raspberry pi b+ – arch linux update and future plans

Raspberry Pi B+

Beaglebone Black Rev C

Back in August I picked up two new little computers, the Raspberry Pi B+ and a Beaglebone Black Rev C. I moved my rolling Arch Linux for Arm from my older Raspberry Pi B to the B+. The Beaglebone came with Debian pre-installed.

Since receiving both boards I’ve had little time to work with them, either individually or as part of a larger project. As usual I had the best of intentions, but life interfered, and with the exception of just powering on the boards a bit and seeing if they worked, everything has been sitting in my big storage box for such items.

What makes this even more annoying for me is I also ordered three P8X32A-D40 Propeller chips, and even had one of them working in the Propeller developer’s board. The long-term goal has always been to integrate the RPi with the Propeller using an I2C channel. I had hoped to have everything working together before now. Both boards were ordered from Adafruit.

Software Update

I’ve gone and updated Arch Linux Arm for the Raspberry Pi. It runs fine on both the prior B and the current B+. I’ve created a compressed image and moved it up to my Google Drive location here. The compressed image is 1.6 GB compressed, and fits on an 8GB or larger SDHC card. I’ve switched from zip to compressed tar. The readme is here on Google Drive.

This may be the last Arch Linux release. Because the Beaglebone Black is pre-loaded with Debian, and because there is now a more current Raspbian (Debian-based) release for the Raspberry Pi, I’m looking at moving all my Raspberry Pi development to Raspbian in order to make the development environments on both boards as close as possible. This also fits in with my primary development system which runs Ubuntu 14.04.

Update

I installed Raspbian and booted into the system. Initial configuration was well thought out. On first boot you’re presented with a simple character-based menu. The first entry is to resize the active partition to use the entire micro SDHC card. I am using 16GB cards these days, and it was a pleasure to have the partition simply and cleanly repartitioned to use all 16GB. I had to use a separate Ubuntu utility to resize the Arch Linux partition to 8GB (that’s what I had at the time).

Right now my Raspbian installation boots into a simple command line environment. If I want the desktop I run startx, which boots the desktop into LXDE. I’m no fan of LXDE, and it looks like I’m still not. But I have to admit that it runs much faster and smoother than the first time I tried Raspbian. What’s most impressive about the latest Raspbian desktop is the latest Epiphany web browser. It isn’t perfect, but it’s still amazingly good on such minute hardware as the RPi B+. I’m suitably impressed with this iteration.