Monday, June 25, 2012

Raspberry Pi: I've tried three OSes.

I've posted that Debian6-19-04-2012 from here, booted fine, without any adjustments on my RPi.
However, I've done very little with Debian since setting up a 4GB SD card which  I still have so I can run it anytime.

Instead, I've looked more closely at Arch (from the same RPi downloads page).
The first time I tried this it apparently didn't boot for reasons I misunderstood.
To get it to boot this time, I merely had to mount the SD card through the card reader on my EeePC 901 and rename the file /boot/config.txt to /boot/config.txt.disabled.
And that's all it took.
Renaming, rather than just deleting, means the file is still available should you want to modify it somehow later on.

Without the /boot/config.txt file, Arch assumed a screen resolution of 1824x984 which doesn't quite fill my 1920x1080 screen.
There's a very useful post on adjusting the aforementioned config.txt file to get the required HDMI output.
This requires you to add lines for 'hdmi_drive=' and 'hdmi_group=' to the config.txt file as well as changing the 'hdmi_mode=' line to something other than the 'hdmi_mode=19' that is the default.

While at least some the the other options allow the SD card to boot properly (in other words, you get a visible screen, which I didn't with hdmi_mode=19), the resulting screen resolution seems highly unpredictable.
For example, with


in my /boot/config.txt, I got a screen resolution of something around 640x480 with an enormous font.
So, I went back to disabling this file which at least gave me something I can work with.

Arch does not load sound modules by default, so to get sound you must either load snd-bcm2835 with
modprobe snd-bcm2835
or, more conveniently, add this module to the list of modules in the  Hardware section of /etc/rc.conf file
To try the sound, I used the wonderful pacman package manager to install shell-fm. After adding a ~/.shell-fm/shell-fm.rc file and adding username, password and default-radio lines, it worked fine despite a few minor errors listed in the output.

In general, Arch works well but is slow and laggy compared to the Desktop version. However, development is ongoing and improvements must be expected.

I also tried Fedora 17 from here. To get it to work I did little other than follow the guidelines given in first post by rarebear of Sat, June 16, 2012 in this thread.
For the record, the swap file I made using Gparted was 250 MB rather than the 2GB suggested in the link.
Also, I labelled all three partitions of the install (boot, rootfs and swap). This allowed me to modify the /etc/fstab file of the Fedora F17 install using the line
/dev/swap   swap    swap    defaults   0   0
rather than the more complicated device name.
Fedora failed the first time I booted it, giving a "Oops, something has gone wrong" error.
However, on a reboot, it booted fine, if rather slowly.

Fedora filled the full screen of my 1920x1080 monitor.
Performance was however painfully slow and not even remotely like Arch.
Nevertheless, graphics seems good as seen in the screensavers.
# yum -c update
worked fine and seemed to give a complete update as when I tried it a second time it told me no updates were available.
However, I was unable to install anything else, including shell-fm, because it always told me, essentially, no 'arm' version of what I wanted was available in the repos.
Indeed, the repos I used had no 'arm' branch at all.


No comments:

Post a Comment