PDA

View Full Version : Raspbian size and smaller alternatives



Ole Juul
July 14th, 2014, 09:45 PM
Two basic questions, and a rant:

1- I've been searching for the size of the Raspbian operating system. What is it?
2- What smaller alternatives are there?

I ask the first question here because a hour's search hasn't brought the answer. I started downloading Raspbian almost 4 hours ago and if it is anywhere near the size of most Linux distros, I'm expecting it to take another 4 hours. Also, it appears that most Pi people only can associate the word "size" with "you need a minimum of 4GB". So, since this is a computing type question, I'm asking it here rather than on the RPi forum. Perhaps it should be under humour, but it's actually a tragicomedy. (That's my rant.)

I don't plan to put a monitor on this thing. Partly because it uses the modern HDMI and none of my big pile of monitors supports that (let alone my KVM). The RCA video capable monitors I have are too clunky to bring upstairs where I want this thing. Which brings the second question into focus.

Isn't there some smaller OS that can run on a RPi? Ideally something like regular basic Debian (227MB). Even if I had to attach a monitor to get this thing configured for SSH login, I wouldn't mind. Just give me something that doesn't include every X library ever written and can be downloaded in less that 8 hours. Yes, definitely less than that.

Caluser2000
July 14th, 2014, 10:16 PM
2 minute search bought up PiCore at something like 25megs. Unsure if it fits your requirements. Did you try any of the other OSs on the NOOB sd card images?

Curious to see how you get on. Even 4hrs seems an terribly long time considering I can have a fully functioning
OS on my P200mmx in around 20mins.

Seems folk are having a bit of fun with those wee things. The Uncle Scrooge in me says why bother?

Ole Juul
July 14th, 2014, 11:20 PM
I've been searching also since I posted. There's a few smaller ones, and I might try PiCore later. In the meanwhile, I just came back from my snack and it had finished downloading. Total 5 hours and 14 minutes. The size is 612,298,752 bytes. It was coming down at an average 225kbps. Obviously the server is stingy. :)

Anyway, with that ordeal over, I'm on my way. Apparently Raspbian boots into an SSH enabled state. I should be able to see on the router what IP it grabs and then log in - saving me all the work of figuring out how to get video out of that thing.


Curious to see how you on. Even 2hrs seems an terribly long time considering I can have a fully functioning OS on my P200mmx in around 20mins.

I was surprised too. I was just downloading onto my main machine. I'm going to write the image onto the SD chip now, so hopefully that won't take too long. I was hot to trot on this one because I had ordered a power supply with a plug on it that fits the RPi and it just appeared in my mail box. Those plugs aren't too common around here and I didn't feel like snipping an adapter chord and putting something together when I could get a nice box and suitable 2 amp PSU for under $12 including shipping from USA. These Pies seem to be designed for younger folks who only have lots of newer tech around. I've got truckloads of stuff, but a recent vintage Cell phone PSU and an HDMI capable monitor (let alone a new HDMI capable KVM) is not available. This could easily turn into an expensive exercise for old folks. Why couldn't they at least have put solder pads on this thing?


Seems folk are having a bit of fun with those wee things. The Uncle Scrooge in me says why bother?

I think they have a good use as low power or specialized computers that will be on 24/7 - or perhaps where space is important, such as on a car or bike. I was thinking of a mail server. We'll see. I wouldn't have bought one either, but it was a Christmas present from an old buddy.

lowen
July 15th, 2014, 07:20 AM
I'm looking at implementing a stratum one NTP server with a Pi, interfacing to an HP/Agilent Z3816A GPS-locked refclock. I'm probably going to install the command-line-only version of RedSleeve Linux, since we're almost entirely CentOS around here, and RedSleeve is essentially CentOS 6 on ARM. The application is to be solar-powered, so every watt is important.

Ole Juul
July 15th, 2014, 09:54 PM
That sounds interesting. When it comes to Linux, I'm used to Debian based though, so will probably stick with that now that I have it. I'm certainly not going to download anything else from the Raspberian site! I notice some folks have a BSD version on Pi too, though the Pi forum people don't talk much about stuff like that.

I didn't get this thing working last night. Bummer. I wrote the image (using DD) a couple of times in case there was something about the writing, but it just won't boot. No lights except the red power led. I do see all the files there when I look on my regular machine. I understand this can be a problem with the chip or the image, so I downloaded 9Pi from the Bell Labs site (took only a few minutes!), but that didn't boot either. Boy, plan 9 sure looks interesting, too bad a mouse is mandatory. Especially since I'm trying to avoid this awkward video interface that the Pi has. My idea was that I'd still be able to see if it was booting, by the characteristic led activity associated with that - green blinking for CF activity, orange for ethernet link, etc.

