Reinstalling Kano OS using Linux

How to reinstall the operating system of the Kano computer using a Linux box.

The folks at Kano make it easy to download and reinstall the Kano OS via a burner program available for Windows and Mac. For those of us with Linux boxes, the process is easy enough to do by hand.

Download the appropriate version of the latest Kano OS from the Kanux Public Build download area. If you aren’t sure what file you want, keep in mind:

  • You probably want the most recent release. The more recent the release, the higher the number. Release 2.1.0 is more recent than 2.0.1.
  • You probably want the largest version that will fit on your SD card. Each release comes in two sizes: an 8 GB version (which is indicated as such) and a 4 GB version (which has no size indication). I use the 8 GB SD card that came with our Kano, so I download the 8 GB version.
  • Each release comes in a .gz and .zip version. Choose whichever compression scheme you prefer.

Decompress the file you downloaded, for example:

gunzip Kanux-Beta-v2.1.0-release-8gb.img.gz

You will now have the Kano OS image file. For example, after decompressing the above I had Kanux-Beta-v2.1.0-release-8gb.img.

Insert your SD card into your computer and delete all partitions from it. This can be done from the terminal, or you can use a GUI tool such as gparted. Determine the device path of the SD card as mounted on your computer. Again, either the terminal or gparted can tell you this. For example, on my hardware the SD card is /dev/sdb.

Write the image to the SD card with a command of the form:

dd bs=16M if=/path/to/extracted/image.img of=/path/to/sdcard

This command will take a few minutes to complete, and no output to the terminal will appear in the meantime. Patience is a virtue. A successfully completed write will look something like:

warren@vivaldi:~> dd bs=16M if=/home/warren/Downloads/Kanux-Beta-v2.1.0-release-8gb.img of=/dev/sdb
473+1 records in
473+1 records out
7948206080 bytes (7.9 GB) copied, 571.449 s, 13.9 MB/s

Remove the card from your Linux box, insert it in your powered-off Kano, fire it up, and you’re done.

This information is correct as of Kanux 2.1.0 and was last updated 8 October 2015 with the kind assistance of Pamela of the Kano Customer Care team.

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About Warren Post

So far: Customer support guy, jungle guide, IT consultant, beach bum, entrepreneur, teacher, diplomat, over-enthusiastic cyclist. Tomorrow: who knows?
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2 Responses to Reinstalling Kano OS using Linux

  1. Alex B says:

    Great post!
    Just one comment about the different image sizes: the 8G image has the same contents as the 4G one; it’s just so we can do an md5sum of the full card in production. The 4G image expands to occupy the whole SD card on reboot so people can download that one and save some time flashing (the download time should be the same as they are both zipped).

    • Warren Post says:

      Great to know, and I’ll update the post to recommend folks use the 4 GB image. Thanks!

      P.S. Kano is awesome. I don’t know who likes it more, my daughter or me. Great job Kano people!

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