Motherboards that run Linux

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Motherboards that run Linux, and are open hardware. Some of these have all the connections you may expect on a PC, while others don't.


Elphel camera

Elphel cameras are free software and open hardware cameras. The cameras run Linux. The cameras have several interfaces -- 10/100 Ethernet, USB, IDE, RS-232, etc. It uses a FPGA for video processing and video compression. More information here at Open Circuits: Elphel camera; and at the Elphel wiki.

ARMUS Embedded Linux Board

An ARM920T board running Linux at 200 Mips with sound, Ethernet, CAN, 48+ bidirectionnal IOs and 4 DSPs for motor control (DC, Servos, etc...). Built as a student proof robotics design platform.


The Bifferboard has:

  1. 150MHz CPU, Intel 486SX instruction set, MMU.
  2. 1 watt power consumption (200mA @5v)
  3. 68mm x 28mm x 21mm (weight 28g)
  4. 32MB SDRAM/8MB Flash
  5. OHCI/EHCI USB 2.0
  6. 10/100 ethernet
  7. Serial console 115200 baud (can be used as 2 GPIO)
  8. 4-pin JTAG (can be used as GPIO)
  9. 2 permanent GPIO (1 LED, 1 button)

Balloon Xscale ARM+FPGA dev board

The Balloon project has produced Balloon3, a high-performance ARM board designed for use by OEMs and Higher education. Spec is PXA270 (583Mhz), FPGA or CPLD, 1GB flash, 784MB RAM, USB (master, slave, OTG), CF slot, expansion bus, 16-bit bus, I2C, LCD, serial, audio. Very low power in CPLD confiuguration. Small, light. Various add-on boards: VGA LCD driver, robot motor driver+A/D, digital IO. Released under the Balloon Open Hardware license, which allows anyone to manufacture and for people to make derivatives. The expansion bus allows balloon to be used as the computing component for various special-purpose devices.


The linuxstamp is an open source processor module. It is designed to be a very simple board capable of running linux. It is based on the Atmel AT91RM9200 processor (An ARM9 processor with a MMU).

Linuxstamp Mboard 1

This is the first mother board for the linuxstamp. It is still in the planning stages (no pcbs).

Linuxstamp II 9260

The Linuxstamp II is an open source processor module. It is designed to be a very simple board capable of running linux. It is based on the Atmel AT91SAM9260 processor (An ARM9 processor with a MMU).

Linuxstamp II 8-channel RC Control board

Motherboard for the Linuxstamp II to interface with RC servos.

LART -- an open license StrongARM based tiny SBC (broken link) LART -- an open license StrongARM based tiny SBC.

"All CAD files required for building LART are available under the closest we could get to an Open/Free Hardware License." The link in the Linux Devices article no longer works; the most recent link is . 75 mm x 100 mm.

  • "Tiny "open hardware" SBC now available commercially": "Aleph One Ltd and Remote12 ... announce that they are able to supply LART boards, with a User Guide, software and cables." 2001.
  • "Open hardware for open software" "Aleph One Ltd of Cambridge, England and Remote 12 Systems Ltd of London, England are now able to supply both LART and KSB boards, plus a User Guide, software, and cables." 2001. "The KSB board plugs onto LART and provides: IDE/ATA interface (44 pins on 2mm centers); stereo 16-bit 44KHz audio output at line and headphone levels; PS/2 connections for mouse and keyboard; mono audio I/O, POTS and ADC fron a UCB 1200chip; connectors for IrDA, USB Client, video, and touchscreen."
  • "More LART SBCs?" 2002.


Gumstix - Motherboards the size of a stick of gum

A Gumstix motherboard is called a COM, which stands for computer-on-module. Gumstix COMs are inexpensive, and have RAM/Flash, 802.11b/g, Bluetooth and power management "on COM". Each COM connects to a wide variety of openly published expansion boards that include USB interface (gadget mode and host mode) and have things like Ethernet, GPIO and LCD module interface.

An Overo COM is powered by a Texas Instruments ARM-based Stellaris, DaVinci or OMAP 35xx processor. A Verdex Pro COM is driven by a Marvel PXA270 (Verdex Pro series).

Very cool site.

All expansion boards are open hardware.

Designing with Gumstix

Gumstix Developers Center.

User Wiki

Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi is a low-cost (USD $35; GBP ~£22) credit-card sized Linux computer for teaching computer programming to children.


The Chumby is designed as open source hardware. Hacking the Chumby hardware is encouraged by the manufacturer.[1]

The same system sofware (Linux and mostly open-source software) runs on a very similar "Chumby Hacker Board" available from adafruit.[2]

The Chumby wiki discusses the Chumby from, the CHB from adafruit, and a few other closely related devices.

storage hardware

(Is there a better page for open-source storage hardware?)

Many people have published all the details needed to build a network-attached storage device (NAS), typically running Linux or other open-source OS. Alas, most of them use some proprietary motherboard, rather than the open-hardware motherboards elsewhere on this page.

In no particular order:

People at the XBMC wiki and XBMC forum often discuss building a network-attached storage (NAS) to support their home theater personal computer (HTPC) [3] [4]

  • Some people at XBMC use CuBox-i Network Attached Storage (NAS) [5] [6]

DIY NAS "Do It Yourself NAS" [7].

"Top 10 Linux Networked Storage Systems Under $1,000" [8].

"Storage Pod 4.0: Direct Wire Drives – Faster, Simpler and Less Expensive" [9].

"180TB of Good Vibrations – Storage Pod 3.0" "we open sourced the Backblaze Storage Pod design and introduced the world’s most cost-efficient way to store big data." [10]

"18TB Home NAS/HTPC with ZFS on Linux". [11].

"advice on cheap hardware for debian NAS"]. [12]

"the FreeNAS project". [13].

"How to build your own NAS box". with OpenMediaVault (OMV). [14].

the Netflix Open Connect Appliance Hardware [15].

"Building a tiny low-power Linux NAS". [16].

"Building a NAS Server". [17].

The Linksys NSLU2 , a.k.a. the "Slug", is a small low cost network storage device from Linksys. It can be flashed with Unslung, SlugOS, Debian/NSLU2 or OpenWrt/NSLU2 open-source firmware.

As of 2013, network-attached storage devices all use hard disk drives. People building NAS devices may be interested in

"Minimizing Hard Disk Drive Failure and Data Loss". [18].

People building NAS boxes sometimes don't have enough motherboard connectors for all the hard drives they want to attach. (It is practically impossible to find a motherboard with more than 8 SATA connectors, and often people pick motherboards with even fewer connectors).

  • Plug SATA port multiplier(s) into the motherboard SATA connector. Alas, this doesn't work with every motherboard -- the "List of SATA controller hardware features" at the Linux ATA wiki will help you find a motherboard that does.[19]
  • Plug a SATA card into (the PCI or PCIe slot of) the motherboard, then plug the hard drives into the SATA ports on that card, as in Backblaze Storage Pod 4.0
  • Both, as in Backblaze Storage Pod 3.0

Other Boards that Run Linux

  • "Cubieboard: ARM A8 CPU with SATA for Under $50" [20].
  • The MinnowBoard "The hardware design is open." with SATA. [21].
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