Installing Debian over serial console on APU board

Posted by Pawel Suwala on 

Installing Debian on APU boards is easy, if you know the steps.

Step 1:

Download netinst, amd64 image from here: https://www.debian.org/distrib/netinst

Step 2:

burn the image on USB. 

If you are using Linux, use dd:

sudo dd if=debian-9.1.0-amd64-netinst.iso of=/dev/sdX

if you are using Windows, burn the image using Rufus: https://rufus.akeo.ie/

Step 3: 

Insert the USB into the APU board, and use putty to connect over the serial cable, as described here.

Step 4: 

Debian installer will boot and show you the following screen:

Press H, enter the following parameters and press Enter.

install vga=off console=ttyS0,115200n8

This tells the installer that it should use Serial console for the installation process. Follow the instructions on the screen, as usual. 

Step 5

Debian is installed, but it won't boot. One last thing to do, is to edit grub config file.

Boot again from the USB, enter into rescue mode, by pressing H and then typing:

rescue vga=off console=ttyS0,115200n8

Follow the rescue setup steps and at the end choose "Execute shell" option. Choose the device you installed debian on, and it will be mounted and prepared for you in chrooted environment.

Open /etc/default/grub and remove "vga=off" from the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX

It's quite strange that debian requires this setting during installation, but it won't boot the actual system with it. Run 

update-grub

And reboot. Now your system is bootable.

Good luck!