The NVIDIA SDK Manager installs the operating system, libraries and SDKs on the Jetson Developer Kits. Looky here:
When NVIDIA introduces a new Jetson model, they usually come out with a new revision of JetPack to support it. In this case it is the Jetson Nano Developer Kit. However with the new JetPack 4.2, NVIDIA is also introducing the SDK Manager.
The SDK Manager is a completely new, much improved installer which runs under Ubuntu 16.04 or 18.04 on a PC. JetPack now refers to the collection of OS, libraries and tools which run on the Jetson platform.
Note: If you have a Jetson Nano and simply are trying to create a SD card, follow the procedure to download a disk image and flash the SD card directly.
The SDK Manager may be used to install the development tools on a Jetson Development Kit, either a Jetson AGX Xavier, TX2, TX2i, or Nano. You can read more information on the JetPack web page. There’s a list of all of the System Requirements, as well as the different tools that can be installed.
In addition to a Jetson, you will need another desktop or laptop computer with an Intel or AMD x86 processor. These types of machines are commonly called a PC for Personal Computer. This computer is referred to as the host for the flashing process. JetPack is an x86 binary and will not run on an ARM based machine like the Jetson. In the video, a Dell laptop is being used as the host.
For the most part, installation pretty easy. From an Ubuntu 16.04 PC or 18.04 64 bit host computer, you simply download the JetPack software from the NVIDIA web link above (you’ll have to sign in with your developer account to download JetPack) and follow the instructions in the setup guide.
The NVIDIA instructions are quite wonderful now. You should not have any issues following them.
The set of tools that you can install is flexible. You have the option to install a cross compiler on the host for building your Jetson programs on your PC.
Installation from the demo host computer to the Jetson took about an hour fifteen all together, including all the downloads on a 30 MBs Internet link, flashing the Jetson.
One thing I did notice in the setup, if ‘Automatic’ is chosen to set the Jetson into recovery mode and the Jetson has a version 3.X version running, then there may be issues like the Jetson doesn’t go into force recovery mode.
In the video, we set the Jetson TX2 into force recovery mode manually. Note: You do not need to have the Jetson connected to a network for the install, only the USB connection to the host computer using the micro USB connector. This is different from previous versions of the JetPack installer.
A nice new addition is the ability to download all of the images and supporting libraries, and then flash the Jetson offline.
Note: Some of the virtual machines just won’t work with JetPack.
Note: On the Jetson Nano, the procedure to enter recovery mode is different. Refer to the installation manual for details.
Here are some of the JetPack release highlights for the version 4.2:
- Linux for Tegra (L4T) 32.1.0
- LTS Kernel 4.9
- CUDA 10.0
- Multimedia API
- Tegra Graphics Debugger
- Tegra System Profiler
Here’s how to install some of the JetPack 4.2 samples. Looky here:
Do I have to have an Ubuntu PC?
The short answer is yes. You may be able to use a VM, but it is not officially supported. Here’s what NVIDIA wrote in the Jetson Forum:
The flashing must be performed from within 64-bit Linux on an x86-based machine. Running an Ubuntu x86_64 image is highly-recommended for the flashing procedure. If you don’t already have a Linux desktop, and are trying to avoid setting up dual-boot, you can first try running Ubuntu from within a virtual machine. Although convenient, flashing from VM is technically unsupported — warning in advance that while flashing from within VM, you may encounter issues such as the flashing not completing or freezing during transfer. Chances will be improved if you remove any USB hubs or long cables in between your Jetson and the host machine.
The next logical step would be to boot your desktop/laptop machine off Ubuntu LiveCD or USB stick (using unetbootin tool or similar).
Finally, if you have an extra HDD partition, you can install Ubuntu as dual-boot alongside Windows. Flashing natively from within Ubuntu is the supported and recommended method for flashing successfully. It may be wise to just start in on dual-boot from the get-go, otherwise you may end up wasting more time trying to get the other (potentially more convenient, but unsupported) methods to work.
If you encounter issues, please ask questions on the Jetson & Embedded Systems development forums.
The first time through, setting up the system and flashing the Jetson can take around a little more than an hour or so depending on your download speeds and the speed of your PC. In the video, a simple cable modem 30MBs was used for downloading. Downloading all of the components only happens the first time you do an installation, subsequent installations check for updates and if none are available then simply flash the Jetson, saving a lot of time.