I managed finally to have some time to play with the an RPi Model B I received from a friend of mine for experimentation. I prepared all the peripherals as below:
- An HDMI cable
- A micro USB 700 mA+ charger (I used my Samsung Galaxy Nexus 1A charger)
- An Ethernet cable
- An 8GB class 4 SD card
- A USB keyboard
- A USB mouse
- An LCD TV with HDMI input (not shown above :))
Woo! A long list!
To prepare the OS, I downloaded a Raspbian Wheezy image, a Debian-based distro for RPi. I used Win32DiskImager to dump the image to the SD card. I connected everything, inserted the SD card to the RPi, and powered it on. Within a few moments, I saw a setup screen, where I chose to expand the rootfs to the whole SD card so that it uses all the empty space for storage. I also enabled the SSH server. There was an option to specify the amount of memory reserved for display. I left the default of 64MB for display and 192MB for RAM to run the GUI smoothly, but I’ll probably need to modify this later if I use it as a server.
After that there was a beautiful GUI with some sample applications, including some simple yet enjoyable Python games. The web browser is a basic one and doesn’t run Flash nor HTML5. I didn’t yet try running videos but should do that soon.
I then switched the RPi off, removed all cables except network. Then re-powered it on. I then connected to it via SSH, installed VNC server (via
apt-get install tightvncserver). This allowed me to connect remotely to the GUI. I created a script for starting the VNC (~/vnc.sh).
I then tried installing a LAMP stack (apache2, mysql-server-5.5, php5, php5-mysql) .. all installed and worked smoothly. The document root is /var/www.
Next things that I plan to check later:
- Can Firefox or Chrome be installed for a better web experience?
- Running videos and checking which formats are supported.
- Using the RPi as a network storage, possibly implementing some RAID via USB for redundancy.
- Measuring MySQL performance for a possible dedicated database server (though I guess this won’t work due to the very low RAM that comes with RPi).
- Installing some Podcast subscription software or so for using it as an internet radio.
- Trying to connect to the internet via a 3G USB modem.
- Trying to connect a USB webcam.
- Trying to connect a USB printer (so the RPi becomes a print server).
Related links to check:
- 12 RPi applications
- Installing Flash, Java and running divx … they also mention installing Firefox (rebranded as Weasel) and Chrome.
- The RPi projects forum