Building an Image with Yocto
  • 12 Jun 2023
  • 9 Minutes to read
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Building an Image with Yocto

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  • PDF

Article summary


This article provides step-by-step instructions for building a Linux image with TechNexion's Yocto BSP, which supports the i.MX series of processors.

System Requirements

Building an image from source with Yocto requires a host with the following:

  • 8GB RAM (more is better)
  • 4 Core processor
  • 200 GB storage

If less memory is used, then some additional swap space may be needed. Inadequate memory may result slow builds and random build errors.

In addition, the host must be connected to a network and have access to the Internet so that all source code and tools may be downloaded.

Set up build environment on host PC:

The build environment is tested under Ubuntu 18.04 and Ubuntu 20.04.

Install required packages:

# First update the host package list
sudo apt-get update

# Install necessary packages
sudo apt-get install gawk wget git git-core diffstat unzip texinfo gcc-multilib build-essential \
chrpath socat cpio python python3 python3-pip python3-pexpect \
python3-git python3-jinja2 libegl1-mesa pylint3 rsync bc bison \
xz-utils debianutils iputils-ping libsdl1.2-dev xterm \
language-pack-en coreutils texi2html file docbook-utils \
python-pysqlite2 help2man desktop-file-utils \
libgl1-mesa-dev libglu1-mesa-dev mercurial autoconf automake \
groff curl lzop asciidoc u-boot-tools libreoffice-writer \
sshpass ssh-askpass zip xz-utils kpartx vim screen

Install the Repo Tool

There are many respositories required. Google's repo tool is used to manage this.

mkdir ~/bin
curl > ~/bin/repo
chmod a+x ~/bin/repo

Download the BSP source

mkdir edm_yocto
cd edm_yocto

Next, initialize the repositories based on the release you wish to build:

Yocto Zeus 3.0 TN2021Q4repo init -u -b zeus_5.4.y-stable -m imx-5.4.70-2.3.0_2021Q4.xml
Yocto Zeus 3.0 TN2021Q1repo init -u -b zeus_5.4.y-stable -m imx-5.4.70-2.3.0_2021Q1.xml
Previous Yocto Versions

The content of this article pertains to Yocto 3.0 (Zeus) and we intend to keep this current for future revisions.

For earlier revisions, please review the README in the project manifest here:

Use the dropdown menu to select the target branch.

Fetch the source code:

repo sync -j8

Create build environment

There are several options regarding the build environment that you can use.

Prepare WIFI/BT firmware

You may optionally choose to add WIFI/BT firmware to the build. To do this, add the argument "WIFI_FIRMWARE=y" in during BSP setup. Please refer to following for an explanation of other BSP initialization options.

Configurations for setup script

MACHINE is the target of build. It usually corresponds to the name of SOM or SBC.
For more information, please check the file under “sources/meta-tn-imx-bsp/conf/machine”.

DISTRO identifies the Yocto distribution and is the new way to configure for any backends.

“-b” specify the build directory.

DISPLAY is the disply type. This option only works on i.MX6 (i.MX6 Solo/Dual Lite/Dual/Quad) SOMs. Does not work for products based on i.MX6UL/ULL, i.MX6SX, and i.MX7.

BASEBOARD is the baseboard type.

WIFI_MODULE is to choose what kind of WLAN is on board. (qca/brcm/ath-pci)

WIFI_FIRMWARE is to choose to add WLAN firmware files in target rootfs or not. (y/all)

Build configurations for supported hardware

The following is a list of valid options for MACHINE based on the hardware.

