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DebianOn is an effort to document how to install, configure and use Debian on some specific hardware. Therefore potential buyers would know if that hardware is supported and owners would know how get the best out of that hardware.

The purpose is not to duplicate the Debian Official Documentation, but to document how to install Debian on some specific hardware.

If you need help to get Debian running on your hardware, please have a look at our user support channels where you may find specific channels (mailing list, IRC channel) dedicated to certain types of hardware.

Translation(s): none

Models covered
Xiaomi ?MiWifi mini


MediaTek MT7620A (includes wifi b/n chip) MIPS SoC 580 MHz, RAM 128MB, Wi-Fi 802.11ac (?MediaTek MT7612), Flash 16MB, 100MiB Ethernet.

Overall Status

Core Components


Boot Standard Kernel:

{X} / OpenWRT

Ethernet interface ():


Hard drives:

USB drives ok

Extra Features

Ethernet switch ()


WLAN interface Wi-Fi 802.11ac (?MediaTek MT7612)


WLAN interface Wi-Fi 802.11b/g (?MediaTek MT7620A)


Serial console (you have to solder it)




Legend :
{OK} = OK ; {X} Unsupported(No Driver) ; /!\ = Error (Couldn't get it working); [?] Unknown, Not Test ; [-] Not-applicable
{i} = Configuration Required; X-( = Only works with a non-free driver and or firmware

Important Note

This Debian installation is based on the Open WRT kernel and it's modified init system. Please, read this article, it's pretty the same, but it uses old version of ?OpenWrt(without procd). The reason we cannot use approach with preinit scripts is simple: From the Barrier Breaker ?OpenWrt release, preinit system runs in compatibility mode, so it is not executed with PID 1. And we need init to be executed from the PID 1 process.That's why we have to modify init program's C code to spawn debian init instead of procd.

Install OpenWRT on your router and make sure it works before attempting to install Debian. A working and configured OpenWRT system on the internal flash also works as a backup. If the USB drive containing the rootfs breaks, you will lose your Debian server, but at least the network routing still works with OpenWRT. Remember backups.


Build a custom OpenWRT image

Get ?OpenWrt code

mkdir ~/wrt
cd ~/wrt
git clone git://github.com/openwrt/openwrt.git
git checkout tags/v17.01.4

Configure ?OpenWrt build system

make menuconfig

Set image options:

This is for systemd

Set kernel options:

make kernel_menuconfig

Build ?OpenWrt system


Tweaking init

Now we need to patch init system, so that if debian root detected, we launch debian init.

cd openwrt/build_dir/target-mipsel_24kc_musl-1.1.16/procd-2017-08-08-66be6a23/initd

Create init patch. This patch will replace spawn_procd function with spawn_real_init. If debian root mounted, spawn_real_init function will execute debian init, else procd.

What the function spawn_real_init do? It checks, if debian root mounted, if yes - stops the watchdog timer, and exec debian init command. Otherwise it will exec procd.

cat <<EOF >> init_patch
> 53c53
> < spawn_procd(struct uloop_process *proc, int ret)
> ---
> > spawn_real_init(struct uloop_process *proc, int ret)
> 54a55,56
> >     char *deb_init_args[] = { "/sbin/init", "3", NULL};
> >     char *procd_args[] = { "/sbin/procd", NULL};
> 56d57
> < preinitchar *argv[] = { "/sbin/procd", NULL};
> 57a59
> >     int is_extroot_mounted = !stat("/etc/debian_version", &s);
> 70d71
> < preinitDEBUG(2, "Exec to real procd now\n");
> 79c80,88
> < preinitexecvp(argv[0], argv);
> ---
> > preinitif (is_extroot_mounted) {
> >         DEBUG(2, "Exec to debian init now\n");
> >         watchdog_set_magicclose(true);
> >         watchdog_set_stopped(true);
> >         execvp(deb_init_args[0], deb_init_args);
> >     } else {
> >         DEBUG(2, "Exec to openwrt procd now\n");
> >         execvp(procd_args[0], procd_args);
> >     }
> 119c128
> < preinitpreinit_proc.cb = spawn_procd;
> ---
> > preinitpreinit_proc.cb = spawn_real_init;


patch preinit.c init_patch


Build ?OpenWrt again, with modified init.


Flash image

Use open wrt guide.

Create debian rootfs

mkdir ~/debian_root_fs
cd ~/debian_root_fs
debootstrap --arch mipsel stretch .

Configure debian rootfs

Follow the instructions from the above-mentioned article. Install sysvinit system instead of Systemd (I was not able to get Systemd working :( ). Also install ssh server and configure static network interface ip.

Prepare usb media

Use gparted, create ms-dos partition table on thumb drive, and create two partitions: ext4 partition for debian rootfs, and swap. Then copy created debian rootfs on flash drive.

mount /dev/sd*1 /mnt
cp -r ~/debian_root_fs/* /mnt

Ok, now we have a router with Openwrt system, configured to launch debian init, if debian root is mounted (i.e. file /debian_version is present). And we have a debian root filesystem on the flash along with swap partition on it. What we need to do now is configure ?OpenWrt system to mount root filesystem from flash drive(if flash drive is plugged in the router) during the preinit stage. So we need to do some router configuration.

OpenWRT extroot configuration

Set up the external root FS in OpenWRT. The configuration file /etc/config/fstab should have this kind of section:

config mount
    option target '/'
    option fstype 'ext4'
    option options 'rw,sync'
    option enabled '1'
    option enabled_fsck '0'
    option device '/dev/sda1'


We are ready now. Switch off the router, plug in your flash drive, connect ethernet cable to any port of the router and to you computer, configure your network interface on the computer according to debian rootfs network interface configuration (i.e. both interfaces should be in the same subnet, and turn the router on. You should be able to connnect to the router through ssh.


System Summary


lspci -nn


lsusb -v | grep -E '\<(Bus|iProduct|bDeviceClass|bDeviceProtocol)' 2>/dev/null



Some configuration files and sample outputs.


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