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This page is about running a (ARM EABI) Debian distribution at BeagleBoard. BeagleBoard will boot the (ARM EABI) Debian distribution from SD card. Debian's NetInstall will be used to install Debian onto your Beagle.

Note: Debian armel deb's are compiled for armv4t, this allows debian to support a larger number of arm devices with a single port, at only the sacrifice of speed.


If you need any help:

  • When asking for help, please provide some debugging information:
    • U-Boot Version installed on board
    • Kernel Version: uname -a
    • pastebin dmesg
      • Copy from serial port or use "dmesg | pastebinit" (sudo apt-get install pastebinit)

Recommended Beagle Software

Mainline U-Boot:

  • All old Ax, Bx, Cx and Dx boards are required to upgrade to at least these U-Boot versions.
  • XM Boards have no NAND, so MLO/u-boot.img is always required on the first partition
  • Directions: Upgrade X-loader and U-Boot

Debian NetInstall

You will need a 1GB SD card or greater.

Standard System : ~455MB
+ Desktop environment (GNOME) : ~2.9GB

Debian Squeeze

git clone git://
cd netinstall

Quick Install script for "board"

sudo ./ --mmc /dev/sdX --uboot "board" --distro squeeze

"board" Options:

  • BeagleBoard Ax/Bx - beagle_bx
  • BeagleBoard Cx - beagle_cx
  • BeagleBoard xMA/B/C - beagle_xm
  • BeagleBone Ax - bone
  • PandaBoard Ax - panda
  • PandaBoard ES - panda_es

So For the BeagleBoard xM:

sudo ./ --mmc /dev/sdX --uboot beagle_xm --distro squeeze
  • Options:
    • --uboot : beagle, panda, bone
    • --distro : squeeze
    • --firmware : installs firmware
    • --serial-mode : debian-installer uses Serial Port

NOTE: There is a bug in the USB Keyboard mapping, the debian-installer will initially fail, if and when the error occurs switch to the option "kernel keymap" and continue installing..

Beagleboard: NetInstall

Choose a language
 C - No localization
 English - English
Configure the network:
 usb0: USB net <- (usually the OTG port, but could also be the smsc95xx adapter on the beagle and panda)
 usb1: USB net <- (usually the smsc95xx adapter on the beagle and panda, when usb0 exist)
 eth0: Ethernet <- Your usb-ethernet device
 wlan0: Wifi <- Your usb-wifi device.. See BeagleBoardDebianWifiInstallInfo for my hack to set it up.

usb0 howto

There's a lot of question on irc about this, it might make sense to add a wiki page going thru with linux/winxp etc.. --RobertCNelson 00:55, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Configuring usb0 network bridge for 2.6.29:
 While you chose your keyboard layout, setup a bridge with ethX and usbX.
  # ifconfig ethX
  # ifconfig usbX
  # brctl addbr brX
  # brctl addif brX ethX
  # brctl addif brX usbX
  # ifconfig brX up
  # dhclient brX
 *Sometimes the first beagle DHCP will fail(probably due PC trying autoconnect), just run the auto configuration again and it will configure it right.
Continue the install without loading kernel modules? : <yes>
Partition disks: This partitioner doesn't have the inform.....? : <yes>
 Logical Volume Manager not available: <Continue>
Partition disks:
 Guided - Use the largest continuous free space
Partitioning scheme....


