Got my BeagleBone Black today, got a couple of questions...

OK, my BeagleBone Black today. I don't have the MicroSD card I ordered for
it, but decided to fire it up with the USB cable it came with. Much to my
supprise, it actually booted Debian 7. The USB <=> Networking worked (even on
my older CentOS 6 kernel). I'm guessing this is on the internal 4Gig Flash
memory. It made no attempt to get an IP address for the Ethernet when I
jacked it into my LAN though...

My questions:

When I get my MicroSD card and dd Debian 9 onto it, will I need to do anything
special to make it boot from the MicroSD card and not the internal Flash?

I'm guessing that the Debian 7 image on the Flash memory might just not be set
up to fire up the Ethernet and get an IP address for it. Is this right?

OK, my BeagleBone Black today. I don't have the MicroSD card I ordered for
it, but decided to fire it up with the USB cable it came with. Much to my
supprise, it actually booted Debian 7. The USB <=> Networking worked (even on
my older CentOS 6 kernel). I'm guessing this is on the internal 4Gig Flash
memory. It made no attempt to get an IP address for the Ethernet when I
jacked it into my LAN though...

My questions:

When I get my MicroSD card and dd Debian 9 onto it, will I need to do anything
special to make it boot from the MicroSD card and not the internal Flash?

There will be a few issues, depending on how old the bootloader is on
the eMMC. You just need to make sure to hold the "boot" button down
with your finger nail before you apply power to force the bootrom to
default to the microSD.. Once booted up on the microSD you can erase
the eMMC to make sure it doesn't get in your way..

I'm guessing that the Debian 7 image on the Flash memory might just not be set
up to fire up the Ethernet and get an IP address for it. Is this right?

So the Ethernet should come up, on a fresh board it'll take anywhere
between 25 - 60 seconds, as it's busy regenerating ssh key's etc..

Regards,

I have recently got my BBB up and running, and if you ask me, flashing to eMMC is actually the bugbear of it, in my experience so far. It sounds like you are already more experienced than with this sort of thing, but there actually is more to the so-called flashing than simply holding the S2 button down when plugging your BBB. So, make sure you follow these steps precisely. It may take you an extra few minutes to read the instruction and accomplish the task, but you’ll do so once and for all.

Good luck

I have recently got my BBB up and running, and if you ask me, flashing to
eMMC is actually the bugbear of it, in my experience so far. It sounds like
you are already more experienced than with this sort of thing, but there
actually is more to the so-called flashing than simply holding the S2
button down when plugging your BBB. So, make sure you follow these steps
<https://medium.com/@zageollc/updating-the-software-image-on-a-beaglebone-black-fc73ffcc700>
precisely. It may take you an extra few minutes to read the instruction and
accomplish the task, but you'll do so once and for all.

I don't actually want to flash the eMMC, I only want to use the MicroSD card.
I *expected* the eMMC to be blank on a new board.

On Thu, 28 Mar 2019 18:54:24 -0400 (EDT), Robert Heller
<heller@deepsoft.com> declaimed the following:

I don't actually want to flash the eMMC, I only want to use the MicroSD card.
I *expected* the eMMC to be blank on a new board.

  No -- they ship with a working OS... They are bootable without having
to purchase anything else.

  However, if yours booted into Wheezy (Debian 7) you have a VERY OLD
card image... One that is old enough that it may be relying upon /kernel
loaded device tree/; and newer images are based upon u-Boot loading device
tree. It is also old enough that it may require using the Boot button to
boot from SD card -- something that I've not had to touch for two or three
years, since the last Wheezy image was provided (7.11 LXDE of 2016-06-15).
Stretch (Debian 9) has been the standard since 2017-08-31 or so.

  Erasing the start of eMMC basically makes the eMMC unbootable, and
forces the chip's boot logic to seek the SD card. Reflashing from a newer
image (again, in my experience) updates the u-Boot on eMMC to a version
that handles current boot operations, and will automatically finish booting
using an SD card if one is installed.