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Raspberry Pi Operating System Alternatives

Last Update 22 April 2018

This page will be used to chronicle tests of alternate distributions and operating systems on Raspberry Pi computers. Simply playing with more and more options for my PIs and decided to log my antics. This page will morph as I experiment and will likely be notes to self, tailored to my world, but may be useful to others.  Expected to be long/slow/low priority project - similar to my AAO OS Alternative quest, will probably be more active in the winter.   Suggestions Welcome



April 2018
  • Home Assistant (Hass.io) - Home Automation Platform (just starting to play)
  • Built a RPI v1 based Honeypot using Honeeepi - fun one!  Notes
March 2018 
February 2018
January 2018 

December 2017 
October 2017
  • New Activity, page setup in process

  • Q4OS tested - Works great on RPI3!  A few notes.  
    Excellent potential for another RPI project (Desktop replacement)
  • Kali Linux on a RPI 2.  Security/Pen Testing tool, works VERY well!
    Built a Pi based KRACK test gizmo, but tested a number of Kali tools too

Latest Tests

 Ratings:  A=Perfect (out of box), 
B=Little Tweak, C=Big Tweak, D=Works/Flaky, F=Total Fail
  
Home Assistant
(Hass.io 0.67.1)
       
  In Process

       
 General          
 Distro Source/Vendor home-assistant.io        
 Ongoing Evolution/Support    Very Active
- Documentation
Forum/Community
- Github Project
- Issue Tracker
       
 Reviews/Reputation          
 Cost/$$$          
 License   Apache 2.0        
 Download resinos-hassio-1.3-raspberrypi.img.bz2        
 Image Size      143MB zipped        
 Under the Hood
(OS info /etc/os-release)
      
 Name Alpine Linux        
 Version 3.7.0        
 ID_Like http://alpinelinux.org        
 uname -aLinux core-ssh 4.4.50 #2 Mon Sep 18 12:41:21 UTC 2017 armv6l Linux    
 Release Info  Project Blog        
Test Hardware          
 RPI Model used for tests        
 SD Used for testing         
 SD - Disk Available
       
 Special Hardware/Peripherals          
    3.5" TFT TouchScreen*
       
    Edimax Wi-Fi USB Adapter*

       
  USB
       
  Audio output (HDMI)          
  Audio output (3.5mm Jack)          
  Ethernet
       
  Built-in WiFi
       
  Built-in Bluetooth          
  HDMI
       
  Power Management          
Usage/Usability   
         
  General usability 
       
  Install effort    
       
  Documentation/Help
       
  GUI/X
       
  Network Participant2
       
  Stability 
       
 Performance/Responsiveness          
Software           
 Apps/Add-ons Availability
       
 Automatic Updates 
         
 Default Browser          
           
This table likely to change!
N See Notes below
2 Home Network (samba, mac + win workgroup)

Latest Test Notes

Home Assistant

  • Overall:  Just starting - Another that has been on my list for sometime
    • Starting w/ a RPI Zero W, but will likely move to a PI 3 w/ breadboard to see what I can do w/ this thing
    • 32g SD recommended, but I started w/ a 16g  I had laying around 
  • Motivation:  Cleanup our home automation, utilize older switches and sensors built into our home *and* attempt to control cloud chatter (privacy)  

  • <more as I learn>



2018 Tests 

 Ratings:  A=Perfect (out of box), 
B=Little Tweak, C=Big Tweak, D=Works/Flaky, F=Total Fail
  
 Parrot OS!
(stretch)
(stretch)
 Honeeepi
   'Experimental' but
works fine!
 Worth the Upgrade  Works Great Looks VERY Promising
Still early 'Experimental' 
Works Fine

 General          
 Distro Source/Vendor  parrotsec.org  raspbian.org  dietpi.com mozilla.org  honeynet.org
 Ongoing Evolution/Support   Active Project 
- Wiki/Doc
- FAQs
- Community
THE RPI OS:
- Forums
- Help Guides
- Documentation
See Forums
- Release info
- GitHub Proj
- Setup Guide
- Software Details
Experimental
- Project Page
- IoT Discourse
- Github Project
- Issues
HowTo 
(see Comments)
 Little stale (2016)
- Project Page
- Prob on your own
- SourceForge
 Reviews/Reputation   RPI Foundation 
DistroWatch
     
