Installing Debian or Ubuntu on a Cubox i4-Pro

IMG_0434In March I got my hands on a new Cubox i4-Pro, for those who don’t know what it is… its basically an armv7l based “raspberry-pi style” 2″ cube on crack! It packs a Quad Core 2GHz armv7l i.MX6  variant architecture with 2GB of memory, on board bluetooth,wifi,esata,usb and more. Its pretty damn cool… Until recently I didn’t really have time to get it all up and running, but after unboxing it last week, I realised… damn this thing is tiny and must pack a punch… So I get it out the box and I wonder… so…. erm…. how do I get something running on this thing. After a quick lazy trawl of Google I noticed there isn’t a lot of info compared to other dev-boards and systems and a lot of info seems out of date. So here is my attempt to making a first post of a few, this one aimed at getting you up and running immediately on a CuBox i4-Pro with a “no-frills” approach… Next in line, i’ll maybe do some posts on how to build your own image, kernel and more. These instructions are for Linux / Mac OS X only really. Those using Windows, google is your friend :).

  • Firstly download the latest debian jessi image from (note: if you browse around there you’ll find both an ubuntu and geexbox image also).
IMG_0435 IMG_0436

Now you’ve got all that downloaded. The next step is to extract it using the ‘xz’ utility. Much like any other compression utility, this one is a little different as it uses lzma but supports the usual commands.

xz --decompress debian-jessi-4-july-2014.img.xz

You should now be left with a .img file thats ready to copy over to your Micro SD card 🙂 To do this we’ll be using the ‘dd’ utility that ships with most variants of Linux and Mac OS X. Windows users can find `windd` via the google link above 🙂

But before hand… you’ll need to find out which device on your system is your Micro SD card and make sure NOT mounted!

Mac OS X :

~# diskutil list
#: ......
#: ......
0: FAT *31.97GB disk2

~# diskutil unmountDisk disk2

Linux :

sudo fdisk -l
sudo umount /dev/somedevice

Now you know which device you want… its time to copy over that .img! For this we’ll be using ‘dd’. Depending on which version of ‘dd’ you’ve got on Mac OS X or Linux, the command will vary very slightly, but remain very similar.

Mac OS X:
sudo dd if=/path/to/debian-jessi-4-july-2014.img of=/dev/disk2 bs=16384

sudo dd if=/path/to/debian-jessi-4-july-2014.img of=/dev/sdb bs=16M

On Linux you’re likely to see progress, but on Mac OS X, nothing will “appear” to happen and the command prompt will hang, but trust me… thats a good thing, its copying… Once done. Your prompt will return to normal and after a few seconds, you can safely pull the Micro SD out of your machine.

Now place that Micro SD into your Cubox i4-Pro upside down. Plug in some power and Ethernet… and boot! 🙂



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