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 – Set Up Wireless on Ubuntu

Not Hard but Not Easy

wifiThis guide is the culmination of several dozens of hours or trial and error, cursing, and perhaps a little alcohol.  In my Ubuntu on Beaglebone Black setup guide, WiFi was conspicuously missing.  I did this because I felt WiFi needed its own treatment and the subject can differ radically based on the user’s WiFi card, experience with Linux, and comfort level with BBB.

Historically, I have been pampered by Ubuntu’s nature of “Just works.”  Having run my workstation for just over a year, there have been several little glitches but nothing that vexed me so much that I was ready to go “Office Space” on any machine.  However, getting WiFi running on my Beaglebone Black took me to the brink.  I know that I am not alone and I wanted to save anyone reading this from the same huge, frustrating exercise that so many before me have had.

Before we get started, let me set the stage and define the scope.

When I purchased my BBB from, I picked up the WiFi dongle at a price that was very reasonable.  With the community of BBB users, I thought if I can’t get it running surely someone else has.  Well, this is true but the path to success is long and meandering.  I had such a difficult time with it, I walked away from Angstrom and sought safe haven elsewhere, hence Ubuntu.  Now being on the other side of the WiFi issue, I cannot say that Angstrom was the problem (I still am not convinced it’s the answer).  I have read through countless numbers of posts on the subject and have seen every kind of solution, each of which, have failed.

A side note: I must apologize that I do not have the address for the blog that helped me get this working.  When I was setting this up, I was just trying the next in a long line of failed attempts to get the dongle working and I seriously did not expect it to work.  I have yet to find the blog but when I do, I will put the link here.

Finally, I was trying to configure the WiFi with Ubuntu and I stumbled upon a blog where someone pointed readers to some files.  I downloaded them and I was surprised that I was actually starting to make some progress but the instructions went on to give instructions that ended up not working.  However, I found another site that had a different network configuration that ended up working.  The following instructions provide the steps I followed to get Wifi working for my BBB:

auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp   
   wpa-ssid "URANUS"   
   wpa-psk "PASSWORD"

Finally, I started the WiFi interface by entering this command: sudo ifconfig wlan0 up.  When I ran ifconf, my wlan0 had an IP address.  I was able to ping it and ssh to the BBB through this.

But I was skeptical.  So I bounced the BBB and when it came back, I attempted to SSH to the BBB though the wireless and… SUCCESS!

So far, this seems to work.  I’m not crazy about putting any password into a config that’s not encrypted or somehow obfuscated but I have locked my BBB down pretty tight and it’s not exposed externally, so in this case, I’m ok with the risk but understand that it is a risk.  I was just not able to get any other configuration methods with iwconfig or wpa_supplicant to work.

Also, I am not really worried about my BBB getting an IP from DHCP while at home.  I prefer to create an IP reservation in my router’s DHCP table.  This allows me to change other network-related configurations on my router and I know that my clients will get the updates.  With static assignments, you will have to manually change these configurations on your client.

Maybe it’s not pretty but it gets the job done.  I will continue to work on this when I can get more sd-cards because I’m not crazy about roaching my current installation for the sake of experimentation.  When I have other results to report, I will post them here.

Good Luck!

Links related to this post:

BeagleBone Black – Installing Ubuntu – Part 2

OM Nom Nom

OM Nom Nom


Let’s Keep Going…

Back in Part 1, we got a lot done:

  • Installed Ubuntu 13 -Raring to a sd-card
  • Configured network stuff
  • Added IP Mailer script
  • Learned I don’t feed trolls

but there still so much more to do.  Let’s keep going…

System Updates

We really need to update the OS at this point.  Thankfully, this is wicked easy:

sudo apt-get update

When that’s done…

sudo apt-get upgrade

This second one will take about 3-5 minutes.  Once done, we are ready to rock! \m/

User Administration

Right now, we are still working under the default ubuntu user account.  This might be handy to have as a OSIS (oh s**t I’m screwed) account but we have to lock it down so we don’t invite trouble.  We also need to create our own user account and get our groups sorted out so we have access to sudo and continue our quest for BBB-Ubuntu nirvana.

