How to get the Ubuntu distribution

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How to get the Ubuntu distribution

The Ubuntu project is excited to be working with the ARM ecosystem to port Ubuntu for ARM-based devices. This work fits with our goals of making Ubuntu available as an open platform to as many people as possible. Some points to note:

Overview of How-To

This How-To is meant to be a starting point for people to learn install an Ubuntu image for OMAP3-based IGEP platforms as quickly and easily as possible.


  • A SD card at least 2GB ( recommended 4GB )

Feedback and Contributing

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Much of this How-To is extracted from different sources. If you would like to read some of the original articles or resources, please visit them and thank the authors:

Ubuntu releases

New Releases

[TIP] If you want to install the ubuntu image you should install the ubuntu rootfs and use the ISEE kernel and bootloader.

[IMPORTANT] ISEE is not responsable about the Ubuntu releases you should read the information about Ubuntu deprecation releases in the Ubuntu webpage.

Ubuntu 12.04.4 LTS (for IGEPv2, IGEP COM MODULE ISEE devices)

IGEPv2, IGEP COM Module and IGEP COM Proton Ubuntu page is located here

Ubuntu 12.04.4 LTS Hard Float (for IGEPv5)

IGEPv5 Ubuntu page is located here

Old Releases

Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat)

First, download the compressed image from


Next, uncompress the image with

gunzip ubuntu-netbook-10.10-preinstalled-netbook-armel+omap.img.gz

Then write the raw image to a blank SD card (the card size should be >2G)

sudo dd if=<uncompressed image> of=/dev/mmcblk0  # change /dev/mmcblk0 with appropriate device

Current boot file system (x-loader + u-boot + kernel) not works, so we need to replace. First download and extract this package

ar -x linux-image-2.6.35-22-omap_2.6.35-22.33_armel.deb
tar jxf data.tar.bz2
sudo cp -fr boot lib usr /media/<rootfs>      # change <rootfs> with appropriate SD rootfs partition

then, create an uImage file with

mkimage -A arm -O linux -T kernel -C none -a 0x80008000 -e 0x80008000 -n "Linux" -d boot/vmlinuz-2.6.35-22-omap uImage
cp uImage /media/<bootfs>     # change <bootfs> with appropriate SD boot partition

next, download and copy x-loader from

cp x-load-1.4.4-3.igep0020-sdcard.bin.ift /media/<bootfs>/MLO     # change <bootfs> with appropriate SD boot partition

and finally, do the same with u-boot

cp u-boot-arm-2010.06-3.igep0020.bin /media/<bootfs>/u-boot.bin      # change <bootfs> with appropriate SD boot partition

The last step is copy boot.scr to boot.ini

cp /media/<bootfs>/boot.scr /media/<bootfs>/boot.ini     # change <bootfs> with appropriate SD boot partition

Umount bootfs and rootfs partitions, push your SD card in your IGEP socket, power up and enjoy !

System Testing and known issues

Tips and tricks

Upgrade kernel to 2.6.35-23

Note: This solves the eth0 issue.

Donwload and copy the 2.6.35-23 kernel

sudo cp linux-image-2.6.35-23-omap_2.6.35-23.40_armel.deb /media/<rootfs>      # change <rootfs> with appropriate SD rootfs partition

Boot up your Ubuntu , open a terminal and install

sudo dpkg -i linux-image-2.6.35-23-omap_2.6.35-23.40_armel.deb

Reboot your system, now the ethernet an wifi should work.

Note: Some users have encountered that after kernel update still booting the old kernel, to solve this issue do:

mkimage -A arm -O linux -T ramdisk -C none -a 0 -e 0 -n initramfs -d /media/<rootfs>/boot/initrd.img-2.6.35-23-omap /media/<bootfs>/uInitrd
mkimage -A arm -O linux -T kernel -C none -a 0x80008000 -e 0x80008000 -n 2.6.35-23-omap -d /media/<rootfs>/boot/vmlinuz-2.6.35-23-omap /media/<bootfs>/uImage
How to get SGX Video Acceleration (under construction, not tested yet)


First we'll install kernel headers

sudo dpkg --install --force-depends linux-headers-2.6.35-23-omap_2.6.35-23.40_armel.deb

