Add a warning to /e/ install instructions to avoid fastboot -w failing?

In the Fairphone forum as well as in the /e/ forum users currently report that while following the /e/ install instructions for the Fairphone 3 they would run into a failing fastboot -w command on Linux.
Error messages given end with mke2fs failed: 1 and error: Cannot generate image for userdata.

The /e/ install instructions currently state
2. Make sure your computer has working adb and fastboot . Setup instructions can be found here.

While this is totally correct and would work if followed by the letter, apparently Linux users are easily tempted to assume that the fastboot command they have already installed or could install via their Linux’s packet manager should work for the install … and why would they not?
The staple test fastboot devices still works, so it’s not easy to spot where things went the wrong way, but somehow there’s some incompatibility.

The solution in this case is to really follow the separate setup instructions for adb and fastboot, so the current Android SDK platform tools are used for the install.

@manoj: To avoid further frustration, could a warning or similar be added to point 2 of the Requirements in the install instructions so that users are made aware that not following the separate setup instructions for adb and fastboot might cause trouble later?


:slight_smile: I agree there should be a warning here. Then I also have a problem with some users and members of the /e/ team complaining that we have too many warnings. In face we have been working on a more user friendly version of the documentation with less warnings. Some of the non device specific warnings have been removed like where not required. Have to strike a balance here. Users should realize that not following these steps will cause a failure at some point.

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Ok, a slight rephrasing might do the same job without a warning. How about …

Currently: “2. Make sure your computer has working adb and fastboot . Setup instructions can be found here.

Proposal: “2. To make sure your computer has fully working adb and fastboot, please really follow the setup instructions which can be found here.:wink:

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The issue isn’t that there are too much warnings, it’s good to have warnings. The issue is that there are too much irrelevant warnings.

My j5nlte last stock ROM is Android Marshmallow so the 4 parts about downgrading the device from Pie or 10 are irrelevants.

Good :slight_smile:

I agree with @AnotherElk.
I had on my computer working adb and fastboot.
But that was a problem for me as for the installation only worked with the Android Studio and that isn’t clear.

Maybe you should be more specific, like : most versions of adb and fastboot on Linux distributions repositories might have a bug that could prevent you to flash successfully /e/ os on your phone. In order to solve this issue, it is strongly recommended to use adb and fastboot official binaries.

By the way, I can confirm this issue only for Ubuntu (and Debian) version 18.04.

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@Manoj: Here’s the next case :wink:

I’ve seen two types of errors with distro packages

  • Invalid erase-block-size 512: must be a power of 2 and at least 4096
  • no detailed error message -> here usually the mke2fs binary is not part of the android-tools package from the distro repos
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@Manoj: And another one :wink:

Well, I installed Lineage OS on another smartphone using adb and fastboot on my computer with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, so I was sure, it would work, too. Thank alot for the hints.

@Manoj: And another one (I don’t know where the harm in a little rephrasing would be to avoid this) …

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…but /e/ refused to improve the instructions as of now …
I certainly do not appreciate this type of messages being posted on other forums.


I doubt that a little rephrasing would make a difference if it’s just “no, really follow the instructions”.
It would be better to point out the important part. But then it would make this part of the instructions device specific.

Maybe it would help more to add something to the already device-specific text. Like
Hint: if fastboot -w outputs an error when fastboot flashing unlock did not and you are on Linux, please install the android tools from the Android Software Development Kit instead of your distribution packages following this part of the setup instructions.”

Yeah, or both, the little rephrasing and the specific hint.


Or embed the correct fastboot in the ROM zipfile and change instructions.

I just saw that an additional hint was added in order to avoid “unexpected issues”.
Thanks for that! I happily removed my respective comment in the other forum.

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I believe it is not certain the google package will work on any distro.
Best is to notice the distros packager to fix the problem if there is one.
Like done for Mageia here: 29157 – fastboot-android fail to use mke2fs