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MiPi - Raspberry Pi Desktop Replacement Project

Last Update 29 June 2020
Original 10 Nov 2019

In PROCESS - Working on replacing my main x86_64 Linux desktop with a RPi4, we'll see .... Attempting to use it for most activities, config/hardware will evolve as I go.  Slow/Background project.  See also GramPi project - an RPi based Win XP look-a-like for technophobes.

This page is probably a mess...

Project status in a nutshell:

Raspbian/Cinnamon contraption was an ongoing struggle (see below).  NEW Favorite is Manjaro - RPi 4 KDE Plasma. Version - Install/test notes.  I will  continue the search for alternatives in meantime, but Manjaro deserves a closer look.  

Current OS/Config & Hangups:    
  • RPi 4 Model B w/ 4g
  • Manjaro RPi 4 KDE Plasma Version 
  • Initial Hardware in place (minus ssd)
  • Additional Hardware testing (headsets, camera, etc)
  • Beginning to test required apps and move some data over


Current Hardware
- Keyboard/Mouse
    - Logitech K400 Keyboard/Trackpad* for initial install
- Dual HDMI Monitors
                - Desktop USB Extension Cable*
Logitech H360 USB Headset

Software

Research Backlog
- Bring existing desktop's ssd w/ me.  Looking at https://geekworm.com/collections/raspberry-pi-4
- Peripherals (tbd) - cam, SD reader ...
- Custom Case (or something) to hold all this together AND provide some front-panel connections 
SSD



Manjaro Log (Flaky $hit Highlighted - Fixed Stuff)

27-29 June 2020.  Redo-a-Roo #2!  One step forward, one step back!
  • Noticed that 20.06 just came out:  https://forum.manjaro.org/t/manjaro-arm-20-06-released/148221
    Still early, I'll redo AGAIN with that - previous redo was going nowhere!
  • Download @ https://osdn.net/projects/manjaro-arm/storage/rpi4/kde-plasma/20.06/ (64bit only)
    Note:  Download was NOT @ https://manjaro.org/get-manjaro/ 
  • Install
    • Etcher, Sandisk Ultra 32, Majaro Install ... Yada Yada
    • Updated Fine!  Good Start!
    • Bluetooth
      • M720 Triathalon Mouse - 1st Try!
      • Apple Magic Keyboard - 1st Try!  Does not show Battery level
      • Ack!  No BT devices after reboot!
        • Configure Bluetooth:  No Bluetooth Adapters found!
        • <boot again - get the witches out>
        • BT Mouse & Keyboard dead until Login - then fine!  Same old Issue
          • Fixed:  by editing /etc/bluetooth/main.conf, set AutoEnable to true, AGAIN!
            [policy]
            AutoEnable=true
    • Networking:  No errors in Dolphin (GUI Filemanager), but still doesn't see our network or NAS
      • Samba not installed  (no file smb.conf).  No apparent sign of Network/Workgroup options in System Settings ... brute force install
      • Installed samba, manjaro-settings-samba & smb4k
      • Edited /etc/smb.conf.  File is pretty light, usually full of comments & Doc 
        • Set workgroup to mi workgroup
        • Changed "client min protocol" from SMB2 to NT1
        • Works
    • I Like to watch PI4 Temp - plasma5-applets-thermal-monitor panel widget WAS really nice ... not any more!
      If I attempt to "Configure Thermal Monitor" the PANEL dies (Plasmashell coredump) ... then reloads!  
      • Will watch with tmon in terminal.  Install via:
        sudo pacman -S tmon