 Cost/$$$  Free: Donate  Free  Free: Donate  Free: Donate  Free
 License   GNU/GPL v3  FOSS - mainly GPL  GNU/GPLv2 Mozilla Public License 2.0  FOSS - mainly GPL
 Download  Parrot-rpi-2017.11.15_armhf (img file)
 NOOBS_v2_4_5
(zip
)
DietPi_RPi-ARMv6-Stretch.7z gateway-0.3.0
(zipped img
)
honeeepi201610 (zipped img)
 Image Size      1.5g Zip  1.6g Zip  84MB zip!  705MB zip  607MB zip
Under the Hood
(OS info /etc/os-release)
         
 Name Parrot
GNU/Linux
Raspbian GNU/Linux Raspbian GNU/Linux Raspbian GNU/Linux Raspbian
GNU/Linux
 Version 3.10 (Intruder)
9 (stretch) 9 (stretch) 9 (stretch) 8 (jessie)
 ID_Like debian
debian debian debian debian
 uname -a
 Linux parrot-armhf
4.4.38-v7+ #938 SMP
Thu Dec 15 15:22:21 GMT 2016 armv7l GNU/Linux
Linux Raspberrypi 4.9.59-v7+ #1047 SMP
Sun Oct 29 12:19:23 GMT 2017 armv7l GNU/Linux
Linux DietPi 4.9.59-v7+ #1047 SMP Sun Oct 29 12:19:23 GMT 2017 armv7l GNU/Linux Linux gateway 4.9.59-v7+ #1047 SMP Sun Oct 29 12:19:23 GMT 2017 armv7l GNU/Linux Linux honeeepi 4.4.21-v7+ #911 SMP Thu Sep 15 14:22:38 BST 2016 armv7l GNU/Linux
 Release Info    Release Notes  V6.0 Info  Release Notes  Project Wiki
Test Hardware          
 RPI Model used for tests  RPI 2 Model B*
 RPI 3 Model B* RPI 2 Model B*
RPI Zero W (fail)
 SD Used for testing   8g (generic)
 Samsung
16g EVO
*
  8g (generic)  8g (generic)
 SD - Disk Available  685k (91% used)
 4.4g (35%)  5g (25% used)  5g (25% used)  2.4g (9% used)
 Special Hardware/Peripherals          
    3.5" TFT TouchScreen*  n/a   n/a  Not listed :-(    n/a
    Edimax Wi-Fi USB Adapter*
 A   n/a  BN  A B
  USB  A  A  A  A  B
  Audio output (HDMI)  DN  A  A    
  Audio output (3.5mm Jack) DN
 A  AN    
  Ethernet  A  A  A  A  A
  Built-in WiFi  n/a (PI 2)
 A  n/a (PI 2)  A  B
  Built-in Bluetooth  n/a (PI 2)
 A   n/a (PI 2)    
  HDMI  A  A  A  A  A
  Power Management  F  F  F    
Usage/Usability   
         
  General usability   B A A  C  C
  Install effort      B A A  B  C
  Documentation/Help  B A A  C  D
  GUI/X  A  AN  n/a (headless)  none
  Network Participant2  A  A+N  BN    B
  Stability   B  B  A    B
 Performance/Responsiveness  B  A  A    A
Software           
 Apps/Add-ons Availability  B  A  A    BN
 Automatic Updates 
 B  C  A    
 Default Browser    Chromium  Firefox  n/a (headless)  
           
This table likely to change!
N See Notes below
2 Home Network (samba, mac + win workgroup)

