BeagleBone Black with Angstrom

Evan Boldt's picture


Angstrom Linux is what ships on the BeagleBones. It's kind of terrible because I think everyone when they first get it will say, oh I should run opkg upgrade so that everything is up to date. Guess what? That breaks the boot. It won't startup anymore. I don't know how to fix it or what goes wrong. You'll get three LED's on, no USB connection on either the mass media or network, and it'll never come online on the LAN because it won't start up. 

If you want things to be up to date, you may want to install Ubuntu.

On the other hand, it is pretty lightweight and is pre-configured in a lot of ways that other distros don't have by default. For example, the cloud9 editor is kind of nice.

Installing Images

Whether you have a BeagleBone or BeagleBone Black, you can use the Angstrom-Cloud9-IDE-GNOME-eglibc-ipk*.img.xz

They both run ARM7 and the image has the NEON optimization. The image for the BeagleBone Black might have additional features, but it's the same Angstrom with less features as far as I can tell.

sudo su
xz -cd ./Angstrom-Cloud9-IDE-GNOME-****.img.xz > /dev/sdd


Check out the tutorial page on http://beaglebone.local/. There are some neat node.js buttons on http://beaglebone.local/bonescript.html

The very cool Cloud9 IDE is available on http://beaglebone.local:3000/

If you're on windows and don't have an SSH client that you like, there's GateOne SSH client availble in-browser at https://beaglebone.local/

If those URLs don't work, then you might try replacing beaglebone.local with If that doesn't work, there might be something wrong with your installation. You could re-flash another image.


Disable GNOME autostart

If you want a graphical environment to develop and test on, that's fine, but a lot of the time your deployment will be headless. Well, you can have your cake and eat it too.

update-rc.d -f gdm remove
systemctl disable gdm
mv /lib/systemd/system/gdm.service ~/gdm.backup.service
systemctl --system daemon-reload

There are probably more steps there than are necessary, but I couldn't get it to stay down for a while, so try them all.

Then if you want to start your graphical environment at any point, just login and run gdm

Install locate

Locate is an awesome tool for searching the filesystem really quickly.

opkg install findutils

Run a Script on Startup (cron)

nano ~/
#put something in /tmp/ so we can see if this ran
touch /tmp/WINNING
#turn off the heartbeat
echo 0 > /sys/class/leds/beaglebone\:green\:usr0/brightness
chmod +x ~/
env EDITOR=nano crontab -e
@reboot /bin/bash /home/root/

Run a Script on Startup (systemd)

Angstrom uses systemd, so it has a few things different than a Debian/Ubuntu system. Not sure why you'd want to do it this way. It's a lot harder than cron.

First make a script you want to run on startup. You might just use this bash file to launch all your other processes. If you do, throw a & at the end of each line to run them in background.

nano ~/
touch /tmp/WINNING
chmod +x ~/

After making an executable script, make a service for systemd to use.

nano /lib/systemd/system/mystartup.service
Description=My own script to run on startup
ConditionPathExists=|/usr/bin [Service] Type=oneshot ExecStart=/home/root/
systemctl --system daemon-reload
systemctl enable mystartup.service

To load it and test it, try:

systemctl start mystartup.service
ls -l /tmp/WINNING

Note that journalctl is apparently the new way of doing a "less /var/log/syslog"


Compare the benchmarks to those of the Raspberry Pi (wiki) using this package (zip). Also compare to my Ubuntu BBB tests.

Processor Info

root@beaglebone:~# cat /proc/cpuinfo 
processor	: 0
model name	: ARMv7 Processor rev 2 (v7l)
BogoMIPS	: 990.68
Features	: swp half thumb fastmult vfp edsp thumbee neon vfpv3 tls 
CPU implementer	: 0x41
CPU architecture: 7
CPU variant	: 0x3
CPU part	: 0xc08
CPU revision	: 2

Hardware	: Generic AM33XX (Flattened Device Tree)
Revision	: 0000
Serial		: 0000000000000000


At 3059570 dhrystones per second, the BBB with Angstrom is almost 4 times faster than a Raspberry Pi (809061) with Raspbian on it. However, it is about 10% slower than it could be with Ubuntu on it (3319960).


