How to contribute software wise

Hello fellow reform users :wave:

I’ve been using linux for ~13 years but have been a consumer. Mostly ubuntu, raspberry pis, docker images, self-hosting, that sort of thing.

I’d like to be able to contribute to the development of the reform system image and reform scripts and help with debugging in general.

So far I’ve started by trying to build the reform images locally and understand what each shell script is doing in the mnt reform tools.

I see people building system images for the reform like gentoo and plan9 and genode and am curious how that works.

Are their any simple tasks / low priority asks the team could use help with? I’m happy to assist but I don’t know where to start. My experience level is pretty novice.

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Something I’ve wanted to use for awhile that may be a good starting point is the ability to use hardware keys and luks on my LS1028A.

I’m tired of having to enter two passwords each time I want to use my computer. I don’t have a smartphone and accessing a password manager adds another layer of friction to using my computer more easily.

I’m recently unemployed as a django/react developer and have a lot of free time now.

I guess I’ll start by trying to grok how the existing shell scripts work for setting up luks encryption. I’m not entirely sure why they work on CM4 and not LS1028A.

I think trying to answer that question may be a good starting point.

Basically if someone is able to nudge me in the right direction I’d be happy to contribute. I’m just not sure where to start. My range of knowledge is pretty small at this point.

Does @josch have anything in mind?

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Hi @megasquid

I’m happy to hear from people who want to help! I’m doing my reform-related stuff in my free-time (just like my other Debian related activities) and my personal advice for picking something to work on is: find something that you have fun doing and then do that. This is a hobby after all, so you should have fun doing it. :slight_smile: If hardware keys and luks interest you, then that would be something that would go into Debian proper. Unfortunately I’m not an expert regarding LUKS nor initramfs-tools so you probably need to get in touch with the respective communities in and around Debian to figure this out. Once it works in Debian, it will also work on the Reform!

If you have any questions regarding reform-tools or the system image build process, feel free to ask me anything you like!

If you want to get to know about current issues that need work, it not only helps reading this forum but joining our IRC channel #mnt-reform on libera.

There are really many more issues that need work than there are volunteers, so in the end i think it matters that you do something that you have fun with. If I just tell you: “it would be really nice to get better and repeated testing of our tools on imx8mq because neither me nor Lukas use the imx as our daily drivers” then this would indeed be something that is needed but it would also be a (in my opinion) very boring task. :grin: If you know how to submit patches to the Linux kernel, there are many that need some love. But again, i don’t know what you love to do. I recommend you just keep reading the forum, read IRC and ask anything that you’d like to know more about and do the things you love. Volunteer work without fun is just not sustainable and I’d love there to be more volunteers around the reform ecosystem. :slight_smile:

Wait… are you saying that reform-setup-encrypted-nvme is broken right now on LS1028A? Can you open up a new topic with some error messages if that is indeed the case?

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Replied here regarding reform-setup-encrypted-nvme and LS1028A: No keyboard input with LS1028 board and latest image? - #17 by megasquid

Thank you Josch this is good advice! Greatly appreciate the support and willingness to answer questions regarding your shell scripts and general boot processes. I’ll definitely be taking you up on that offer.

To your point, I should have fun with it, and will work on a shell script that allows yubi keys or maybe just a regular usb to unlock the luks disk. This seems like a solid stack overflow post to get started. linux - How to load LUKS passphrase from USB, falling back to keyboard? - Stack Overflow

BTW apologies for dropping the ball on the testing with the IMX8 chip. I ended up slipping a screwdriver and breaking something on my second reform’s motherboard. That was the one I intended to test with.

I need to make another post trying to figure out where to order parts / how to read the schematics in kicad properly for the motherboard. Then eventually do my first small soldering job.

Yes that stackoverflow post looks good. Once you have something worth sharing, please file a merge request against initramfs-tools here:

@megasquid do you already have an account on If you’d like to help with something, I’m currently trying to add set -e to reform-hw-setup. If you like, you can checkout the changes from this MR:

Then add set -e to the top of the LS1028A branch as I’ve done for my a311d and see if anything blows up. If it does, report it or fix it and send me a patch.

Thank you!