10-15 June 2020 - Redo-a-Roo!
  • MiPi has actually been running well for the past few months, but took a power outage hit (or something).  GUI side (plasma) was down, blank after login - didn't feel like debugging. 
    Pi was also in bad need refresh due to indiscriminately adding software and poking around!
  • Redo using 20.04 and a tad more careful adding stuff, plan to move ssd to test
    • Download @ https://manjaro.org/downloads/arm/raspberry-pi-4/arm8-raspberry-pi-4-kde-plasma/
    • Etcher to 32g Sandisk Ultra
    • Boots to Manjaro ARM install menu: 
      US keyboard, userdd, timezone, local en_US.UTF.8, Hostname
    • reboot & run updates (524!)
      • Initial attempt to update failed AGAIN: 
        "error zn_poly: /usr/lib/libzn_poly-0.9.so exists in filesystem"
      • Get-around using manual update:  
        sudo pacman -Syu --overwrite /usr/lib/p11-kit-trust.so --overwrite /usr/lib/libzn_poly-0.9.so
  • Install Aftermath (expected some of these to be fixed after 524 updates!)
    • bluetooth:  Apple Magic KB and BT Mouse paired fine ... BUT ...
      • BT doesn't connect after boot!
        • edited /etc/bluetooth/main.conf, set AutoEnable to true, AGAIN!
          [policy]
          AutoEnable=true
    • Samba:  Not Installed by default?  Dolphin (GUI File manager) says:
      "Unable to create io-slave. klauncher said: Error loading '/usr/lib/qt/plugins/kf5/kio/file.so"
      • Installed samba, manjaro-settings-samba & smb4k
      • Edited /etc/smb.conf.  File is pretty light, usually full of comments & Doc 
        • Set workgroup to mi workgroup
        • Changed "client min protocol" FROM SMB2 to NT1
        • Works now
    • Odds N Ends
      • installed joe (my editor!)
      • Installed plasma5-applets-thermal-monitor - Doesn't seem to work now!
        If I attempt to "Configure Thermal Monitor" the PANEL died ... then reloads!  WTF?
        // Installed tmon in meantime ... temp still looks good - 36C //
      • Installed gnome-logs to see whats happening with thermal monitor
        • Plasmashell seems to coredump when I try to Configure Thermal Monitor!
        • Logs viewer is hard to use/read - some error when I fire it up
  • Ghadzooks!  Shouldn't be this bad!  WHAT THE HECK?!
24-25 April 2020 - Bad Night!
  • Today I am :-S
  • MiPi was in the ditch this morn ... 
    • Noticed monitor #2 lit, current date and time displayed, monitor 1 was off
    • Clicked mouse to login/bring up main monitor and saw message flash quick in upper left monitor 1
    • Clicking and keyboarding bring things up finally resulted in message in upper left 
      "Could Not Sync Event to DBUS" - click to continue (or similar)
    • Successfully Logged in via SSH, poked around in journal, looked like it took core dump when it was just sitting, then died when I attempted to wake ... some notes,  I need to revisit 
      • 4/23 22:48 - Dump
      • 4/24 04:13 - Call Trace (Kernel hung task?) - <I was not there at the time!>
      • 4/24 04:47 - DBUS 
    • First Reboot via SS brought things back up, but no BT mouse or keyboard - Plasma said No Adapter?!
    • Reboot # 2 (no power off) worked fine, BT Mouse and Keyboard alive for login
  • Need to figure out when/where to post in Manjaro Arm forums 
  • Windows are definitely not opening on anticipated monitor - not my imagination!
  • More App/Function Testing
    • Zoom Meetings!  via browser (Chrome) - seems to work and not eat system alive (approx 30% CPU)
