A BeagleBone Black is an excellent platform to get build the foundation of a Home Automation System. The board is low-cost, powerful, and expandable.
I ordered my BeagleBone Black from Newark in February 2014 for $45 plus tax & shipping. It took over a month to arrive because of the great amount of demand that surrounds this platform.
Installing Ubuntu on BeagleBone Black
Ubuntu is a good base OS to install. It is readily available and has a large community that works on it so there is a lot of support out there. The easiest way to get up and running is to obtain an image file to load onto a SD card and install that on the BeagleBone Black.
Here is a link to some good instruction on how to install Ubuntu onto your BeagleBone Black.
Installing Ninja Client onto BeagleBone Black
NinjaBlocks is a Home Automation system which has caught everyones attention as it is open source, inexpensive and powerful. One big problem with it in my opinion is that it is dependent on the NinjaCloud and the rules engine does not run offline. What I mean by that is lets say you set up a switch to turn on and off network connection light such as the Connected by TCP Lights, Phillips Hue or Limitless LED lights, if your Internet connection goes down, that switch will not work over local network only. Hopefully they can fix this issue in the future.
Regardless of this problem I think its a great system and I have installed their client onto my BeagleBone Black. To do this was pretty simple as long as you follow all the directions that are laid out here. I had skipped the step of taking out the micro SD card and that prevented it from booting from the internal memory. If you see ubuntu@arm instead of ninjablocks@arm you are suffering from the same problem I had.
After you get the OS installed, either SSH into the BeagleBone Black or connect it to a monitor / TV along with a keyboard to get the Serial Number to use with the Ninja Cloud.
The default username for logging into the system is: ubuntu and the password is: temppwd.
Where to Buy BeagleBone Black
When I was looking to purchase my first unit I tried to find a place which had them in stock. I did not have any luck at that time, hopefully CircuitsCo will increase their production so that places will start to have them in stock. Here are a list of places to check: