Launching gnome on Sakoman-gnome image on beagle-xm problem

Hi all,

I'm a very new member to the beagleboard community and have run into
my first dead-end with my new beagleboard-xm. My initial goal is
simply get Angstrom running on my new beagleboard-xm using the gnome
desktop manager. After a bit of reading on the net it seemed that the
quickest and easiest way to get something going is to use Steve
Sakonman's gnome-image (I plan to use openembedded to build angstom-
gnome-image later on).

My problem is that my beagleboard boot's the image just fine (no
horrible errors or anything), but never get's around to starting X /
GNOME, I simply get left at the Angstrom login on the console (with
"Angstrom" written in ASCii art). I'm certain there is something
completely trivial that I'm missing to get it to start the desktop,
but after hours of scouring the net, I just can't find what it is.

Here are the steps I performed to get where I am:

1. First, backed up the contents of the SD card that shipped with the
2. Formatted the SD card in the usual way, ready to have it's nice new
gnome installation put on it.
3. Downloaded Sakonman's gnome image from here:,com_phocadownload/Itemid,60/download,22/id,5/view,category/

4. Downloaded the associated uImage kernal file from here:,com_phocadownload/Itemid,60/download,23/id,5/view,category/

5. Copied the following files into the boot partition in the following
     -MLO (the one from my original SD card, not Sakoman's, as my
board is an xM and I'm told that the Sakoman's MLO is for a standard
beagleboard, not for the xM)
    - u-boot.bin (again the one from the backup of my original SD
    - uImage (from Sankoman's website downloaded in step 4)
    - ramfs.img (from the original SD backup)
    - ramdisk.gz (from original SD backup)
    - boot.scr (from original SD backup)

6. Copied Sankoman's tar.bz2 file downloaded in step 3 to the Angstrom
parition and untarred it there.

7. Umounted both partitions, removed the SD card and put it into the

8. Connected up my TV to the HDMI port and my laptop the serial port.
Started up mini-com and powered up the beagle.

This took me the Angstrom console login page on both the serial
connection and the TV!

I did some googling on how one might start X / GNOME from the console
to no-avail. I tried suggestions such as run "startx" etc all of which
provoked the "command not found" response.

Would be eternally greatful for some advice

Thanks, Paul

Well, mixing and matching software components from a variety of places
is probably a bad idea!

I'm in the process or preparing a new release that will support Beagle
xM (as well as Overo and Panda)

Reply to me off list if you would like to help test a development


Just to give an update on this for anyone else who is in the same

After some reading and some trial and error I now have an xM with a
working GNOME install. It turns out I had several things wrong.
Firstly the SD card that ships with the xM boards boots from a ramfs
(i.e. it unpacks a minimal rootfs into volatile memory rather than use
the contents of the ext3 partition on the SD card as it's rootfs).
Since I was using the boot.scr and ramfs.img and the ramdisk.gz from
the original SD card image, my board was simply booting into this
minimal (console only) ramfs rather than the gnome based rootfs I
wanted, which is obviously why I did not get the GNOME interface I was
expecting. Once I discovered this (by noticing that the last line in
the boot.scr was "ramboot") I rebuilt my SD card as before, this time
leaving out the ramfs.img and ramdisk.gz files on the boot partition
and created a new boot.scr which correctly boots with the contents of
the ext3 partition as the rootfs.

I was then able to see in the serial console output that the board was
correctly booting and GNOME was being started as expected, however I
did not get any graphical output on my display. I suspect it would
have worked fine if I were using a mintor with a HDMI to DVI cable,
however I am using a HDTV with a HDMI-HDMI cable (for some reason many
HDTVs support only 720p/i 1080p/i over the HDMI interface, even if
they are capable of supporting more standard montor resolutions over
their VGA interface!!?!!?), so I was just presetned with a "mode not
supported" message on my TV. I figured that the r11 sankoman image
does not support the "hd720" display option that I was passing in the
bootargs in the boot.scr I created (I think the display modelines the
kernal supports are defined at compile-time in modeb.c, so perhaps the
HD720 modeline is missing in the kernal in sakoman's image). So I was
back to square one, albeit with a little more knowledge.

I then set about compiling my own kernal/rootfs image using the
magical openembedded toolchain. I did bitbake angstrom-gnome-image,
went to sleep, went to work, returned and I had a kernal and a rootfs
waiting for me. I rebuilt my SD card once again, this time I had my
boot.scr I made earlier, the MLO from the original SD card backup, the
u-boot.bin from the original backup and the uImage kernal that I had
just compiled in the boot partition, and the rootfs I had just
compiled untarred on the ext3 partition. Booted the board and bingo! I
had the nice leafy green GNOME GUI on my TV screen!