[BPI-W3] Possible to replace ambian with Debian 11?

I do not really like the armbian distro, is it possible (and how ) to install Debian 11 to my BPI-W3?

Debian will not even boot.

Why should a userspace not boot if there is a bootable way till uboot/kernel?

If armbian has its own rootfs partition you can replace it by debian rootfs after backing up kernel modules (reinstall them after debians rootfs unpack).

Debian and also archlinuxarm run fine on rk3588. The hard part is to find a suitable kernel. The kernel from armbian would be the easiest choice.

Afair there were some patches in mainline for (basic) support of rk3588. But the easiest way will be start from armbian image and replace rootfs

Here is the furthest mainline support


So we cannot really use it for now But the 5.10 version can be extracted from armbian packages:


Also need a u-boot for the W3 then. I only have one for another rk3588 brand board prebuild.

(I Actually have an entire archlinux installscript as I have for the R64/R3, but then for a rk3588 other board ,it needs some updating though, which I plan to do soon).

I didn’t want to assume, but OP is probably unhappy because experience is not the same (he doesn’t differ what is kernel what user space) as he is used from running Debian (from www.debian.org) on a desktop PC. That Debian and also ArchLinux or other mainstream mainline based Linux won’t boot. That I had in mind. I am also unaware of incompleteness of Armbian for this device as its not official Armbian and could also be broken on user space to some degree.

https://docs.armbian.com/#what-is-the-difference-between-armbian-and-debianubuntu As Armbian is very minimal changed from Debian, I can’t understand what is worse then vanilla Debian to justify all those troubles? There are just a few of tricks that normal user anyway doesn’t see just like that.

I think you could be right, the armbian version on Banana Pi BPI-W3 may be a scaled down version. Apart from the UI, it seems it is lacking some functionalities, I need more time to go through that as I only powered up the board yesterday.

Also disappointing that I cannot boot up from NVME and can only do that on SD or EMMC

Not exactly correct wording. Armbian is a build framework, a tool, that generates Debian / Ubuntu for selection of single board computers. If critical input (hardware interface) is wonky, tool can’t help as it doesn’t generate miracles. It “only” assemble things. Armbian provides easier way to get system together, provides additional features, update system, … Hardware features are provided or not provided by chip maker and integrated by Bananapi (as its not official Armbian assembly)

Installer has to be tailored for every specific device and this might not provide that options - if SPI chip is missing, is not compatible or if boot loader does not have needed drivers … it simply can’t work just like that.

Is it clear now that no Debian can help you here?

thanks, I get that now.

In a way the BPI-W3 hardware is great overall (may be missing some minor things like bluetooth , specification said usb BT, but not sure what it means). However, it seems to hard for a newbie like me to make full use of the hardware without advanced technical knowledge

Yes. you are right about. Most of those boards around are initially at such state. Releasing hardware early with bad or even without the most expensive part, software, become a norm. Most people buy specs and how hardware looks …