JetPack 6 Developer Preview is now out and about! A lot of people have been anticipating this release, which marks a major change in Jetson software distribution. This release will allow people to bring the latest Linux Kernel to Jetson. The release is for Jetson Orin Nano, Jetson Orin NX and Jetson AGX Orin. Other Jetson models are not supported.

The release was delayed a bit. It’s been interesting reading comments in the NVIDIA Jetson forums about the timing of the release. I believe that some people don’t understand that because a Jetson is an embedded device, there is a lot more strict testing that must occur than most other systems. These tests inevitably introduce delay in development. At the same time, the software is more stable when delivered. It’s a tradeoff developers with experience gladly accept.

Also, NVIDIA has been pretty open about where the development cycle is at any given time. Of note is that this is a Developer Preview, as has been the plan for the last year. The expectation is that the developers start working with this version to get ready for a production release in a few months. You should certainly not be shipping production units with this version!

Upstream Kernel

NVIDIA has been working on upstreaming Jetson changes to upstream Linux Kernel. This enables developers to bring the latest Linux Kernel to Jetson. Additionally, that means it should be easier to run other Linux-based distributions on Jetson. JetPack 6 comes with an updated LTS Kernel 5.15 and Ubuntu 22.04 based root file system.

One of the features of this approach is that the AI compute stack is now separate. The plan is that the AI compute stack upgrading will not necessitate upgrading the Jetson Linux BSP. This decouples the AI compute stack from the underlying Linux OS version.

Just some of the features

Here’s more information from the official NVIDIA blurb:

Please note that the JetPack 6.0 DP is a developer preview release and not intended for production. It is ready for starting your development on Jetson Orin with JetPack 6 software stack. This release does not include any security features or OTA features. The production quality release of JetPack 6.0 is targeted for March 2024 and will include security and OTA features along with production quality stack. Please carefully read the release notes 10 of JetPack 6.0 Developer Preview for known issues and other details.

JetPack 6 Components:

Jetson Linux 36.2

CUDA 12.2

TensorRT 8.6.2

cuDNN 8.9.4

VPI 3.0

Vulkan 1.3

Nsight Systems 2023.4

Nsight Graphics 2023.3

JetPack 6 Resources:

JetPack 6.0 Release Notes and Documentation (coming soon)

Jetson Linux 36.2 Documentation

Jetson Linux 36.2 Release Notes

JetPack 6 containers on NGC (coming soon)


This is the go forward path for new Jetsons. It should be interesting to see which Linux distributions become popular on the Jetson. Or will Ubuntu remain king? We’ll be taking it for a spin in a while and see what we can see.

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