This is a project that started as something small but has grown over time. I wanted a simple script that would snap a picture and upload it to a ftp site once a day. With that script I could keep an eye on my yard when I was traveling. As time went on, I wanted easier access so I replaced the ftp site with DropBox. Then I wanted more images so once a day went to once and hour. As so on… (more…)
For an upcoming project I needed to upload files to Dropbox from the command line. There is a tool that supports transfers to & from Dropbox but the setup requires a few coordinated steps. This quick how-to is what you need to get started.
I have been using the DietPi distribution on my Raspberry Pis for a about a year now and it has become my go-to for doing quick projects. It is a lightweight distro that is based on Debian. It automates many of the more complicated tasks required with setting up and updating a Linux SBC and it includes an impressive list of ‘standard applications.’ There are two items that are the most convenient for my lab. First, DietPi is not just a Raspberry Pi distro. It supports about 30 different single board computers and virtual machines. That is important for me because I am trying new boards as they are released. The second big factor is the automated setup. I will be doing a blog post dedicated to that topic in the future. (more…)
PhantomJS is an awesome tool for web testing, web scraping and complex scripting. In a future post I will be talking about how to use PhantomJS to check and report on cell plan use. Because the Raspberry Pi 2 is new, no one has created a PhantomJS repository entry so before I could use it on my Raspberry Pi 2 I had to compile it from scratch. The PhantomJS team has done a super job automating most of the process (check out the instructions here) but a few tweaks are needed for the RPi2. (more…)
For advanced users – If you need a minimal distribution that includes a GUI and run entirely out of RAM, TinyCore might be right for you. It includes only a minimal set of tools that you can use to build up a complete system with only what you need. The complete announcement can be found here http://forum.tinycorelinux.net/index.php/topic,16551.msg98689.html and a review is here http://www.linuxuser.co.uk/reviews/picore-5-1-review-tinycore-comes-to-raspberry-pi. I will say that I do not entirely agree with the review and I give TinyCore higher marks than the reviewer.
UPDATE TinyCore v6.0 is now available here
In my last post about QEMU I showed how easy it was to emulate the Raspberry Pi in Windows. If you are just getting started with the Pi, that is the way to go. Personally, I prefer to use Arch Linux over Debian. There is nothing wrong with Raspbian, I am just used to how Arch Linux works. But, emulating Arch Linux under QEMU is not that simple. To start, not everything can be found in one easy download package. But, I worked through the problems and here are the instructions:
- To start,you will need a working QEMU working Rasbian to modify the Arch Linux img file. Follow the instructions in this post to get Raspbian running.
- Next, download QEMU 1.6 from QEMU FOR WINDOWS (52MB). Extract in a different location from the Rasbian install.
- Download the latest Linux kernel for QEMU from http://xecdesign.com/downloads/linux-qemu/kernel-qemu NOTE: http://xecdesign.com/qemu-emulating-raspberry-pi-the-easy-way/ has some great information about QEMU and the Raspberry Pi
- Download the latest Arch image from http://archlinuxarm.org/platforms/armv6/raspberry-pi
- Before we boot the Arch image we are going to make a few changes to the img file. One, it needs to be bigger and have a swap partition and two, the way the Arch image specifies the boot partition does not work with QEMU. We need to modify the /etc/fstab to make it work.
- Add 2 GB of space to the fake SD card with the following command (in Windows)
qemu-img <Arch img filename> resize +2G
- Next, we will add the Arch img as a second drive in Rasbian. Add the following to the BAT file that starts the Rasbian QEMU session
Add the correct date code for you file. That addition puts the Arch img on /dev/sdb when you start Rasbian.
- Start Rasbian. Watch the messages to see that the sdb partitions are now available. Don’t worry if the message go by too quickly, the next step can also check.
- Now create the swap partition. Login and use
sudo fdisk /dev/sdband create a linux swap partition. Detailed instructions are here. The next step shows how to edit the fstab to make the swap used at boot.
- Next, we will mount the Arch partition and edit the fstab. Do the following:
sudo mkdir /mnt/arch
sudo mount /dev/sdb5 /mnt/arch
sudo nano /mnt/arch/etc/fstab
- In fstab, change the /boot line from /dev/mmcblk0 to /dev/sda1
- Add the following as the list line to activate swap on boot
/dev/sda3 none swap defaults 0 0
- Save fstab, exit nano and umount /mnt/arch.
- Halt Rasbian and move the Arch img file to the QEMU 1.6 install directory
- Arch can be started with the following command
qemu-system-armw.exe -kernel kernel-qemu -cpu arm1176 -m 256 -M versatilepb -no-reboot -serial stdio -append "root=/dev/sda5 panic=1 rootfstype=ext4 rw" -hda ArchLinuxARM-2014.02-rpi.img
- All should start and you can log in with username root and password root
- Check your swap with
You’re done. You new have a QEMU system emulating Arch Linux. Update Arc with pacman to get all of the latest goodness.