2018 Test Notes

Honeeepi

  • Overall:  Great way to experiment with a variety of Honeypots - I'll keep mine running for a while
    • Project is a little stale (older OS & tools), no changes since 2016
      If/when I deploy a honeypot, I'll probably build one with latest/greatest version of selected tools
    • There is more here than doc describes - found a number of additional tools (see list below)
    • Moved mine to a RPI v1 Model B w/ edimax wifi adapter, works fine 
  • Motivation:  Have had a Honeypot on ToDo list for a very long time - curious, interested in learning more
  • Notes - singing along @ https://redmine.honeynet.org/projects/honeeepi/wiki
    • Image didn't boot on PI Zero (of course) ... worked fine on RPI 3 via ethernet
    • Switched to RPI 1 Model B, works fine with USB WiFi (edimax adapter)
    • dhcp and ssh (@ port 9002) on by default
    • Hmmm?  Had to sudo apt-get install raspi-config ... Doc mentioned it, but it wasn't there 
    • Had a couple of unscheduled reboots - may have been my impatience on RPI 1 
    • 32g SD is probably an overkill for testing/playing, I re-imaged with a 16g SD for my purposes
    • Apps/Addons appear to come from raspbian repo (jesse), I found what I needed to play
    • Commandline WiFi setup (I forgot) @ https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/configuration/wireless/wireless-cli.md
  • Honeypot playtime - quite a few preinstalled tools - even some that were not in doc
    • Glastopf v3.1.3-dev: Web App HoneyPot - project is winding down, glastopf.org -> mushmush.org
    • Conpot v0.5.1:  Industrial Controls Honeypot - very interesting - more @ http://conpot.org/
      • Honeeepi includes a number of ICS templates - meter, ipmi, tank monitor, etc
      • Seemed to fire up and run, but I need to learn MUCH more
      • Github project @ https://github.com/mushorg/conpot - seems to be active/current
    • Dionaea v0.1.0: Captures attack payloads and malware.  Looks interesting (for IoT?), but will take effort 
    • Cowrie v2016/08/22 :  Telnet and SSH (and more?) Honeypot. 
    • Kippo:  Bruteforce SSH Honeypot 
    • Amun v0.1.1:  A Python Honeypot - Looks like an old project (last update 2014)
      • HowTo not in Honeeepi doc - worked off of files in /honeeepi/amum and got it running - no testing
      • Start w/ instructions in INSTALL file - will take some poking to really play
      • Project appears to be @ https://sourceforge.net/projects/amunhoney/
    • Honeyd v1.6d:  Honeypot Daemon - virtual hosts w/ various personalities (OS, apps, etc) 
      • Was not listed in Honeepi doc, but installed and seems to work
      • Start @ /honeepi/honeyd/README and/or man honeyd
      • Old project - circa 2007 - website is alive @ http://www.honeyd.org
    • Snort v2.9.7.0 GRE (Build 149) - Intrusion Detection 
      • Noted in honeeepi doc but no instructions - it does seem to be installed and functional
      • A long road, but start @ snort.org there is a lot to this one
      • Right/wrong or not knowing any better, here's what I ran to test 
         sudo snort -d -h 192.168.1.0/24 -l /home/pi/log -c /etc/snort/snort.conf
    • ntopng v2.5.160924 - Traffic Analysis (nice)
      • Also noted in honeepi project notes but no instructions - it also DOES seem to be there & work!
      • Looks like a trial license - runs for a few minutes?  Mine ran beyond expiration
      • Doc @ https://www.ntop.org/support/documentation/documentation/
      • To get it rolling
        • Start the service via sudo service ntopng start
        • point browser to http://<honeeepi-ip>:3000
        • login as admin/admin
        • Stop via sudo service ntopng stop (of course)
    • <Still sniffing around ... quite a bit on here ... possibly more to come>
  •  Odds-N-ends

Mozilla Things Gateway

  • Overall:  In Process, but looks VERY promising!   
    • Gateway is still under development (Experimental), but definitely worth following this project
    • I'll keep my IoT gateway alive and continue playing as the project matures
      • Gateway Remote Access appears to be well thought out - has been an DIY obstacle for me
      • I need zigbee & z-wave for my smart world - wonder if there is a combo USB
  • Experimental - Announced in Feb 2018
  • Motivation: Ongoing attempt to tame our 'Smart Home' - too many hubs & apps and untrusted cloud collectors/controllers
  • Notes as I go - https://iot.mozilla.org/gateway/
    • Quick/Small download and painless sd create via etcher 
    • Booted right up
    • It's headless, OS access not intended - no login or ssh or GUI by default
      • You can add file called 'ssh' to boot partition if you really need to poke around
    • I initially logged in via ethernet cable, but looks like I should have connected to its WiFi Hostspot 
    • Accessed via http://gateway.local
    • Created https://<myhub>.mozilla-iot.org during initial setup (bookmark/remember it)
    • RPI V2 w/ EDIMAX WiFi adapter seemed to work fine ... but I'll redo on RPI3 for bluetooth
    • RPI3 redo - this time following the instructions(!) and a WeMo Switch to see how this thing works
      • Setup via phone by connecting to "Mozilla IOT Gateway" SSID
      • Did an update just to get the witches out - updated to 0.3.1
    • RPI3 redo AGAIN - this time I WILL REALLY follow instructions 

