Raspberry Pi: Initial Setup

After receiving my Raspberry Pi this weekend, I’ve finally had some time to have a play with it. My end goal for the little device is to convert it into a NAS serving media files across my home. For now though I’m just trying to optimise the Debian image Raspberry Pi distribute.

Enable SSH

First off, I enabled SSH Server so I could connect to it wirelessly.

sudo /boot/boot_enable_ssh.rc

Optimise fstab

There is a swap partition by default in the image, but it’s not used. This is good as SD Cards as other flash media have limited write counts on block, so having a swap writing to your SD Card would just destroy it sooner or later. For now, lets optimise the root fs mount options:

sudo nano /etc/fstab

Change it to the following:

proc            /proc         proc    defaults                        0    0
/dev/mmcblk0p1  /boot         vfat    defaults                        0    0
/dev/mmcblk0p2  /             ext4    defaults,noatime,nodiratime     0    0

The options we’ve added to the root fs mount (noatime,nodiratime) basically reduce the amount of filesystem accesses for last accessed times.

Remove Unnecessary Packages

Most of this section is taken from Gordon’s post here.

# NFS. I don't need this as I'll use sftp/rsync
sudo apt-get purge portmap

# NTFS and FUSE. My external HD is FAT32 so no need for this.
sudo apt-get purge fuse-utils
sudo apt-get purge libfuse2
sudo apt-get purge libntfs10

# GDM. Not really sure why this is installed as the recommend
# way to start X is to call 'startx'.
sudo apt-get autoremove gdm

# Finally call autoremove to remove all the unneeded dependencies
sudo apt-get autoremove

Decrease Video Memory

By default the Debian distro is set to use 64MB of the 256MB of RAM for the GPU. As I don’t really need the video output I’ve reduced this to 32MB by using one of the pre-built elfs (the number in the file name is the amount of system RAM available):

sudo cp /boot/arm224_start.elf /boot/start.elf

You can see what RAM/GPU variations are available by doing this command:

ls /boot/arm*.elf

That will do for now, my next post will be about getting the Pi ready for serving Media files!