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This page is about running a (ARM EABI) Ubuntu distribution at BeagleBoard. BeagleBoard will boot the (ARM EABI) Ubuntu distribution from SD card.

Note: for the best experience, make sure you have an LCD attached to the HDMI port, 2GB/4GB/8GB SD card, and a known good usb2.0 hub with mouse and keyboard.

Known issues

Before you start, the following issues are known:

  • 2.6.29-oer* USB still flaky on the RevC ehci port.. --RobertCNelson 18:17, 6 May 2009 (UTC)


If you need any help:

  • Ubuntu related help:
    • #ubuntu-arm: Ubuntu's arm irc on freenode (logs -> year -> month -> day -> #ubuntu-arm.html)
  • 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

Ubuntu Rootfs Install

This section describes how you create a Ubuntu root file system for your BeagleBoard.


  • Jaunty, aka Ubuntu 9.04, is the recent old-stable version (armv5 optimized)
  • Karmic, aka Ubuntu 9.10, is the recent stable version (armv6 optimized)
  • Lucid, aka Ubuntu 10.04 is the upcoming Ubuntu version, not released yet (in Nov 2009). Therefore it is listed here as 'testing'. (armv7 optimized)

Development PC: Root File System

Build Image

rootstock is Ubuntu's new name for Oliver's <ogra> depreciated build-arm-rootfs script.

Note: Use latest debootstrap, if the one posted here is no longer available.


Jaunty (9.04) and Debian:

sudo apt-get install qemu
sudo dpkg -i debootstrap_1.0.20~jaunty1_all.deb
tar xf rootstock-0.1.3.tar.gz
cd rootstock-0.1.3

Karmic (9.10)

sudo apt-get install rootstock

Note: For USB WIFI adapters, add package "linux-firmware, wireless-tools" to the --seed WiFi Hints:

Rootstock Command line:

sudo ./rootstock --fqdn <hostname> --login <rootuser> --password <rootuserpasswd> --imagesize <qemu image size> --seed <packages> --dist <jaunty/karmic> 
 --serial <ttySx>  --kernel-image <http>

Basic Jaunty (9.04) Beagleboard xfce4 image:

sudo ./rootstock --fqdn beagleboard --login ubuntu --password temppwd --imagesize 2G --seed xfce4,gdm --dist jaunty \
 --serial ttyS2 --kernel-image

Basic Karmic (9.10) Beagleboard xfce4 image:

sudo ./rootstock --fqdn beagleboard --login ubuntu --password temppwd --imagesize 2G --seed xfce4,gdm --dist karmic \
 --serial ttyS2 --kernel-image

Upon Completion, you should have:

armel-rootfs-<date>.tgz  -> Root file System, dump to ext2/3 partition of SD card
vmlinuz-2.6.<version>    -> Boot Image, use mkimage to create uImage and dump to the first fat16 partition of SD card

Lucid (10.04) Testing:

Major Changes:

 gcc -v: --with-arch=armv7-a --with-tune=cortex-a8 --with-float=softfp --with-fpu=vfpv3-d16

Demo Image

Jaunty 9.04

Built with:

sudo ./rootstock --fqdn beagleboard --login ubuntu --password temppwd --imagesize 2G --seed nano,linux-firmware,wireless-tools,usbutils \
--dist jaunty --serial ttyS2 --kernel-image
wget -c   (Mirror's welcome)
7za x ubuntu-9.04-minimal-armel.tar.7z
tar xf ubuntu-9.04-minimal-armel.tar

md5sum: d6e198da60079ffc12617d8579966aed ubuntu-9.04-minimal-armel.tar.7z

Karmic 9.10

Built with:

sudo ./rootstock --fqdn beagleboard --login ubuntu --password temppwd --imagesize 2G --seed wget,nano,linux-firmware,wireless-tools,usbutils \
--dist karmic --serial ttyS2 --kernel-image
wget   (Mirror's welcome)
7za x ubuntu-9.10-minimal-armel-1.1.tar.7z
tar xf ubuntu-9.10-minimal-armel-1.1.tar

md5sum: 574a61b92481b1c86246e018ceb76fd6 ubuntu-9.10-minimal-armel-1.1.tar.7z


1.1 - Switched to based kernel

Development PC: Format SD Card

You will need a 1GB SD card or greater.

