Saturday, 15 August 2015

RPi2 First Look


I managed to find a generic 2gb micro sd card and I started by downloading SD Formatter, enabling Format Size Adjustment and formatting the micro SD to make sure I am working with a clean drive with only one partition. Next I downloaded Win32DiskImager so I can write the RPi OSes .img files to the micro SD; for more info go here.
I began with writing NOOBS onto the micro SD as it is a good spot for beginners like me to start; unfortunately 2gb was not big enough to install any OSes via NOOBS.

OpenELEC, A Linux Based Media Centre

I installed  OpenELEC (Open Embedded Linux Entertainment Centre) and took a look; the micro SD I found seems to be pretty slow, it took a little over an hour for the installation to complete.
I was greeted with a media center GUI where I could consume media, install add-ons like Youtube, Free (and probably illegal) movie streaming services, etc. After the initial setup process I feel like this has a strong potential as a solid HD living room media centre, some minor things i noticed was that the audio jack didn't work off the bat (it didn't work in my minimal raspbian install either however you can probably get it working using terminal), there was some lag and freezing but this was likely due to the Micro SD ( you can try to run your main OS from a USB to yield a more responsive experience, Google it).


A media centre was not what I was aiming so I moved on from OpenELEC and decided to try out Raspbian, the full version of Raspbian was too big for my SD card so instead I installed a minimal version of raspbian (username is 'root' and the password is 'raspbian' by the way) that did not include a GUI or any programs. It took about an hour to configure itself. Next I decided to try and install a GUI, I chose to use XFCE because it was a simple and lightweight GUI that won't take up too much space, if I remember correctly XFCE was less than 1GB compared to a GUI like GNOME3 which was a bit over 3GB. 
Follow this forum post to set up XFCE. After i installed an internet browser and IDE for programming the entire OS ended being about 1.1GB, pretty good.

Internet browser and Programming Environment

XFCE came with very few programs, no internet browser so I installed 'iceweasel' (type apt-get install iceweasel in terminal) because I remember it from SteamOS, not sure how good it is for the RPi2 but it seems to be working fine, running about 6 tabs with little lag besides the initial webpage loading taking about 8 seconds or so, Youtube was quite slow as I expected but it didn't use it anyways.
I looked about and read that full Raspbian comes with IDLE3 an IDE (Integrated Development Environment, basically a program made for programming); using apt-get install (idle3) in terminal as usual I got myself a programming environment. IDLE seems to be a good environment for programming in python (Python3 to be specific), a good language to learn for the Pi. If you don't want to deal with Python you can look into WiringPi, a GPIO access library written in C which lets you use other languages like C, C++ and many other languages with suitable wrappers.

Look at my separate post on Arch Linux on the RPi2

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