DietPi

  • Overall on DietPi:  Works GREAT!  I think it may be my new starting point for Raspbian PI projects!
  • Working on a couple of server-like projects, DietPi seems like a great quick-start - Looks nice!
  • Notes
    • Very small/quick download (like 80M zip file) contains image, hash and readme
    • Booted up and dropped me right into install menu, quite nice- EVEN via SSH!
      • Appeared to expand FS automatically, looks like much will be done 
      • username/pw: root/dietpi
      • DietPi-Config is quite nice - quick setup/customization.  Notes
        • Display - GPU/RAM memory split is nice + LCD Panel addon (but not mine)
        • Audio - Quite a few soundcards preset
        • Performance tune is nice - Overclock profiles!
        • Network/NAS setup in config seems handy
        • Tools/Benchmarks in config:  great idea for tweaking!
      • Software installs
        • Nice collection of 'Optimized' software - Desktops, Remote access, etc
        • Additional software in menu appears to be subset of Raspbian repository
        • I installed favorite loose-ends manually using sudo apt-get
    • Some VERY interesting optimized software - actually distracted me from initial project
    • Notes from testing
      • Audio - use dietpi-config to change soundcard/output options (e.g. hdmi to 3.5mm)
      • Little bump w/wifi - seemed to have dropped connection, re-ran install while wired ... will revisit
      • Network shares - Little fumbling to turn on ... samba appears to be option in dietpi-config
      • Multiple GUI desktops offered, I used LXDE, worked great on RPI v2
      • Still no sign of power management (DPMS, specifically) 
  • Rebooted my test SD (8g) on a PI Zero just for the heck of it ... quite impressive
    • RPi-Monitor, MotionEye (w/camera), Home Assistant and Remot3.it installed and running
    • Idles around 2%-10% CPU (not counting htop)
    • Running approx 15% CPU with MotionEye (streaming video)
    • Shairportsync wouldn't run - blew-up (illegal Inst) - I didn't mess with it
    • Simply a quick little test, but performance looked very promising

Raspbian Stretch

  • Overall on Stretch:  Time to Upgrade.  Looks REALLY good.  Raspbian is coming along nicely!
    • Current release of RPI official OS, played w/ this a few months ago - time to revisit and upgrade!
  • Notes 
    • Decided to start via NOOBS.  Wanted to see other OSes offered up during install - Nothing of interest
    • Install is VERY EASY via NOOBS
    • Hardware/peripherals worked right out of the box - even a bluetooth speaker
    • Noticed FTP feature in GUI file manager - VERY Handy feature!
    • Stumbled upon a nice jessie to stretch update HowTo, seemed to work well

Parrot OS

  • Overall on Parrot:  Looked GOOD on RPI 2!   A little light on preinstalled tools, will revisit again
  • Parrot Security Project @ https://www.parrotsec.org/index.php 
    "... 
    GNU/Linux distribution based on Debian designed with Security, Development and Privacy in mind."
    • I've been waiting for this one!  Switched to Parrot for security testing a while ago on my netbook
    • nice selection of security tools - better than Kali, IMHO
  • Install notes
    • Initial tests on RPI2 w/ Edimax Wifi adapter and 8g SD, will redo on PI 3 if I decide to keep it around
    • Automatically expanded filesystem on initial boot
    • Firefox kept rolling over (crash) when it first came up 
      • upgraded to see if FF would settle (apt-get upgrade) - Took hours!
      • Firefox still crashing, installed FF ESR (atp-get install firefox-esr)
      • Firefox settled down after reboot - not sure if reboot or ESR install or combination fixed it
    • Updates/Software
      • Had to set a root password - strange authentication errors during AutoUpdate & some app startups
        (sudo passwd root).  Default password supposed to be toor, but I had to set it
      • Strange warning when software installed, supposedly simply an FYI sort of warning
        W: http: aptMethod::Configuration: could not load seccomp policy: Invalid argument
      • Looks like a well stocked software repository - Synaptic Software MGR is easy
    • No sound via hdmi or 3.5mm jack - didn't fiddle with it, but noticed that alsa stuff was installed
    • Performance was respectable - even on RPI V2!  Very responsive/usable
    • One little glitch/hang that forced a reboot late in install - when futzing with Firefoxes.  No details
    • Pretty tight on 8g SD card!  I'd say 16g minimum if you are planning on capturing traffic
  • Apps
    • Appears to be subset of tools that normally come pre-installed w/ Parrot ... will dig more
    • Rats!  No OpenVAS vulnerability scanner, it was nice to have it preinstalled on Parrot
    • Quick test of a few apps that would be handy on this thing
      • Wireshark seemed to work.  Watched net traffic on ethernet and wifi (edimax usb)
      • Nmap/Zenmap worked fine
      • Etherape OK
      • many more to test here