Anyway, I already ordered a high quality 16GB Gskill microSDHC from Newegg a few days back so I'll expect things to look up. That one is on the "works with Pi" list. The one I had was just bought as an experiment. It's 8GB, from China, and cost 3 buck including shipping. I think I got my money's worth since at least I can read and write to it, even if it won't boot a Pi.

kb2syd
July 16th, 2014, 06:10 AM
I didn't get this thing working last night. Bummer. I wrote the image (using DD) a couple of times in case there was something about the writing, but it just won't boot. No lights except the red power led.
If you have one, try a different power supply. I've had this problem and marginal power supplies were the culprit in my case.


Especially since I'm trying to avoid this awkward video interface that the Pi has.
Awkward video interface? What am I missing? It has HDMI and composite out. One or the other are supported on most LCD monitors or TVs made in the last couple of years. I know the $120 special I brought at WalMart last year has HDMI as well as VGA and DVI. Or, you can open a remote desktop to it. That's the easiest way to get a GUI and not have another monitor hooked up.

Ole Juul
July 16th, 2014, 08:56 PM
If you have one, try a different power supply. I've had this problem and marginal power supplies were the culprit in my case.
I don't have anything with that connector. The PS is rated at 2 amps though and intended for the Pi. That's no guarantee, and you're right that's a possible point of failure. I'll get back to that after I've tried a better SD card which I suspect is the real problem.


Awkward video interface? What am I missing?

The fact that it's awkward for me. I'm not of the TV persuasion, but even if I was it's still not convenient to gather all the stuff together and find a space just for the purpose of making sure this thing works or to enable SSH if not using Raspbian, which does that.


It has HDMI and composite out. One or the other are supported on most LCD monitors or TVs made in the last couple of years. I know the $120 special I brought at WalMart last year has HDMI as well as VGA and DVI. Or, you can open a remote desktop to it. That's the easiest way to get a GUI and not have another monitor hooked up.

I know. But I don't want to spend a lot of money on this. I don't think there's any affordable KVMs with both HDMI and VGA out there. I certainly don't want to replace the brand new one I just got, which is only VGA. An adapter is $40-60 and not worth it for only this one use. All my CRTs are VGA, and my (admittedly sparse) collection of 4 newer monitors is VGA only. I do have some old CCTV monitors and that would do but they don't work on my KVM so again, I'd have to set up somewhere else. Nothing I've got will work easily, or alternatively I could spend lots of money to get a $40 computer working - which doesn't make sense. That's what I mean by "awkward". :) The Pi is designed for younger people who probably have boxes of adapters with a micro USB, watch TV, and have monitors that are newer than my most recent bakery goods. I've got roughly 500 square feet storage of computing equipment of great variety, but I don't have anything with HDMI or micro USB. In short, I'm from a different generation.

Yes, the remote desktop is the only thing of interest to me and what I normally do with most computers. That's why I was interested in Raspberian which supposedly has SSH enabled by default. However, I have to get it to boot first.

cthulhu
July 17th, 2014, 01:14 AM
If you have one, try a different power supply. I've had this problem and marginal power supplies were the culprit in my case.

Power supplies are such a nightmare with the Raspberry Pi. Even some so-called "compatible with the Raspberry Pi" power supplies have been problematic. The designers did a particularly poor job with this aspect of the Pi. I recommend using a genuine Sony PSP power supply with one of these (http://www.ebay.com/itm/13cm-5-USB-2-0-to-DC-Tip-4-0x1-7mm-Female-Power-Charge-Cable-Cord-Adapter-CCTV/271275443031) to power the Pi. This will provide a more stable 5 volt supply than the USB specifications require of USB power. If you already have a USB power supply you want to use with the Pi but which is marginal due to the Pi's power circuitry deficiencies then one of these (http://www.ebay.com/itm/271157661296) may make it more reliable.

kb2syd
July 17th, 2014, 04:36 AM
I know. But I don't want to spend a lot of money on this. I don't think there's any affordable KVMs with both HDMI and VGA out there. I certainly don't want to replace the brand new one I just got, which is only VGA.
I am fortunate that the inexpensive monitor I purchased when I put together my computer had 3 inputs. I just plug the PI into the HDMI input and use the display controls to switch the input. I have a standard USB/VGA KVM that I use to switch the keyboard.

