Can Beagle Black be administered via USB or Ethernet from a laptop? Special software needed? What would be correct in that case IoT or LXQT?

I would like to get a Beagle Black up and running. I would like to manage it from a laptop using either Ethernet or USB
Special software for the P.C.? Would I need a flipped Ethernet or flipped USB cable?
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A package that caught my eye was at

https://www.amazon.com/Vilros-Beagleboard-Beaglebone-Case-Power-Supply-Micro/dp/B00P6TV9V4/
or
https://www.amazon.com/BBBWL-SC-562-BeagleBone-Wireless-Bluetooth-AM335x/dp/B076LL6P77/

Can I get Debian or Ubuntu pre-loaded on an SD-CARD somewhere?

This looks like a nice case
https://www.amazon.com/anidees-AI-BBB-BB-BeagleBone-Aluminium-Acrylic/dp/B01N1PSWCB/
or
https://www.amazon.com/New-Case-BeagleBone-Black-Components/dp/B00HSE2SDI/

Sorry for all the questions I come from a mini-computer Dec-Vax 11/70 Unix & HP 9000 series
HP-UX world and been retired a number of years.

It looks that this BeagleBone Black could be a lot of fun and a learning experience.

Thanks.

There is a default ubuntu image installed.
This image also sets up the beaglebone to act as an USB ethernet adapter.
You can always connect to a network or directly to a laptop using a regular ethernet cable.
There are also 5 pins for terminal access (also at boot time) for which you can buy a USB cable.
So plenty of ways to connect.

I am using a custom build of the kernel and the operating system.
I have been using USB to power the beaglebone, the USB cable for terminal access and a network cable to my laptop.
I use tfptboot to provide the kernel image and nfs to provide the root filesystem.

It is a really nice environment.

You can always connect to a network or directly to a laptop using a regular
ethernet cable.

I would like to get a Beagle Black up and running. I would like to manage
it from a laptop using either Ethernet or USB
Special software for the P.C.? Would I need a flipped Ethernet or flipped
USB cable?

  Using the RNDIS USB connection will mean the BBB does not have access
to the internet, unless one has managed to configure Internet Connection
Sharing (Windows; not sure what equivalent is for other OS).
.
  If the laptop is connecting to a router the easiest route is to run a
CAT-5 (or better) cable from the BBB to the same router. That would give it
access to the internet (needed for doing software updates), and make it
available (at least, most modern routers should do the DNS translation) as
either "beaglebone" or "beaglebone.local".

Can I get Debian or Ubuntu pre-loaded on an SD-CARD somewhere?

  It should have Debian on the on-board eMMC, though 4GB gets a bit tight
if it is running an LXQT (X-Window) image. Standard images are at
http://beagleboard.org/latest-images . Use Etcher to write to an SD card
(8+GB recommended -- especially for LXQT images). I've used the IoT image
to reflash the eMMC and free up some space.

  Though we seem to be a version behind -- the images at that site are
still Stretch (v9) and not Buster (v10). {There are development images
available for Buster}

  Most recent BBBs should load the SD card image (I believe they start
with the u-Boot located in the eMMC, and IT determines that an SD card
image is available, whereupon it configures to load from SD card. OLD
u-Boots did not do this, and required one to hold down the boot-select
button to force full loading from SD card). One of the first steps to do on
an SD card is run the script to reset the partition size, so the full card
is available.

>You can always connect to a network or directly to a laptop using a regular
>ethernet cable.

You need two "regular" (straight) cables and a Ethernet switch [router] (or
one cable and a wireless router, if the laptop can connect wirelessly). You
connect use a "regular" ethernet cable to connect two computers. Somewhere
there needs to be a dhcp server (typically included in a consumer grade
[wireless] router).

OR a crossover cable to connect the Beagle and a Laptop. The laptop will need
to be running a DHCP server. Or you would need to somehow connect to the
beagle to set a fixed IP address (ditto for the laptop, but that will be
trivial, since the laptop will have a keyboard & screen).

With auto MDI-X, there is hardly ever a need for crossover cables: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medium-dependent_interface#Auto_MDI-X
In my case a regular cable does the trick to connect the beaglebone to my laptop such has a fixed IP on the Ethernet link.
Beaglebone is set to a fixed ip in uboot (configured via the USB terminal).

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> >You can always connect to a network or directly to a laptop using a regular
> >ethernet cable.

You need two "regular" (straight) cables and a Ethernet switch [router] (or
one cable and a wireless router, if the laptop can connect wirelessly). You
connect use a "regular" ethernet cable to connect two computers. Somewhere

  cannot (Opps!)