro.org/scheduler/job/177188

Integration Story Three - HiKey 6220

Important

This use case is merely illustrative and not a detailed guide. The device integration guidelines can only highlight certain aspects of previous device integrations in the hope that the experience will be useful. There is no step-by-step guide to any device integration into LAVA.

HiKey 6220 is the most problematic board due to various reasons. There were too many workarounds put in place just for supporting HiKey 6220’s automation since the board was inherently not stable for automation. The key things that hinders automation on Hikey 6220 are as follows:

Unstable UEFI firmware

  • For every new release of the firmware which happens once in two months the behaviour or the interface changes.
  • Text used for interrupting UEFI bootloader has changed many times.
  • The timeout in order to hit any key to enter UEFI menu has changed which sometimes made automating it harder due to insufficient time to capture the interrupt prompt and feed the interrupt string.
  • Inconsistent behavior of bringing up the UEFI bootloader after soft resets and hard resets.
  • Changes with different versions of firmware in the way we get into fastboot mode.

Serial numbers

By default HiKey 6220 does not provide a unique serial number, though there is a way to set unique serial number.

Due to the hardware design decisions made when creating HiKey 6220 the OTG port and TYPE A ports are not usable at the same time. To automate the image delivery we use fastboot, which requires the OTG port to be connected during flashing. However, for automated testing we would prefer to use a USB attached ethernet adapter as it is more reliable than WiFi. Somewhere between the delivery of images and booting the kernel, we need to disable the OTG port to allow the TYPE A ports to function.

Irrespective of the operating system that is getting deployed we need to enable the USB OTG port which may have been disabled in the previous job run (Why this is done is explained in point 3 above). This is done using the pre_power_command, called via the lava-lxc protocol for deploy action.

Deploy

HiKey 6220 supports different operating systems such as AOSP, GNU/Linux (Debian, Ubuntu, etc.) and OpenEmbedded (OE), for which different partition schemes and communication schemes has to be supported. HiKey has a UEFI firmware as seen above which can get you to a UEFI menu to choose the device or operating system from where you want to boot or get into fastboot mode. The primary method of flashing images to HiKey 6220 is by using fastboot flash commands.

AOSP

In case of AOSP a HiKey needs to flash the images mentioned in the deploy action using the flash commands. The order in which images are getting flashed is important which is controlled by flash_cmds_order

AOSP for HiKey 6220 is provided using the following images:

ptable
boot
cache
userdata
system

HiKey 6220 firmware has some issues when we do not hard-reset after flashing certain images such as ptable and boot. This is required especially when the HiKey’s following job requests to run a different operating system from the one that was run on the last job ie., if a job runs AOSP and the following job wants to run OE then we need to flash a partition different partition table which reflects after a reboot of the HiKey. Hence the deploy action in HiKey accepts a special parameter called reboot which indicates whether to reboot the HiKey after flashing the current image. The values accepted for this parameter are as follows:

hard-reset
does a power cycle with the help of PDU after flashing
fastboot-reboot
does a fastboot reboot after flashing
fastboot-reboot-bootloader
does a fastboot reboot bootloader after flashing

For some reason we have identified hard-reset always works and it is recommended. It is uncertain why fastboot-rebooot or fastboot-reboot-bootloader creates problem in identifying the partitions properly after flashing. This is a significant issue that was discovered after running too many jobs on the HiKey.

OE

In case of OE a HiKey needs to flash the images mentioned in the deploy action using the flash commands. Similar to AOSP the order in which images gets flashed is important which is controlled by flash_cmds_order

OE for HiKey 6220 is provided using the following images:

ptable
boot
system

The same issue with rebooting after flashing ptable and boot partitions applies to OE images as explained above for AOSP.

Debian

In case of Debian a HiKey needs to flash the images mentioned in the deploy action using the flash commands. Similar to AOSP the order in which images gets flashed is important which is controlled by flash_cmds_order

Debian for HiKey 6220 is provided using the following images:

ptable
boot
system (the rootfs of Debian system)

The same issue with rebooting after flashing ptable and boot partitions applies to Debian images too.

Boot

AOSP

The fastboot boot sequence for AOSP on HiKey is defined with the following steps on the device dictionary:

- boot
- wait-usb-add
- lxc-add-device
- auto-login
- shell-session
- export-env

Since the HiKey has a serial connection we can watch the kernel boot log using the serial connection.

AOSP provides ADB communication, hence the tests are run using lava-test-shell from within the LXC container communicating via ADB daemon on the HiKey.

