Minimal Raspbian Pi

A collection of notes for setting up a clean and minimal install of the official Raspbian image from

Comparison of compressed images

826 MB - Original 2014-06-20-wheezy-raspbian
284 MB - Additional packages added, desktop extras removed
156 MB - Desktop environment removed, udisks-glue installed
184 MB - As above, with mono installed

Making a Pi Disk Image

After setting up the Raspberry Pi, it’s a good idea to make your own installation image from it. This mainly involves using the dd command to clone the SD card into a file. However, there are some extra steps that can be used to produce a smaller file, and to provide a helpful login message to anyone using the image.

Windows 8.1 - EFI Install

I recently wanted to test something on Windows, and not wanting to use a virtual machine, I decided to install Windows 8.1 on my MacBook.

All Intel based Macs use EFI with a GUID partition table (GPT), instead of the traditional Wintel BIOS/MBR combination. Until recently, this has meant that Windows can only be installed by emulating an MBR disk, typically by using Apple’s Boot Camp to create the Windows partition.

Since Windows 8 now supports installation under EFI1, and Boot Camp is fairly rigid about the placement of a Windows partition, I wanted to try installing Windows 8.1 using EFI and GPT just as I do with Mac OS X and Ubuntu.

Dropbox on Pi

There’s currently no build of the Dropbox sync client that runs on ARM devices; while there is source available, it’s not suitable for automatic, unattended sync on a Raspberry Pi that may not have any windowing system installed.

Dropbox does make various SDKs available though, which enables a ruby or python script to be used instead of the official client.

Stellaris Virtual Serial Device

The Stellaris Launchpad is able to provide a virtual serial port over the debug USB interface. Data can be sent in either direction using this serial connection, to interact with program execution, or log it’s output.

Resources for Using Git

Here’s some basic resources to get started pushing code to github.

Note: As well as computer source code, git is useful for tracking changes to anything that can be represented as plain text, e.g. German Law.

The simplest use of git is to create the repo locally, stored in the same folder as the source (known as the working tree) and named .git.