Build a custom Linux kernel for Beagleboard

After couple of successful tries to build Angstrom, Android and TI’s MontaVista for Beagleboard since last year, I decided to build a custom kernel with C6x DSP, NEON, OpenGLES2 and JPEG2000 decoder support.
Here are what I have:

  • MacBook Pro 3.06 G Core 2 Duo, 4G DDR3 and 320G HD.
  • VMWare Fusion 3 for Mac.
  • VM Xubuntu (kernel 2.6.31-17) with cross-compiling toolchain built from my earlier projects.
  • Beagleboard Rev B6.
  • PL2303 based USB-Serial adapter.
  • Kensington USB Mini Dock with Ethernet.

    Here’s how I did to format a 4G SD card to get started:

  • FAT32 at first partition for booting
  • ext3 for file systems

    If the SD card is formatted, you will see hidden folders and files, such as .Trashes, created by OS X. You can delete them in Linux VM. To avoid OS X creates them again when you disconnect the SD card from VM, like showed below:
    you have to unmount the SD card manually from VM, and then remove it directly from SD card slot off Macbook.

    First, let’s partition the SD card. You can also find details from here.
    Once the “Apple Internal Memory Card Reader” is connected to VM from Fusion, find out which device is used by running dmesg. In my system, it is /dev/sdb.
    Format it by “sudo fdisk /dev/sdb”, followed by fdisk “d” command to delete any existing partitions if there are any. Use “p” command to verify there is no partition left. It may also tell how much space available, and in this case it is:
    Disk /dev/sdb: 4041 MB, 4041211904 bytes.

    Here’s what I created:
    Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
    /dev/sdb1 * 1 17 136521 c W95 FAT32 (LBA)
    /dev/sdb2 18 491 3807405 83 Linux

    Don’t forget toggle the bootable flag for the first partition before committing the changes. Then format the first partition with:
    mkfs.msdos -F 32 /dev/sdb1 -n boot
    and the second partition with:
    mkfs.ext3 /dev/sdb2

    Mount both partitions to check. Then unmount the partitions and remove the SD card directly from SD card slot. The SD card is ready for boot loader and file system installation.

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