I got a Raspberry Pi (http://www.raspberrypi.org/) for Christmas. I didn’t really have much chance to have a play with it over the break. But this afternoon Lizzie was off to a Pantomime with her Grandparents so I took the opportunity to have a proper play with this little box of tricks. Initially I plugged it into our TV, a ‘normal’ old CRT model.
The initial setup is simple and it boots wonderfully quickly. I did discover that my Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse are only found when the USB dongles are plugged in. This means that if I reboot then I need to replug them. I would investigate this in the longer term, but I am planning on using the Pi largely through an SSH connection while it sits on my network.
Having confirmed that the Pi boots successfully and that the SSH server was configured to start on boot I disconnected the Pi and moved it to the study where it could sit connected to the router.
Having started the Pi again I tried SSH’ing from my laptop. This was easy, though I plan to get up a certificate to handle access rather than use a password in the future.
To view graphical programs on the Pi simply SSH using the command:
ssh -X raspberrypi
Then suitable applications can be launched from the command line and they will be displayed as X Windows on the desktop.
I took some time to add some of my favourite programs to the system. Obviously this includes the mighty Emacs, and the related Emacs Goodies. I won’t be able to use the trick of using the shared initialisation files held in Dropbox as my Dropbox is currently more than six times larger than the SD card that the Pi is running off!
Over Christmas my family kept on asking what is it for, but I don’t think that Pis have to be for something… they are just a brilliant demonstration of what is possible keeping computing simple. Now I have a working system I can see what fun things occur.