Beaglebone Black Rev. B

Purchased in October 2013, I originally intended the Beaglebone to be a stand-alone MPD server - which didn't really work out, amongst others because of the wonky HDMI. I repurposed it as my 'always on' webserver. PHP strained the poor thing (especially for the real dynamic pages like the front page article index), so I moved from flat-file PHP based CMSes (Pico CMS, then its fork Phile CMS) to Pelican, which simply generates full HTML pages.

This device is running Debian Jessie (Debian's ARM hardfloat port).

Hardware specifications

  • Texas Instruments Sitara AM3358 1 GHz ARM Cortex-A8
  • 512 MiB DDR3L RAM
  • 2 GB eMMC
  • 10/100 Ethernet (on-chip)
  • Micro-HDMI out

I had it for sale for a while but then decided it would be more interesting to recycle it as a full-time small webserver, so as not to be dependent on my x86_64 home server which shuts down during working hours.

The Beaglebone Black conveniently comes configured with an USB tethered network address so you can just hook it up to your computer through a USB port and SSH into it, or browse its documentation (there's an Apache web server running on the device by default as well, listening on the same address -

There are multiple Linux images around to replace Angstrom Linux with, but keep in mind not all configure the usb0 interface by default.

I decided to switch to Debian's catch-all ARM kernel package, which works fine, but leaves a humongous footprint on the tiny 2 GB eMMC (the Debian maintainer doesn't bother compressing modules, a practice most distributions have adopted years ago). It allowed me to lower maintenance (no more keeping up building kernels), but it also made my Beaglebone close to unusable; so with the website(s) having been moved to a VPS, I moved the remaining functions of the Beaglebone to the Odroid XU4, which has more headroom with 8 GB eMMC.

Updated: 2017-02-05