BeagleBone Black : WordPress On Ubuntu


Installing LAMP and WordPress on Ubuntu Running on A BeagleBone Black

Since I have been using WordPress with a couple blogs for almost 8 years now, I am fairly comfortable with the platform.  With my weekly BeagleBone Black challenges of late, I felt that installing WordPress would be a great idea to try.  I can tell you that the BeagleBone Black, once again, didn’t disappoint.

Before we begin, I want to just say that running WordPress on the BBB is an academic endeavor.  I wouldn’t think about hosting a public blog due to performance with this configuration but it is perfect for my needs as a teaching tool.  My oldest son just turned seven and is incredibly inquisitive about science.  He catches bugs, lizards, etc. and takes pictures of them.  He loves astronomy and never stops asking when the sun will go supernova.  I thought it would be a great for him to document his findings in a blog to teach him more about the scientific method, documenting his findings and getting more comfortable with the computer.  As an added bonus, I want to see where this takes him.

Getting Started

penguin-ubuntuAs I mentioned my previous blog, I created a “snapshot” of sorts by starting off with a fresh version of Ubuntu then adding my base setup changes then finally creating the tarball of the entire OS.  This way, I can simply reflash the card, restore my base install and begin on the next project.  That’s what I am doing with this.  This is basically my setup:

BeagleBone Black – Installing Ubuntu – Part 1

BeagleBone Black – Installing Ubuntu – Part 2

Beaglebone Black : Back Up Ubuntu

I didn’t include the wireless, cloud9, or OpenGate for this because I wasn’t sure where I was going to put WordPress and was concerned with space.  Turns out, that space wasn’t an issue (other than bleeding off CPU cycles).

Once I had my base install configured, I needed to install and configure three additional components before WordPress:

  • mySQL Database
  • Apache Web Server
  • PHP Scripting Language

This comprises what is called a LAMP server (Linux Apache Mysql Php)

Installing LAMP on BeagleBone Black Ubuntu

At first, I thought this was going to be easy.  I found a package in the package manager for installing LAMP and tried it out.  I’m not saying it doesn’t work, but I will say that I had to reflash a couple times and it never really worked well for me.  Also, I really wanted to have a little more control over what I was installing, so I ended up installing and configuring each component separately.  We’re going to do that here.  I based my steps off a couple walk-through guides found on Ubuntu Server Guide and (links to these and other resources will be found at the end of this walk-through).

MySQL Installation and Configuration

Real quick, before we start installing packages, let’s make sure we’re up to date with everything:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Since we already have the Linux part of LAMP, let’s move to mySQL. You can install this with a simple command of:

sudo apt-get install mysql-server

You will be prompted to provide a password for the root account.  It is always strongly advised to do so and remember this password.  If you forget, you won’t be able to move forward.

Once the install is complete, we need to test the install and then create a database for our installation.  Before we continue, think about the name or type of WordPress site you want to create.  Since mine is to help teach my son about science, I will call mine, ‘science’.  You want to keep it small and if you have more than two words, separate with underscores or dashes (‘_’ or ‘-‘).

To test your installation, type:

mysql -u root -p

You will be prompted to for the password you provided during the installation.  Once you have successfully done this, type:

show databases;

This command will list out a table of databases that are currently available.

mysql> show databases;
| Database           |
| information_schema |
| mysql              |
| performance_schema |
| test               |
4 rows in set (0.01 sec)

If you have made it this far, you are ready to continue.

Now we need to create a user, a table, and provide permissions.  I used ‘scienceadmin‘ for the username and ‘science‘ for the database.  Simply replace these with your credentials.  Oh, and with these commands, don’t forget the semicolon. If you do, it’s not a big deal, just type `;` on the next line and the command will execute.

Create the Database:

create database science;

Create the user:

create user scienceadmin@localhost;

Set a password for this user:

set password for scienceadmin@localhost=password("squirrelhunter01");

Create the permissions for this user to use the database:

grant all privileges on science.* to scienceadmin@localhost identified by 'squirrelhunter01';

Finally, let’s refresh MySQL:

flush privileges;

To get out of mySQL:


Installing Apache Web Server

beagleThis will be pretty straight forward.  To install the web server, you enter in:

sudo apt-get install apache2

After the install you can start it up with this command:

sudo service apache2 start

and test it in your browser: “http<beaglebone IP or personalized hostname>/”

You should see the “It Works!” page.

We’re done with Apache for now.

