RPi Beginners

From eLinux.org
Revision as of 04:14, 25 April 2012 by Oztrailrider (talk | contribs) (Basic Debian RPi Setup)
Jump to: navigation, search

RaspPi.png Back to the Hub

Getting Started:

Buying Guide - for advice on buying the Raspberry Pi.

SD Card Setup - for information on how to prepare the SD Card used to boot your Raspberry Pi.

Basic Setup - for help with buying / selecting other hardware and setting it up.

Beginners Guide - you are up and running, now what can you do?

Latest RPi 4 Topics - Recent topics on Raspberry Pi 4 and the Pi OS

Advanced Setup - for more extensive information on setting up.

Trouble Shooting - some things to check if things don't work as expected.

INFO : If you are looking for any information related to SD Cards and setup look here There is some restructuring going on , we are sorry for the inconvenience.

About This Page - For Contributors

The intention of this page is to provide a starting point for beginners and to direct them to the kind of information a person would need in order to start doing something useful or interesting with a Raspberry Pi.

It is not intended to contain or replicate much of the information already available on-line or elsewhere in the wiki, however please create new wiki pages and link them here if there is information beginners will find useful (similarly any section which grows too much here, should be separated into new pages as and when needed)!

At the moment building up ideas of content of typical things beginners will want to know and the kind of things they will want to do first.

Where to start?

Any easy question to ask, but a very difficult one to answer!

  1. If you need to get a RPi, the see the Buying Guide.
  2. If you need to know what equipment you will need and how to set it up, see the Basic Hardware Setup page.
  3. If you need to install/setup an SD card see the Preload your Card section.
  4. If you've done all that, and you are wondering what next...welcome and read on!
References needed (idea for new section Living Without RPi, which can guide users or link to info to users who haven't got RPis)
     Link to emulation builds or live linux cds setup for beginners (RacyPy2 for example)

If you don't have a Raspberry Pi yet, you can still try things out, see xxxx for details.

What is Linux and why not use Windows?

Linux is an operating system just like Windows, however, unlike Windows (which needs a set hardware requirement to run i.e. One Size fits or get different hardware), Linux comes in many varieties and configurations which means you can usually find a flavour (or Distribution) which fits your hardware big or small / fast or slow.

The Raspberry Pi is not suited to running Windows due to its hardware, but there are plenty of Linux Distributions which fit nicely. In addition to this, most Distributions of Linux are free, however Windows can cost many times the price of the Raspberry Pi itself.

Chances are you already have Linux running in your home without you even knowing it, since it is commonly used in modern TVs, Freeview and cable boxes to run things and ensure your recording of Inbetweeners gets done!

For more information about Linux see Wikipedia

Also see End-User FAQ And Running XXX on the RPi

Basic Debian RPi Setup

When you first turn on your Raspberry Pi with it's fresh Debian image on the SD card, you may have to make some minor adjustments to the OS configuration files to suit your location. The default location setting (locale) is the UK.

Keyboard Mapping

If you find that some keys are not working as expected, it is probably the keyboard mapping. To edit the mapping, you have to change it in the /etc/default/keyboard config file. Use sudo to obtain temporary write permissions on the file.

   sudo nano /etc/default/keyboard

Change the XKBLAYOUT="gb" to whatever type you need. A common layout is XKBLAYOUT="us". Don't forget to save the file when exiting. Restart to see the changes.

Change the Timezone

Unless you live in Great Britain, you'll have to change the default timezone. Use "sudo" to obtain temporary execute permissions.

   sudo dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

Follow the prompts to finish the config. The change should be immediate.

Intro to the CLI (Command Line Interface)

how to use a terminal window You will need to use the Command Line Interface at some point in your management of the RPi. Command Line Interface "Must Have" Commands

Adding more software to your Raspberry pi

You will probably want to add software to your Raspberry Pi. Here you can find out how to do it. Adding Software

Beginner Projects

Here are a few things you can try out with your Raspberry Pi, in most cases all you'll need is your SD Card loaded with a particular preconfigured OS Distribution.

It will be worth getting a few spare SD Cards if you think you will switch between setups regularly or become familiar with how to back up and restore your card.

Reference needed - a good guide on how to backup and restore cards or software to do this easily

Media Player

With this configuration you will typically have the Raspberry Pi connected to a TV or large monitor and a source of videos/music/photos etc you wish to play (i.e. Internet/hard-drive/local network etc).

Reference needed - links to a specific wiki page covering this in detail or links to projects like
                    OpenElec, CrystalBuntu, Raspbmc etc

Play Games

While there are not any commercial games for the Raspberry Pi (yet) there are plenty ways to play games on it.

Many distributions will have games built into them, and some may well support emulation of other platforms so you can run those games.

Also, a lot of Raspberry Pi users will be writing simple games which will be available for others to enjoy (and if desired added to or modified).

Reference needed - game section is empty at the moment!

See the Games Section for more details

Introducing Young Children To Computers

Reference needed - some kid friendly and fun stuff!


There is a huge number of groups, links and resources available within the Education section.

Reference needed - links to the learning pages, education links and school/university groups

Learn To Program

There is a huge selection of programming languages which you can use to write interesting programs, games, applications and utilities. There are also more great links within the Education section.

There is a huge selection to choose from (not just Python...) which should suit any ability and a range of purposes.

If you are new to programming, there are plenty of tutorials for getting started in the Tutorials Section.

Books about programming can be found in the Books Section.

In the latest Debian, Python (+Pygame) and MIT Scratch are pre-installed.

Reference needed - links to the learning pages, recommended books?

Interface With Hardware

  1. Interfacing with Arduino
Reference needed - links to basic circuits tutorials and expansion boards

Word Processing/Internet Browsing etc

Yes, the Raspberry Pi can do the majority of the dull stuff too which other computers do.

Debian currently comes with Midori installed for web browsing and word processing programs be installed rather easily.

  • Entering "sudo apt-get install openoffice.org" into a terminal will install OpenOffice.org, a free Microsoft Office-like application suite
  • Entering "sudo apt-get install abiword-common" into a terminal will install AbiWord, a lighter weight but still fully functional word processor
 More information needed

Your Own Pet Project!

The sky is the limit really, with some time and effort any number of projects can be achieved.

Even if you don't have the skill to do it yourself, you can join like minded people by getting involved with one of the numerous groups in the Community Section, also within the Education pages or learn what you need in from the Guides & Tutorials sections.

Of course, if you do anything interesting then please let us know in the Projects section.