    • Handy GUI Disk utilities working great!  gparted and gnome Disks utility
    • Google Hangouts (or meetings or wherever they are called now) work fine w/cam and mic
23 April 2020
  • Hmmm, Today I am :-\
  • Performance and stability have been great, 
  • Starting to install/test regularly used apps
    • Audio file editing works fine!   Audacity already installed, added soundconverter very usable!  Snappy
    • RPi Python development - some struggles here
      • python-gpiozero didn't install correctly - stuff like:   No module named 'colorzero'
        • Took a quick peek at package on raspbian - depends on python-colorzero. 
          No Where to be found in Majaro repository.
    • <more coming here>
20 April 2020 
  • Today I am :-),  Updated Manjaro,  working great again!
  • The updates to 20.04 (with minor stumble) seemed to fix things! 
    • Initial attempt to update failed:  "error zn_poly: /usr/lib/libzn_poly-0.9.so exists in filesystem"
    • Get-around using manual update:  
      sudo pacman -Syu --overwrite /usr/lib/p11-kit-trust.so --overwrite /usr/lib/libzn_poly-0.9.so
    • Life is MUCH Better after update,  Network/Samba especially, back to expected behavior
  • RPI4 has been running so cool that I slowed fan (3v lead instead of 5v) ... MUCH quieter, still running around 34C
  • Audio/Video for heck of it
    • Connected USB headset for the heck of it (Logitech H360 detected) 
      • Audio out is fine - even builtin volume control
      • Microphone Detected and Defaulted when headset connected
    • Connected Logitech HD Webcam C525, Portable HD 720p
      • Video worked fine - cam via VLC + Youtube Vide in background @ ~25% CPU Utilization, 37C
      • Built in Mic showed up in Audio options, will test
03-09 April 2020
  • Gave up on Rasbian/Cinnamon - Too much tinkering.  Not stable enough for everyday use
  • Switched to Manjaro ARM KDE Plasma - Attempting latest (20.04) version, hope it works as well as 20.02!  Original install and test notes HERE
  • Install Aftermath
    • System updates - 77 Packages
    • installed joe (my editor!) 
    • Installed plasma5-applets-thermal-monitor installed ... ~31C!  Considerably cooler than Raspbian/cinnamon 
    • Could not connect to my network drives - No Samba?!?  Very Strange worked great on 20.02!?!
      • Hub boy, here we go!  Older smb CF samba-not-working-properly-with-latest-update-01-04-2020
      • Looks like Samba not installed at all
        • Will try Manjaro Doc!  Start here:  Using_Samba_in_your_File_Manager
          pamac install samba kdenetwork-filesharing manjaro-settings-samba
        • Still no ticky.  Not much in Settings GUI - no samba/windows share stuff to speak of
        • $h1t!  Edited /etc/smb.conf.  File is pretty light, usually full of comments & Doc 
          • Set my workgroup 
          • Changed "client min protocol" FROM SMB2 to NT1
          • Works now
    • Bluetooth Keyboard and mouse didn't come back after reboot?!? Arg! Not AGAIN!  
      • edited /etc/bluetooth/main.conf, set AutoEnable to true, can't remember where I found, but works!
        [policy]
        AutoEnable=true
    • Some App Windows not popping up where I'd expect - e.g. the monitor where they were last closed ... odd
    • Something's not right ... none of this was a prob on 20.02 version I originally tested ... BUT ... pushing on
  • System utilization looks MUCH better - youtube, no clipping - ~30% CPU!  Will test more
  • <more to come>

