- Paperback: 162 pages
- Publisher: Packt Publishing Limited (17 December 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 178328157X
- ISBN-13: 978-1783281572
- Product Dimensions: 19 x 0.9 x 23.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #10,67,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Getting Started with Cubieboard Paperback – Import, 17 Dec 2014
Description for Getting Started with Cubieboard
About the Author
Olliver M. Schinagl is Austrian-born and a software developer at heart with a strong interest in electronic engineering. Embedded software is where both his passions come together. Having lived in the Netherlands for most of his life, Olliver is currently working at Ultimaker, a 3D printer manufacturer, where his love for Linux, free and open source software, and embedded development is satisfied. Having worked on open source projects, and as a longtime member of the linux-sunxi community, Olliver has in-depth and hands-on experience with Allwinner-based hardware. He always had a desire to teach but a stronger desire to work on open source projects and embedded hardware. Thus, when offered the chance to write a book in his spare time, he decided to listen to his inner voice and took the chance to use the printed form to teach. Having never done any writing except for academic work, this was both a challenge and a great experience. Hopefully, you will appreciate the effort and not only learn from the things brought via this book, but also gain the appetite to work out creative ideas, put the knowledge to good use, and share it with others so they can then benefit from it.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
For me, the chapter on manually installing an OS was the most helpful. I'm familiar with Linux but far from an expert, and this section explained the various options and decisions that are required when configuring an OS. It shows how to set up the OS on an SSD rather than on the SD card, which is something that many users will want to do.
The chapter on setting up a home server was also useful. While it was not specific to the Cubieboard, the services that are discussed in this chapter are typical of those that would be used in many installations. Topics include remote access, scheduling jobs, setting up web/proxy/file/torrent servers, and installing a personal cloud.
There's a section on the FEX configuration file, how it is used, and how it can be modified. This chapter, as well as the one on troubleshooting, are pretty brief. While the information is good, I would have appreciated more depth. Also, there's an appendix with a cheatsheet of some commonly-used Linux commands. Again, it's not specific to the Cubieboard, but I was glad to have it available as a convenient reference.
Overall, this book is well written, and was easy for me to read and understand. For those who think, "OK, I just got my Cubieboard, now what do I do with it?", it's a great guide.
The initial Cubieboard uses the A10 System-on-Chip (SoC) from Allwinner. Since then, many developer boards based on Allwinner have appeared, included the updated Cubieboards from CubieTech, boards from Olimex, Itead and Lemaker. Among those, personally I think the OLinuXino range of boards from Olimex is what to go for nowdays.
This book is a gentle introduction into the Cubieboard and other developer boards that are based on the Allwinner SoCs.
Normally, when you get a Cubieboard or a developer board based on an Allwinner SoC, it comes with Android. The interesting stuff happen once you install a GNU/Linux distribution. Also, a developer board is like a computer motherboard, with some extra connectivity pins to attach to devices.
1. covers the initial task of identifying the components on the board and setting it up to connect to your computer,
2. covers the process of installing a ready-made GNU/Linux distribution on the Cubieboard. Specifically, it talks about Fedora, and an image for Fedora is included in the support material of the book. There are such images for Debian and Ubuntu at http://linux-sunxi.org/Bootable_OS_images that can be installed in the same way.
3. covers the process of installing step-by-step a distribution manually. This is one of the highlights of the book, and it is necessary when you customize the software for your board.
4. covers the use of the Cubieboard as a home server.
5. covers how to compile the bootloader and kernel of the Cubieboard on your computer, with instructions for several GNU/Linux distributions.
6. covers how to connect to external devices and sensors through the "GPIO" pins. These pins are programmable and as an example, the book describes how to connect an LED and how to write a program to light it up. After this initial software configuration, it is possible to connect all sort of devices and sensors.
While most advanced topics such as video/graphics manipulation aren't addressed in depth with this book (as those are also subjects for more advanced use), it'll most definitely help getting started with the board, so if you're at this point, might as well consider reading it!