Activate the universe and multiverse repositories, then install the following packages:

sudo apt-get install libegl1-sgx-omap3 libgles1-sgx-omap3 libgles2-sgx-omap3

Before using it just be sure your user is also included at 'video' group.

sudo adduser <your user> video

Now you can test the SGX with a DEMO, grab and untar the SDK Demo Package

tar xzf SGX-

Then to run the demos just get into the X11 Binaries directory (e.g. OGLES/SDKPackage/Binaries/CommonX11/Demos/EvilSkull) and run the demo:

How to cross build ubuntu maverick kernel from sources

Create a script for setting the environment

echo "Setting environment for armel cross-compile"
export ARCH=arm
export CROSS_COMPILE=arm-none-linux-gnueabi-
export PATH=<path to cross compiler>:$PATH  (set the correct path to cross compiler)  
export DEB_BUILD_ARCH=armel
export DEB_HOST_ARCH=armel

Clone the ubuntu maverick repository

git clone git://
cd ubuntu-maverick

Setup the environment and run ...

source armconfig
fakeroot debian/rules clean
fakeroot debian/rules binary-omap

The resulting two .deb files will be located in ../

Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope)

Make a bootable MMC card on Linux

Thanks to Graeme Gregory and Steve Sakoman, you can now use a script to automate the tedious process of creating a bootable SD/microSD card.

Take care if you do not have your system in English. You have to change the word "Disk" in the former script, line #10 with the translation in the language of your system.

Having followed this excellent tutorial it's time to mount your SD card boot partition (/media/boot). With your preferred editor create a boot-ini.source file like this.

# Set bootargs for ubuntu MMC boot
setenv bootargs 'console=ttyS2,115200n8 console=tty0 omapfb.mode=dvi:1024x768MR-16@60 root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 rw rootwait '
# Read kernel from OneNAND
onenand read 80200000 280000 400000 
# and boot ...
bootm 80200000

And use the mkimage tool to convert this file into a script image which can be executed using U-Boot's source command.

$ source /usr/local/poky/eabi-glibc/arm/environment-setup
$ mkimage -A arm -O linux -T script -C none -a 0 -e 0 -n 'Boot setup script' -d boot-ini.source boot.ini

If you are not using IGEP's virtual machine, you can download and install the Poky SDK from once logged in. This will provide the /usr/local/poky directory. If you use this option, the appropriate source command is source /usr/local/poky/eabi-glibc/environment-setup-arm-none-linux-gnueabi.

The result will be a boot.ini file which you will copy to SD card boot partition

$ cp boot.ini /media/boot

Get a copy of a ARM ubuntu root file system

In order to get a copy of a ARM ubuntu root file system, you will need to install qemu and a recent version of debootstrap and the qemu package. On some systems you may also need the qemu-kvm-extras package to run the ARM emulation.

$ sudo apt-get install qemu
$ sudo apt-get install qemu-kvm-extras
$ wget
$ sudo dpkg -i debootstrap_1.0.12_all.deb

Next, you will download a helper program to build the rootfs

$ wget
$ tar xzf rootstock-0.1.3.tar.gz
$ cd rootstock-0.1.3

The following example will create a tarball of ubuntu-desktop based image for your target device:

$ sudo ./rootstock --fqdn ubuntu --login jdoe --password letmein --imagesize 3G --seed ubuntu-desktop --dist jaunty

Typical images (example settings):

To build a xubuntu-desktop image use the following options:

  --imagesize 2G --seed xubuntu-desktop

For an ubuntu-desktop image (a similar size is needed if you want a kubuntu image):

  --imagesize 3G --seed ubuntu-desktop

A typical remote development comandline environment if you run an armel board headless (note that you should edit /etc/network/interfaces and set up your network device on first login for this):

  --imagesize 3G --seed build-essential,openssh-server

A very light desktop (lxde):

  --seed lxde,gdm

This step can take a long time. For example, building ubuntu-desktop on a Celeron 1.6GHz laptop takes approximately 10 hours. When it is finished, a file named armel-rootfs-[date].tgz will be in your working directory.

Next, mount your SD card ext3 partition (/media/rootfs) and untar the rootfs

$ sudo tar xzf armel-rootfs-[date].tgz -C /media/rootfs

Finally, umount the SD card, insert the card in your board and power up.

--- That's all folks ---

See also