which os

I just got my first BBB and will be slowly building a robot over the next year. I don’t need a gui, will use opencv and hope to do most programming in python.

Without starting OS wars, which OS should I consider: angstrom, ubuntu or debian?

Can I start with angstrom and then move to one of the others over time? I will be using a provisioning system (ansible see http://ansibleworks.com/) to load packages, and push source code, so changing to another OS will not be too painful.


while not shifting from OS to OS as you may want to do, i can share my experience with you.

i tried to follow a lot of the documentation that comes with the BBB and angstrom. and on two different BBB platforms i had the same issues with both boards, broken angstrom packages etc, problem after problem, almost enough hair pulling and dead ends to make me throw the BBB in the bin for good.

and the god bless em, R.C Nelson comes to the party.

since i install debian and followed his doco basically all i had to do was get the os on the emmc then run two or three scripts that were downloaded and volia i have a happy BBB doing what i want it too, zero problems and reasonable learning curve. plus everyone else has tried his image theres a log of doco and help on the groups here. Plus, Robert will nudge you in the right direction if you ask too. always helpful.

maybe Eric if you specify what you want to do down the road people can share their experiences, my BBB just streams data to a NAS. i run a gui on it (lxde) on a rce debian special.

good luck, i would put it to you to try one the rcn debian images he’s put together for a better initial experience.


I will have one BBB for data acquisition (temp, light levels, other) and they will be on wifi initially. Maybe ZigBee later. The other one will be in a robot I am building that will be about 16 inches round and maybe a foot high. Steppers, Servos, motors and a video camera (openCV). If I need more than one BBB I am fine with that.

I got my first BBB today and am installing wheezy 7.2 on it now. I found angstrom a touchy form the start.


For what it is worth. I got my beaglebone black last year when they were first being sold to the public( we had two on pre-order). At the time I was working with the MSP430 launchpad, and talking back and forth with several people from this community about the BBB as we all were learning.

What I found is that Angstrom was counter productive when it came to do almost anything. NO documentation that I could find, and everything was like pulling teeth. Much like how many Linux distributions were 10+ years ago . . . Personally I prefer forward progress with any OS I do use.

So after about a week of trying to no avail, I found Roberts compile from source instructions for Debian. Since then, I have never looked back. Everything is solid. Granted you may not get the package list an x86 distro may have, but that has everything to do with the architecture, and nothing to do with the distro.

Hi Eric, just be attention on the power problem.

You cant use much current and power from the bbb pins;

If you use python you could try to change from one os to another os but debian looks better.



I hope to stick with debian. I am going to use ansible to provision the bbb so that I can redo it should I need to reimage the board or want to duplicate the configuration. I use ansilbe for building out load balances cloud web servers (and other things).


I am aware of the low current issue so will have to really pay attention to circuit design. I think I’m going to learn a lot of EE stuff real soon.


Robert Nelson’s Debian kernel is quite good. I’ve used it a number of times and it has all the features
I needed. I’ve also used the “machinekit” build from Michael Haberler. It has a Xenomai-patched
RT kernel and LinuxCNC on it, but works fine even if you don’t need those particular features.
It is by far the easiest install I’ve ever done on a Beagle system. Basically, you just run one
script, it downloads all the files, builds the FS and puts it on an SD card.

See :

(It is just a customization pf the Robert Nelson kernel.)