edm-g-imx8mmCompatible with TechNexion EDM-G-IMX8MM (i.MX8M Mini)
edm-g-imx8mnCompatible with TechNexion EDM-G-IMX8MN (i.MX8M Nano)
edm-g-imx8mpCompatible with TechNexion EDM-G-IMX8MP (i.MX8M Plus)
edm-imx8mqCompatible with TechNexion EDM-IMX8M (i.MX8M Quad)
pico-imx8mmCompatible with TechNexion PICO-IMX8MM (i.MX8M Mini)
pico-imx8mqCompatible with TechNexion PICO-IMX8M (i.MX8M Quad)
flex-imx8mmCompatible with TechNexion FLEX-IMX8MM (i.MX8M Mini)
pico-imx7Compatible with TechNexion PICO-IMX7 (i.MX7 Dual)
tep1-imx7Compatible with TechNexion TEP-0500-IMX7/TEP-0700-IMX7
edm-imx6Compatible with TechNexion EDM-IMX6 (i.MX6 Solo/Duallite/Quad/QuadPlus)
wandboard-imx6Compatible with TechNexion WANDBOARD-IMX6 (i.MX6 Solo/Duallite/Quad/QuadPlus)
pico-imx6Compatible with TechNexion PICO-IMX6 (i.MX6 Solo/Duallite/Quad)
pico-imx6ulCompatible with TechNexion PICO-IMX6UL/PICO-IMX6ULL (i.MX6 UltraLite/ULL)
tek-imx6Compatible with TechNexion TEK3-IMX6/TEP-1010-IMX6/TEP-1560-IMX6/TWP-1010-IMX6/TWP-1560-IMX6 (i.MX6 Solo/DL/Dual/Quad/Quad Plus)

The following is a list of valid options for DISTRO.


The X11 and Framebuffer distros are only supported for i.MX 6 and i.MX 7. i.MX 8 should use xwayland only.

XWayland is the default distro for all i.MX families

fsl-imx-x11Only X11 graphics. X11 graphics are not supported on i.MX8.
fsl-imx-waylandWayland weston graphics
fsl-imx-xwaylandWayland graphics and X11. X11 applications using EGL are not supported
fsl-imx-fbFrame Buffer graphics - no X11 or Wayland. Frame Buffer is not supported on i.MX8.

The following is a list of valid options for BASEBOARD based on the hardware. The BASEBOARD parameter specifies the 'baseboard' variable in uEnv.txt.

pi, nymph, dwarf, hobbitCompatible with TechNexion PICO-IMX6/PICO-IMX7 (i.MX6 Solo/DL/Quad/UL/ULL)(i.MX7 Dual).
fairy, tc0700, tc1000Compatible with TechNexion EDM-IMX6 (i.MX6 Solo/DL/Quad/Quad Plus).
piCompatible with TechNexion PICO-IMX8MQ/PICO-IMX8MM/FLEX-IMX8MM (i.MX8M Quad)(i.MX8M Mini).
wizardCompatible with TechNexion EDM-IMX8MQ/PICO-IMX8MQ/PICO-IMX8MM/FLEX-IMX8MM (i.MX8M Quad)(i.MX8M Mini).
wbCompatible with TechNexion EDM-G-IMX8MP/EDM-G-IMX8MM/EDM-G-IMX8MN (i.MX8M Plus)(i.MX8M Mini)(i.MX8M Nano).


The following is a list of valid options for WIFI_MODULE. This specifies the 'wifi_module' variable in uEnv.txt).

'qca', 'brcm', 'ath-pci'Choose what kind of WLAN is on board.


The following is a list of valid options for WIFI_FIRMWARE.

'y''y' option depends on 'WIFI_MODULE'. If you specify 'WIFI_MODULE' as 'qca'. Then, it only add 'qca' firmware package in yocto build.
'all''all' option will add both 'qca', 'brcm' and 'ath-pci' firmware package in yocto build.

Please refer to section "Prepare WIFI/BT firmware" to ensure you already put firmware files in the right place.