2017 Tests

 Ratings:  A=Perfect (out of box), B=Little Tweak, C=Big Tweak, D=Works/Flaky, F=Total Fail  

StickyFingers
Kali-PI
 
 Q4OS  Retropie
General Very Usable on RPI 2!
Aborted VERY NICE
Works great
Worked fine
Works fine
 Distro Source/Vendor  Kali.org  Kali-PI via Re4son  q4os.org  retropie.org.uk  Raspbian via Adafruit
 Ongoing Evolution/Support    Good
 Community

 forums.kali.org
- Active Project
- Forums
Active Project
- User Forum
Tweetering
- Active 
- User Forum
- Reddit Chatter 
FAQ/How2s
Forum Chatter
- Adafruit forums
- RPI Forums
 Reviews/Reputation  DistroWatch    DistroWatch     
 Cost/$$$      Free  Free  Free/Donation  Free/Donation  Free
 Download  kali-2017.2-rpi3-nexmon  
 q4os-rpi-1809.zip
(unsigned)
retropie-4.3-rpi1_zero.img.gz  2016-11-08-pitft-35r.img
 Image Size      903.3 MB compressed  
 350 MB zipped   641 MB zipped disk image
 1.7g zipped 
disk image
Release info
(from /etc/os-release)
   
Kali upgrade
     
 Name  Kali GNU/Linux
 Kali GNU/Linux  Raspbian GNU/Linux
 Raspbian GNU/Linux  Raspbian GNU/Linux
 Version  2017.2  2017.3  8 (jessie)  8 (jessie)   8 (jessie)
 ID_Like  debian  debian  debian  debian  debian
 uname -a
 Linux kali 4.4.50-v7+ #1 SMP Wed Aug 30 11:08:41 CDT 2017 armv7l GNU/Linux  Linux kali 4.4.50-v7+ #1 SMP Wed Aug 30 11:08:41 CDT 2017 armv7l GNU/Linux  Linux raspberrypi 4.9.35-v7+ #1014 SMP Fri Jun 30 14:47:43 BST 2017 armv7l GNU/Linux
 Linux retropi 4.9.35+ #1014 Fri Jun 30 14:34:49 BST 2017 armv6l GNU/Linux  Linux raspberrypi  4.4.27-v7+ #2 SMP Wed Oct 26 19:09:12 UTC 2016 armv7l GNU/Linux
Hardware          
  RPI Model used for tests RPI 2 Model B*  RPI 3 Model B* RPI 3 Model B* RPI Zero W*  RPI 3 Model B*
    3.5" TFT TouchScreen*  skipped
   n/a  n/a  B
    Edimax Wi-Fi USB Adapter*
 A n/a
 n/a (built-in)    n/a (built-in)  n/a (built-in)
  USB  A     A A
  Audio output (HDMI)  F    A A A
  Audio output (3.5mm Jack)      BN n/a A
  Ethernet  BN    A n/a A
  Built-in WiFi  n/a (RPI 2)
 A
A
B
  Built-in Bluetooth  n/a (RPI 2)    BN C   BN
  HDMI  A    A  A A
  Power Management  F    DN   C
Usage/Usability  
         
  General usability   B    A C  C
  Install effort      B    A C  B
  Documentation/Help  A    A B  C
  SD Used for testing     Samsung
16g EVO
*
  SD - Disk Available
10g after FS expandN     28g after FS expand 
 13g after 
FS expandN
 11g after 
FS expand
  GUI/X  XFCEN 
(tweaked)
   Trinity (Nice!)
 Retropie
Game Console
     RPI Pixel
(LXDE/Openbox)
  Network Participant2  F    A  A  A
  Stability   B    B  B  B
  Performance/Responsiveness  B    BN  A  B
Software           
 Apps/Add-ons Availability  B    A  C  B
 Automatic Updates 
Manual 
   A  Manual?  C
           