It makes the switching two steps, but still pretty easy to manage. Once configured I just leave the RPi dead head and use remote desktop or SSH.

Ole Juul
July 17th, 2014, 04:41 AM
I had gotten one of these (http://www.ebay.ca/itm/301211768866?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649). Pretty cheap. The irony is that I've got a number of lovely 5v regulated power supplies handy. There's a nice little 50amp box with screw terminals sitting beside me which is made specifically for digital equipment. It's that darn little USB thingie that is just such a nuisance. I've even got a box (actually a big one) full of various cell phone power adapters - none have USB. Anybody know where I can buy a bag of pigtails for RPi power input?

dabone
July 17th, 2014, 05:03 AM
I just bought an internal usb header, and wired up the voltage pins to a power supply I had laying around, then just connect a micro usb phone cord.
Works fine for my pi.


Example of the header.

http://www.amazon.ca/niceeshop-Port-Panel-Bracket-Adapter-White/dp/B00ICE2XJM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1405602076&sr=8-1&keywords=usb+bracket

Later,
dabone

Ole Juul
July 18th, 2014, 03:17 PM
The power adapter which I got for the purpose may well have been OK. It measured 5.24v with no load, but I'm dubious about regulation. In any case, and just in case, I decided to eliminate the doubt and came up with another solution:

http://cgs.coalmont.net/PiPower.jpg

I just snipped off the chord on the adapter. Since I only paid 6 bucks for the unit, the chord was by far the most valuable part. With this solution I just plug into a nearby machine's proper PSU. Sorted.

As it turns out, the OS image was an issue. I haven't re-tried all the ones I downloaded which wouldn't boot before or grab an IP from the router, but a third download (yes this is getting tedious) of a Raspbian image turns out to boot. I'm in!

Now I just have to be careful when I make the changes to network files that I don't lock myself out.

cthulhu
July 18th, 2014, 09:32 PM
The power adapter which I got for the purpose may well have been OK. It measured 5.24v with no load, but I'm dubious about regulation.

According to the USB Battery Charging Specification USB power supplies only have to supply 500 mA at 5 volts. At their rated current they are allowed to drop to 3.6 volts. Needless to say this sort of behaviour does not work well with the Raspberry Pi.

Ole Juul
July 18th, 2014, 11:48 PM
According to the USB Battery Charging Specification USB power supplies only have to supply 500 mA at 5 volts. At their rated current they are allowed to drop to 3.6 volts. Needless to say this sort of behaviour does not work well with the Raspberry Pi.

I don't have any experience with USB chargers. I also think there are issues powering the Pi through the USB port. Apparently that bypasses the fuses and one had better make sure one has a well regulated supply in that case since 6v would fry something.

The thing I got was supposedly made/specced for the RPi and rated at 2 Amps. That doesn't mean it's well regulated though. Anyway, in my situation (with the open case of a mini tower computer near by) the mogul adapter was a perfect solution.

-----

I've spend the last hour playing with this thing. Raspberian actually has some nice perks, like not having that silly network-manager integrated and overwriting one's network files. It was a breeze to set up static IP and host name. I'll perhaps explore some other OS options at another time. I don't think that FreeBSD is quite sorted for the Pi yet. That's the only other OS I'm really likely to use for anything practical anyway.

Now, the next step is to figure out what kind of practical thing I can run on this. Something that's on 24/7 and not memory/cpu intensive seems like the right fit. A mail server is a likely suspect, but I'm not sure that will work well behind double natting. My ISP was kind enough to give me a dedicated IP though.

g4ugm
July 19th, 2014, 12:07 AM
The Uncle Scrooge in me says why bother?


The "Uncle Scrooge" says its cheap enough to just leave in a project where you need a full UNIX implementation. Its not the full beginning and end, but its a great little board at a scrouge friendly price. I have one running XBMC and it allows my old TV to view a range of on-line stuff such as catch-up TV...

.. yes there are boards which offer more "bang per buck" but none as cheap as the PI. I wouldn't want to leave a Beagle Board Black behind the TV....

g4ugm
July 19th, 2014, 12:13 AM
I don't plan to put a monitor on this thing. Partly because it uses the modern HDMI and none of my big pile of monitors supports that (let alone my KVM). The RCA video capable monitors I have are too clunky to bring upstairs where I want this thing. .

You can get HDMI to VGA converters. They seem cheap enough but I have no idea how well they work. e.g.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/121221540384

I actually bought a TV with SCART for my old ATARIs and HDMI for my new computer which is HDI....