Computers/BeagleBone Black

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1 Device information


2 Upstream status

For the supported versions:

Software Status

Linux has pretty good support for the Beaglebones, very few things are lacking:

  • The 3D acceleration is unsupported but the display controller works
  • The cape support is not in Linux upstream (it was there before in Parabola due to patches from Arch)
  • I'm unsure if the PRU are supported, we need to check
  • I'm unsure if the DSP typically used for video and audio decoding acceleration can work with only free software
u-boot (bootloader)
  • (Almost) complete support in u-boot.
  • I'm unsure if HDMI displays and USB keyboards work in u-boot as I don't have an adapter (yet) to test.

Here's the user interface status:

Display USB Keyboard UART USB OTG Ethernet
Bootrom Unsupported Unsupported  ? recovery mode only under certain circumstances  ?
U-boot (bootloader) No HDMI display with Parabola's u-boot 2020.07-1 Doesn't work with Parabola's u-boot 2020.07-1 (tested with the UART) Settings: 1152008N1 (from u-boot environment)
  • Missing ums command
  • Maybe some more commands missings
Works but needs configuration (tested with the UART and the dhcp+tftp commands)
  • Only shows the Linux console at the end of the boot by default
  • Starts earlier (in the initramfs) if you add tilcdc to MODULES in /etc/mkinitcpio.conf
Works in the Linux console Settings: 1152008N1 (from /boot/extlinux/extlinux.conf) Works but needs configuration Works but needs usual user configuration
Systemd N/A Settings: 1152008N1 (from /boot/extlinux/extlinux.conf) Works but needs configuration Works but needs configuration
OpenRC N/A TODO: Test it TODO: Test it TODO: Test it
Xorg Fails to start for some reasons (tested with Xorg -retro and systemctl start lightdm) N/A
Wayland Fails for some reasons (frozen display) N/A

3 Booting

The bootloader cannot be installed on all storage devices, as the bootrom only supports loading it from certain storage devices.

See the table below to see which storage devices you can install the booloader on:

Storage device Bootloader can be installed
MicroSD Yes
eMMC Yes
USB keys, USB Hard drive, etc No

Once the bootloader runs, it can access files on USB keys, USB HDD / SSD, etc.

However ARM bootloaders like u-boot often lags behind Linux:

  • u-boot doesn't support all the newer ext4 filesystem features
  • u-boot cannot open encrypted partitions

The installation instructions already takes all that into account, so you will either need to format the ext4 filesystem in a special way or convert it to not use certain features.

4 Installation

Available bootloaders:

Additionally Scripts for installing Parabola on the internal 4GB EMMC can be found at the knochenreiter repository [dead link].

The BeagleBone Black can also be bought with Parabola already install on it at Phreedom2600 [dead link].

5 Free software status

  • To use it you probably need a microSD and potentially other mass storage devices. MicroSD and most of the mass storage devices (HDD, SSD, eMMC, USB keys, etc) have a firmware inside.
  • The GPU doesn't work with free software. Additionally it's way more complicated to reverse engineer and it has a nonfree firmware, so it's unlikely to work anytime soon (or at all).
  • I'm unsure if the DSP can work with free software or not as it requires a firmware. There are many firmwares for it out there and it's probably possible to write your own but I don't know if that still depends on nonfree software (like DSP BIOS) or not.

6 Technical references

dts TODO
u-boot configuration TODO

7 See also