OE / Debian

Both OpenEmbedded and Debian operating systems are booted using the selection on the UEFI Menu. We interrupt to get into the UEFI menu and then select the menu item which says “boot from eMMC” where the images will be flashed in the previous deploy action. Once this selection is done the OS starts booting, at which point we need a mechanism to switch off the OTG port so that Type A port starts working and brings up the connected USB ethernet adapter.

See also

pre_os_command usage with Using protocols from actions

We won’t require the OTG port henceforth since we have a serial connection to monitor and also ethernet is up for communicating to the internet.

OE or Debian does not provide ADB communication, hence the tests are run using lava-test-shell directly on the HiKey using the serial connection where LXC is not used.

Sample Job Runs AOSP - https://staging.validation.linaro.org/scheduler/job/179225 OE - https://staging.validation.linaro.org/scheduler/job/179207

Other Issues

Overview

In LAVA V2 HiKey requires pins 5-6 shorted in order to get into fastboot mode every time after a reboot or a hard reset. This document discusses the need for shorting 5-6 pins and how it differs from V1.

V2 Scenario

In LAVA V2 we assume HiKeys have pins 5-6 shorted so that the HiKey gets into fastboot mode every time there is a reboot or a hard reset. With this assumption in place we carry on the following actions:

Deploy the images using fastboot flashing since the device is in fastboot mode by default.

Once the flashing is done, we “fastboot reboot” the device which will take it to fastboot mode again. If the test job specifies to boot android, fastboot does not need to be interrupted a second time. To access the UEFI menu to boot other systems, fastboot is interrupted, to bring up blitthe uefi_menu on which we choose the second option ie., “[2] boot from eMMC” and boot the device to the operating system that was flashed in 1.

The above is the right way of doing things, since we can enter into fastboot mode every time even when the test flashes the boot partition of the device with different boot.img, which is not possible in V1.

V1 Scenario

In LAVA V1 we have pins 3-4 shorted which will not take the device to fastboot mode by default. In order to get into fastboot, the bootloader prompt should be interrupted and the corresponding UEFI menu item has to be selected for fastboot. When pins 3-4 are shorted there is possibility of flashing the following from a job:

fastboot flash fastboot fip.bin fastboot flash nvme nvme.img

The above can leave the board inconsistent, which complicates automation since we need the same kind of interface every time the board is rebooted or hard-reset.

Integration Story - Dragonboard 410c

Important

This use case is merely illustrative and is not a detailed guide. The device integration guidelines can only highlight certain aspects of previous device integrations in the hope that the experience will be useful. There is no step-by-step guide to any device integration into LAVA.

Similar to Integration Story Three - HiKey 6220, the Dragonboard 410c (DB410C) supports different operating systems such as AOSP, GNU/Linux (Debian, Ubuntu, etc.) and OpenEmbedded (OE), for which different partition schemes and communication schemes has to be supported. DB410C uses fastboot for both deploy and boot actions. The primary method of flashing images to DB410c is by using fastboot flash commands.

Sample Job Run - https://staging.validation.linaro.org/scheduler/job/179278

Issues

DB410C is a pretty stable platform and hasn’t given much pains during integration except for one issue where the images provided for DB410C (this is specific to Linaro images) are sparse images. In order to convert the sparse image to normal image we use a tool called simg2img. Once the sparse image is converted to a normal image we will apply the overlay and then do a normal image to sparse image conversion using a tool called img2simg. Both these tools simg2img and img2simg are available in Debian jessie and stretch. The conversions and application of overlay are done just before flashing these images within the LXC container which should have tools such as simg2img and img2simg installed.

Integration Story Five - HiKey 960

So far, no advantages discovered. Less usable than the 6220.

Cons

Fastboot required to deploy non-fastboot systems due to lack of visibility of the USB stack in UEFI and the lack of a physical NIC on the device.

Custom hardware which is required to provide serial over low speed connector does not have mount points and can wobble.

Highly unstable device - continues to reset the serial connection arbitrarily. Appears to cause issues in the USB stack of the worker, making subsequent test jobs unreliable.

Hardware is incapable of driving the OTG and the USB Host at the same time, causing complex problems with needing to use specialist USB hub control systems to change the mode of the OTG port during every test job to be able to have any network capability after deployment.

Less reliable than the HiKey 6220.

Unexpected changes in the UEFI compared to the 6220 which make the menus impossible to automate, necessitating a different code flow for support in V2.

Gaps in the 96boards documentation and completely missing documentation for the changes made for Linaro CI caused several months of delays and wasted investigation.

Original firmware changes the fastboot serial number randomly on every reboot.

Apparent habit of dropping the serial connection arbitrarily during fastboot deployment - 3 out of every 5 test jobs failed this way during development.