Pandaboard and Ubuntu 11.04 headless

23 Aug

I’m a great fan of ubuntu as a desktop operation system so I tried to install it on my pandaboard. I don’t think that ubuntu as base OS is sufficient for my goals because it is already very, well, bloated. I will try to develop my applications and give them a shot later on both boats: Ubuntu and a selfmade rootfs with (hopefully) well chosen packages…

But now for the installation part: It’s already very well documented on the Ubuntu site and also on OMAPPedia, but I think i could give it a small Post.


First step is to download the wanted image from the Ubuntu website (over here). The newest atm is 11.04 and I chose the headless version because I don’t want to connect one of my 3 monitors here to the DVI port of the pandaboard – But use my 7″ USB Touchscreen instead! So the headless version gives me the ability to go through the normal Ubuntu installation process via a textbash and a serial cable. Great!

Download the image:


Be sure to get the “omap4” version, not the “omap” version which is used for OMAP generations 1-3. (pandaboard has 4430!)

Next step is to insert a SD Card in your card reader (equal/greater than 4GB). I’m using a Sandisk Ultra III 4GB here for maximum speed. Check if it is getting mounted with


If it got mounted, unmount it with

umount /dev/sdX

where X is the letter of your drive.
Now copy the complete installation with the command:

sudo sh -c 'zcat ubuntu-11.04-preinstalled-headless-armel+omap4.img.gz > /dev/sdX'

This can take some time, so lay back or get another cup of coffee.

root@ubuntu:/panda# time sh -c 'zcat ubuntu-11.04-preinstalled-headless-armel+omap4.img.gz > /dev/sdc'
real 1m53.957s
user 1m1.932s
sys 0m1.732s

Great thing about that image is, that things like X-Loader, U-Boot (Both bootloaders), kernel and filesystem are all included. So it’s simply downloaded, cloning to SD and having fun… Pretty straight forward!


Plug in your SD Card and power up the Board. The first output will look like this:

Texas Instruments X-Loader 1.5.0 (Apr 11 2011 - 09:48:22)
Reading boot sector
Loading u-boot.bin from mmc


U-Boot 2011.03 (Apr 20 2011 - 07:37:43)
CPU : OMAP4430
Board: OMAP4 Panda
I2C: ready
Using default environment
In: serial
Out: serial
Err: serial
Hit any key to stop autoboot: 0
reading boot.scr
350 bytes read
Running bootscript from mmc0 ...
3467529 bytes read
## Booting kernel from Legacy Image at 80000000 ...


Image Name: Ubuntu Kernel
Image Type: ARM Linux Kernel Image (uncompressed)
Data Size: 4174676 Bytes = 4 MiB
Load Address: 80008000
Entry Point: 80008000
Verifying Checksum ... OK
## Loading init Ramdisk from Legacy Image at 81600000 ...
Image Name: Ubuntu Initrd
Image Type: ARM Linux RAMDisk Image (gzip compressed)
Data Size: 3467465 Bytes = 3.3 MiB
Load Address: 00000000
Entry Point: 00000000
Verifying Checksum ... OK
Loading Kernel Image ... OK


Starting kernel ...
Uncompressing Linux... done, booting the kernel.
Caching vfat content in /dev/.initramfs/jasper-vfat ...
Resizing root partition ...
Re-writing vfat partition ...
Resizing root filesystem. Please wait, this will take a moment ...
Resizing root filesystem ...
Checking filesystem before resizing...
Resizing, please wait...
Resizing, pass: 1 [100/100]Enabling serial console login
Setting up fstab
Setting up swap
Enabling oem-config
Writing flash-kernel configuration
Creating bootloader configuration
Rebooting into configuration session
[ 55.207000] Restarting system.


fsck from util-linux-ng 2.17.2
/dev/mmcblk0p2: clean, 45081/481440 files, 299174/975948 blocks
[ 6.315979] (stk) :line disc installation timed out
[ 7.487854] (stk) :line disc installation timed out
[ 8.597198] (stk) :line disc installation timed out
[ 9.714385] (stk) :line disc installation timed out
[ 10.823760] (stk) :line disc installation timed out
[ 11.933135] (stk) :line disc installation timed out
[ 13.042510] (stk) :line disc installation timed out
* Starting AppArmor profiles [ OK ]
[ 14.151885] (stk) :line disc installation timed out
[ 15.253448] (stk) :line disc installation timed out
[ 16.362823] (stk) :line disc installation timed out
[ 17.472229] (stk) :line disc installation timed out
[ 17.477447] fmdrv: Failed to get ST write func pointer
[ 17.483489] (stc): chnl_id 8 not registered
[ 17.487823] fmdrv: Unable to prepare FM CORE

After a reboot the installation itself will take place and a funny windows will load (here on putty):

Continue with your normal installation and select the appropriate packages you want to install (i.e. openssh server etc)

For further info about headless installation and the beagleboard, visit the Ubuntu WIKI.