Dhrystone Benchmark, Version 2.1 (Language: C or C++)
Optimisation    Opt 3 32 Bit
Register option not selected

       10000 runs   0.01 seconds 
      100000 runs   0.11 seconds 
      200000 runs   0.18 seconds 
      400000 runs   0.13 seconds 
      800000 runs   0.26 seconds 
     1600000 runs   0.52 seconds 
     3200000 runs   1.05 seconds 
     6400000 runs   2.09 seconds 

Final values (* implementation-dependent):

Int_Glob:      O.K.  5  Bool_Glob:     O.K.  1
Ch_1_Glob:     O.K.  A  Ch_2_Glob:     O.K.  B
Arr_1_Glob[8]: O.K.  7  Arr_2_Glob8/7: O.K.     6400010
Ptr_Glob->              Ptr_Comp:       *    94584
  Discr:       O.K.  0  Enum_Comp:     O.K.  2
  Int_Comp:    O.K.  17 Str_Comp:      O.K.  DHRYSTONE PROGRAM, SOME STRING
Next_Ptr_Glob->         Ptr_Comp:       *    94584 same as above
  Discr:       O.K.  0  Enum_Comp:     O.K.  1
  Int_Comp:    O.K.  18 Str_Comp:      O.K.  DHRYSTONE PROGRAM, SOME STRING
Int_1_Loc:     O.K.  5  Int_2_Loc:     O.K.  13
Int_3_Loc:     O.K.  7  Enum_Loc:      O.K.  1  
Str_1_Loc:                             O.K.  DHRYSTONE PROGRAM, 1'ST STRING
Str_2_Loc:                             O.K.  DHRYSTONE PROGRAM, 2'ND STRING

From File /proc/cpuinfo
processor	: 0
model name	: ARMv7 Processor rev 2 (v7l)
BogoMIPS	: 297.40
Features	: swp half thumb fastmult vfp edsp thumbee neon vfpv3 tls 
CPU implementer	: 0x41
CPU architecture: 7
CPU variant	: 0x3
CPU part	: 0xc08
CPU revision	: 2

Hardware	: Generic AM33XX (Flattened Device Tree)
Revision	: 0000
Serial		: 0000000000000000

From File /proc/version
Linux version 3.8.13 (koen@rrMBP) (gcc version 4.7.3 20130205 (prerelease) (Linaro GCC 4.7-2013.02-01) ) #1 SMP Mon May 20 17:07:58 CEST 2013

Nanoseconds one Dhrystone run:       326.84
Dhrystones per Second:              3059570
VAX  MIPS rating =                  1741.36


Again, the BBB on Angstrom proves to be significantly faster than the Raspberry Pi. About 4 times faster or way more. However, the comparison to the BBB with Ubuntu are actually the opposite. Angstrom is faster by about 10%. The difference? No NEON FPU optimizations on Ubuntu!