Installing PHP

To install or update PHP, run the following command:

sudo apt-get install php5 libapache2-mod-php5 php5-mysql

Once this is complete, let’s test it.  Navigate to /var/www and create a file named, ‘test.php‘ then add the following text:


Next, fire up a web browser and navigate to `http://<bbb_IP>/test.php`.

You should see a page filled with server/site/php goodness.

And we are done with the LAMP installation.  Easy right?

WordPress Install and Configuration

Now we get to the meat of this walk-through.  Let’s first decide where we’re going to put our WordPress site.  When you download WordPress and unpack it, you can put it in your root or in a sub-folder.  You an even have several instances running at the same time in several folders.  When I was working through this, I went a road less traveled by putting the site on a thumb drive and created a symlink from the web server root.  This creates quite a mess (I will write up a way to do this shortly) but for the purpose of getting a wordpress site up and running, we’ll start with the easy way.

The Easy Way

At this point, I am showing 1.1 GB of free drive space.  This should be more than apache_featherplenty to run WordPress right off the BBB.  First let’s download the WordPress files.  I can simply download the latest version to my home directory like this:

dfrey@ubuntu-armhf:~$ cd
dfrey@ubuntu-armhf:~$ wget -O wordpress.tar.gz
dfrey@ubuntu-armhf:~$ tar -xvpzf wordpress.tar.gz


Now, we should have the WordPress site files that I can copy to any directory.  Let’s try it out in the root of our web site.

sudo cp -r wordpress/* /var/www/

This just copied all the files to the root of my web server.  Let’s go check it out in the browser: `http://<bbb_ip>/`

huh?  We still get the same message as before.  Well, this is because we need to configure a couple things.  Since this is a manual installation of WordPress, we have a little more work to do but it’s easy.

In your browser, navigate to, `http://<bbb_ip>/wp-admin/`

You should see a message indicating the wp-config.ini is missing.  Click the `Create a Configuration File` button and you will navigate to the setup configuration introduction page.  You are going to need to have the following ready (we did most of this already so it’s no big deal).  I’ll add my info from above as an example:

  1. Database name – ‘science
  2. Database username ‘scienceadmin
  3. Database password ‘squirrelhunter01
  4. Database host ‘localhost
  5. Table prefix (if you want to run more than one WordPress in a single database) – You can create whatever prefix you like.  If I were going to put more than one WP site in the same database on this BBB, I would choose, ‘sci_‘, but for now we’ll go with ‘wp_

And click ‘Submit

When I ran this, The wp-config.php file couldn’t be written.  Not that this is a huge problem now but it will be shortly so let’s address this issue now.

We installed Apache as root, so the folders that where created by the installer are owned by root.  Apache runs under a user named www-data.  We need to change the ownership of the www folder so that apache can do it’s magic.  Navigate to /var then run this command:

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data www

This will change the ownership and group membership of the www folder and everything underneath it.  Now we can continue.  Hit your back button in the browser so you can see the configuration form again.  Click submit again and you should now get the “All right Sparky…” message indicating the config file was created successfully.

Now, let’s head on to setting up the actual WordPress site.   Click the “Run the Install” button.  Here, you will enter the title of the site that displays on the header,  the user name of the site administrator and the password for this user.  Don’t worry.  You didn’t miss anything, we’ll create this account inside of WordPress now.  These are for the site not the database.  They can be completely different or exactly the same.  It’s up to you.

Site Title:     Science
Username:  scienceguy
Password:   tesla@24
Email: (just made that up)
Privacy:       (turned this off)

Now click on the ‘Install WordPress` button.  The scripts will run for a while then take you to the `Success Page`.  Click Login then enter your username and password.  If everything was done correctly, you now have a spanky brand new WordPress site.

After installing, I still have just under 1GB of space left.  If you intend to install other things on your BBB, you might want to install other things off the board, on a thumb drive.  That walk-though will be coming in a couple days.

Oh, I forgot one thing.   You need to remove two files from your /var/www folder:

  1. index.html – this will override the WordPress pages (its why we didn’t get an error when we tried it before configuring WordPress)
  2. test.php – this has some server-specific information that a hacker could use against your BBB.

Now got to `http://<bbb_ip>/&gt;` in your browser and you will see the public version of your site.  Go WordPress Crazy and have fun.

Feel free to leave comments if you have any questions or if you found this walk-though useful.

