Sunday, July 1, 2012

My Raspberry Pi Learnings

These are notes I made during my initial playing with my Raspberry PI.  All work was done from an Ubuntu desktop machine.

Excellent resources:

Got the Debian download from

Unzip and verify the SHA-1 hash:
  • cd /home/dave/Desktop
  • sudo wget
  • sudo unzip /home/dave/Desktop/
  • sudo cat /home/dave/Desktop/debian6-19-04-2012/debian6-19-04-2012.img.sha1
  • sudo sha1sum /home/dave/Desktop/debian6-19-04-2012/debian6-19-04-2012.img (the two strings these commands output should be identical)
Install the distro on a 32 GB SDHC card:
  • df -h - To show any mounted partitions that may exist on the SD card
  • sudo umount /dev/sdbX - To unmount any of the partitions found above
  • sudo dd if=/home/dave/Desktop/debian6-19-04-2012/debian6-19-04-2012.img of=/dev/sdb - To set up the SD card (be careful not to accidentally obliterate the partitions you are using to run your computer)
  • sudo sync - To ensure that all writing to the card is finished before removing it
Insert SD card into Raspberry PI board.  Make sure to use a high quality micro-USB cable because when using a cheap one the board did not get enough power and this caused the keyboard not to work and the board to crash after a short time.

Get a powered USB hub for all peripherals that is known to work with Raspberry PI (Verified Peripherals) because the whole setup is very sensitive to having sufficient power.

Post installation configuration:
  • Login with pi/raspberry credentials
  • Change password
  • Configure the timezone (sudo dpkg-reconfigure tzdata)
  • Update the firmware using instructions found at
  • Do Debian patches (sudo apt-get update, sudo apt-get upgradesudo apt-get dist-upgrade if necessary)
  • Edit config.txt (sudo nano /boot/config.txt) and add config_hdmi_boost=4 to increase the power output of the HDMI signal to overcome a blank screen when trying to run LXDE
  • Run LXDE (started with the command startx)
  • Run a command to prevent prompts for administrative credentials when using certain tools in the GUI (gconftool-2  --type bool  --set  /apps/gksu/sudo-mode  true)
  • Resize partitions to use the full capacity of the SD card using the instructions in this video (
  • Install Chromium Browser (sudo apt-get install chromium-browser)

Round-2 Setting up a media center

Decided to try raspbmc (  These instructions worked perfectly on an old 2GB SD card I had lying around.

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