Installing Debian stable on Cubieboard1

It was tricky and required an SD card (2Gb or larger, to install Debian to) and a USB stick to store the installation image.

  • Download CD or DVD iso image for armhf from here, currently debian-11.3.0-armhf-DVD-1.iso
  • Copy iso file to a partition on USB stick (I used MBR + ext4). Burning it as usual for (GNU/)Linux distros did not work
  • On this page go other images -> armhf -> hd-media -> SD-card-images, download firmware.Cubieboard.img.gz, partition.img.gz, README.concatenateable_images, follow the 1-step instruction in the README and cat resulting .img file to SD card device (e.g. /dev/sdg, not /dev/sdg1)
  • Insert both SD card and USB stick into Cubieboard1 and boot - it'll start the installer from SD card, which will find and use the .iso image on USB partition. In it, choose "Use entire disk" at partitioning step and point to SD card - this will overwrite it with new partitions
  • Go through the installation wizard, remove USB stick, reboot. Out of the box, Debian takes 1.6Gb of space
$ uname -srm
Linux 5.10.0-14-armmp armv7l