The following is a list of valid options for DISPLAY. This parameter only works on i.MX6 and i.MX8M. This specifies the displayinfo variable in uEnv.txt.

lvds7On i.MX6, this specifies the 7 inch 1024x600 LVDS panel
lvds10On i.MX6, this specifies the 10 inch 1280x800 LVDS panel
lvds15On i.MX6, 15 inch 1366x768 LVDS panel
hdmi720pOn i.MX6, 1280x720 HDMI output
hdmi1080pOn i.MX6, 1920x1080 HDMI output
lcdOn i.MX6, 5 inch/7 inch 800x480 TTL parallel LCD panel
lvds7_hdmi720pOn i.MX6, Dual display output to both 7 inch LVDS and HDMI
customOn i.MX6, Reserved for custom panels
mipi5On i.MX8M, MIPI-DSI 5 inch panel(with ILI9881 controller)
hdmiOn i.MX8M, HDMI monitor (the resolution is decided by EDID)

-b : Specify the build directory name

-b <build dir>Assign the name of build directory

Choosing Yocto target image

The following is a list of target image options:

Image nameTarget
core-image-minimalA small image that only allows a device to boot
core-image-baseA console-only image that fully supports the target device hardware
core-image-satoAn image with Sato, a mobile environment and visual style for mobile devices. The image supports X11 with a Sato theme, Pimlico applications. It contains a terminal, an editor and a file manager
imx-image-coreAn i.MX image with i.MX test applications to be used for Wayland backends
fsl-image-machine-testAn FSL Community i.MX core image with console environment - no GUI interface
imx-image-multimediaBuilds an i.MX image with a GUI without any Qt content
tn-image-multimedia-fullBuilds an i.MX image with test tools and a GUI without any Qt content
imx-image-fullBuilds an opensource Qt 5 image with Machine Learning features. These images are only supported for i.MX SoC with hardware graphics. They are not supported on the i.MX 6UltraLite, i.MX 6UltraLiteLite, i.MX 6SLL, and i.MX 7Dual.

Example BSP Setup and Build Commands for Supported Targets

Build Yocto for TechNexion target platform.


Xwayland image:

WIFI_FIRMWARE=y DISTRO=fsl-imx-xwayland MACHINE=edm-g-imx8mm source -b build-xwayland-edm-g-imx8mm

bitbake imx-image-full


Xwayland image:

WIFI_FIRMWARE=y DISTRO=fsl-imx-xwayland MACHINE=edm-g-imx8mn source -b build-xwayland-edm-g-imx8mn

bitbake fimx-image-full


Xwayland image:

WIFI_FIRMWARE=y DISTRO=fsl-imx-xwayland MACHINE=edm-g-imx8mp source -b build-xwayland-edm-g-imx8mp

bitbake imx-image-full


Xwayland image:

WIFI_FIRMWARE=y DISTRO=fsl-imx-xwayland MACHINE=edm-imx8mq source -b build-xwayland-edm-imx8mq

bitbake imx-image-full


Xwayland image:

WIFI_FIRMWARE=y DISTRO=fsl-imx-xwayland MACHINE=pico-imx8mm source -b build-xwayland-pico-imx8mm

bitbake imx-image-full


Xwayland image:

WIFI_FIRMWARE=y DISTRO=fsl-imx-xwayland MACHINE=pico-imx8mq source -b build-xwayland-pico-imx8mq

bitbake imx-image-full


Xwayland image:

WIFI_FIRMWARE=y DISTRO=fsl-imx-xwayland MACHINE=flex-imx8mm source -b build-xwayland-flex-imx8mm

bitbake imx-image-full
Note regarding DISTRO

DISTRO: DISTRO can be replaced to "fsl-imx-wayland"


PI baseboard, QT5 with X11 image for 7 inch/5 inch TTL-LCD panel:


WIFI_FIRMWARE=y WIFI_MODULE=qca DISTRO=fsl-imx-x11 MACHINE=pico-imx7 BASEBOARD=pi source -b build-x11-pico-imx7

bitbake imx-image-full


PI baseboard, QT5 with X11 image for 7 inch/5 inch TTL-LCD panel:
For TEP1-IMX7 with QCA WLAN:

WIFI_FIRMWARE=y WIFI_MODULE=ath-pci DISTRO=fsl-imx-x11 MACHINE=tep1-imx7 source -b build-x11-pico-imx7

bitbake imx-image-full


FAIRY baseboard, QT5 with X11 image for 7 inch LVDS panel:

