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Download & Install
You can download and install images for Angstrom, Ubuntu, and Debian onto you BeagleBone Black. I prefer Debian mostly because it is the distribution that is being actively supported and because more software runs on Debian because many people use it for a wide variety of projects. Examples include both Raspbian and Ubuntu which are both Debian derivatives. To download the latest Debian image for the Beaglebone, go t ( is usually a little out of date). Scroll down until you see something similar to BBB Rev C (4GB eMMC) and download the latest version. Refer to Adafruit's tutorial on copying an image to an SD card and flashing it to the Beaglebone for step by step instructions. You will need to put a small piece of tape over the small notch on your SD card adapter (opposite the lock switch) in order to write to the μSD card.

  • Username: debian
  • Password: temppwd

Before you try to do anything on the command line with this image, I recommend switching to the root user by typing sudo su. This will give you the necessary privileges to run all the commands below.

Web Server

The following info is from Virtual Machine Security's BeagleBone Black Rev C Setup 4GB MMC Debian - Getting Started Experience post.

There are actually 2 different web servers running on the BBB Rev C debian OS out of the box.

The default web server running on port 80 is served from the /var/lib/cloud9 directory on the local file system. The alternate web server running on port 8080 is served from the /var/www/ directory on the local file system.  There are no files in this directory from the factory and directory browsing is enabled so any files you place here will be listed in the browser.

The Desktop

This image ships with LXDE (a lightweight desktop environment). If you connect to your BBB using a USB cable, then you will need a way to remote into the desktop. You can do this by installing xrdp via apt-get install xrdp. Once installed, you will be able to remote into your BBB using Remote Desktop Connection on a Windows machines or Microsoft Remote Desktop on a Mac.

You can also connect your BBB directly to a Wifi network if you have a Wifi dongle (I suggest Adafruit's). The first think I like to do when setting up wireless on a BeagleBone is to uninstall Wicd: apt-get remove wicd-* --purge

Next, modify the /etc/network/interfaces file accordingly (uncomment and modify the WiFi example accordingly). It should look something like this when you're done:
# WiFi Connection
auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
    wpa-ssid "MyRouter"
    wpa-psk  "MyPassword"

apt-get [package name] (used to install software)
apt-cache policy [package name] (show which version is currently installed and which versions are available to install)

Updating Your BeagleBone Black
The Debian image for the BeagleBone Black has a few out-of-date packages that you'll want to update...
apt-get install libboost-all-dev (installs a more recent version of boost)