I got so excited to post this, I forgot my link references.  Here you go:

Beaglebone Black : Cloud9 and Bonescript Install Guide

beagleIn my previous post about installing the GateOne terminal emulator, I mentioned that I wanted to replicate the experience and features for the OOTB Beaglebone image of Angstrom only on Ubuntu.  Well, I’m getting a little closer day by day.  This post was originally intended to be the installation of Cloud9 but as I was reviewing my notes, I decided to try getting Bonescript installed as well.  Both installations are contained in this guide.

Since I am fairly new to the BBB, I haven’t spent much time with Cloud9 or Bonescript. I was initially attracted to it because of its power to size ratio and that Ubuntu was an option.  However, I am planning to do some maker projects with the BBB, so I will get to test my handiwork.  Just understand that even though I got them running, I have yet to extensively test them.

Like with WiFi, a lot of people have struggled with getting Cloud9 running and I am no different.  Others mentioned and blogged about their successes but I was unable to replicate their success.  However, I will include the links to a couple blogs where I gathered information and inspiration.  I hope that this method works for you.  Let’s get started.

NOTE:  We will be removing the current version of Node from this instance, so if you have any dependencies on the current installation, you may wish to think twice before you proceed.

Installing the Prerequisites

First, we need to prepare our system for the install.

sudo apt-get install -y build-essential g++ curl libssl-dev apache2-utils git libxml2-dev

Also, we will need to remove node.js if it exists:

sudo apt-get remove nodejs

One of the blogs I used (Sam’s Site) indicated that downloading NVM (Node Version nodejs-logoManager) but I wasn’t able to get this to build correctly.  So I downloaded the latest version of Node and attempted to build it but it didn’t work either.  So, I split the difference between the minimum (v.0.6.16) and the latest (v.0.10.18) and settled with v.0.8.25.  I found it on the nodejs distribution page. I unpacked it, navigated into directory created, and then ran this sequence.  A word of caution: The ‘make’ step takes a while.  I literally burned hours compiling node on the BBB while I was working out which version would work.

sudo make install

After the install completed, rebooted the BBB and then when it came back, I ran the command:

node --version

and the return was:


Now, that node was installed, I cloned the Cloud9 repository (repo) from here:

I'm on Cloud9

I’m on Cloud9

I attempted the install instructions by changing directories to Cloud9 then executing:

npm install

This resulted in a miserable failure.  However, since with the node installation came the npm (node package manager), I thought there might be a Cloud9 package and sure enough, there was. So I changed to my home directory and altered my command to:

sudo npm install Cloud9

This actually worked.  However, I was trying a bunch of stuff and it all kind of got messy and I had 3 files.  I found them by typing in:


The one I was looking for was under ~/node_modules/cloud9. I changed directories to this directory and then executed:


The resulted in the application actually starting, much to my surprise.  However, when I navigate to the site (ex. http://bbb.local:3131), nothing came up.  After going back to the Cloud9 repo page on github, I found the configuration under the Installation and Usage section.  Adding the -l hostname flag will allow you to specify what machine can access the IDE.  You can use a wildcard and allow any machine to access the IDE, like so:

./ -l

Going back to my browser and navigating to the BBB on port 3131, The IDE finally came up.  Allowing any workstation to access the IDE can be risky.  You can add some additional security by specifying a username and password: -l --username test --password test2

When you open the web page, you will be challenged with a basic auth login modal.

Keep in mind, we are working on a Beaglebone Black, not an NSA network.  However, good security should always be considered.  As with the GateOne app, this one is rather new to me but when I start it up, I see the file structure of my Cloud9 folder.  I will need to figure out how to fine-tune this.

Finally, as promised, the installation of Bonescript was bloody easy.  Change your current directory to your Cloud9 folder and enter:

npm install bonescript

…and shortly, bonescript will be installed as well.  I am not going to explore the configuration or usage of bonescript yet because I simply haven’t used it yet but at least it didn’t blow up in my face when I installed it.

Bonus Round

I did some tidying up to release some space that was taken up from the install process. First I copied the the node folder from my home folder to /opt.  Next, I copied the cloud9 folder from ~/node_modules to /opt.  Then I removed the node, node_modules, tmp, and cloud9 folder from him home folder.  This released more than half of my previously free space.  What I learned here is that if you don’t  plan to use these tools, don’t bother to install them.  They use up precious space and are a bit slow.

I have yet to add cloud9 to my startup process but that shouldn’t be too difficult.  I already have a script that is kicked off from a cron job using the @reboot trick I mentioned in the Ubuntu Guide.  I will simply add this to it.