root@beaglebone:~# openssl speed;
OpenSSL 1.0.0j 10 May 2012 built on: Wed Apr 3 21:06:55 CEST 2013 options:bn(64,32) rc4(ptr,int) des(idx,risc1,2,long) aes(partial) idea(int) blowfish(idx) compiler: arm-angstrom-linux-gnueabi-gcc -march=armv7-a -mthumb-interwork -mfloat-abi=softfp -mfpu=neon -mtune=cortex-a8 --sysroot=/build/v2012.12/build/tmp-angstrom_v2012_12-eglibc/sysroots/olinuxino-a13 -fPIC -DOPENSSL_PIC -DOPENSSL_THREADS -D_REENTRANT -DDSO_DLFCN -DHAVE_DLFCN_H -DL_ENDIAN -DTERMIO -O2 -pipe -g -feliminate-unused-debug-types -Wall -DHAVE_CRYPTODEV -DUSE_CRYPTODEV_DIGESTS The 'numbers' are in 1000s of bytes per second processed. type 16 bytes 64 bytes 256 bytes 1024 bytes 8192 bytes md2 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 mdc2 2200.18k 2903.10k 3079.22k 3123.71k 3131.59k md4 5415.82k 20091.55k 62372.30k 131555.57k 194939.46k md5 4617.55k 16804.97k 50871.15k 102349.66k 145803.90k hmac(md5) 7419.73k 25105.91k 67753.84k 117279.85k 149212.21k sha1 4689.06k 15086.80k 37111.10k 58582.77k 70082.56k rmd160 4321.96k 13657.71k 33189.03k 51514.42k 61322.19k rc4 51274.46k 57055.08k 58599.86k 59068.36k 59196.82k des cbc 15641.44k 16844.09k 17096.95k 17186.71k 17143.13k des ede3 5966.27k 6118.46k 6149.65k 6173.80k 6179.74k idea cbc 15220.99k 16040.11k 16331.43k 16378.86k 16340.16k seed cbc 21797.27k 23300.32k 23793.27k 23880.09k 23956.81k rc2 cbc 13306.59k 14101.91k 14234.37k 14302.09k 14325.00k rc5-32/12 cbc 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 blowfish cbc 27004.49k 29706.03k 30572.82k 30746.37k 30866.58k cast cbc 26993.30k 29720.81k 30501.50k 30798.77k 30854.70k aes-128 cbc 27466.35k 29851.57k 30765.55k 31029.95k 31033.71k aes-192 cbc 23934.83k 25819.16k 26408.67k 26625.71k 26651.49k aes-256 cbc 21310.20k 22657.92k 23204.56k 23356.48k 23362.27k camellia-128 cbc 28544.43k 31191.34k 31965.01k 32352.21k 32362.51k camellia-192 cbc 23092.30k 24841.16k 25474.06k 25586.30k 25650.86k camellia-256 cbc 23167.57k 24852.70k 25346.39k 25612.71k 25614.38k sha256 4648.14k 11368.65k 21020.95k 26654.38k 29045.86k sha512 969.92k 3858.49k 5574.64k 7650.79k 8548.17k whirlpool 1872.39k 3901.80k 6372.60k 7553.37k 7996.82k aes-128 ige 25801.92k 28261.82k 29148.35k 29319.28k 28924.91k aes-192 ige 22733.70k 24548.07k 25245.12k 25323.28k 25036.29k aes-256 ige 20328.61k 21757.95k 22204.79k 22366.69k 22090.91k sign verify sign/s verify/s rsa 512 bits 0.002286s 0.000191s 437.4 5244.1 rsa 1024 bits 0.011637s 0.000559s 85.9 1790.5 rsa 2048 bits 0.068425s 0.001828s 14.6 546.9 rsa 4096 bits 0.444783s 0.006260s 2.2 159.7 sign verify sign/s verify/s dsa 512 bits 0.001946s 0.002152s 513.9 464.7 dsa 1024 bits 0.005539s 0.006413s 180.5 155.9 dsa 2048 bits 0.018094s 0.021652s 55.3 46.2 sign verify sign/s verify/s 160 bit ecdsa (secp160r1) 0.0011s 0.0048s 935.6 210.4 192 bit ecdsa (nistp192) 0.0011s 0.0052s 873.1 192.9 224 bit ecdsa (nistp224) 0.0015s 0.0069s 679.8 144.8 256 bit ecdsa (nistp256) 0.0020s 0.0099s 509.9 100.8 384 bit ecdsa (nistp384) 0.0041s 0.0218s 245.0 45.8 521 bit ecdsa (nistp521) 0.0093s 0.0490s 107.4 20.4 163 bit ecdsa (nistk163) 0.0040s 0.0081s 247.2 124.2 233 bit ecdsa (nistk233) 0.0078s 0.0154s 128.3 65.1 283 bit ecdsa (nistk283) 0.0119s 0.0276s 84.3 36.2 409 bit ecdsa (nistk409) 0.0283s 0.0632s 35.3 15.8 571 bit ecdsa (nistk571) 0.0634s 0.1443s 15.8 6.9 163 bit ecdsa (nistb163) 0.0040s 0.0087s 252.3 115.5 233 bit ecdsa (nistb233) 0.0076s 0.0166s 130.8 60.3 283 bit ecdsa (nistb283) 0.0118s 0.0302s 84.6 33.2 409 bit ecdsa (nistb409) 0.0284s 0.0718s 35.2 13.9 571 bit ecdsa (nistb571) 0.0637s 0.1660s 15.7 6.0 op op/s 160 bit ecdh (secp160r1) 0.0041s 246.8 192 bit ecdh (nistp192) 0.0044s 229.8 224 bit ecdh (nistp224) 0.0057s 174.7 256 bit ecdh (nistp256) 0.0083s 121.1 384 bit ecdh (nistp384) 0.0177s 56.6 521 bit ecdh (nistp521) 0.0406s 24.6 163 bit ecdh (nistk163) 0.0039s 255.5 233 bit ecdh (nistk233) 0.0075s 132.8 283 bit ecdh (nistk283) 0.0136s 73.6 409 bit ecdh (nistk409) 0.0312s 32.1 571 bit ecdh (nistk571) 0.0718s 13.9 163 bit ecdh (nistb163) 0.0042s 236.7 233 bit ecdh (nistb233) 0.0082s 121.3 283 bit ecdh (nistb283) 0.0152s 65.7 409 bit ecdh (nistb409) 0.0357s 28.0 571 bit ecdh (nistb571) 0.0825s 12.1