Monday, 27 June 2011

How to install Angstrom Linux on Pandaboard ( no serial cable )

This tutorial assumes that you want to easily install Angstrom on Panda, without using serial cable connection, i.e you want to simply have all of your output to be displayed on your TV/Monitor via HDMI/DVI.

What do you need
- Pandaboard ( obviously working one )
- SD card ( if you want GUI you would want to get at least 512 MB one )
- TV/Monitor ( connected via HDMI/DVI )
- Keyboard
- Mouse
- Recommended powersupply for Panda ( 5V, 3.6 - 4A )
- Host Linux PC with Internet connection
- Internal/External SD drive

Building Angstrom rootfs
Go on to the following site:
( This is an online tool to create Angstrom filesystem )
Configure your rootfs:

Base settings:
- Machine type = omap4430-panda/pandaboard ( both work, but I have no idea about the difference )
- Image name = anything you want
- Complexity = simple/advanced

Advanced settings: ( if chosen )
- Release = stable ( I recommend to choose stable, as it will at least work. Next-glibc is probably nice, but it is intended more towards developers and I have never tried it. If one is willing to try it, please tell me results. )
- Base system = extended ( more drivers = better, I think )
- /dev manager = udev ( maybe I should try kernel one ? )
- init manager = sysvinit
- type of image = tar.gz ( works fine )
- Software manifest = yes/no
- SDK type = none ( why would we need it ? oh, I guess its just me - my host POWER5+ machine would not do the job anyhow )

User environment selection:
Environment = X11 ( we want GUI )
X11 Desktop Environment = Enlightenment ( this one works for me )
Note: For some reason Narcissus failed to include Gnome in the rootfs. I wonder will it work now. Also XFCE seems to install fine, but it didn't work for me and there was absolutely nothing to suggest the existance of Xorg/X11 in the rootfs. Bug ?

Additional packages:
Choose what you want. ( I suggest to include all kernel modules, Bluez, Alsa utils, Toolchain, SDK, Midori, Git, etc )

Now hit "Build me!" button and wait. Don't press refresh button. The build time depends on the server.
When it has finished building, a link of your new rootfs will appear. Just download it.

SD card setup and installation process
Now go to:
and download mkcard.txt, MLO, u-boot.bin. Thanks goes to the author for providing these files.
Allow the mkcard.txt script to be executable.
Insert your SD card in your host PC. Find out its name with:
Now open Terminal, gain root privileges  and cd into directory with the script. Run:
./mkcard.txt /dev/(your card)
 Caution: Be careful here, so you don't end up wiping out your HDD.
You should get two partitions, one is FAT32, labeled "boot", and the other one is EXT3, labeled "Angstrom".
With root privileges extract your rootfs to the "Angstrom" partition of the SD. This will take a while. Then copy MLO, u-boot.bin to the "boot" partition. Finally go to your "Angstrom" partition and copy the uImage-2.6.XX.... ( this is the kernel ) from the /boot folder to the "boot" partition of your SD. Rename it to uImage. Our SD setup is complete. You can unmount your card.
Note: Ensure that you copy your active kernel, i.e the one to which uImage in the /boot directory of the rootfs is linked to.

Booting up
Insert your SD card into Panda. Connect your TV/Monitor, keyboard, mouse. Now connect you power supply. Turn on your Panda.

You will not see anything on your TV/Monitor during this long ( about 10 - 15 min ) boot up most likely ( but you must get a video signal though ).  Then you should see the Angstrom setup window ( assuming you have GUI of course ). Complete the setup. Your Angstrom is ready to be used :D


  1. Okay, so I have it booting to a login both on the serial console and on the GUI, but what is the default login and password?

  2. Sorry for no replay :(
    I was very busy with college for the past 7-8 months. And now I don't remember the answer ... I haven't visited this site for quite a long time.

  3. thanks...followed the method u told and booted the pandaboard, as you told we need to wait for 15min, till 15min i was getting video signal though nothing was coming on screed after that I have not got any video signal and i got error "omapdss HDMI: hot plug event 0
    omapdss HDMI: error sending hot plug event 0 (-3)"
    can you please tell me what is the issue

    1. I would be glad to help, but currently I am using Debian on my Panda. The reason that I switched was that I failed to install SGX driver. With Debian, I think I might be able to do it. I have switched about half a year ago - things may have changed.
      Also, my guide on Angstrom is not very good / not very easy to follow. The last time I checked the kernel was not updated.
      You should look for some other web page for instructions, the one about Angstrom. I will continue with Debian, so if want, you can follow my latest 2 posts :)

  4. hi thanks for reply, am able to boot the board but the issue is i cant play 1080P video, just wish to know whether debian is also depended on openembedded? Please reply to my mail id thanks :)