This table likely to change!
N See Notes below
2 Home Network (samba, mac + win workgroup)


2017 Test Notes

Kali

  • Overall on Kali:  Works great, very usable, even on RPIV2!
    • Tested 2017.2 and 2017.3 releases 
  • Kali is a Security (Pen testing) distro with many useful security tools
  • My Project-at-hand:  A test device that can be plugged into local net to check our IoT 'things' for KRACK vulnerability.
  • Random observations/notes
    • Performance on RPI2 is remarkably good - testing via GUI, browser with 3-4 tabs and 2 terminal windows.  Very responsive
    • Have used Kali (PKA Backtrack) in the past, excellent pentesting/security distro.
  • Image Name = Kali Raspberry PI w/TFTTried twice and failed to get it to boot - Aborted  
  • Image Name = RaspberryPi 2 / 3:  retried with kali-2017.2-rpi3-nexmon.img image 
    • Much better!  It Booted!  It works!  
    • Default U/P=root/toor, using default config
    • Singing along with https://docs.kali.org/kali-on-arm/install-kali-linux-arm-raspberry-pi:
      • Remember to reset root password - passwd
      • reset ssh host keys:
        root@kali:~ rm /etc/ssh/ssh_host_*
        root@kali:~ dpkg-reconfigure openssh-server
        root@kali:~ service ssh restart
      • Important:   apt-get update && apt-get upgrade 
    • Goofy situation after reboots:  All windows restored (Filemanager, wireshark, term, etc), but no menu bar
      • To get panel working again:
        • <alt>F2 to get to application finder, then run "Panel"
        • Settings in Menu
          • Session and Startup, Session Tab -> Clear Saved Sessions
      • Royal pain in the butt
    • Expand Partition to fill SD @ https://whitedome.com.au/re4son/sticky-fingers-kali-pi/#fdisk
    • Network
      • WiFi worked right out of the box
      • Ethernet:  I had to set up a connection (Settings->Network Connection)
    • Software: 
      • update/upgrade added quite a few kali tools
      • Wireshark works!

StickyFingers Kali-PI 

  • Overall on Kali-PI:  Aborted
    • Originally attempted using pre-installed-image, failed after a couple of attempts, strange TFT display
    • Decided to upgrade my Kali rather than using the image, failed again
  • Objective:  "Kali Linux on Raspberry Pi 1/2/3/Zero with 3.5″ or 2.8″ Touch Screen and touch optimized interface"
  • Install @ https://whitedome.com.au/re4son/kali-pi/#Installation
    • Updated my Kaili to 2017.3 (apt-get update && apt-get upgrade) - took a while on RPI 2
    • Switched to RPI 3 for this project, RPI 2 seems a little sluggish, also interested in bluetooth!
  • Didn't get very far on RPI 2 or RPI 3.  After a number of attempts decided to take a step back and test the touchscreen using Adafriut image.  Worked fine, will revisit this one.
  • Sister project, DV-PI added to my ToDo List.  "Damn Vulnerable Raspberry Pi runs on all Pi’s
    The touch friendly “driving range” for IoT penetration testing with your Kali-Pi."
  • Will play more with this at a later date ... TFT display is now part of another project

Q4OS

  • Overall on Q4OS:  VERY NICE!   I like it A LOT ..... 
  • Tagline from q4os.org - "Q4OS Raspberry Pi port is a free operating system based on Raspbian distribution, optimized for the Raspberry Pi family hardware, the series of credit card-sized single-board ARM computers. Q4OS is now one of a few distributions offering the full desktop environment on the ARM architecture."
  • My project:  Replace desktops (XP and/or Linux/Lubuntu) for aging parents/friends w/ a Desktop PI
  • Install/Setup Instructions @ http://www.q4os.org/dqa010.html
    • SD setup using Disk Image Writer, DD would work fine too  
    • Very Smooth install! 
      • Forces PI password change
      • Automatically expands file system to fill SD
      • Offers a couple of software 'profiles' that install base set of applications 
  • Very little tweaking to get hardware/software working
    • Network - WiFi, Ethernet, even samba shares worked right out of the gate
    • Power MGT - flaky, but may be raspbian/PI.  Can't seem to get monitor to power off or full suspend
    • Little hiccup trying to change audio source from HDMI to 3.5mm Jack - had to reboot
      • Switched Audio using raspi-config / Advanced Options, worked fine
    • Bluetooth seemed OK, but I had to install blueman to test.  
  • Performance/stability is VERY good .... but ....
    • RPI 3 was heating up (temp warning) with couple browser tabs open+terminal activity+youtube 
    • Odd startup error periodically - "Sound server fatal error:  cpu overload, aborting" 
    • Automatic check for updates!

