Installing Ubuntu on a BeagleBone Black Board

Working with Angstrom was going well till I wanted to get Twisted running on it. I couldn't make it work, so I started looking at other options... and I'm glad I did!

I installed Ubuntu 13.10 and got Twisted running like a champ. Here are my notes.

The BeagleBoardUbuntu page offers a lot of good information, including a link to the pre-built image.


Don't extract it! After having some trouble getting the BBB to flash, I looked for an alternate method. You can flash the card directly from xv without the additional step of extracting it. I've been successful formatting SD cards with dd in the past, but for some reason it just wasn't working for me this time around.

On OSX, you can install xv with homebrew.

brew install xz

Once that is installed, it's just a matter of running a couple commands.

Put the SD card into your reader and run the following command to get the disk path.

diskutil list

Be very careful. In my case, the card loaded up on /dev/disk2.

Next, you need to unmount the disk from the command line. I'll use /dev/disk2 from here on out but you should replace that path with whichever path you have identified to be your SD card.

sudo diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk2

Now if you run diskutil list again, it should be gone.

All you need to do is run one more command now. I downloaded the image to my desktop, so modify the path to your image accordingly.

sudo xz -dkc ~/Desktop/BBB-eMMC-flasher-ubuntu-13.10-2014-02-16-2gb.img.xz > /dev/disk2

It should take about 10 minutes to complete.

Now just remove the card, insert it in your BBB, and power up while holding down the boot button. It is labeled S2 and it's located close to the SD card.

After a few seconds, you should see all 4 user LEDs become solid. They will start blinking. Let it run until all 4 lights are solid again. It should take about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes.

Once it's done, remove the SD card and reboot.

You can ssh into Ubuntu as root with the password: temppwd

Here are my notes from installing Twisted and the Adafruit BBIO library.

sudo ntpdate
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install build-essential python-dev python-setuptools python-pip python-smbus python-twisted -y

# Adafruit BBIO needs a newer version of distribute and easy_install was the only way I could make that happen
sudo easy_install -U distribute
sudo pip install Adafruit_BBIO