Installing Debian 8.6 on a BeagleBone Black
Posted by mattray on October 14, 2016
I’ve finally had practical reason to get the BeagleBone Black out of the drawer and start using it as an home server (more later). It’s a nice, quiet little machine with 512 megs of RAM and a 1ghz ARM CPU. I followed the instructions from https://beagleboard.org/getting-started to connect to it via the serial port over USB, which allowed me to connect to the web server on the included OS. Turns out I didn’t really need to do this, all I needed to do was flash my microSD card and install Debian on it.
For more in-depth Linux notes, I referred to http://elinux.org/Beagleboard:BeagleBoneBlack
I downloaded the latest Debian stable “Jessie” build for ARMHF from here. That image turned out to be a bit bloated with X and desktop tools, so I switched to the “IOT” image. I flashed the image onto a 32 gig microSD card with Etcher for OSX, which was quite painless.
Debian on the BeagleBone Black
Next I popped the microSD card into the BeagleBone and rebooted into Debian. I was able to connect to the serial console over USB with instructions from here. For my instance, the command was
I changed the debian user password away from the default and plugged in a network cable.
Once it was on the network I could SSH to it, I probably didn’t need to use the serial console at all if I’d just looked for the IP address off the router.
I copied over my SSH key so I wouldn’t need to use my password when logging in.
scp ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub firstname.lastname@example.org:~/.ssh/authorized_keys
Next I did an apt-get update; apt-get upgrade to get the latest bits and then shut it down.
I plugged directly into the router and powered via the USB port, since it’s meant to be an externally-accessible bastion box.
I also needed to make sure we used the whole microSD, so I followed these instructions:
cd /opt/scripts/tools/ git pull sudo ./grow_partition.sh sudo reboot
I checked the list of timezones and set mine to Sydney.
timedatectl list-timezones sudo timedatectl set-timezone Australia/Sydney
apt-get install emacs-nox
Now it was ready to use.