Retropie

  • Overall on Retropie:  It works fine, little rough to configure, but it was fun one
  • Tagline from retropie.org: "Retropie allows you to turn your Raspberry Pi or PC into a retro-gaming machine"
  • Holiday project - had an extra sd card laying around ...
    • Not for me tho - not much of a gamer now, easier to hookup the old N64 for xmas funtime
    • Tested mostly with PI Zero, seemed pretty responsive and workable.  PI 3 seemed to be working too
  • Official install guide was pretty good - easy to sing-a-long
  • Attempt #2 due to PI Contention:  Switched to a PI Zero, should be plenty of power for old games!
    • Had to re-download, pi 0/1 image is different - Starting from scratch ....
    • Came up fine ... but not what I expected - no standard interface, it's a game console (of course!).
    • Need to configure a controller when first boot - I had only a keyboard
      • REMEMBER how you map up/down and A/B buttons!  Used to navigate UI!
        • Use "A" button to select, use "B" to go back
        • My keyboard was a little confusing due to mappings and in/out of textmode config screens
      • Stumbled my way to raspi-config and changed PI password & enabled SSH!
        • Doing as much config/setup via SSH as possible
    • Needed better controller - Keyboard is clumsy.  Started with a Wiimote, because I had one here
      • If the gizmo is fun, usb controllers are pretty cheap ... alternatives I will explore
      • In meantime:  ssh'ed in and started working through https://retropie.org.uk/docs/Wiimote-Controller/ 
        • I set locales and keyboard to US via raspi-config - was en-GB (not sure it will matter)
        • Update was special (see writeup): updated via RetroPie-Setup/retropie_setup.sh script
        • Took a loong time ... appears to do raspbian apt-get update too
        • Wiimote setup was breathtaking - got it to work, but struggled with button assignments
          (also very confusing if you start with keyboard controller as I did) 
        • You CAN skip button assignments during wii controller setup using keyboard arrow keys
    • Back to official install (almost forgot where I was!) - Transferring ROMS
  • My standard PI Tests
    • Audio worked out of the box
    • Usability - simply not what I had expected. I now understand default GUI - slowly growing on me!
      • I ended up using ssh to configure as much as possible, lots of struggles w/ native UI.  probably would have been better if I had a real game controller
    • Bluetooth itself worked fine, I fumbled because of my Wiimote controller, which DID work!
    • Pretty solid/stable - one odd ssh issue - could not connect - but I may have overused ssh (seemed easier)  

Adafruit PiTFT 

  • Overall: Adafruit TFT image (Jesse w/ custom kernel) came up fine, will work great for TFT development 
  • My objective:  Step back to make sure my 3.5 TFT screen works due to chronic struggles w/ Kali-PI
  • Random install notes
    • Preliminary tests on RPI 2 - seemed to work fine, switch to RPI 3 for my testing
    • SSH was enabled, making initial tweaks a bit easier
    • Had to create /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/99-fbdev.conf & boot to switch to HDMI screen 
      • Some sort of hiccup with mouse when initially switched to  HDMI, had to touch screen to navigate
        (I THINK this was fixed via reboot)
    • Networking worked right out of box, but had to manually enable wifi when I unplugged Ethernet
    • TFT appears to power save! Turns off - wish I could get HDMI monitors to do that!
  • Helpful hints @ https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-pitft-3-dot-5-touch-screen-for-raspberry-pi/faq
    • From FAQ:  Created /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/99-fbdev.conf to GUI on hdmi (used to use FRAMEBUFFER)
    • DON'T 'apt-get upgrade' or 'rpi-update' - it will blow away custom kenel
  • Will be using this one for Touch Screen development, will try to note additional observations as I go

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