ASUS Tinker Minimal OpenEmbedded Distro

Updated 21/07/2017

Building an OpenEmbedded based distro for the Tinker board is easy to do with my meta-tinker OpenEmbedded layer hosted on github. If you encounter any errors in building please first refer to the Yocto Mega Manual before opening an issue on github.

What is OpenEmbedded

OpenEmbedded is a build framework with which a linux distro can be built from source. It is made up of a collection of tools and meta data, the main tool being bitbake, which is used to parse meta data and execute commands. The core set of meta data which contains recipes to build applications central to the majority of linux distributions is called oe-core. When we pair these two repositories with a Board Support Package (BSP) layer we have the building blocks to create a minimal linux distro for the board the BSP targets.

Building an OpenEmbedded Distro for the Tinker

This is a very breif overview and won’t go into detail on how a distro is put together, but you will end up with a tar file which can be extracted onto an uSD card and boot a minimal distro on the Tinker board. From here you then have the base to explore customising the build and extending the applications on the image.

First, clone the required repositories

mkdir oe-tinker
git clone git:// bitbake.git
git clone git:// oe-core.git
git clone git:// meta-tinker.git

Now initialise a new build directory

source oe-core.git/oe-init-build-env build bitbake.git/

This should have placed you in a new directory called build. Everytime you want to execute bitbake you have to source the above file to setup the environment.

Now we need to edit the new configuration files created under the conf directory.

├── bblayers.conf
├── local.conf
├── sanity_info
└── templateconf.cfg

In bblayers.conf, we need to add the meta-tinker BSP layer. In line with the other layers already present, add the following line with your build path.


We should now be ready to start the build. To do this we need to invoke the bitbake tool and tell it which recpie to build and for which machine. We want to build for the tinker and we want to build a basic linux image.

DISTRO=tinkerboard MACHINE=tinkerboard bitbake tinker-basic-image

Depending on your build machine specifications this can take from a couple of hours, to the best part of a day. In brief, this command is parsing all the meta data from our layers added in bblayers.conf. It is then going off to the internet and downloading all the sources for the application recipes, and finally comnfiguiring and building recipes. Everything is built from source, all the way from the cross-compiler to system applications which is why it can take a while!

Once the build has finished it will have created a tar file which is the full linux distro image including kernel and applications. It will also have created a u-boot binary which can boot the board from it’s initial bootloader. Now we flash the uSD card and we will have a booting board!

In the commands below ensure you replace sdX with your uSD device, and also make sure that the directory /mnt/tmp or a location of your choice to mount to exists.

dd if=tmp-glibc/deploy/images/tinkerboard/u-boot.bin of=/dev/sdX seek=64
mount /dev/sdX /mnt/tmp
tar xf tmp-glibc/deploy/images/tinkerboard/tinkerboard-basic-image-tinker.tar.gz -C /mnt/tmp
umount /dev/sdX

You should now be able to put the uSD card into the Tinker and a very minimal image will boot. This is just intended to be a base image and any extra functionality required needs to be added by yourself. The image unfortunatly does not support the graphics chip.

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