I’m always looking for ways to increase the processing power for my LED projects. After getting through several Raspberry Pi SBC’s, I finally needed a more compact solution for running the accompanying software that drives many of my projects. I have a few “wearable” projects lined up, and while the rPi A+ is nice and small, it lacks quite a few of the features I am after, like battery charging, networking, etc.

Even with the (unofficial, and very unfortunately discontinued) ODroid-W from HardKernel (known for the ODroid-X platforms), long shipping times and a relatively high price-point make it a less-than-favourable alternative to the highly integrated Edison platform, which I can have delivered overnight from all the usual suppliers (RS, Digikey, etc).

What's better than one Edison? 4 Edisons!

What’s better than one Edison? 4 Edisons!

The Edison platform was designed with the Yocto project in mind. I have yet to fully dive into Yocto, but what I do know is that it is designed to allow users to create very streamlined, pre-built Linux distributions, that contain only what is needed for the actual product application. Sounds neat, but I need to have quite a bit of a play before I know what to “bake” into a Yocto image that satisfies all my requirements. So what do we do while trying to understand the Yocto ecosystem? Install Debian and have a play of course! I’ll detail my findings over this post, and hopefully point out a few ‘gotchas’ that caused me to scratch my head. 

I’ll be following the guide from Sparkfun on installing Ubilinux onto the Intel Edison platform.

Some prerequisites;


  • Intel Edison SoC Module
  • Intel Edison SoC Mini-Breakout board.
  • 2 x USB Mini Cables (The actual flashing can be done with one cable, but we’ll want to play after).
  • External DC PSU, if you want to play with USB host mode later.


  • PuTTY Telnet Client (Used to talk to the Edison over the hardware UART console, and later over SSH when we get the Wi-FI running)
  • 7-Zip, though I prefer to use WinRAR for dealing with archive files.
  • The Ubilinux Image, available from the link above, or here directly.
  • dfu-util for Windows – Provided by the Sparkfun.io community.