Tuesday, February 07, 2012

PandaBoard: persistant MAC address via initrd

I worked out a solution to replace the random MAC address set by the smsc95xx kernel module with the MAC address generated by u-boot on the PandaBoard(ES). It should also work on the BeagleBoard.

As first you need this kernel patch to fix isses with exporting the assign type (PERM, RANDOM, STOLEN) to /sys/class/net/*/addr_assign_type correctly if the smsc95xx driver generate a random MAC address. Build your kernel, if you use openSUSE:Factory:ARM you can get RPMs here, until it's integrated into the official openSUSE kernel.

Now you need a mkinitrd with this patch or a you install these RPMs for openSUSE. This adds a initrd boot script to set the MAC address from kernel cmdline parameters. These are the available parameters and some example values:
  • setmac.set_mac_addr=01:23:45:67:89:ab
  • setmac.set_iface=eth0
  • setmac.set_module=smsc95xx
The setmac.set_mac_addr= is mandatory to change the MAC and you have to choose one of the other two parameters. Either you specify the network interface or the kernel driver/module. In case you use setmac.set_module the first network device provided by this module which has a random MAC gets the new address assigned. Please note: this script change the MAC of a interface only if addr_assign_type=1 , otherwise nothing will change.

If you have installed the new kernel and mkinitrd you may need to follow these steps:
# mount the boot partition which contains the uImage (and may also the MLO file) 
mount /dev/mmcblk0p1 /mnt
# make sure this partition contains the new uImage
# build a new initrd
mkinitrd -B
# create a uInitrd
mkimage -A arm -O linux -T ramdisk -C none -a 0 -e 0 -n initramfs -d /boot/initrd /mnt/uInitrd
Now you need to tell u-boot to boot from the uInitrd and to set the needed cmdline parameters. I prefer to use a uEnv.txt file instead of a boot.scr since you simply can change it without call mkimage. You can download my currently used uEnv.txt here. The content depends on your setup you may need to adapt yours:
bootargs=root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 rw rootwait rootfstype=ext3 console=ttyO2,115200n8 vram=16M omapfb.vram=0:16M
bootcmd=mmc rescan ; setenv bootargs ${bootargs} setmac.set_mac_addr="${usbethaddr}" setmac.set_iface=eth0; fatload mmc 0:1 0x80000000 uImage; fatload mmc 0:1 0x81600000 uInitrd; bootm 0x80000000 0x81600000
Now umount /mnt and reboot your system. If you already worked around the random MAC address problem: don't forget to remove/disable these hacks.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Personal note: Moved to blog.bisect.de

As you may already seen, I moved my blog from dkukawka.blogspot.com to a new address. You reach the blog now on blog.bisect.de . The old address should still work but you may want to adopt your bookmarks or RSS/Atom feeds. 
I also merged my blog with my Google+ profile. By this you should see new posts also at my Google+ stream.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Update: PandaBoard persistent MAC from smsc95xx kernel module

Some days ago I decided to send an updated and reworked version of my kernel patch for the smsc95xx kernel module - to get a persistent MAC address via the kernel cmdline from u-boot - to the linux kernel mailing list. I should have known better and save me the time: the patch wasn't accepted. You can follow the discussion here.

If you follow the argumentation, we should drop the support for changing the MAC address of a network device via kernel module parameter also from e.g. the following modules: sunhme, fec or ksz884x. And we should then also remove all the 'generate a random MAC for real devices' since it all could be somehow get managed in the user-space, although it's pita to handle this task in user-space since it's currently even hard to find out if a device got a random MAC assigned from the kernel.

I still plan to add the patch to the openSUSE kernel until I've worked out another solution. Feel free to use the patch anyway on your system.