Getting started with Beaglebone Black

In order to start development of your Beaglebone Black project you will need to do initial setup. This includes installation of operating system and programming environment of choice.

Illustration 1: Beaglebone Black base board

Default and preinstalled operating system is Angstrom, a linux distribution optimized for embedded devices. However, there are other choices including Debian distribution, Ubuntu and even Android. Installation of alternatives will be covered in future articles. In this example, we were using Ubuntu distribution. For the full list of latest as well as older build versions of operating systems of choice, please visit http://beagleboard.org/latest-images/. Comprehensive manual on Ubuntu installation can be found here.

Download selected OS image and write it to the microSD card to be used with the device. There are many applications which can be used to transfer the image to the memory card, one of which is Etcher (https://etcher.io). It is very easy to use and it is highly recommended. Start up Etcher, insert the microSD card into the reader and have it formatted. This will empty the microSD card and it will be ready to transfer OS image. Select the image file just downloaded to write to the card. Both ‘img’ and archive formats are fine. Click ‘Flash!’ once you made sure options are set correctly.

Illustration 2: Etcher

Transfer the microSD card from host computer to the device and boot it up. You should be able to start terminal and enter interpreter of a language of choice. Ubuntu comes with python as a default scripting language. Both versions 2 and 3 are available through interpreter aliases ‘python’ and ‘python3’, respectively.

Once this is completed, move your project files to the host and have them used by users.


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