I recently added a simple mechanism for beginners to flash otbiot onto an ESP8266 device. It doesn’t require downloading and building the esp-open-sdk or otb-iot source code yourself.

Plug your ESP8266 device into a USB port on your linux machine (or, if you’re using VirtualBox, map the USB device through from your host to your guest).

Then run:

dmesg | grep usb

You should see output like this (in this example I am using a Wemos D1 mini - the precise text with vary depending on the USB TTL device you are using):

[90279.476382] usbcore: registered new interface driver usbserial_generic
[90279.476412] usbserial: USB Serial support registered for generic
[90279.480721] usbcore: registered new interface driver ch341
[90279.480755] usbserial: USB Serial support registered for ch341-uart
[90279.481709] usb 2-1.8: ch341-uart converter now attached to ttyUSB1

Note the value provided right at the end - here ttyUSB1 - you’ll need this in a sec.

Install docker if not already installed:

curl https://get.docker.com/|sh

You may need to log out and log back in again at this point so that your user is part of the docker group.

Run the container containing pre-built otb-iot images. Change <usb-device> to the value you noted earlier - in my example this would be ttyUSB1:

docker run --rm -ti --device /dev/<usb-device>:/dev/ttyUSB0 piersfinlayson/otbiot

Once the container has been pulled and run, Flash the device and connect to it over serial:

make flash_initial && make con

Use Ctrl-] to terminate the serial connection.

When you want to terminate the container run:

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