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What kind of software can you install on armbian?


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Hello guys,

 

I never used armbian or any other kind of mini ARM Linux distro. I'm thinking about buying one of these  ARM boards for a wireless access point and light server. What kind of packages can be installed on armbian? Can apache,  BIND, ansible, python3, DHCP server, for example, be installed on it? Are there any packages repositories?

 

Possible to use a more powerful wifi antenna on them or is a USB antenna needed?

 

Many thanks for any pointers on this.

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When discussing a problem make sure to provide full logs!

Any package - depending on selected flavor - from Debian or Ubuntu can be installed.

In a nutshell Armbian is a minimally adjusted Debian/Ubuntu with a working kernel beneath to work properly on the hardware. Therefore you mostly get the Debian/Ubuntu CLI user experience you are familiar with.

 

WiFi on Linux and especially on ARM devices has been an issue for decades now due to closed source firmware blobs and more.

You MAY find yourself in a situation where a board comes with WiFi shipped but it is non-functional. Vendors tend to do dirty hackjobs to get it somehow running in their often without source code released and even more often outdated kernels containing Linux OS. Armbian tries hard to avoid such behavior which inevitable leads into disabled board functions.

tl;dr: If somehow possible use wired networking.

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I can also add. There are multiple ways to install packages on Armbian(ubuntu/debian)
There is the apt way where you find most software. But if you can't find it there, you can also try snap (sudo apt install snap snapd)
There are a few nice programs there that aren't in the apt repo's. Like barrier(tool to share keyboard and mouse over different computers and operating systems)
Then there is also the possibility of flatpak. (sudo apt install flatpak) Takes up a lot of space, but if it works...
If you can't find it on any of those, then you can see if the source code can be downloaded and build for arm64/armhf. Most open-source projects allow this, and many have good instructions.
 

For SBC, I advice not to buy the newest shiny thing with greatest specs.
Do good research to find out what board/SoC is best supported. See if your devices work on it like wifi dongles or network adapters. Ask around.
And then buy the board you know will fit your goals.

With my first purchases I had luck that I bought the right boards for my goals. But after that I bought tons of devices expecting things that were not there.
Most devices took years to work well, and many others never worked as they should've.
I do like to tinker and try stuff till it works. But good research before buying saves you a lot of time to get things working.

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