I attempted to 'dd' an image of Debian for the BPI M2U to a microSDcard and determine if the board would start.
I get a BPI splash screen and then an attempt to boot with several fails scrolling quickly pass.
Video is working in HDMI, keyboard works, login to Root via Banana Pi works. But I am not getting a full GUI version. I check runlevel and it returns N 5.
The good news is that apparently I don't have to install U-boot to get started. It's installed on the SDcard with Linux. Also, the board seems to be in working order. I presume that I may have a headless version of Debian Linux, though I thought otherwise.
I will try to dd a different image to microSDcard and start over.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ A few hours later
Reloaded my microSDcard with Ubuntu Mate and everything is working okay.
Anybody wondering where to get started should use Banana Pi downloads of Linux and copy the raw image to a microSD card. Plug in the card, and you should be good to go.
Windows, Linux, and Apple all have different methods to copy the 'raw image' to a microSDcard.
I used Linux and " dd if= (the raw image file name) of= (the microSDcard location) bs=10MB " Be patient as it takes a few minutes to copy everything, don't interrupt the process.
Hopefully this entry will help newcomers that can't seem to find where to begin.