BeagleBone Black: OS (Trisquel) installation and BIOS/bootloader questions

Hello everybody!

I am thinking of buying BeagleBone Black (BBB).

I want to ask, can I install a free GNU/Linux operating system on BBB? For example Trisquel GNU/Linux? Would it work? Have anyone tried Trisquel on BBB?

Or do I have to use Debian or Ångström (or Ubuntu) distributions?
From this page only?:
Ubuntu is not presented on that page - so it is possible to download the Ubuntu image from their official site, and install it for BBB and it works?

I wonder if I could boot the GNU/Linux operating system from the microSD card itself.
Is it as simple as?:
(1) writing the distribution image to the microSD card
(2) inserting the microSD card to BBB (while the power is off on BBB)
(3) and simply apply power cable to BBB, and the OS would boot?

I saw some Youtube videos on the installation of an updated distribution to the BBB board.
Is it like?:
(1) writing the distribution image to the microSD card
(2) inserting the microSD card to BBB (while the power is off on BBB)
(3) holding the boot button while applying the power cable to BBB
(4) waiting until until all the LEDs are lighting up and the installation is complete.
(5) taking the power cable off and removing the microSD card and applying the power again.

Correct me if I’m wrong at any places or if I have missed something.

I also wonder what is the BIOS/bootloader/firmware used in BeagleBone Black?
Are the BIOS and the bootloader free from the binary blobs and other non-free parts?
If so, then have anyone tried to install some free’er BIOS/bootloader alternatives to BBB board? Is it possible?



Latest Debian images can be found here:

The am335x’s boot rom is well understood, by default we load U-Boot from the microSD: GitHub - u-boot/u-boot: "Das U-Boot" Source Tree

There’s only 2 “blobs” on the am335x… The first is the CM3 power managment, source and blob can be found here: Gitweb @ Texas Instruments - Open Source Git Repositories - - processor-firmware/ti-amx3-cm3-pm-firmware.git/shortlog

The 2nd is the sgx, which isn’t required unless you want to use it…


Yes, it is possible to run a blob-free Gnu/Linux system on BBB. It’s requires some effort, though.

The fastest and easiest would be to remove proprietary packages from the Beagleboard Debian images (e.g. sgx, clpru, tidl, linux-firmware and perhaps others).

Another option is to use the official Debian installer. It supports BBB, and to my knowledge installs a blob-free system by default. But it is not a straightforward process, and I would not recommend it for beginners. I documented the steps in my personal blog .

Fedora has its own tool which should also result in blob-free installation, but I haven’t personally tried it.