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Bullseye arrives. Private ARM64 install fest!

So today is the day when a new Debian release comes out! Congratulations to everybody, and thanks a lot mainly to the Release Team. Lots of very hard work was put into making Debian 11 «Bullseye» a reality!

My very personal way to celebrate this was to do a somewhat different Debian install at home. Why different? Well, I have quite a bit of old, older and frankly elderly laptops at home. And as many of you know, I have done more than my fair share of Raspberry Pi installs… I have played and worked with assorted ARM machines at least since 2013, and I cannot consider myself a newbie with them by any means.

But this is the first time I installed Debian on a mass-market, decently-specced ARM64-based laptop. Yes, I know the Pinebook has been there like for ages, but it really does feel like a computer to show off and not to use seriously (and I’ve seen probably too many people fiddling with it, unable to get $foo to work). So I got myself a used Lenovo Yoga C630. Yes, a discontinued product — it seems Lenovo was not able to properly market this machine, and it had a pretty short shelf life — the machine was available for samples in late 2018 and for general sale in 2019! The specs are quite decent:

Installing it via an almost-standard debian-installer is almost straightforward does require the installer to know what he is doing… but is not too different from a regular Debian install. The AArch64 laptops project has done quite a feat in getting a d-i image ready to be inserted as a USB drive, and comprehensive instructions to help through the process. The shipped scripts even reap the Windows partition for the firmware images! I have reduced Windows to 25GB, but having only a 128GB drive, it still is a little bit too much.. I guess I’ll blow it away sooner rather than later. The installer image has a regular GNOME install, which works beautifully, but I promptly replaced it with i3, as it’s fundamental for me to work happily.

Of course, the computer has quirks, more than I’d expect from a regular x86 system, but well within what I expected to achieve during my first day with it. The issues I have most noted are:

Of course, more quirks will surely appear with use. And I’ll start trying to address some of them.

So… Happy Bullseye! Happy Debian 11! Enjoy a great release! \o/