MMC/SD card #1 (mmcblk0) - 2.0 GB Unknown
>  #1 primary  57.5 MB     fat32
>  #2 primary   1.8 GB B f ext3  /
>  #5 logical 148.0 MB   f swap  swap
Finish partitioning and write changes to disk
 Write the changes to disk? : <yes>
No installable kernel was found in the defined APT sources? : 
 Continue without installing a kernel? : <yes>
Standard System
No BootLoader: <ok>

Demo Image

Debian Wheezy snapshot

Default username/password:

  • username: debian
  • password: temppwd

Default root user/password

  • user: root
  • password: root

Image Updated:

  • 2013-03-28:
    • Beagle/Panda/Panda ES: v3.7.10-x10 kernel
    • Bone: v3.2.33-psp26 kernel (--uboot bone_dtb = v3.8.4-bone9)
  • 2013-02-16:
    • Beagle/Panda/Panda ES: v3.7.8-x8 kernel
    • Bone: v3.2.33-psp26 kernel (--uboot bone_dtb = v3.8-rc7-bone4)
  • 2013-01-12
    • Beagle/Panda/Panda ES: v3.7.2-x6
    • Bone: v3.2.33-psp26 kernel (next release should be v3.7.x based)

Services Active:

Note: Depending on your internal network these may work out the box
Apache, Port 80: http://arm/
SSH, Port 22: ssh ubuntu@arm
Getty, Serial Port

Get prebuilt image:


Verify Image with:

md5sum debian-wheezy-console-armhf-2013-03-28.tar.xz 
935b9d97669d6c84e54d5445da2f4506  debian-wheezy-console-armhf-2013-03-28.tar.xz

Unpack Image:

tar xJf debian-wheezy-console-armhf-2013-03-28.tar.xz
cd debian-wheezy-console-armhf-2013-03-28

Install Image:

Quick Install script for "board"

sudo ./ --mmc /dev/sdX --uboot "board"

"board" options:

  • BeagleBoard Ax/Bx - beagle_bx
  • BeagleBoard Cx/Dx - beagle_cx
  • BeagleBoard xM - beagle_xm
  • BeagleBone Ax - bone
  • BeagleBone Ax - bone_dtb (for v3.8.x testing)
  • PandaBoard Ax - panda
  • PandaBoard ES - panda_es

So For the BeagleBoard xM:

sudo ./ --mmc /dev/sdX --uboot beagle_xm
  • Additional Options
    • --rootfs <ext4 default>
    • --swap_file <swap file size in MB's>
    • --addon pico <ti pico projector>
    • --svideo-ntsc <use ntsc over dvi for video)
    • --svideo-pal <use pal over dvi for video)

Debian Configuration

Serial Ports


edit /etc/inittab and add:

S:2345:respawn:/sbin/getty 115200 ttyS2

For root access over the serial port add ttyS2 to /etc/securetty


edit /etc/inittab and add:

S:2345:respawn:/sbin/getty 115200 ttyO2


See BeagleBoard Debian WiFi install info.

SGX Video Acceleration

SGX armel/armhf v3.4.x+

  • Note: This is a still a work in progress, but so far all the basic sgx demos seem to work on my Beagle xM C... Thanks to TI for the special armhf binaries!!! --RobertCNelson 19:48, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Test with: Precise/12.04 armhf demo image with v3.4.5-x1, desktop was lxde via: "sudo apt-get install lxde lxde-core lxde-icon-theme"

Re-Build Kernel and SGX Kernel Modules

git clone git://
cd stable-kernel
git checkout origin/v3.6.x -b v3.6.x
./ (and then follow the directions as the script runs...)

Build kernel


Build SGX modules


Insert SD card, make sure to modify MMC in


Place SD card into the device and boot...

cd /opt/sgx
sudo tar xf GFX_4.0*_libs.tar.gz
sudo ./ 

Reboot, check modules (lsmod):

Module                  Size  Used by
bufferclass_ti          5727  0 
omaplfb                11512  0 
pvrsrvkm              165208  2 bufferclass_ti,omaplfb

