Beagleboard Ubuntu 11.10 installing drivers.


my question is can i install drivers and packages via the serial comms to my beagleboard or do i have to do it on my beagleboard itself? I have installed Ubuntu 11.10 successfully and booted the BB rev C5 and would like to install drivers for a GPS receiver(NovATEL flaxpak receiver) and a GSM modem/Wifi dongle…how do i go about doing it,ive been reading some websites and they are telling me to do cross-compiling,is that the way to go?