RPi Wheezy raspi-config 2012-06-18
when you start your Pi using the wheezy image The Raspi-config menu appears and has the following entries.
info Information about this tool expand-rootfs Expand root partition to fill SD card overscan Change overscan configure-keyboard Set keyboard layout change_pass Change password for ‘pi’ user change_locale Set locale change_timezone Set timezone memory_split Change memory split ssh Enable or disable ssh server finish Finish config and don’t start raspi-config at boot
At any point from within any of the menu or submenu options the Tab key will toggle about the selected entry and the options at the bottom inside angle brackets now I know this is painfully obvious to anybody that’s spent a while at a computer keyboard but remember there’s lots of stories about new users looking for the [any key] and the RaspberryPi is intended for new users.
There is an exception to this and that’s with the change_locale option ignore that exception for now it’s covered later.
Note as computer literate as you may be there will be people out there who do not know. There will be grannies out there who do not know how to suck eggs.
So here’s some comments as help for the new user and feedback for the writers.
First Entry info Information about this tool
This would be really helpful if it actually explained the options in the menu but that would be a lot to hope for.
As it is it helpfully advises you may have difficulties if you have heavily customised your installation but as this is probably the first thing a rookie is going to see the likelihood of a heavily customised installation.
What would be useful would be instructions on running this from command line combined with advice on writing these (from the command line) instructions down.
Also it would be useful advice that it will not be difficult to re-image and advice that killing the install may require a re-image.
Killing the power by pulling the micro USB plug will switch off but do this too often and the socket will start to wear out.
I use a USB A to micro USB lead and connect this via one of my PC USB ports or one of those nice mains adaptors (Plug with a USB port) used for charging phones.
If anything is going to wear out its at the non (micro USB) Pi end of the cable.
Second Entry expand-rootfs Expand root partition to fill SD card
This does what it says on the tin so if you have installed wheezy on a 4g card after use this option and after reboot it will use all of the SD card.
Third Entry overscan Change overscan
This is the worst because there’s no information on overscan what it is what it does and I am really looking for some help on expanding this one.
When you fire it up you get the unhelpful
What would you like to do with overscan
With a standard HDMI setup it appears to make no difference which option is chosen so it’s sort of a moot point. I’ve tried both options and encounter no difference searches for help on overscan are either gobbledygook with hundreds of settings or other people making wild guesses.
Fourth Entry configure-keyboard Set keyboard layout This is the setting for using different attached keyboards that is brands of keyboards first followed by other choices to set up nationality of keyboards etc.
The first list will probably fall to one of the generic 105 key keyboards but it’s probably not a big deal if you cant find yours on the list have fun remember you can always re-image or if your really stuck go to a supermarket and pick up a generic 105 USB keyboard I got logitech one for six quid.
The next screen regards keyboard layout If your not using the first choice of English UK select other and you will be faced with a long list of other national keyboards. Funnily enough this list includes English UK.
Next screen is actually quite well documented on the screen your probably going to run with one of the top two choices these are.
The default for the keyboard layout Or No AltGr key
To be honest if this is your first setup and you get this wrong it’s not going to break the bank and as I keep saying if in doubt re-image and start again.
Next screen well if your using a standard keyboard then you probably don’t have a compose key and if your new to computing as intended your not likely to need one for a while so I would suggest choosing
No compose key
The next screen is a useful one and the on screen documentation is actually quite clear provided you know what is meant by “X server”
So here’s an outline when you have finished your install the last line of the startup will tell you that you can run startx. Startx is the command to run the windows (like) screen where you use a mouse to select options.
This is the X server and to get back to command line (that’s all the typed stuff) you can have [Ctrl][Alt][Backspace] all pressed at the same time to shut down this X server screen and you can always restart it by typing “startx” Always handy if you have a flaky mouse or are using a wireless mouse that eats batteries.
Of course this is pointless if you don’t remember the key combination when the time comes.
Fifth Entry change_pass Change password for ‘pi’ user
The default user for the wheezy install is pi and the normal password is raspberry now until your familiar with the setup it’s probably better to leave this password as it is at least till you are happy changing stuff. In addition this is probably one of the easiest things to change from a command line.
To return to my mantra if you screw this up be prepared to re-image with Linix and Unix forgotten passwords are a killer the Raspberry is one of the simpler systems and lets face it till you know what your looking at, the out of the box solution of pi and raspberry are probably all you will need.
Sixth Entry change_locale Set locale
You can tell this was written by a computer engineer and not a human how about this as an alternative.
change_locale Tell the computer if you need non English characters.
Sheesh! a computer aimed at children and new users and then you expect them to know what locale means.
This menu option gives you a massive list of choices that look like they were written by one of the infinite monkeys of legend (goggle infinite monkeys Shakespeare if you don’t understand this reference actually don’t I think you need to stick with this).