Blit Test:

ubuntu@omap:/usr/bin/armhf/es5.0$ ./sgx_blit_test 
------------------ SGX 3D Blit test -----------------
----------------------- Start -----------------------
Call PVRSRVConnect with a valid argument:
Get number of devices from PVRSRVEnumerateDevices:
.... Reported 1 devices
.... Device Number  | Device Type
            0000    | PVRSRV_DEVICE_ID_SGX
Attempt to acquire device 0:
Getting SGX Client info
.... ui32ProcessID:1133
Display Class API: enumerate devices
PVRSRVEnumerateDeviceClass() returns 1 display device(s)
Display Class API: open device
Display Class API: Get display info
.... Name:PowerVR OMAP Linux Display Driver
.... MaxSwapChains:1
.... MaxSwapChainBuffers:1
.... MinSwapInterval:0
.... MaxSwapInterval:1
Display Class API: enumerate display formats
.... Display format 0 - Pixelformat:1
Display Class API: enumerate display dimensions
.... Display dimensions 0 - ByteStride:2560 Width:1280 Height:720
Attempt to create memory context for SGX:
.... Shared heap 0 - HeapID:0x7000000 DevVAddr:0x1000 Size:0x87fe000 Attr:0x2014200
.... Shared heap 1 - HeapID:0x7000001 DevVAddr:0xc800000 Size:0xfff000 Attr:0x2024200
.... Shared heap 2 - HeapID:0x7000002 DevVAddr:0xe400000 Size:0x7f000 Attr:0x2024200
.... Shared heap 3 - HeapID:0x7000003 DevVAddr:0xf000000 Size:0x3ff000 Attr:0x2024200
.... Shared heap 4 - HeapID:0x7000004 DevVAddr:0xf400000 Size:0x4ff000 Attr:0x2014200
.... Shared heap 5 - HeapID:0x7000005 DevVAddr:0xfc00000 Size:0x1ff000 Attr:0x2014200
.... Shared heap 6 - HeapID:0x7000006 DevVAddr:0xdc00000 Size:0x7ff000 Attr:0x2014200
.... Shared heap 7 - HeapID:0x7000007 DevVAddr:0xe800000 Size:0x7ff000 Attr:0x2014200
.... Shared heap 8 - HeapID:0x7000008 DevVAddr:0xd800000 Size:0x3ff000 Attr:0x2024200
.... Shared heap 9 - HeapID:0x7000009 DevVAddr:0x8800000 Size:0x0 Attr:0x2024200
.... Shared heap 10 - HeapID:0x700000a DevVAddr:0x8800000 Size:0x3fff000 Attr:0x2014200
Display Class API: get the system (primary) buffer
Display Class API: map display surface to SGX
Attempt to create transfer context for SGX:
Do a SRCCOPY blit to the bottom right quadrant of the display:
(bottom right quadrant should be red on blue background):
Do a SRCCOPY blit to the top left quadrant of the display:
(top left quadrant should be striped (r/g/b/w) on blue background):
Do a CUSTOMSHADER blit to the top right quadrant of the display:
(top right quadrant should be yellow):
0xb6acd000 (host) 0xf407000 (device): Device mem for custom shader program
0xb6acb000 (host) 0xf408000 (device): Device mem for texture
USE custom shader program: 0x28841001.c0000000	mov.end o0, sa0
Do a SRCCOPY blit with COLOUR DOWNSAMPLING from ARGB8888 to RGB565
and then present the RGB565 to the bottom right quadrant of the screen
(bottom right quadrant should be a red gradient):
Free the off screen surfaces:
Destroy the transfer context:
Display Class API: unmap display surface from SGX
Destroy Device Memory Context
Display Class API: close the device
Release SGX Client Info:
Disconnect from services:
------------------ SGX 3D Blit test -----------------
------------------------ End ------------------------

SGX Legacy armel only upto v3.2.x

NOTE: this only works on BeagleBoard hardware, BeagleBone stuff is in development..