Standard Console System : ~286MB
+ Desktop environment (lxde,gdm) : ~479MB

Starting with an empty SD card and using gparted, create:

50 MiB Primary Partition, fat16/fat32
Rest as ext2/ext3

Gparted Example:

For Reference:

Disk /dev/sdd: 2038 MB, 2038431744 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 247 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x0008e471

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdd1               1           6       48163+   6  FAT16
/dev/sdd2               7         247     1935832+  83  Linux

Development PC: Setup SD Partition's


sudo apt-get install uboot-mkimage

Create U-boot compatible uImage:

mkimage -A arm -O linux -T kernel -C none -a 0x80008000 -e 0x80008000 -n "Linux" -d ./vmlinuz-* ./uImage

Create U-boot boot script:


setenv bootcmd 'mmc init; fatload mmc 0:1 0x80300000 uImage; bootm 0x80300000'
setenv bootargs 'console=ttyS2,115200n8 console=tty0 root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 rootwait rootfstype=ext3 ro vram=12M omapfb.mode=dvi:1280x720MR-16@60'

Create U-boot *.scr file:

mkimage -A arm -O linux -T script -C none -a 0 -e 0 -n "Ubuntu 9.10" -d ./ubuntu.cmd ./ubuntu.scr

Mount your SD card fat32 partition (assuming /dev/sdX1) and copy the uImage to the first partition.

Note: if your system automounts the mmc card, just issue "sudo umount /dev/sdX1 && sudo umount /dev/sdX2"

mkdir ./tmp
sudo mount /dev/sdX1 ./tmp
sudo cp ./uImage ./tmp/uImage
sudo cp ./ubuntu.scr ./tmp/boot.scr
sudo umount ./tmp

Mount your SD card's ext3 partition (assuming /dev/sdX2) and 'untar' the rootfs into it.

sudo mount /dev/sdX2 ./tmp
sudo tar xfp armel-rootfs-[date].tgz -C ./tmp
sudo umount ./tmp

Karmic: (9.10) boot fixup

util-linux-ng 2.16 causes this

Edit /etc/fstab

sudo mount /dev/sdX2 ./tmp
sudo gedit ./tmp/etc/fstab
/dev/mmcblk0p2   /   ext3   errors=remount-ro   0   1

Add/Edit /etc/e2fsck.conf

sudo gedit ./tmp/etc/e2fsck.conf

# Superblock last mount time is in the future (PR_0_FUTURE_SB_LAST_MOUNT).
0x000031 = {
    preen_ok = true
    preen_nomessage = true

# Superblock last write time is in the future (PR_0_FUTURE_SB_LAST_WRITE).
0x000032 = {
    preen_ok = true
    preen_nomessage = true

Add karmic updates to /etc/apt/sources.list

sudo gedit ./tmp/etc/apt/sources.list
deb karmic-updates main universe


cd ./tmp
cd ..
sudo umount ./tmp

Development PC or Beagleboard: System Setup on the (ext2/ext3) Partition

Enable Network Access

Modify /etc/network/interfaces

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp

Manual: From the Command line

sudo ifconfig eth0 up
sudo dhclient eth0

Additional Network Setup Information can be found HERE


Install Kernel Image

Script File

Every Kernel upload going further on will now have an '' file in the same directory..


sudo /bin/bash

Note: vmlinuz symbolic link (yes <or> no)...

Reboot with your new uImage

Upgrade U-Boot

sing gparted, create a new 50MB Primary fat32 Partition on a blank SD card, or use your existing fat32 partition.

cd /media/XXXX-XXXX
sudo wget
sudo mv u-boot-beagleboard-2009.08+r37+gitr1590f84007e2b50ad346a482fff89195cb04ff4e-r37.bin u-boot.bin

Tested --RobertCNelson 22:18, 2 December 2009 (UTC) RevB5 & RevC2

Insert SD Card, boot Beagleboard and stop U-Boot from booting

mmc init (or if an old u-boot) mmcinit
fatload mmc 0:1 0x80300000 u-boot.bin
nand unlock  (old command, removed in later u-boot's)
nandecc sw
nand erase 80000 160000
nand write 0x80300000 80000 160000
nand erase 260000 20000   (Clear old U-boot environment, this enables 'boot.scr' scripts)

SGX Video Acceleration

Kernel Modules

The '' script will download and install these, however make sure to issue this command to update the omaplfb modules.

sudo depmod -a omaplfb


Make sure to use a "corporate email" :

Note: the SDK will not extract directly on any arm platform, extract it first on an x86 machine and tar the resulting folder before transferring to the beagleboard.

