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Raspberry Pi - Debian Build

Posted 06-19-2012 at 04:38 AM by markyd
Updated 10-16-2013 at 05:32 AM by markyd

18th June 2012

So little time to play :-( had my Pi many weeks!

So far had the official Debian distro loaded, config file tweaked to shrink the screen to fit my HDMI TV's and fstab file modified to mount my music and vidieo SMB shares on the server. Will back date this blog with details of the above later, very lax of me I know.

Sound ... oh joy of joys ... Linux and sound is like a shit sandwich, anyone who knows me knows I am a big Linux fan but the Linux sound system is the worst, most difficult cantankerous piece of poop ever. OK I may be a dumrb ass and its all my fault but at the end of the day audio woes have been my biggest issue with Linux.

So to the Pi .. it apear that the stock image has sound disabled, ok I know we are all in the "beta" game and its all part of the Pi fun :-) here is as far as I have got:

Boot up, log on but do not startx

Download the sound application:
sudo apt-get install alsa-utils

Enable the sound hardware
sudo modprobe snd_bcm2835

Then startx and play a music file to test ... mine crashed using the regular player (name escaped me) and VLC moaned that the sound system was not initialised, excellent!!!!

Apparently all is fixed in the next release which is now available, Wheezy .... off to investigate before wasting time fixing this :-)

What a lucky coincedence, its Wheezy day! See below

Initial feedback on Wheezy is excellent with a swanky new "raspi-config" that sets up a lot of the initial gotchas like HDMI screen size etc and the config file is now created and pre-populated with rem statements to un-rem to activate various features like overscan etc and even over-clocking (for the brave) but more than that I cant comment as all of a sudden my Pi has become unreliable, locking up, loosing USB and or network after a few minutes on either the previous reliable Squeeze build or the new Wheezy. Final testing was in headless / keyboard / mouse less just network and power ... not using it I kept a continuous ping going to it and it lasted 3 minutes :-( sob what's up with my Pi?

Forum entry at raspi

20th June 2012
Things looked promising this morning and the Pi lasted several hours before crashing, it wasn't doing anything just the GUI up as I had work to do. But Then it crashed and from then on it would last mere minutes especially if I SSH's to it or it could last 15 minutes if I left it alone. In desperation I have under clocked it to 600 to see if that helps :-(

21st June 2012
Yesterday was a bad day, a frustrating day. Sometimes you just have to say f**k it and go to bed and let the Pi cool down. This morning is a new day, reverted back to the older Debian Squeeze SD card (PNY SDHC 4GB .. no class markings) started the pi at 08:00 and was still up at 08:30 so decided it needed a stress test so ran a video over the network from the server, performance was a shocker stop start stutter etc but that was not the point, played 2 movies and finally turned it off at 13:00 as the builder needed the power off. Think we can assume the Pi is fine and the only variables are the distribution in use and the SD card, since no one else is having these issues with Debian Squeezy guess I have to look at the SD card. I did read that some SD card actually do get unreliable when they get warm ... its a theory I guess, so suspect SD card used in Wheezy was a Kingston SDHC 16GB class 4. Off to try another card now.

14:00 Wheezy imaged onto a Lexar Professional 32GB Class 10 card, sudo apt-get update / upgrade and mount the server in fstab (remembering to use cifs and not smbfs doh) install VLC and hey presto the Pi was streaming videos over the LAN again, granted still not watch-able but at least it stayed up all day :-) the Pi is fine .. SD cards need careful scrutiny!

3rd July 2012
Been busy working the past week or so, ergo a bit quiet on the Pi front. Decided to push the speed thing to the max, have put Wheezy on to a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95Mbps (class 10 US1) SD card, loaded and booted ok, completed a sudo apt-get update and sudo apt-get upgrade with no issues, seems to boot and operate a little quicker.

From a terminal session inside the desktop a sudo shutdown now -r reboots back to the CLI login in 35 seconds, startx brings up the desktop in under 10 seconds, I will compare with the other cards when I get a moment.

To access the file server on my network (old XP box, standard windows shares) I usually add the following to /etc/fstab // /home/pi/ServerSHARE cifs username=fred,password=derf 0 0 But today its not happening, looking at the boot up I can see CIFS VFS: cifs_mount failed w/return code = -101 and looking around here to be exact ( I can see that the mount point is occurring before the network is ready, so cut and paste the mount to /etc/rc.local which should start up after the network. Nope same issue ... need to do some work today, will come back to this later.

Thursday 5th July 2012
Looks like the issue is to do with the network starting after the share request is made, solution is to prepend _netdev to the cifs command is fstab which stops the operation until the network has started.

// /home/pi/ServerSHARE cifs _netdev,username=fred,password=derf 0 0

Strangely I get the same errors reported on boot up but when I log in the share works .. mmmmm not going to waste more time fixing something that works ;-)

(Moved all entries relating to Debian Raspian-Wheezy to its own thread ... I do like to be tidy :-)
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