Raspberry Pi – Novice Intro


Refresh basics from introduction

What is it, why use is and what are the basic elements to get up-and-running.

MicroSD Card

Recommend participants obtain their own micro-SD card. The concept is to begin building knowledge and to customize the environment to suit the learning.

The microSD card should be at least 8GB since it is both operating system and memory. An optimum size would be 32 GB. Larger cards, such as 128 GB, are able to be used, but additional formatting steps may be required.

Pre-loaded Operating System

It is possible to purchase a card pre-loaded with the operating of choice. Adafruit has such cards available. The benefit is to be up-and-running right away.

Load a generic SD card

Only a few more steps are required to load a system of choice onto a blank SD card.

The instructions for NOOBS is located at the RaspberryPi.org site.

  • Download the image – an image is the copy of the operating system that would reside on the hard drive for a standard computer
  • Unzip the image file – the downloaded file is probably *.zip, it will need to be extracted to that the file is *.img
  • Format SD card – a card will require a file-structure that is readable by the raspberry pi. NOOBS comes with some guidelines.
  • Write image to SD card – will need a program on the computer used to download the image-file to write an image to the card

Copy and existing SD card with a Raspberry Pi image

If you have a USB adapter for a micro-SD card, the Raspberry Pi is able to copy the current card onto a new card. This is the easiest method. The program to look for is “SD Card Copier”

Default Software

What is NOOBS?

New Out Of the Box (NOOBS) software is the recommended operating system with several pre-install programs.

What is in NOOBS?

  • Operating system – Raspbian, a form of LINUX
  • Terminal – text-based input
  • Python – one of many programming languages available
  • SonicPI – a fun way to play with programming using audio
  • Scratch – a graphical introduction to programming
  • LibreOffice – suite of office software

Installing Software

The initial installation only contains a minimum number of pre-loaded programs. For full functionality, additional programs should be found and installed.

Update Software List

A good habit is to update the software list prior to looking for packages to install.

sudo apt update

To install updates the operating system currently loaded, type in the terminal:

sudo apt dist-upgrade

Installation tools?

Under Preferences, there is Add/Remove Software. One may either browse using the pre-defined categories or do a search. Often, many selections are possible. It may help to do a simple search to determine the specific name of a package to select the correct one.

Another method uses the Terminal. The Advanced Packaging Tool (APT) uses commands from the terminal.

Permissions required?

Any changes that add programs, or modify critical will require SuperUser (SU) permissions. The “sudo” command must precede many of the commands to install or update software.

The default user is “pi” and the default password is “raspberry”

Downloading Software

When downloading files outside of the installation tool, there are a few ways to do it.

  • Download file and follow instructions to install
  • Use LINUX commands to obtain and install software

How do software downloads work?

Most Raspberry Pi software are dependent on other support programs. These dependencies must be installed for the software to work. Some may already be installed whereas others required installation. When using the installer, all this is done for the user. When obtaining the downloads elsewhere, there will be varying levels of configurations that may require advanced skills.

Modification of System Settings

How do we make modifications to defaults?

Many of the items are available under the Preferences menu item. This includes appearance, audio settings, keyboard and mouse settings and what is available on the Menu. Some are also available when right-clicking on the desk top or menus.
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