System Libraries:

sudo ln -sf /usr/lib/ /usr/lib/
sudo ln -sf /usr/lib/ /usr/lib/

SDK install lib/bin from

sudo mkdir /usr/lib/ES2.0
sudo mkdir /usr/bin/ES2.0

sudo mkdir /usr/lib/ES3.0
sudo mkdir /usr/bin/ES3.0

sudo cp SDK_EXT_DIR/gfx_rel_es2.x/lib* /usr/lib/ES2.0
sudo cp SDK_EXT_DIR/gfx_rel_es2.x/p[dv]* /usr/bin/ES2.0

sudo cp SDK_EXT_DIR/gfx_rel/lib* /usr/lib/ES3.0
sudo cp SDK_EXT_DIR/gfx_rel/p[dv]* /usr/bin/ES3.0

Startup Script



sudo nano /etc/rcS.d/
sudo chmod +x /etc/rcS.d/


sudo nano /etc/init.d/pvr
sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/pvr
sudo update-rc.d pvr defaults

if [ "$1" = "" ]; then
	echo PVR-INIT: Please use start, stop, or restart.
	exit 1

if [ "$1" = "stop" -o  "$1" = "restart" ]; then
	echo Stopping PVR
	rmmod omaplfb 2>/dev/null
	rmmod pvrsrvkm 2>/dev/null

if [ "$1" = "stop" ]; then
	exit 0

echo Starting PVR
modprobe omaplfb

pvr_maj=`grep "pvrsrvkm$" /proc/devices | cut -b1,2,3`

if [ -e /dev/pvrsrvkm ] ; then 
	rm -f /dev/pvrsrvkm

mknod /dev/pvrsrvkm c $pvr_maj 0 
chmod 666 /dev/pvrsrvkm

touch /etc/powervr-esrev

SAVED_ESREVISION="$(cat /etc/powervr-esrev)"
ES_REVISION="$(cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep "CPU revision" | awk -F: '{print $2}')"

if [ "${ES_REVISION}" != "${SAVED_ESREVISION}" ] ; then
	echo -n "Starting SGX fixup for"
	if [ "${ES_REVISION}" = " 3" ] ; then
	echo " ES3.x"
	cp -a /usr/lib/ES3.0/* /usr/lib
	cp -a /usr/bin/ES3.0/* /usr/bin	
	echo " ES2.x"
	cp -a /usr/lib/ES2.0/* /usr/lib
	cp -a /usr/bin/ES2.0/* /usr/bin	
	echo "${ES_REVISION}" > /etc/powervr-esrev



work in progress

Xorg omapfb Drivers

By default Ubuntu 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.

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 Ubuntu 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: Backport from Karmic

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 Ubuntu 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


Sorry I don't have an S-Video TV, and this is documented in the source, so it would be really great if someone could fill this section in... --RobertCNelson 21:32, 13 July 2009 (UTC)


Please use v2.6.29-oer44.1:


Please use v2.6.29-oer44.1:

Building Kernel

Register on, install bzr

sudo apt-get install bzr

Download SRC

bzr branch lp:~beagleboard-kernel/+junk/2.6-stable (2.6.29)
bzr branch lp:~beagleboard-kernel/+junk/2.6-dev (2.6.31)

Build Kernel


Build SGX Modules


Build Deb File


Bugs & Workarounds


Root on external USB, fsck always errors's on boot, fsck.ext3 never fixes it, and no real time clock on board (Rev Bx and C2 (C3 has backup battery hookup))

mount -o remount,rw /

Script found here:

nano /etc/e2fsck.conf


# Superblock last mount time is in the future (PR_0_FUTURE_SB_LAST_MOUNT).
0x000031 = {
    preen_ok = true
    preen_nomessage = true

# Superblock last write time is in the future (PR_0_FUTURE_SB_LAST_WRITE).
0x000032 = {
    preen_ok = true
    preen_nomessage = true