*** Switched from Raspbian to Manaro ***


Rasbian/Cinnamon Log  (Flaky $hit Highlighted)

29 Mar 2020
  • Finally doing some tweaking .... yeesh!
    • apt-get update & upgrade just to see whats new
    • STRUGGLE with bluetooth keyboard and mouse AGAIN - had to re-pair both
    • Increased gpu mem via raspi-config to see if it will help youtube clipping issue - 128->256
    • WTF? Now HDMI Audio doesn't work!  only device showing is Analog 
    • Non Software, but cheap-o fan that came with the case is humming - annoying enough to shutdown!
    • Raspbian 'Upgrades' are killing me!
12 Mar 2020
  • Panel App warned that keyboard battery was low - yea!
  • FINALLY got logitech m720 bluetooth mouse rolling ... switches between all my systems!  
    • Undid NaturalScrolling - originally for Magic Mouse.  Too confusing if 1 of 3 systems scrolled that way!
  • Jeeeez!  After latest Raspbian update switch back to FireFox ESR.  Very weird - everything was going through googleweblight.com - apparently attempting to render all pages for a mobile device!  WTF!
  • Ended up being useragent in FireFox ESR see this forum article
    https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=91&t=265929#p1616180
  • Trying to use RPi4 more ....
    • Noticed youtube videos seem to be clipping, CPU throttling?  frequency seems to be changing?
    • Started using Logitech M720 Bluetooth mouse due to multi-system, took a few tries to pair, but nice
Original Fumblings (late 2019)
  • Attempt#1 Notes
  • Attempt#2 ... initial attempt via NOOBs was FUBAR, will log this time
  • Sticking with Stock Raspbian via NOOBS ... Seems like best choice for long run
  • Struggles creating NOOBS SD on Mint Desktop - keeps failing during copy (WTF!) ...
    // zip checksummed OK!?!  Formatted/copied on macbook, some sort of file splice error //
  • NOOBS 3.2 (7/9/2019) Raspbian Full + 512MB Data Partition
    // Setting Country and Keyboard @ bottom of NOOBS screen does NOTHING //
  • Tweaks after initial Boot/Update
    • Preferences/Recommended Software - get rid of unwanted stuff
      // for me:  keep LibreOffice, Node-Red, Python Games, SmartSim and VNC // 
    • Preferences/Raspberry Pi Config - Clean up after install
      • System=>Change Password and Change Hostname
      • Interfaces=>Enable ssh & vnc
      • Performance
        • =>Set GPU Memory to 128 (From this
        • => Overlay File System Enabled and Read-Only Boot
          // Poorly documented - MAYBE set this when everything is installed and working //
    • Terminal Window - Good old sudo raspi-config.  Didn't see anything to tweak
    • MIPI is wired - Disable Wireless:  click on network in panel (^v) "Turn off WiFi"
    • Right-Click Panel -> ADD Monitor CPU Temp (from early Pi 4 experiences)
    • Bluetooth:  Magic Mouse & Keyboard - YEEESH!Apple Article (not much help)
      • Bluetooth icon in Panel=>Add Device
        • Turned ON Mouse and Presto!  it worked
        • Keyboard?!  Comes and goes 
          • LOTS of "Pairing failed - GDBus.Error:orgbluez.Error.ConnectionAttemptFailed:Page Timeout (Very informative)
          • I THINK this sequence finally got it going
            1. Turn off keyboard - hold button for a long time (5 secs or so)
            2. on RPI Panel, click Bluetooth and Add Device
            3. Turn on keyboard and put in discover mode (hold button until light is blinking)
            4. Select keyboard in Add New Device Window and click on Pair
            5. If you get a pairing code, enter on keyboard followed by enter key!
            6. If you get an error (Connect or Authenticate), Remove the Device in Bluetooth Panel app and go back to Step 1.  Repeat one more time after you scream!
      • I installed upower so I can watch mouse/keyboard batteries.  Apparently no Panel app 
        • sudo apt-get install upower
        • upower --dump // to show battery levels for now - will find more apparent monitor //
      • Some flaky behavior ... possibly 'magic'
        • Mouse appears connected, but doesn't work - Disconnect/Reconnect to fix
        • Keyboard and Mouse won't connect - Turn off/on RPI bluetooth, re-pair 
        • No Mouse or Keyboard after boot - re-pair
        • Mouse appears to be ultra-sensitive, 
        • Mouse periodic phantom left-clicks while moving around on screen
        • Mouse scrolls backwards (vs on a mac) ... I'll prob need to fix this, a tad cumbersome
      • I'll leave a wired USB Mouse connected until I trust this stuff! 
    • I need My editor!  sudo apt-get install joe
    • No power button:  DPMS to turn off monitor backlight when not in use - Try THIS
      • OOPS!  I shot a toe off! - /boot/config.txt seems to be ReadOnly - Set with OverlayFS in config!
      • Need screensaver or power manager to set poweroff time
        • sudo apt-get install xscreensaver
          Note - xMatrix Screensaver is in xscreensaver-data-extra
        • xscreensaver dies the first time it is run ... now WTF!?
          Reboot seemed to fixed it 
        • Display Power Management Enabled and set to 20 mins (standby, suspend and off all same)
      • hdmi_blanking did not work on PI 4 running Stock Raspbian - v4.19.75-v7l+
        • Had to disable Overlay FS and R/O FS, of course!  
        • rpi-update to v4.19.86-v7l+
        • rpi-update seemed to do the trick - monitors now power off 
    • Add a couple of applications and start using this thing ...
      • Firefox ESR
    • Switched to Cinnamon desktop ... didn't run well on previous Pi's, but looks pretty good on PI4B (so far)
      • Appears to take care of a number of GUI issues (e.g. shows Bluetooth device battery levels) and IS the desktop I use on Mint - may make transition MUCH easier.  
      • To Switch ...

        sudo apt-get install cinnamon-<tab>
        sudo apt-get install mate-desktop-environment-core

      • Magic Mouse doesn't seem right:  
        • natural scrolling:  Modified /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/40-libinput.conf

          # TPED mod - added NaturalScrolling option

          Section "InputClass"
                  Identifier "libinput pointer catchall"
                  MatchIsPointer "on"
                  MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
                  Option "NaturalScrolling" "on"
                  Driver "libinput"
          EndSection

        • Better, but still a tad squirrely, screen scrolls when I move mouse
          • <playing with imwheel>
    • Added Desktop USB extender, fiddling with USB connections at the RPI case has been driving me nuts.  Had one of these 5ft Desktop USB Extension Cable* kicking around
    • Still struggling to find ARM versions of common utilities ... today:  Etcher or something for SD imaging
    • Switching to somewhat of a Journal format here, I'll date stuff