Quick Start for Balsa

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Introduction

The Balsa system, based on Xubuntu 10.04 (lucid) version of Linux, is available for use as beta software. This page tells you what you need to download and run Balsa and then points to instructions how to do that.

Balsa uses an SD card to run on a computer. The SD card needs to have a Balsa system put onto it before it can be used to run Balsa.

You can produce a Balsa SD card on one computer and run it on a different computer. The computer you produce it on doesn't have to run Balsa itself.

What You Need to Run Balsa

In order to run Balsa, you will need the following:

  • An SD card — 4 (minimum) or 8 (recommended) gigabytes.
  • A computer with the following:
    • SD card reader — also see:#A Note About SD Card Readers
    • RAM: 512 Megabytes
    • CPU: 700Mhz or more; compatible with Intel x86
    • Screen Size: 800x480 (Some Balsa programs need 800x600)
    • Host hard drive: At least 1.5 gigabyte available space.
    • Fully updated BIOS: see these notes

To produce the Balsa SD card, the computer that you produce it on will need 5 or 9 gigabytes of space while the card is being built.

More details are available at: Balsa Hardware Requirements

A Note About SD Card Readers

On some older laptops, the SD reader can't handle a 4 or 8 gigabyte SD card. Other SD card readers used by some Dell Computers don't work with the Balsa system. In either of these cases, Balsa can be run on a separate USB SD card reader.

Downloading and Producing a Balsa SD card

Balsa SD cards come in either 4 or 8 gigabyte versions. Either version can be made be made on either a Windows or Linux machine. Both Windows and Linux use the same downloaded file for the card, and the card that is built will be identical to one on the other system. Choose one of these:

  1. Download and Produce a Balsa SD Card using a Windows Machine
  2. Download and Produce a Balsa 4 gigabyte SD Card using a Linux Machine
  3. Download and Produce a Balsa 8 gigabyte SD Card using a Linux Machine

Setting Up a Machine to run Balsa

If you have a Balsa SD Card and need to set up a machine, choose one of these:

  1. Set Up a Windows Machine for Balsa
  2. Set Up a Linux Machine for Balsa

Running Balsa

Once you have set up your machine, do this to run Balsa: Running Balsa

Removing Balsa

You can remove Balsa by doing one of these:

  1. Removing Balsa from a Windows Machine
  2. Removing Balsa from a Linux Machine

Other Documentation & Further Information

There are Other Advanced Balsa Configurations, although they are not officially supported.

Here's a complete list of Balsa documentation. Some of that documentation is outdated.

Contact Us

If you have any difficulty following these instructions, or have questions that are not covered here, you can contact the team in these ways:

  • Leave a comment.
  • Use our IRC channel
  • Send a message to balsa-dev at linux.lsdev.sil.org