Upgrading the NVIDIA Jetson Xavier NX to latest Ubuntu Focal Fossa (20.04)

I recently received a NVIDIA Jetson Xavier NX unit to review and write about some use cases like a local development computer and cloud application deployments with containers in a Kubernetes cluster.

In this post I’ll talk about upgrading it to latest Ubuntu version that is nice for a local development and day-to-day desktop use.

Disclaimer: Ubuntu Focal and the upgrade process are not supported by NVIDIA. You should do on your own discretion and try to isolate problems that might occur with this.

Image for post
Image for post

JetPack 4.4 is the NVIDIA stack containing Linux, board drivers and SDKs for GPU, AI and ML processing. NVIDIA calls it’s Linux, L4T (Linux for Tegra) and it’s currently at version 32.4.2 that comes default with Ubuntu 18.04.

To install the official JetPack image, have at hand an SD card with at least 16GB (not included in the package) and download the image at https://developer.nvidia.com/embedded/jetpack. I recommend a fast SD card with at least U3 speed class.

My main computer is a Mac so I flashed the SD card with Balena Etcher that supports most platforms.

Insert the card into the board, connect your keyboard/mouse/monitor and power. It turns on automatically. In some moments, you’ll have the graphical interface showing up.

Image for post
Image for post

After having your Ubuntu 18.04 environment fully functional, launch the Ubuntu graphical updater:

Image for post
Image for post
sudo do-release-upgrade -d -f DistUpgradeViewGtk3

This might take around one hour since there are more than 1000 packages that need download and upgrade. Reboot when finished.

After the upgrade, the original NVIDIA repositories are disabled. Re-enable them with:

for f in /etc/apt/sources.list.d/*; do
sudo sed -i 's/^\#\s*//' $f
done

Due to Unity conflict with Gnome 3, you might have duplicate menu bars on your applications. Remove it with:

sudo apt purge unity

Then log out and re-log in and there you go.

Image for post
Image for post

NVIDIA has a menu bar widget that allows you to set the power mode of the board. I still haven't figured-out why the icon gets distorted after the upgrade. You can rename the SVG file on /usr/share/nvpmodel_indicator/ to have it replace by the three-dots icon temporarily.

The application on the bottom right console is jtop, a system monitor that fetches information like CPU and GPU usage, temperatures and more. To install it, open a terminal and type:

sudo -H pip3 install -U jetson-stats

And execute with sudo jtop in the terminal.

Upgrading Ubuntu is a pretty easy task that just takes some time where most issues are easy to solve. I haven’t seen any problems so far using it as my desktop and didn’t affect any NVIDIA GPU usage I’ve been testing so far.

This post has been written in Firefox 77 in Ubuntu Focal Fossa on the Jetson Xavier NX.

Send me your feedback on Twitter @carlosedp.

Written by

Writing everything cloud and all the tech behind it. If you like my projects and would like to support me, check my Patreon on https://www.patreon.com/carlosedp

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store