First a quick word on my setup. My monitor has both an HDMI and a DVI port. My main machine uses the DVI port whereas the Pi uses the HDMI port, and there is a button on the front of my monitor to switch the source. This is very handy, eg for asking the internet questions when things go wrong on the Pi, or if I want a break form Pi work I can have a quick game of Spider Solitare.
Right, so after Rasbpian is installed via NOOBS (see my previous post) the system reboots and you are greeted with a setup menu, that looks something like this.
Most of these options are straightforward enough but I will draw attention to a few of them. Or you can go to this wiki page for a more complete rundown of the options.
Enable SSH – this is so you can connect to the machine remotely if desired.
Password – do set one up!
Boot to desktop – make sure this is enabled if you are newbie like me. It’s a lot friendlier than being faced with a command line prompt, and also this is necessary if you want to be able to remotely connect to the graphical interface (ie – you cannot start the graphical interface remotely).
If you ever want to get back to this setup menu again, then you need to type
sudo raspi-config into the command prompt.
Now click OK, and before too long you will be greeted by the following desktop screen. Congratulations, you’ve now set up your Raspberry Pi!
As this is your home of all things Pi, let me take you around a few things to get you started.
“Start Menu” – click in the bottom right and a menu pops up, similar to the Start Menu found in Windows versions from Windows 95 through to Windows 7. It’s nice to have something familiar around.
Now to take you through a few of the desktop shortcuts.
Wifi setup – this is a fairly simple program to set up your wifi. I found it easy to use and straightforward. It did take a long time to register properly on my network, but once it did it worked flawlessly, and remembered the settings upon reboot. Well done to the makers for having such an important part of the setup for many people easy to find and easy to use.
Midori – this is a lightweight web browser. Always a useful thing to have available. It does run pretty slowly though (remember the machine costs £30), so the majority of Pi-related browsing I do on my main machine. If there’s a lot of text I need to copy & paste though I will load it up on Midori.
Scratch – this is a simple sudo-programming language – the sort of thing the Pi was invented for. My intentions go beyond this so it’s not for me.
LX Terminal – this bring up the command prompt, a familiar concept to many of us who can remember the days of MS-DOS or who have had reason to use the command prompt in Windows. As this is linux and not a Microsoft system the majority of the commands will be different though. Most of the techie things I will be doing will be done via this program. So let’s go through a few simple commands to get us started.
cd is how to change directory (just like the good old DOS command). So type cd etc to go into the etc subfolder.
ls means “list” and simply displays the contents of the current directory.
sudo as a prefix to a command and means that command should be executed as if you are the su – the “super user” also known as “root”. This use has the power to do almost anything. So if, for example, you are changing files that are run at startup, only the super user can do this. I’ll be using
sudo an awful lot from here on.
nano is the command-line text editor. Typing
nano filename will open up the file called filename in the editor. To exit the file and save the changes, you will need to press shift and X, followed by Y and then enter.
shutdown & reboot – two basic commands that everyone needs to know. Shutdown when you want to pull the power cable out, and reboot when things go wrong or you want to check that “on boot” options you have set up really work. Regular users don’t have the permissions to do this, so what you will actually need to type is
sudo shutdown or
I think learning how to turn your machine off is a good way to end this lesson.