General Questions about BBB

I’m considering buying a BeagleBone Black and because (what a suprise) I’m also a noob, so I decided to ask…

-Can BBB run any Linux distro which supports ARMv7? This is very unclear to me: why there are many 3rd party Linux ARMhf-images by Robert Nelson? Isn’t the normal Linux kernel ok? There are also prebuild Ubuntu/Debian images. Why couldn’t we just download the “real” installation image (like ARM-Ubuntu) and install it?

-Is it possible to use 1-wire with BBB (with GPIO-pins or with USB-adapter)? Software support (I prefer Python :slight_smile: )?

-How about I2C-sensors, like ?

-Do USB-port-hubs work?

-Is BBB good at minimal HTTP-server if assuming there is little traffic?

-Finally, would you recommend RPi or BBB for a beginner who is not totally inept?

Thank you!

Yes. The Processor is a V7 architecture.
Yes. Definitley.
Yes Some we have found don’t but all that I have tried do.
Yes. In fact it runs that way out of the box.
Hmmmmm…well, not that I am biased in any way…BBB!

Now, for some light reading. Go to

There is a lot of information there.


First of all.armhf roughly translates to hard float on arm, or . . . hardware floating point. This is a good thing. Mostly armhf is a Debian name only, and big surprise since Robert Nelson works with Debian type distro’s . . . uh, yeah there you have it.

Secondly, I think (someone correct me here if I am wrong ) the “real” installations images are not specifically meant for embedded system applications. These types of images should work though. The BBB does support many different 1-wire, I2C, SPI, and UART devices. It also has some things such as the on processor PRU too.

As far as USB, and HTTP goes. This is a Linux embedded system. It can do anything any other Linux system can do. There are some peculiarities, but for the most part it works just like any other Linux system.

I am not even going to touch that last question of yours except to say that the BBB is a true embedded system. The other is not. Of course this depends on your definition of “embedded system”.

To help out Gerald here.

The RPi is good at video processing, but the BBB has it beat hands down in every other department. The software support is not quite as mature of course the BBB being very new, but with Debian ( the distro I personally use ) everything I personally want is there. the BBB with Debian on it is very, very solid.

Do also note the BBB has 2 GB onboard flash storage. the RPi does not.

Well... First the kernel is wip, so it's not mainline
(yet)... Canonical/Ubuntu wants $ before they officially support a
board... Debian is community driven...

So essentially my image come down to; latest from both Ubuntu/Debian
root file systems with our community kernel installed.. (and that
'flasher' image for the windows folks, who don't have a linux pc to
write to a microSD card.)

But for others, (Fedora/ARCH/gentoo/etc..) you can run any "arm" image
on these boards, just make sure you install the community kernel on
that root file system, so it'll actually boot...


Thanks to all for very informative replys! I think I’m going to purchase my BBB soon!

Robert said the kernel isn’t mainline “yet”. I thought it has been supporting ARM-based devices since 3.x as default. I suppose I am wrong, so are they gonna add the support later?

The mainline kernel supports ARM devices just fine. The parts that
are not yet in mainline mostly relate to some AM3359 SoC specific
drivers and BeagleBone specific things like the capemgr that allows
use of device tree overlays.

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Charles Steinkuehler