I hope that if you use the Cloud9 on the Angstrom image and are looking to moving to Ubuntu, you don’t hesitate because of this process.  I found it challenging but I learned about NodeJS, NVM, NPM, and the build/install process which I have not had much experience with before.  It’s fun and a great way to get to know your Beaglebone.  Best of all, if it fails miserably, you can always reimage and go back to the OOTB image anytime.

Let me know if you have any questions or if you discover some neat trick that expands this.  I would love to know more and to hear from you.

Related links: (Google search resulting in a log of crying and nashing of teeth)

Beaglebone Black : Cloud9 Running under Ubuntu

I'm on Cloud9

I’m on Cloud9

This is just an update that I have Cloud9 running under Ubuntu on the BBB.  I have had, until recently, no end of trouble getting this working but it’s done.  I am shoring up my notes and I have a few other things to tighten up to get this guide out to you but my goal is to have it up this evening.

UPDATE: It’s done!  Check it out HERE

Ubuntu on BeagleBone Black

beagle_squareLast week, I finally became frustrated with Angstrom on my BeagleBone Black.  It’s could be that I have no patience for it.  Or It could be that I need more time with it.  Either way, it caused me to creatively string together new manifestations of my “Football words” and we’ll just leave it at that.

Without looking back, I just burned it to the ground and grabbed the Ubuntu image and burned it to my 8GB card. Without issue, it ran fine.  I am not running any of these systems via a monitor, just via SSH.  I put the SD card in, rebooted and SSH’d to it.  I was so impressed with how easy it worked, I’m hooked.  I installeed java, maven and repeated my Karaf install as well.  I got nutty and installed apache web server and mysql just because I could and it was wicked easy.  Oh yeah, I thought my wireless adaptor was defective because I just wasn’t able to get it working on Angstrom.  It took about 15 minutes to get it working under Ubuntu.

Though I won’t call my time with Angstrom a waste, I will say that it’s just not my cup of tea and I felt right at home with Ubuntu.  My next project is to see if I can get one or two different CMSs running on it so I can say that I did.  I will post a walk-through for how I set up Ubuntu on the BBB and some How-Tos for some of the apps but they really are fairly simple.

UPDATE:  Read my newest post on setting up Ubuntu on the BeagelBone Black, a multi-part series.

Apache Karaf on BeagleBone Black

beagle_squareLast night, I finally accepted the challenge thrown down by a co-worker (Architect’s Log).  I recently received my BBB and have been getting familiar with the environment.

First, I jumped right into the terminal of Angstrom, the preloaded linux distro.  It took a little while but I’m getting used to some of the nuances.  I started off with following the BeagleBone Linux 101 guide which seems to track pretty close to my experience.  SUDO is not available in the package download but I found a site where I could download and manually install to get running.

The next step was to get Java running.  I downloaded the jdk-7u25-linux-arm-sfp.tar.gz from the Java SE Downloads page but it doesn’t seem to be there anymore… jdk-7u21-linux-arm-sfp.tar.gz will work too.

I added Java to my path and tested.  Here’s my method:

  • add the uncompressed folder to /opt (had to create)
  • create symbolic link to this folder called java.  i.e. ln -s /opt/jdk1.7.0_25 java
  • add this to my .bashrc: “export JAVA_HOME=/opt/java
  • and this as last line: “export PATH=$PATH:$JAVA_HOME/bin:$MAVEN/bin:” (did I forget to mention I installed maven too?  Don’t worry… that’s coming up).
  • restart the BBB: shutdown -r now
  • after server returns test with “java -version” and bask in the glory

So, then I installed maven nearly the same exact way.


I should add that I created a HOSTS entry for the ethernet interface for my BBB.Finally, I downloaded the source for karaf 2.3.2.  Once unpacked, I followed the instructions in the BUILDING file.  This didn’t go so well for me.  The build goes on for about 15 mins and then failed.  I tried a couple times but didn’t feel like debugging the issue (it was getting late).  I downloaded v.3.0.1.rc1 binary.  After unpacking to /opt I fired it up and it ran like a champ.  I even fired up the webconsole with “feature:install webconsole“.  Finally, on my laptop (on the same network), I navigate to http://beaglebone.local:8181/system/console/

So, the process worked but this is just the beginning.  Now I need to begin writing bundles to run on the BBB.  Check back to see how that goes.

Software Development Toolbox

Shortly, I will be doing a series of posts for people who want to get a start in building their own web sites but don’t know where to start. This will be aimed towards beginners and non-technical individuals to get you started in creating a web presence. If you have any suggestions for types of technologies you would like to see, please drop me a note