usb console on linux

based on my own first experiences on using the BeagleBoneBlack from an ArchLinux box, I would like to constructively suggest some improvements to the “First Encounter” with the board, borrowed from the quick start leaflet found in the box containing the board itself and the “getting started” web page, both the one served from the BeagleBone node.js web server and the one found online on this same site.

Connecting to linux from linux should be easy, right?

Not so, if you follow the advices given on step 2-3 of the getting started page.


  • 1st, given that on linux host, drivers installation isn’t required, the step should not be listed at all (I performed it, troubleshooted it and finally removed it when realized udevd made all the work by itself).

  • 2nd, if the step is to be suggested, executing it as superuser or using sudo as normal user should be suggested as well.

  • 3rd, if the step is really needed for special cases, the vendor:product IDs should be changed from 0403:a6d0 to 1d6b:0104 (Linux Foundation Multifunction Composite Gadget).

  • 4th, the note suggesting additional infos at the address should be reserved to advanced troubleshooting: they’re completely over the head of first time users (and fooled me into trying to insert wrong modules like g_ether, while cdc_ether is the right one to insert/check for, probably valid for the majority of today linux users).

  • 5th, the note suggesting additional infos at the address, should be relegated to the OSX section above.

  • 6th, even if everything went well, the step 3, “browse your beagle”, should be preceded by an additional highly recommended step, where the user is invited to check for the appearance of a new network interface on host, probably called usb0 (or enp0s20u1 in my own case) and issue the required commands to assign a network address to it as superuser, like ifconfig or even better, something like dhcpcd where all the right routes are defined as well or else the the step 3 isn’t going to work. I believe it’s also worth reminding users (maybe in a note) that logging into the board using a serial term (like picocom, minicom, stty, putty or whathever) is always available, should troubles arise.

  • 7th, the above points could be valid for the users of other non-linux operating system as well, I just can’t check.

  • 8th, after the getting started procedure is fool-proof, it could be enhanced even more by suggesting to share the host internet connection with the board just issuing the following commands on the host:

sudo sysctl net.ipv4.ip_forward=1 sudo iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o wlp2s0 -j MASQUERADE
and the following commands on the board, after having acquired the local net router address and ssh-ing into the board as root:

route add default gw echo "nameserver 192.168.gateway.address">>/etc/resolv.conf
I understand that this will make the experience a bit unfair among users of different OSs but doesn’t linux deserve a bigger chunk of the pie? (just joking ).

  • 9th, in the support page, the “live chat” or irc links, should be suggested only after having reviewed that there is at least some slightly supportive people in there; while I understand that the irc channel is community oriented and it isn’t directly managed by your foundation, my personal experience with the chat hasn’t been nice at all: 4 questions (3 network showstopper ones and another related a fs issue) asked according to what I believe are the best irc practices and sitting idle (not really) for way more than 12 hours, I had lots of time to fix those simple issues myself (while exploring the platform) and decided to share my suggestions here, rather than on the irc channel…

-10th, the BeagleBoneBlack ROCKS!!! It’s a fantastic platform, both on the HW and the SW side, very well engineered, practical, responsive, versatile and useful. I can’t wait to migrate some projects of mine onto it while enhancing them at the same time, given the bootload of features available: lots of new exciting ideas spur at all times.

I’ve been lucky enough to meet Gerald and Jason @ MakerFaireRome and I really could appreciate their kindness and sound technical experience (on MCUs and moustaches :wink: ), despite being probably tired for being at the end of a 4 days long marathon. I was the “sailor”, asking questions about boards power consumption. Very inspiring conversation: needless to say, I got my BeagleBoneBlack (among other things) straight away at the faire shop. Greetings from Rome, hope to see you soon!!!

N. F.