A Mutable Log

A blog by Devendra Tewari

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Embedded Linux system for Raspberry Pi with Buildroot

This post shows how easy it is to make a custom embedded Linux system for Raspberry Pi using Buildroot. I used an Ubuntu 13.04 VM for Parallels Desktop 9 to perform the build.

The Ubuntu VM required only a few dependencies and I could go ahead with the build. These I installed by executing

sudo apt-get install ncurses-dev git g++

I then obtained Buildroot release buildroot-2014.05.tar.gz and extracted it to a local folder using tar xvzf buildroot-2014.05.tar.gz. The procedure to perform the build and prepare an SD card is well documented in file board/raspberrypi/readme.txt.

I headed into the buildroot-2014.05 folder and prepared the appropriate .config file required by Buildroot

cd buildroot-2014.05
make raspberrypi_defconfig

Since I wanted to generate a persistent root file system, I followed that by executing


The build takes a while to finish. Once done, I followed the steps in the readme.txt mentioned above to prepare an SD card.

I already had an appropriately formatted SD card so I copied the relevant output files

rm /media/parallels/boot/*
cp output/images/rpi-firmware/* /media/parallels/boot/
cp output/images/zImage /media/parallels/boot/
sudo rm -rf /media/parallels/fc254b57-8fff-4f96-9609-ea202d871acf/*
sudo tar xf output/images/rootfs.tar -C /media/parallels/fc254b57-8fff-4f96-9609-ea202d871acf/

I was able to boot Raspberry Pi with the newly minted headless embedded Linux system, use an HDMI display to log in, and bring up the ethernet interface eth0.