What is Raspberry Pi ?
Raspberry Pi is a heavily contributed SOC development board with a pretty powerful processor that is sufficient enough to run OS like Linux on it.
It’s having a very large community support and developers all over the word use it to make wonderful projects. It’s actually a single board computer if someone talks about how powerful it can be.
What to do next after purchasing a raspberry pi ?
OK so you got motivated enough to shift your development efforts to a SOC board from a micro-controller one ( a big and wise decision. Give yourself a big tap on your back. ) to learn how things work on a SOC board and purchased one raspberry pi for yourself. But what next ?
There are few things one should focus on after buying a SOC board like raspberry Pi.
Development Efforts : The starting point is to choose an operating system layer. As the platform is an SOC, bare metal approach is now lost ( for people coming from micro-controller background will really feel the pain but after some time they will enjoy this. ). Instead everything will be OS governed.
So there are two ways to achieve this layer and official and custom build environment.
Official support : One can choose variety of OS that one can run on the raspberry pi. The famous ones are the one supported by the raspberry pi community. The famous among all of them is the “raspbian“.
The pros with this approach is that one can install the readily available OS without worrying much.
The cons are that if someone willing to learn the actual process and the one who really want to go a little more into the cycle of building kernel and other stuffs can’t do with official supported OS as they are already built and has readily available things.
Custom build environment : To really learn the process of building a kernel and related things for an OS, one can use the build utilities like Yocto, open-embedded and buildroot.
These tools actually gives a lot of control on the process of building a kernel and is very well documented and the support is also very good.
So for people who just want to boot the board and then readily do the development can go with the officially supported OS and people who actually want to learn more basics should definitely go with the buildroot or similar tools. However the second method can be sometimes tiresome to get things working but it offers a really good learning curve if it interests one.
Link for official supported OS : https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/
Link for buildroot : https://buildroot.org/
In the next post I’ll show how to build and flash the OS using both the official and the one built using buildroot method and also the methods to access the board using HDMI, serial and Ethernet. Both methods are similar in some sense.