The default setting is
en_GB UTF-8 UTF-8
English Great Britain and UTF-8 is a code related to showing all of the characters usually need to show English letters on the screen now if you are working in some other language than English then you will probably need to play around with this.
You can select multiple choices in the list the space bar toggles them on and off (this was the exception I mentioned earlier) and it’s a long list basically if you want to work in more than one language then you will need to make other choices from this list based on the languages you intend to use.
If your working in English only the default choice is probably the only one you will need.
Seventh Entry change_timezone Set timezone
This is where you setup your clock now it’s no big issue if it’s wrong it just means the date and time assigned to files you create (automatically when you make) them will be out and its not hard to set this up.
The set up consists of two layers basically to make your selection easier to find.
First option screen think continent just to confuse things you have US and America because we all know USA is not part of America.
Actually the US option just gives you a shorter list all of the US time zones are included in the American list they just made a shorter list under US for all those Good Old Boy American Citizens who don’t know about American places outside of the USA.
SystemV relies on you knowing what SystemV is (Think Unix and ignore it for now).
Most people know where they are in the world for time zone for me it’s Europe then London on the next screen but I’ve always been of the opinion that there should be ropes and lights around the M25 with signs saying “Danger hole in the world Keep Out” but then I’m not from London and the M25 was always the road to hell.
Eighth Entry memory_split Change memory split
I am prepared to be corrected on this but I am almost certain that this allows you to choose how much of the onboard memory is set aside for the graphics and how much for the on board operation of the main ARM processor.
Three choices 32meg for graphics 64meg for graphics 128meg for graphics. Now let’s assume your really fresh to writing code, as in never done this before ever.
Your not going to be writing really complex Artificial Intelligence type programs and your also unlikely to be running cutting edge real time first person shooter games not yet anyways.
At a later date should you go either of these routes re imaging a new SD card will probably be well within your capabilities till then it’s not really an issue which option you choose. I like the idea of having 128 meg for graphics. As a new programmer your not likely to push graphics unless you want to do something with photos or live streaming (Watching Live TV on your Pi). Remember not only can you re-image but you can run raspi-config again and reassign this value is not set in stone.
Ninth Entry ssh Enable or disable ssh server
Now unless you know what ssh is then enable or disable ssh is probably the option that’s going to leave you re-setting you Pi the most. ssh is the secure shell option ssh will allow you to log into the Pi from another computer on your network using a program like putty.
Putty is free and available to download it’s free Open source and runs on both Windows, Linux and there are other things available for Mac’s (I’m not really familiar enough but I believe there’s an option in Xterm).
This option has allowed me to access my Pi without a monitor attached to the Pi ok it’s easier if you have but let’s say you want to do some command line stuff and your partner/brother/sister whatever wants to use the TV for corrie or suchlike.
You can hook up the TV and use this option in the setup menu to toggle the ssh server.
Now let’s make this clear if you have not got a network connection to your Pi and you select the ssh option you will not get back to the menu without a re-set however if you have putty loaded on your PC and you know the IP address of your Pi then it’s a good option.
Playing with the Pi with putty is probably one of those things that will need it’s own guide notes because there’s all sorts of stuff associated with spotting what the IP address is.
I have found that even when I have known the address and I have selected ssh there’s no indication of the ssh state however using putty I’ve connected using the ip identified by interrogating my router.
Then using the ssh option from this menu if the connection did not work hit enter on the Pi’s keyboard this appears to be the toggle one the selection has been made.
However if you are using everything from the box as is. That is to say you have your HDMI connected to a TV and a Keyboard and Mouse on the Pi and you have the menu running then I suggest you don’t run ssh (note just a suggestion).
Final Entry finish Finish config and don’t start raspi-config at boot If you select <Ok> from this option and you reboot then you wont get this raspi-config menu if you choose <Exit> then the next time you start your going to get this menu again automatically.
Oklets assume you have happily worked your way through this and you selected OK for the final menu option.
You are going to get some gibberish about the Last Login (ignore this).
Then there’s some info on finding further information on the included programs now as a new user for now even locating this stuff is probably a no-no.
Then you get the standard NO WARRANTY message it’s just legalese for “your doing this at your own risk” that kind of goes without saying.
Then the key line.
Type ‘startx’ to launch graphical session
So if at this point you type startx followed by hitting the Enter key you will be launched headlong into a windows style environment. Should you feel inclined have fun.
If on the other hand you want to play in the rarefied atmosphere of the command line environs then you may want to manually reboot just to test your Pi.
The command reboot tells you that you must be super user so type
sudo reboot instead this should restart your Pi give it a couple of minutes if it does not re-start on it’s own switch it off then on again. Hey it works more often than not.