Requirements: stable-kernel (the Demo Images hosted on meet this requirement)

Note: Due to a bug (seems to only effect older Beagle Bx/Cx boards, use v3.0.8-x3 based kernels)

SDK unPackage Script

Download the latest version of the "" script


Make script executable

chmod a+x ./create_sgx_package_*.sh

Run script


After Successfully running:

:~/temp$ ls
GFX_X_XX_XX_XX_libs.tar.gz                      : -> Copy to Beagle (System Libs)
GFX_Linux_SDK.tar.gz                            : -> Copy to Beagle (DEMO's)

Beagle: GFX_*_libs.tar.gz

tar xf GFX_4_00_00_01_libs.tar.gz  (extracts and
./ (copies necessary SGX libs and startup script)
./ (force run the new init script, or you can just reboot...)

On successful install:

Stopping PVR
Starting PVR
Starting SGX fixup for ES2.x (or ES3.x) (or ES5.x xM)

Reboot for good measure

sudo reboot

Beagle: GFX_Linux_SDK.tar.gz

tar xf GFX_Linux_SDK.tar.gz
cd GFX_Linux_SDK
tar xf OGLES.tar.gz

Test SGX with a DEMO

cd OGLES/SDKPackage/Binaries/CommonX11/Demos/EvilSkull

Trouble Shooting

sudo rm /etc/powervr-esrev
sudo depmod -a omaplfb
sudo /etc/init.d/pvr restart



The following Gstreamer elements will be installed:

 $ gst-inspect | grep dsp
 dvdspu:  dvdspu: Sub-picture Overlay
 dsp:  dspdummy: DSP dummy element
 dsp:  dspvdec: DSP video decoder
 dsp:  dspadec: DSP audio decoder
 dsp:  dsph263enc: DSP video encoder
 dsp:  dspmp4venc: DSP MPEG-4 video encoder
 dsp:  dspjpegenc: DSP video encoder
 dsp:  dsph264enc: DSP video encoder
 dsp:  dspvpp: DSP VPP filter
 dsp:  dspipp: DSP IPP

Please note that h264 encoder (dsph264enc) will not work because of missing h264venc_sn.dll64P DSP part. According to this message, it is not available due to a licensing restriction.

Requirements: Kernel built with: "CONFIG_TIDSPBRIDGE=m", for reference, here is what's image/deb's are configured for:

ubuntu@arm:~$ zcat /proc/config.gz | grep TIDSP

On the xM: if 3.2.x is too jerky, try 3.4.x and use the script, as the module changed..

Download the latest version of the "" script


Make script executable

chmod a+x ./

Package script:


Copy DSP_Install_libs.tar.gz to Beagle

Setup network...


ubuntu@arm:~$ tar xf DSP_Install_libs.tar.gz


ubuntu@arm:~$ ./

What got installed:

ubuntu@arm:~$ ls -lh /lib/dsp/
total 7.1M
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 1.3M Dec  3 10:56 baseimage.dof
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root  51K Dec  3 10:56 conversions.dll64P
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root  13K Dec  3 10:56 dctn_dyn.dll64P
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 2.5M Dec  3 10:56 h264vdec_sn.dll64P
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 481K Dec  3 10:56 jpegdec_sn.dll64P
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 229K Dec  3 10:56 jpegenc_sn.dll64P
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 767K Dec  3 10:56 m4venc_sn.dll64P
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 890K Dec  3 10:56 mp4vdec_sn.dll64P
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 707K Dec  3 10:56 mpeg4aacdec_sn.dll64P
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root  15K Dec  3 10:56 qosdyn_3430.dll64P
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root  14K Dec  3 10:56 ringio.dll64P
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 9.1K Dec  3 10:56 TSPA_Object_Code_Software_License_Agreement.txt
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root  53K Dec  3 10:56 usn.dll64P
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 245K Dec  3 10:56 vpp_sn.dll64P

Building gst-dsp stuff:

If you installed this image via the demo images or netinstall, the gst-dsp build script is installed:

Update arm tools directory to the latest:

ubuntu@arm:~$ cd /boot/uboot/tools/
ubuntu@arm:/boot/uboot/tools$ sudo ./

Otherwise, install via git:

git clone git://

Change to the pkgs directory

ubuntu@arm:~$ cd /boot/uboot/tools/pkgs
(or if just cloned)
ubuntu@arm:~$ cd ~/tools/pkgs

Build gst-dsp stuff..


