7/22/2012

Raspbian Optimizes Raspberry Pi

Raspbian Optimizes Raspberry Pi


If you haven't checked back in at Raspberry Pi Foundation lately, you might not have noticed that there is a new recommended download for the default operating system for the Raspberry Pi. That new Linux distribution is called Raspbian.

Raspbian is also based upon Debian, but has over 35,000 software packages rebuilt to be optimized for the Raspberry Pi architecture. Depending upon what you are doing with your Raspberry Pi, this means that could have up to a 41% increase in performance.

The omxplayer, which allows viewing HD videos, comes pre-installed in this image of the Raspbian operating system. I would not recommend compiling my fork of the omxplayer for this distribution at this time, as this image uses floating point calculations differently. I have not yet tested my version of omxplayer with this distribution.

The following are instructions detail how I installed Raspian using Fedora (Linux). Putting the image of Raspian on a SD card is very similar to how other operating system images is done. There is no reason to try to expand the file system manually, as that is automated is the raspi-config provided in Raspbian.

Installing Raspian on the Raspberry Pi

By default, on the first boot it runs sudo raspi-config which is somewhat helpful except for a couple of problems. You can run this later to make further adjustments.

Running sudo raspi-config allows you to perform many common tasks like expanding the filesystem, or updating the software. However, the keyboard layout and ssh options did not work correctly for me. Other items like changing the pi user's password and resizing the filesystem were useful.

In order to get my keyboard layout right, I still found it necessary to perform:
sudo apt-get install console-data
or if I want to change settings I would use:
sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration


In order to get the ssh server to work, I had to do:
sudo apt-get purge openssh-server
sudo apt-get install openssh-server


Since I was out of town last week, I haven't had too much time to play with Raspbian yet, just a few hours this weekend, but so far it looks good! Please feel free to comment about your experiences with it!


After trying out Raspbian, I do find it to feel faster for operations. One big problem for me was that the included omxplayer did not work for me! I've been hard at work at getting an omxplayer build to work with the hard instead of softfp handling. So far, I've had one successful build.

UPDATE: I have now published a post on Building Omxplayer for Raspbian on the Raspberry Pi, which  allows you to either install a pre-built omxplayer that works well, or to build it yourself from source.


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About Me - WrightRocket

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I've worked with computers for over 30 years, programming, administering, using and building them from scratch.

I'm an instructor for technical computer courses, an editor and developer of training manuals, and an Android developer.