It is time to choose a computer platform for our project. Being and old Apple fan I will use my MacBookAir. But fear not all Windows PC users, you will not be left out. You will be able to use your machines throughout this blog.
There are three things I will add to my MacBookAir.
- More memory
- More USB ports
- 3-button mouse
- Thunderbolt to Gigabit ethernet adapter
- SD card reader (USB connected)
To add more memory I bought a flash memory expansion card from PNY.
Inserted into the SD card slot in my MacBookAir it can hardly be seen.
The flash card comes formatted in exFat format. Keep it that way if you are using a Windows PC or want to move the card between Mac and Windows PC. I will change the format to Mac OS Extended using Disk Utility (speed up?).
Adding an USB hub
MacBook Air has only two USB ports. We need at least three. Adding an USB hub will solve that problem.
Adding a Thunderbolt to ethernet adapter
MacBook Air has no ethernet port so I will add a Thunderbolt to gigabit ethernet adapter.An USB to ethernet adapter will also do the job (max 100Mbit).
For more information about using this adapter see: Fixing the host computer.
Adding a SD card reader/writer
We need a SD card reader/writer when we are going to put Linux on a SD card. We have to make sure it is a USB2 device. VirtualBox can not handle USB3 memory card readers.
Setting up a virtual machine
To be able to run Linux on a Mac or a Windows PC we have to set up a virtual machine. We will use VirtualBox, a free virtualization software from Oracle. We could also have used VMware Workstation for Windows PC or VMware Fusion for Mac.
Read the user manual.
Download and install
The software can be downloaded from the VirtualBox download site.
Click the download link for your operating system.
Double click the VirtualBox.pkg to start the installation.
Create a virtual machine
Let's start the VirtualBox program.
To create a new virtual machine press the New button.
Later on we will install an Ubuntu 64bit Linux OS so we call this virtual machine "Ubuntu 64bit" and select the type and version.
We give 4MB (started with 2GB) of memory to our virtual machine (there is 8MB installed in the MacBook). This setting can be changed at any time before starting the virtual machine.
We create a virtual hard drive at the same time we create the virtual machine. We will set the size later on.
We use the default setting for the file type.
We use a dynamically allocated hard drive.
We make the virtual hard drive file maximum 64GB (the Xilinx Vivado installation takes up more than 20GB) and put it on the removable flash memory module. This makes it easy to move it to another computer if needed.
If you plan to install Android on the ZedBoard make the virtual hard drive as large as possible (120GB). The Android installation + build takes up at least 40GB.
We are now ready to create our virtual machine. Here it is.
Just one reminder. Don't forget to backup your virtual machine image file (.vdi) regularly. I have had two corrupted image files and there is no way (what I know about) they can be repaired.
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