If you use JetPack/SDK Manager you don’t need to download anything. It downloads and installs it all.
If you want to know more about what actually goes on that you don’t see, the history is that JetPack did not always exist. Everything was flashed on command line from a Linux host PC. The Jetson itself becomes a custom USB device when in recovery mode, which implies it needs a custom USB driver (many people think flash turns everything into a bulk/mass storage device, but this is very far from correct). That flash software is appropriately known as the “driver package”.
The driver package needs to generate a partition to flash. The content which goes on this partition starts with the “sample root filesystem”, but preparing it requires first running the “
apply_binaries.sh” script (with
sudo; and the sample rootfs would need to be unpacked correctly with
sudo on a native Linux filesystem type). The
apply_binaries.sh script is the part which adds the NVIDIA content to what would otherwise be a purely Ubuntu rootfs. One of the reasons for this is that NVIDIA is not modifying the Ubuntu filesystem; instead, it is the end user doing this, which makes it easier so far as EULAs and licenses go.
Once the rootfs is correctly prepped you don’t need to run
apply_binaries.sh again (assuming this is manually performed, but JetPack does this for you). At some point the GUI app JetPack was created to allow for a few things the command line does not do. The driver package does not have the ability to install optional packages, e.g., CUDA, and with command line you’d need an alternate method to install this using the version specific to Jetsons. JetPack also has the ability to use
ssh on a fully booted Jetson to install that optional content once the system boots and you have a login account set up.
However, JetPack (by itself) does not have networking abilities. That’s why SDK Manager was added. This is the layer which helps to find and match software that JetPack can work with for a specific release, and then download it without the user having to find everything. So JetPack with SDKM implies you don’t download anything else, it does all of this correctly. You don’t need to download or deal with the sample rootfs with that method. If you want to flash on command line just ask, the steps differ, but if you are not manually flashing on command line, just use JetPack/SDKM. Incidentally, even if you flash on command line, JetPack/SDKM installs that too, so you could use JetPack/SDKM to download, and then still flash on command line.
The flash software itself will create a partition image at the time of flash (at least for eMMC models; SD card models are newer an have different procedures since flash to the module is boot content only in QSPI memory, with the o/s on the SD card as a separate manual step).
If you’ve installed the flash software (via JetPack or manually), then you will have a “
Linux_for_Tegra/” subdirectory (for JetPack this will be at “
~/nvidia/nvidia_sdk/JetPack...version.../Linux_for_Tegra/”). With the exception of the “
rootfs/” subdirectory this is the “driver package”. The “
rootfs/” is populated with a purely Ubuntu filesystem, then modified to contain the NVIDIA content. This is almost an exact match to what gets flashed.
During manual flash (or indirectly during JetPack flash) the command line arguments will cause the kernel and device tree and perhaps some firmware to be added in to the “
/boot” content (or related content) during flash. In the “
Linux_for_Tegra/” directory you will notice several “
*.conf” files. The ones starting with the “
jetson” in their name are symbolic links which a more common name for the hardware pointing at other files which are named after the exact model names (in a technical format, not the human format). That technical format has two components: One for the module model, the other for the carrier board model. To see this check out “
ls -l *.conf” from “
Linux_for_Tegra/”. Command line flash targets are any of those
.conf names with the
Jetsons don’t have a BIOS. What they do have is the equivalent in software. For eMMC models, that BIOS equivalent and the boot content is in signed partitions. For SD card models, that content is in QSPI memory on the module itself. The rootfs of eMMC models goes into an eMMC partition, and the rootfs of the SD card models goes on the SD card. The SD card model flash is typically aimed at QSPI flash. Notice in the earlier “
ls -l *.conf” that there are some targets with “
qspi” in the name? An example is this target/conf file:
When you flash a Jetson you are not just flashing the o/s, you are also flashing the equivalent of BIOS and boot content. This is a big reason why one might need to flash the Jetson module itself for SD card models…so the BIOS setup is correct before handing off to the o/s.
Many many cases on SD card models involves a flash command which might name an SD card, but not really flash the SD card. The boot content needs a pointer in QSPI to the boot device, and so the flash of QSPI might name an SD card, and flash to put a pointer in the QSPI, but not actually create an SD card. There is other documentation if you wish to create SD cards from that same release (many people just use the SD card image which is also available from that release page).
That documentation URL you found is correct, but that is for manual flashing. If you download the SDK Manager from the correct release version, and install that on the host PC, you then run “
sdkmanager” on command line, without
sudo, and sdkm then performs all of the downloads and setup and flash without needing to know about the
Do note that earlier on in history there was a default login name and password. At some point California law stopped allowing this default setup due to so many things being hacked based on never resetting a default. At that point NVIDIA changed to a first boot account setup whereby you are asked for a login name and pass to create during the boot, e.g., while directly connected to the Jetson or via serial console (which is sort of directly connected). This has to be completed before JetPack can finish installing the optional software, e.g., CUDA.
As an alternative, from your “
Linux_for_Tegra/” directory, you can run this to pre-create the login:
(older releases did not have this in the “
That script will ask you for a login name and password to set up in the
rootfs/ of the host PC. From that point on every flash will have that account name and pass already set up. This means it is not a default shipped password if it is the end user who sets this up. A company mass producing and using that and then shipping to California might have some problems.
So just use
sdkmanager. Don’t bother with the driver package or sample rootfs download.