Making Ubuntu 10.10 on Beagle-xM Light/Fast

Hello guys,
I could boot Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick on my Beagle-xM (revB) using the
instructions given on the Ubuntu OMAP Maverick Page (https://

On the first run i thought it will take some time to boot completely,
but every time i log in it runs 'slow' (like Pentium3 Processors).

What shoiuld be the way to make ubuntu fast ?


There's a couple things you can do..

By default, with that image, ubuntu does not up clock the core, so you
can add "mpurate=800" to get a nice speed bump.. (their maverick
kernel can't run at 1Ghz)

Next throw away the sd card provided with the beagle and use one of
these, results by Steve Sakoman

Or, use a USB drive for a rootfs, vs the mmc..

Next add a swap file..


I have formatted the SD Card provided with the Beagle and installed
ubuntu on it.
As i am new to this Embedded Linux world, can you please give me the
instructions to do this.
I would really appreciate it.


As i am new to the embedded linux, can you please give me the
instructions to do what you said ?

Slow sd card:
Buy faster SD card, remove old one, place old in dumpster, reformat
new, place new in beagle.. :wink: oh wait.. :wink:

I've already documented it here:

"cat boot.scr" your current boot.scr on the fat file system for
comparison and tweaksing...

Swap file:

Google is your friend.. do I add more swap?

works fine...


In addition to Robert's advice I have found that installing a
lightweight windows manager such as Fluxbox helped a lot (when logging
on you can select this in the bottom menu bar before you complete
entering the password).

This would be a good way to slim down the distribution(and I believe
is not platform dependent), but is not for linux beginners:

Thank you Robert and Ichile for your advice and instructions. I will
try doing that.

But does booting from the USB drive increase the performance and
shorten the booting time ?

Using a USB drive as the rootfs does not shorten boot time, as it does
take a moment after probing the usb bus for the drive to spin up...

I also needed it for the space, and the large swap file (which isn't
the best thing for mmc/flash cards)... Big/fast SD cards cost $, 7200
rpm sata drives are cheap. :wink:

voodoo@panda-a1-1gb:~$ sudo hdparm -tT /dev/sda1

Timing cached reads: 338 MB in 2.00 seconds = 168.89 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 60 MB in 3.03 seconds = 19.83 MB/sec
voodoo@panda-a1-1gb:~$ sudo hdparm -tT /dev/mmcblk0

Timing cached reads: 310 MB in 2.01 seconds = 154.46 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 24 MB in 3.26 seconds = 7.37 MB/sec

Of course these #'s will vary on arm/omap system, sd card, usb drive, etc, etc..


As obvious, USB Drive will provide higher data transfer rate.
Thanks for the test results.

I did the mpurate tweak, and its running better now.

After using Ubuntu Netbook image, i feel that its not good for an
embedded system/robotic platform.
Tried to search for packages, but couldnt get them.

I booted beagle with Narcissus build image, it runs/boot faster than

I included XFCE 4.6 environment in it. But still it shows the ASCII
text-ed Angstrom Terminal.
Do i need to add more commands to get the GUI ?
(Sorry for going off thread topic)


What you mean with “make it fast”? boot faster, load applications faster, make applications display faster, make applications more responsive, or what exactly?

It is embedded world, you know, there are compromises that you need to make, but most important you need to have a clear view of what exactly you want to accomplish, to start proper the optimizations



I want to boot system faster.
Doing some research on Google, displaying application faster can be
accomplished using some light weight desktop environment like XFCE

I have done the mpurate tweak and its working fine now.
Thanks for the USB and SD card speed test. I will try with USB myself,
once my final toochain is installed.

I booted Narcissus Angstrom build on other SD Card and included XFCE
4.6 desktop environment.
(Sorry for an off-topic question)
But still i couldnt see the GUI, instead the Angstrom ASCII text-ed
screen terminal.
Do i need some more commands to see the desktop ?

I want to boot system faster.

Then, compile your own u-boot, remove boot delay (set to 0 by default), reduce kernel size by removing what is not needed (specially other file systems), and apply specific optimizations, if there is any support you really need, but not at start time, then make it a module and make it to be loaded only when needed, remove any debug support from kernel

Don’t do calibration on every boot up, do it only once and preset

Ubuntu kernel is usually around 4MiB, a custom kernel with probably all that you need is around 2MiB, make it uncompressed

Dont use a ramFS if you dont need early user space (ubuntu uses that by default, to plymouth and others, but you can use fbsplash if needed)

Avoid using proc in scripts at boot up as much as possible

Hand optimize or remove startup scripts (.conf) not needed

Change to a light desktop environment, xfce is really good as it feels almost as if it were a desktop machine, use a lighter file manage (PCMan is really light and fast)

Do a research on linux optimizations based on your own needs


Are you sure ubuntu is a good starting point to do that? It seems that angstrom would be much better suited to what you want to try.

@Koen Kooi
I am a novice linux user.
So to get started, i thought ubuntu would be a good choice as i have a
CDMA-EVDO internet modem and its works great in ubuntu with its
network manger.

I didnt tried it with Angstrom, though.