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NVIDIA Tegra binaries for Debian
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This is tested on Debian Wheezy and mostly adapted from


That said, the goal is not to flash anything on Ouya. Kernel is booted from memory and Debian from USB stick or SD card.

Known issues

  • Not properly tested, so there is a bunch unknown issues.
  • Low-power core doesn't work (kernel crash)
    • CPUfreq with ondemand governer works though.
  • Gstreamer usually assumes xvimagesink as the video sink, but nvxvimagesink must be used.
    • Totem obeys gconf: gconftool-2 -s /system/gstreamer/0.10/default/videosink nvxvimagesink --type=string
  • Wifi firmware binaries not included, they need to be copied from the Android rootfs.

Setting up the rootfs

Prepare a USB stick

Partition an USB stick (I used SD card in a small USB reader) and give e.g. 512M for swap, the rest for EXT4. I recommend using at least 4GB stick.

Use mkswap and mkfs.ext4 to initialise the partitions. If your system is properly set you shouldn't need even sudo for that while you would need sudo to format your actual root partition.

Mount the USB stick:

Change the sdX2 below to match your setup.

export TARGET=/mnt/rootfs
sudo mkdir -p $TARGET
sudo mount /dev/sdX2 $TARGET

Extract base system packages to the USB stick:

sudo debootstrap --verbose --arch armhf --foreign wheezy $TARGET

Prepare for chroot:

sudo apt-get install qemu-user-static binfmt-support
sudo cp /usr/bin/qemu-arm-static $TARGET/usr/bin
sudo mkdir $TARGET/dev/pts
sudo modprobe binfmt_misc
sudo mount -t devpts devpts $TARGET/dev/pts
sudo mount -t proc proc $TARGET/proc

Finish the base system installation:

sudo chroot $TARGET

You should see I have no name!@hostname:/#

/debootstrap/debootstrap --second-stage

At the end, you should see I: Base system installed successfully.

Configuring rootfs while still in chroot

Setup sources.list:

cat <<END > /etc/apt/sources.list
deb wheezy main contrib non-free
deb-src wheezy main contrib non-free

apt-get update

Configure language:

export LANG=C
apt-get install apt-utils dialog locales
dpkg-reconfigure locales

Choose en_US.UTF-8 for both prompts, or whatever you want.

export LANG=en_US.UTF-8

Install some important stuff:

apt-get install dhcp3-client udev netbase ifupdown iproute openssh-server iputils-ping wget \
net-tools ntpdate ntp vim nano less tzdata console-tools module-init-tools mc

Configure ethernet with dhcp and set hostname:

cat <<END > /etc/network/interfaces
auto lo eth0
iface lo inet loopback
iface eth0 inet dhcp

echo ouya > /etc/hostname

Create filesystem mounts:

cat <<END > /etc/fstab
# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
# <file system> <mount point>   <type>  <options>       <dump>  <pass>
/dev/root      /               ext4    noatime,errors=remount-ro 0 1
tmpfs          /tmp            tmpfs   defaults          0       0
/dev/sda1      none            swap    sw                0       0

Activate remote console and disable some local consoles:

echo 'T0:2345:respawn:/sbin/getty -L ttyS0 115200 linux' >> /etc/inittab
sed -i 's/^\([3-6]:.* tty[3-6]\)/#\1/' /etc/inittab

Set root passwd:


Add normal user:

adduser ouya
adduser ouya video
adduser ouya audio
adduser ouya plugdev

Install XFCE and Slim login manager:

apt-get install xfce4 xfce4-goodies totem midori slim

Add "vt1" to xserver_arguments in /etc/slim.conf

Install Tegra 3 proprietary binaries, configs, headers and pkgconfig files:

dpkg -i tegra30-r16_3-*_armhf.deb

Finish up with the chroot:

Log out from the chroot and extract kernel modules to the target:

sudo tar zxf modules-3.1.10-tk*.tar.gz -C $TARGET/lib/modules/

Kill any process started in the chroot (lsof $TARGET) and finally unmount the target:

sudo umount $TARGET

Install adb and fastboot to the host Debian:

sudo dpkg -i android-tools*deb

Booting Ouya

Reboot Ouya to fastboot:

adb reboot-bootloader

Boot Ouya with the kernel:


fastboot boot zImage-3.1.10-tk*


The BCM firmware binaries may not be redistributable so they need to be copied from the Android rootfs after booting to Debian:

mount -o ro /dev/mmcblk0p3 /mnt/
mkdir /lib/firmware/bcm4330/
cp /mnt/etc/firmware/nvram_4330.txt /lib/firmware/
cp /mnt/vendor/firmware/bcm4330/fw_bcmdhd.bin /lib/firmware/bcm4330/
# Not sure where BT firmware should be in
cp /mnt/etc/firmware/bcm4330.hcd /lib/firmware/
cp /mnt/etc/firmware/bcm4330.hcd /lib/firmware/bcm4330/
umount /mnt
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