I’ve received NanoPi NEO 2 boards, add-boards and sensor modules last week, where we could see how small the boards were, and how it could be suitable for IoT projects or “hardware hacking” education. Before testing the board with the add-ons, I have to select the image to run on the board, and currently we have two choices: Ubuntu 16.04.2 FriendELEC image with Linux 3.10 “legacy” kernel, or Armbian Ubuntu 16.04.2 Xenial nightly build with Linux 4.10 “mainline” kernel.
You can flash the image with Win32DiskImager (Windows) or dd (linux) to a micro SD card the usual way, and while I’ve never personally had troubles with dd, I’ve been told Etcher was better, as it verifies the SD card after flashing, and dd may miss errors. Etcher works in Windows, Linux, and Mac OS with a graphical user interface or from the command line. I used Etcher GUI in my Ubuntu 16.04 computer, and it’s indeed easy to use, shows the progress, and a big plus for me is that you can’t mess with your USB hard drive, as it will filter them. Another small advantage is that you don’t need to uncompress the firmware, as Etcher will do that for you, at least for zip files, but i had to manually uncompress Armbian .7z archive before loading to Etcher.
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