First, lets get a new account going.  I created a user account by typing in the following:

ubuntu@ubuntu-armhf:~$ sudo adduser dfrey
[sudo] password for ubuntu: ****************
 Adding user `dfrey' ...
 Adding new group `dfrey' (1001) ...
 Adding new user `dfrey' (1001) with group `dfrey' ...
 Creating home directory `/home/dfrey' ...
 Copying files from `/etc/skel' ...
 Enter new UNIX password: ********************
 Retype new UNIX password: ********************
 passwd: password updated successfully
 Changing the user information for dfrey
 Enter the new value, or press ENTER for the default
 Full Name []: David Frey
 Room Number []:
 Work Phone []:
 Home Phone []:
 Other []:
 Is the information correct? [Y/n] y

(I added the asterisks for effect.  You will not see them when you create the user.)

Ok, so now we have a user with a default group of the same name.  We still need to grant access to the sudo group:

sudo usermod -a -G sudo dfrey

Here’s what’s going on with this command:

  • -a allows the group to be appended instead of being replaced
  • -G adds the specified group as supplemental group (-g) would be primary)
  • the second ‘sudo’ is the group designator
  • dfrey‘ is the user to which all this will be applied

You can test out your handy work by typing:

ubuntu@ubuntu-armhf:~$ su dfrey

Note:  This password prompt is for the ‘dfrey‘ password, not the existing user.  With this, we are actually logging in as ‘dfrey.’  Next, try:

dfrey@ubuntu-armhf:/home/ubuntu$ sudo date
[sudo] password for dfrey: 
Wed Sep 11 01:16:49 UTC 2013
dfrey@ubuntu-armhf:/home/ubuntu$ exit

Now that we have tested our user account, let’s reboot the BBB to make sure everything is working.  We are going to test a few things here:

  • We haven’t broken the BBB
  • The IP Mailer script works
  • We can log into the system with our new user

Cross your fingers, say a little prayer, and type in:

sudo shutdown -r now

When you get kicked out of your SSH session, start pinging the BBB with the address you’ve been using or use the Hosts file entry we talked about in Part 1.

If you start seeing this:

Host Unreachable

That’s a pretty good sign that the IP assignment has been changed for your BBB.  If your IP Mailer script is working, you should have an email waiting for you with your new IP.  Actually, it should be there with your current one whether or not it’s new.

If you have a valid IP address, then SSH back into the system. If you are having trouble, didn’t get the email and SSH doesn’t work with your current IP, go back to Part 1 and look for “The Hard Way.”  This process will help you get your IP.

However, we’re moving on, so catch up with us when you get done goofin’ around.

Secure The Default User

This distro of Ubuntu (as you are already aware) comes with a default user account, ubuntu.  The password is cleverly disguised as “ubuntu”  All the forces of the universe call on us to either disable this account or at the least, change the password.  We’ll go through both processes and you can choose which one is right for you.

Disable The “ubuntu” Account

To protect your new BBB, you need to shut this account down.  Since its preconfigured to the distro, you may be able to leverage it later so were just going to shut it down rather than outright delete it (which might still be a good idea for public accessable installations).

In the terminal simply type:

sudo passwd -l ubuntu

Now the account is still on the BBB but locked.  To unlock it is just as simple:

sudo passwd -u ubuntu

Voila!  Security! Just keep in mind that this may not be a fool-proof method.  If someone has accessed your BBB with a SSH key, this might not stop them.  Just keep an eye on who’s logging onto your system with the ‘last‘ command.

Now, don’t go and get all nutty and do this until you have a fairly secure system.  The “ubuntu” account may still come in handy.  Let’s make is a bit more secure though.

Change The Default Account Password

Assuming we logged in with the new user that we created above (in my case “dfrey“), let’s change the password for “ubuntu.”  In the terminal, follow along:

First, let’s log in as “ubuntu“:

dfrey@ubuntu-armhf:~$ su ubuntu
Password: <should still be 'ubuntu'>

Then we will issue the password change command:

ubuntu@ubuntu-armhf:~$ passwd
Changing password for ubuntu.
(current) UNIX password: <still 'ubuntu'>
Enter new UNIX password: <super difficult-to-remember, impossible-to-guess password>
Retype new UNIX password: <see above>
passwd: password updated successfully

Finally, let’s test that (the password verification was a test but we go above and beyond):

dfrey@ubuntu-armhf:~$ su ubuntu
Password: <super difficult-to-remember, impossible-to-guess password>

UPDATE: After posting this, I got to thinking that if changing the password or disabling the account is a good measure, one could change the password then lock the account and that gives you extra protection.  Just take this message home with you.  There are a lot of very cleaver people out there looking for an opportunity to mess with your chi.  Be proactive about your system security.

That’s all there is to that.

Save The Date

Because the BBB doesn’t have a real-time clock, Ubuntu needs to be configured to fetch the time on a regular basis.  You may not care but time can be an issue with regards to certificates and security tokens, so lets run though this exercise to get things up to snuff.

First, let’s see where we are.  Type in the following:

dfrey@ubuntu-armhf:~$ date
Wed Sep 11 01:20:23 UTC 2013

Since it is 9:20 PM where I’m at, we’re a bit off.  Navigate to /etc remove or backup your localtime file:

sudo rm localtime


dfrey@ubuntu-armhf:/etc$ sudo mv localtime localtime-orig

Now lets update the time file.  You should be able to navigate to /usr/share/zoneinfo and see a bunch of countries or zones.  Find the one you are in and if it’s a country drill down into that.  For instance the America folder has a file, New_York, which is in my time zone.  Yours will probably be different.

You will need to create a symbolic link in /etc to your timezone file.  This is how I did mine:

sudo ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/America/New_York /etc/localtime

Now we can see if your locale-base date will work.  We can update the date from a date server by entering the following:

dfrey@ubuntu-armhf:~$ ntpdate -b -s -u
dfrey@ubuntu-armhf:~$ date
Wed Sep 10 21:23:12 EDT 2013

So, we are mostly done here but we still need to check in with the time server to keep everything in lock-step.  If you are just browsing around, getting familiar with your BBB, you can do this maybe 2 – 4 times a day.  If you have date/timing apps, you will need to increase this due to clock drift.  Over at, dwatts has a section called “Setting the timezone.”   I used his awesome tutorial to initially setup up my BBB and I’m happy to report that the Timezone section works for Ubuntu.

So, let’s get to time-synching eh?

Back in Part 1, we added a script to cron so that it would run every time the system rebooted.  Well, we’ll be doing the same thing here but we need to set an interval.  I will give you two examples and you can choose which one you want.

For an update twice a day, add this line to your crontab file:

00 */12 * * * ntpdate -b -s -u

For updates every thirty minutes, add this line:

*/30 * * * * ntpdate -b -s -u

Either of these should work.


Ok, so you guys have been pretty good (except for those two goofs in the back) so I’ll throw you my alias list.  It’s not much but it keeps me cozy at night.

First, here’s the list:

alias c='clear'
alias reboot='sudo shutdown -r now'
alias la='ls -als'
alias lt='ls -alt'
alias mkdir='mkdir -pv'
alias path='echo -e ${PATH//:/\\n}'
alias sudo='sudo env PATH=$PATH'
alias now='date +%T'
alias nowtime=now
alias nowdate='date +"%d-%m-%Y"'
alias ports='netstat -tulanp'
alias apt-get="sudo apt-get"
alias updatey="sudo apt-get --yes"
alias update='sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade'

Now, let’s get these squared away.  By default, Ubuntu is going to set your profile to Bash (Borne-Again SHell).  It’s my favorite and it’s what I’ll be using for the example.

The cool thing is that Ubuntu was ready for you.  In your home directory, is a hidden file called .bashrc.  It contains a couple of the most popular aliases but there is an option for you to add more.  Simply create a new file in your home directory called: “.bash_aliases” and paste whatever you want in there and save the file.  Everytime you log in, your aliases will be loaded and available to you.

The final step is to log out (exit) from your SSH session and then log back in.  All your aliases will be ready to serve you.  .bashrc is parsed every time log on so doing this will update your personal profile configs.

In my next post, I will be installing and configuring several applications that I use including:

Oh and I haven’t forgotten the BeagleBone Black Ubuntu Wireless Configurations Throwdown.  That’s coming soon as well.

Please check back soon for that.

Linux Noobie: Built-in Link Checker – WGET

wgetAt work, we found that we needed a simple way to spider one of our sites just to get response times. We didn’t need anything too complex but we did need to have the spider run locally. I did some Googling and found a lot of open solutions but there was usually something not exact to our requirements. Then I rediscovered WGET.

