Filed under: Computers, Raspberry Pi, SuSE Linux
At the beginning of the month, I got the latest issue of Linux Journal. In it is a lot of articles on a little computer called the Raspberry Pi. After reading some of the articles, I decided to order one. I mean, how much can you lose with a computer that only costs $35. I ordered the card along with some extra stuff like the power supply, a small case, and of course the operating system. The Raspberry Pi is an ARM powered self contained computer about the size of a credit card. Well, at least length and width. The version I bought has 512 meg of ram. It has two USB ports, and connections for the network cable, analog video, analog sound, and an HDMI port! Yep, that’s right. HDMI on it and it works quite nicely with my new monitor.
Credit for this picture goes to Switched on Tech Design(www.sotechdesign.com.au)
The little sdcard contains the operating system. One thing is that it runs linux. Yep, that’s it. Well, so far. According to the website, there are problems running Windows on this processor. Oh, well, I usually don’t do windows anyway. It came with the standard OS of Raspbian. It’s debian based and works OK. I’m not that familiar with Debian, so I had to do some research to get certain things done. Not hard at all. After that, I decided to find out if my old friend SuSE had an image. Yep, sure do. I downloaded it, and wrote it to another sdcard. Plugged it in, and it started right up. Sort of nice to have an old friend to work with. But there is work to be done on the image, so I’ll see what I can contribute.
As for what it can do, I’ve heard it makes a nice quiet file server, or a media server or even a webserver. Now that would be something. Low power consumption, and easy to work with. I’m not sure how well the webserver would work because of the processor, but the rest seem to be possible for a home network.
I’m off to play now, and see what I can do with it. I finally got a USB hub so that I can connect more things to the little box. Taking up one port with the keyboard doesn’t leave much space for the rest of the things I want to try.
Many years ago, I started using SuSE linux because it was the only distribution that had support for ISDN. Well, that and I lived just down the road from the company headquarters. I bought my first version 5.3 from their office. Just something I remember. Now on to the latest version.
I don’t usually change versions that often. I ran 10.0 for years for my webserver because it just worked. No reason to change it. Then it was 11.0 for quite a while then 11.4 because it worked. But the service life runs out, and so it’s time to move on. I’ve been running 12.1 for quite some time, and liked it, but kept watching the later versions. There wasn’t enough of a change to get me to move to 12.2 so I didn’t worry about it. When 12.3 came out I watched the factory mail list and folks were saying good things about it. I decided to check it out. I have the ability to multi-boot from the bios, and not have to set things up with the boot loader. I kept upgrading the 12.3 computer and liked what I saw. When it went gold I decided that I’d go ahead and try to move my 12.1 install to this version.
I put in a new hard drive and started the install. Everything went quite well, and the initial setup went quite well. Now to begin the migration. There are several things that I do immediately after starting and I’ll list them.
1. Update the repositories and add Packman and Libdvdcss. The reason is to get the necessary codecs to use my collection of mp3s and other things. That part always goes well, and I did the necessary updates.
2. Add the FGLRX drivers for my graphics card. I know that a lot of folks don’t do this, nor use the ATI cards, but I’ve always had good luck with them so I keep doing it. As usual I had good luck and the graphics are great.
3. Move my mail and get Kmail working. I copied my mail and config file and all was well.
This is one of the best installs I’ve had in a while. It’s boots quickly and I’m up and running. So far everything works, and I’m quite happy. I think I’m going to rearrange my system and hard drives so that I can disconnect some of the drives until they are needed. I love the new SATA drives that let you just plug them in and use them as necessary.
I’ve often said that by using linux at home, I didn’t have to worry about the dreaded virus/malware attacks. I have also grown to know that there isn’t a lot that I can’t do. It sometimes takes a bit longer, but eventually I get what I want.
Yesterday, I got a webcam for this computer. Nothing really fancy. It’s a logitech Quickcam communicate delux. It’s a nice cam that fit right on top of my monitor. Ah, but getting to work with linux. Well, google is my friend. I did a search, and came up with what I thought would be a driver for it. Alas, it had to be compiled and for the life of me I couldn’t get it to compile. It kept coming up with an error 2 from Make. Luckily, I did a search of the openSuSE site, and lo and behold there was an RPM just for this. Did a one-click install and then inserted the module into the system. The cam came right up in Skype. Nice.
The second one was today. I have had an internet radio for quite a while that I listen to. Mostly public radio stations. But also knew that if there was a uPNP player, it would play the music from my computer. I looked around and again, found a program called mediatomb. Again, it was a one-click install and I was off and runnning. It’s really a nice program. It comes with a web interface for setup. I fired up the browser, and setup all the music that I’ve got on this machine. It took just a couple of minutes, and I was ready. I went down to the radio and went through the menu. Wow! There’s all my music. I can listen to it everyone I take the little radio in the house.
I’m really pleased on how well this all has worked. I basically use openSUSE 11.0 on this machine. It does everything I need and now even more. And it just runs and runs.
Now, someone explain to me why I need Windows anything?