DISPLAY=lvds7 WIFI_FIRMWARE=y WIFI_MODULE=qca DISTRO=fsl-imx-x11 MACHINE=edm-imx6 BASEBOARD=fairy source -b build-x11-edm-imx6

bitbake imx-image-full

TC-0700/TC0710 baseboard, QT5 with X11 image for 7 inch LVDS panel:

DISPLAY=lvds7 WIFI_FIRMWARE=y WIFI_MODULE=qca DISTRO=fsl-imx-x11 MACHINE=edm-imx6 BASEBOARD=tc0700 source -b build-x11-edm-imx6

bitbake imx-image-full


QT5 with X11 image for HDMI:

DISPLAY=hdmi WIFI_FIRMWARE=y WIFI_MODULE=qca DISTRO=fsl-imx-x11 MACHINE=wandboard-imx6 source -b build-x11-wandboard-imx6

bitbake imx-image-full


PI baseboard, QT5 with X11 image for HDMI output:

WIFI_FIRMWARE=y WIFI_MODULE=qca DISTRO=fsl-imx-x11 MACHINE=pico-imx6 BASEBOARD=pi source -b build-x11-pico-imx6

bitbake imx-image-full


PI baseboard, QT5 with X11 image for 5" and 7" TFT-LCD output:

WIFI_FIRMWARE=y WIFI_MODULE=qca DISTRO=fsl-imx-x11 MACHINE=pico-imx6ul BASEBOARD=pi source -b build-x11-pico-imx6ul

bitbake imx-image-full

Adding Support for the Chromium Browser

You may add support for Chromium in the file conf/local.conf. This file is generated during BSP setup and initialization, so it is only available to edit after running the steps above.

  • For X11 on MX6 with GPU, add Chromium into your image
CORE_IMAGE_EXTRA_INSTALL += "chromium-x11 rng-tools"
  • For XWayland or Wayland, add Chromium into your image
CORE_IMAGE_EXTRA_INSTALL += "chromium-ozone-wayland rng-tools"


There are four Qt 5 browsers available. QtWebEngine browsers can be found in:


All three browsers can be run by going to the directory above and running the executable found there. Touchscreen can be enabled by adding the parameters -plugin evdevtouch:/dev/input/event0 to the executable.

./quicknanobrowser -plugin evdevtouch:/dev/input/event0

QtWebengine will only work on SoC with GPU graphics hardware on i.MX 6, i.MX 7 and i.MX 8. To include Qtwebengine in the image put the following in local.conf or in the image recipe.

IMAGE_INSTALL_append = "packagegroup-qt5-webengine"

Qt 5

Note that Qt has both a commercial and open source license options. Make the decision about which license to use before starting work on custom Qt applications. Once custom Qt applications are started with an open source Qt license the work can not be used with a commercial Qt license. Work with a legal representative to understand the differences between each license.


Qt is not supported on i.MX 6UltraLite and i.MX 7Dual. It works on X11 backend only but is not a supported feature.

NXP eIQ machine learning

The meta-ml layer is the integration of NXP eIQ machine learning, which was formerly released as a separate meta-imx-machinelearning layer and is now integrated into the standard BSP image (imx-image-full).

Note that many of the features require Qt 5. In case of using other configuration than imx-image-full, put the following in local.conf:

IMAGE_INSTALL_append = "packagegroup-imx-ml"


Systemd support is enabled as default but it can be disabled by commenting out the systemd settings in imx/meta-sdk/conf/distro/include/

Image Deployment

When build completes, the generated release image is under “${BUILD-TYPE}/tmp/deploy/images/${MACHINE}”:

To decompress the .bz2:

bzip2 -fdk fsl-image-XXX.rootfs.wic.bz2 "fsl-image-XXX.rootfs.wic"

or use bmaptool to flash fsl-image-XXX.rootfs.wic.bz2 directly.

To deploy the image to your board, please follow the instructions for loading software into the flash or microSD card of your development kit.

Tutorial Video

We have put together a video showing this process, including download the image, into a PICO-IMX8M-MINI.

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