Start dspbridge (or just reboot)

sudo /etc/init.d/dsp_init start

Test dspbridge

sudo dsp-test


sudo gst-launch playbin2 uri=file://(file)

Example: (using 854x480 mp4 )

Note: it seems broken in Ubuntu precise armhf...
sudo gst-launch playbin2 uri=file:///home/USER/big_buck_bunny_480p_surround-fix.avi

Xorg omapfb Drivers

By default Debian will try* to use the FBDEV video driver, however for the beagleboard we can take advantage of a more software optimized driver (still not using the sgx video hardware) using the NEON extensions of the Cortex-A8 core.

Lenny might need this xorg.conf, but it's best to use omapfb later in this guide..


Section "Device"
	Identifier	"Configured Video Device" 
	Option		"UseFBDev"		"true"
	Driver		"fbdev"

cat /var/log/Xorg.0.log | grep FBDEV

(II) FBDEV: driver for framebuffer: fbdev
(II) FBDEV(0): using default device
(II) FBDEV(0): Creating default Display subsection in Screen section
(==) FBDEV(0): Depth 16, (==) framebuffer bpp 16
(==) FBDEV(0): RGB weight 565

Login into Debian and open a new terminal, xorg has to be running..

xvinfo -display :0.0

X-Video Extension version 2.2
screen #0
 no adaptors present


Note: These are built with neon optimizations:;a=blob;f=debian/rules;h=c2f0d5391c96c5abb60b1e691ad86bb27e0c17d8;hb=HEAD (line 48/49)


wget -c
sudo dpkg -i xserver-xorg-video-omap3_0.1.1-2_armel.deb


sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-omap3



Section "Monitor"
    Identifier "Configured Monitor"

Section "Screen"
    Identifier "Default Screen"
    Device "Configured Video Device"
    #Limited by SGX?
    DefaultDepth 16

Section "Device"
    Identifier "Configured Video Device"
    Driver "omapfb"
    Option "fb" "/dev/fb0"

To verify it was correctly installed, reboot and:

cat /var/log/Xorg.0.log | grep omapfb

(II) LoadModule: "omapfb"
(II) Loading /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers//
(II) Module omapfb: vendor="X.Org Foundation"
(II) omapfb: Driver for OMAP framebuffer (omapfb) and external LCD controllers:
(WW) Error opening /sys/devices/platform/omapfb/ctrl/name: No such file or directory
(II) omapfb(0): VideoRAM: 1800KiB (SDRAM)
(II) omapfb(0): Creating default Display subsection in Screen section
(**) omapfb(0): Depth 16, (--) framebuffer bpp 16
(==) omapfb(0): RGB weight 565
(==) omapfb(0): Default visual is TrueColor
(--) omapfb(0): Virtual size is 1280x720 (pitch 1280)
(**) omapfb(0):  Built-in mode "current"
(==) omapfb(0): DPI set to (96, 96)
(II) omapfb(0): DPMS enabled
(II) omapfb(0): Video plane capabilities:
(II) omapfb(0): Video plane supports the following image formats:
(II) omapfb(0): XVideo extension initialized

Login into Debian and open a new terminal, xorg has to be running..

xvinfo -display :0.0

X-Video Extension version 2.2
screen #0
  Adaptor #0: "OMAP XV adaptor"
    number of ports: 1
    port base: 56
    operations supported: PutImage 
    supported visuals:
      depth 16, visualID 0x21
    number of attributes: 1

Building Kernel

Download SRC

git clone git://

Build Kernel


Optional Building Deb File


Upgrading from Debian 5 to Debian 6

Upgrading from Debian 5 to Debian 6 report and tutorial.