TK1 OS issues.

Hi, I intend to buy this board to develop an autonomous robot. Could you please answer the following questions:

  1. Assuming that I will only use an open source tools like OpenCV, or I will use other licensed software, may I use this robot commercially afterwards (e.g. sell it)?
  2. Is the Linux for Tegra an operating system, or a package of libraries? If it is an OS, what is the difference between L4T and Debian/CentOS/Ubuntu? Why instructions for installing L4T include serial port (rs232) and USB port connections? Will not it be easier to install it directly on the board using Internet access?
  3. May I install RTLinux kernel patch on it and use it efficiently? I have heard about some incompatibilities. What about ROS libraries?
  4. What kind of OS is installed on the board initially?

Thank you in advance! I realize that the questions may seem trivial, but I have found some contradictory information and I just want to be sure.

Best regards,
Pawel Ptasznik

With open source, you can sell it. With other licenced software it’s up to the particular software and you need to read the license of everyone of them to know for sure.

Linux for Tegra is basically an “overlay” to Ubuntu, so it’s Ubuntu with Tegra drivers (bootloader, kernel, OpenGL, X.Org, Multimedia, etc.)

If the board is empty, you can’t start it and therefore you can’t install anything on it. So you need the usb to install the initial OS in there using your PC. Jetson ships with Ubuntu with limited drivers (iirc), so you need to check the README about how to complete it.

I’m not familiar with RTLinux but applying kernel patches is always a risky business.

I don’t know anything about the ROS either but looks like they are providing the Ubuntu packages only for x86 architecture, not ARM.

I currently maintain the ROS binaries for ARM, and I just picked up a Jetson TK1 to play around with.

Since it looks like the Jetson TK1 image is based on Ubuntu 14.04, you’ll want to try compiling ROS Indigo on it, since that’s the version of ROS that is supported on 14.04.

I’m currently doing a source installation on my board, to see how it performs and what issues are likely to come up, and making notes about the process on my blog over at

I’m going to look into building ROS Indigo debs for Ubuntu Trusty, and possibly a separate distribution for L4T, depending on how the CUDA-accelerated OpenCV libraries look, and if it’s possible to redistribute them for Linux or not. It’ll probably take me a month or two before I have a set of builds put together.

Not sure it’s 14.04, the release notes show that the kernel is 3.10, which would put it between 13.04 and 13.10. I don’t have my board with me to check the repos offhand, though.

The kernel isn’t really tied to a certain Ubuntu version (or vice versa). So while Ubuntu for X86 ships with certain kernel, the ARM specific kernels often deviate from that. I.e. it should be possible to run several different Ubuntu versions with the same kernel, although of course usually one combination is properly tested while others may not be.

Based on the “Sample file system README” in the rel-19 page, the sample file system Ubuntu is 13.04.

For anyone interested, I’ve added ROS Indigo to my ARM builds, and most of the core packages install quite nicely on the TK1.

The official install instructions are at