The BubbleBoard designed to use Free Software (free as in freedom, and often but not necessarily free-of-charge). Wikipedia has a lot to say on the subject (search-words: Linux, Free Software Foundation, Richard Stallman, Debian, GNU). Being an Open Source venture, other developers may make programs available to you (almost always free-of-charge). You will find useful URL's on the Links page. 

We use a Debian Linux distribution, and the Yaffs file-system.


The site should be read with a little caution. It is a wiki, which means that it is written by many people; much has accumulated over the years, and many of the pages are historic. All pages are confusing (guaranteed).

None of the hardware described there is currently available.

All first-time buyers should order a mating connector, which enables you to power up the board from your own 5VDC power-supply and to get the board to the Hello world stage via a console on the board.


YAFFS uses journaling, error correction and verification techniques tuned to the way NAND typically fails, to enhance robustness. It works within the constraints of, and exploit the features of, NAND flash to maximise performance. The result is a file-system that exploits low-cost NAND chips and is both fast and robust. See

Source code 

We have moved all our code into a centrally-organised sub-version repository. You can browse this online using viewcvs, or get direct svn read-only access at svn://, e.g. svn checkout svn:// to check out the mainline code. Currently the working bootldr is under balloon/branch, and everything else under trunk. If you have a developer account then read/write access is available over ssh at svn+ssh://


Binaries for the various boards and releases are available by http or using rsync from

The current Balloon3 debian-based release is available here. The easiest way to download just the binaries is by doing rsync -av --compress

BalloonSoftwareLoading is the place to start with info on how to fill you balloon with the latest code.

BalloonArmLinux has an overview of the distribution.


Most developers are using the cross toolchains provided by Emdebian. Some tarballs suitable for developers on non-debian machines will appear on the site shortly.