What a wonderful tool. I have been using it since the beginning to snatch files off the web but I had no idea that it was able to actually spider a site.  Here’s the command that I started with:

wget --spider --force-html -r
  • ‘–spider’ option tells wget not to download anything
  • ‘-r’ option tells wget to recurse the entire site
  • ‘–level=n’ is an option that could be used to limit the recursive depth

One of the best features with this command is that it’s pretty much universal throughout linux installs which is extremely handy for me.

Linux Noobie – IPTables

iptablesI know I’m a muppet, you don’t HAVE to tell me…

(This will just be a quick and dirty touch upon some useful commands to completely FUBAR your IPTables configuration.  I’m NOT kidding.)

Yesterday, I was provided an opportunity to bask in the glory of IPTables, the defacto standard Linux firewall solution.  Our system engineer stood up a RHEL 6 server and then copied over a ton of data from our production CMS so we could do some performance testing.  This CMS has replication jobs that need to be reconfigured but that can only happen while it’s running.  In short, he erected an IPTables force-field for the server until I could reconfig the replication jobs.  We have a system and it’s worked great… until yesterday.  It seems that even System Admins like to take vacations.  So, I was on my own.  

The CMS/Content/Data was copied over successfully and the IPTables configured to prevent OUTPUT on ports (I’m making these up but you will get the point) 5805, 5806, and 80.  I have to get these turned off and the only person to help is Google.  Well, as with many things Google it’s either feast or famine and I was feasting.  There’s tons of great info on IPTables but I found one of my favorite sites, nixCraft, to be very helpful.  Here’s how I solved the problem:

First, I needed to be able to see what I was working with.  This was accomplished by listing out the IPTables configuration:

sudo iptables -L

This provided me with the following:

Chain INPUT (policy ACCEPT)
target prot opt source destination

Chain FORWARD (policy ACCEPT)
target prot opt source destination

Chain OUTPUT (policy ACCEPT)
target prot opt source destination
DROP tcp -- anywhere anywhere tcp dpt:5805
DROP tcp -- anywhere anywhere tcp dpt:5806
DROP tcp -- anywhere anywhere tcp dpt:http

So, I did some digging and found this article on nixCraft which is really good considering books have been written on the subject.  Since I knew that the admin created these entries, I just needed to drop them.  I found that you can reference these entries with line numbers and also limit the listing to specific sections.  Since I want line numbers and only the OUTPUT section, I put in this:

sudo iptables -L OUTPUT --line-numbers

and I got this back:

Chain OUTPUT (policy ACCEPT)
target prot opt source destination
1 DROP tcp -- anywhere anywhere tcp dpt:5805
2 DROP tcp -- anywhere anywhere tcp dpt:5806
3 DROP tcp -- anywhere anywhere tcp dpt:http

Now, to delete them, I used this command:

sudo iptables -D INPUT 1

The listing after this looked like:

Chain OUTPUT (policy ACCEPT)
target prot opt source destination
1 DROP tcp -- anywhere anywhere tcp dpt:5806
2 DROP tcp -- anywhere anywhere tcp dpt:http

Finally, rinse and repeat and then Save the config as follows:

sudo service iptables save

Just to make sure, I restarted IPTables service as such and then views the listing:

sudo service iptables restart

Everything looks the way I left it.  Now to test it.  I used telnet to call out to an external server listing on 5306 and it responded so I know that the firewall is allowing the traffic.


Linux Noob : DVDs From Ubuntu to Android

handbrakeA few months back, I bought a bunch of instructional dvds for guitar but I found that with my current household situation, I was constantly battling for control over the TV.  Bubble Guppies and Backyardigans wins everytime.  So, the videos sat unwatched and my sad guitars were played with the same old tunes.

I decided that since I had recently received a Kindle Fire for Father’s day, I could try to rip the DVDs down to manageable size and load them up on the Kindle.  With my primary OS being Ubuntu and my constant experiment to find software that handles the tasks previously left to Windows, I started looking for something that could decode the DVDs with with quality.

I did some searching around and discovered that Handbrake is the defacto standard for doing this within the community.  However, getting it ON my Ubuntu machine turned out to be a bit of a challenge.  That is until I found this post:

Within 5 mins, I had what I needed, no fuss, no crap.

Thank you,  You rock! (and soon, so shall I)  🙂

UPDATE:  The first DVD I ripped came out to about 470 MB.  Perfect for keeping my favorite lessons on the Kindle

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.