BeagleBoard-xM update

Overall, I continue to be impressed with the BeagleBoard-xM. My initial impressions still stand, but there are a few issues that I have had to work around that either I'll (hopefully) find time to fix or will get corrected in a future update.

The BeagleBoard-xM booting with a random MAC address. This prevents DHCP from assigning a fixed IP address upon boot. While there is a patch posted on the mailing list to somewhat address this issue, I am still struggling with getting the OE/bitbake environment working for me in order to apply the patch. In the meantime, I have just set a fixed IP address in /etc/network/interfaces. Not an ideal solution, but it works.

A couple of issues are video related: the S-Video not being terribly well supported and the DVI interface not reading the EDID of the monitor and setting display parameters accordingly. Neither are likely to be an issue with the majority of users. Sadly, I'm not in that majority. The good news is that for my use for this board, video out is not needed. If I pick up a second board, it probably will be.

Finally, the Ångström distribution apparently being based on an unstable source tree is a bit of a headache. Upgrading packages fixes some problems (packages not being able to install certain packages) but creates others (graphical login breaks). And it's a constantly moving target (i.e. nearly daily updates.) I'm considering trying out the latest Ubuntu ARM image but am reluctant to do so since it sounds like Ångström provides the best support of the BeagleBoard-xM specific hardware features that I'd like to utilize down the road.

Despite these issues, the board has been solid and doing pretty much what I had hoped as a general purpose Linux device. A little bit of configuration hassle and being a bit temperamental with display devices hasn't deterred me: it's a great little board!

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