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Getting Fedora 21 on the Raspberry Pi 2

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The recent release of the Raspberry Pi 2 uses a newer version of the ARM architecture spec, the ARM Cortex-A7 uses ARMv7 whereas the previous model ARM11 uses ARMv6. The great thing about this is the majority of Linux distros already provide an Image for this architecture. More importantly, Fedora already have images.

There is a slight caveat to the above statement however, that being they won’t just work with the Pi 2. The process isn’t that difficult either just a few steps:

  1. Download the image you require, for this we’ll go with the Fedora 21 minimal – http://dl.fedoraproject.org/pub/fedora/linux/releases/21/Images/armhfp/Fedora-Minimal-armhfp-21-5-sda.raw.xz
  2. Flash the image to an SD card xzcat Fedora-Minimal-armhfp-21-5-sda.raw.xz |dd of=/dev/mmcblk0 bs=1M
  3. Make sure the card is unmounted
  4. fdisk the card:
    1. remove partition 1
    2. add a new partition where the old partition 1 was, with type B (FAT32)
    3. write and exit
  5. mkfs.vfat /dev/mmcblk0p1
  6. Clone the Pi firmware repository – git clone https://github.com/raspberrypi/firmware.git
  7. Mount the card again
    1. mkdir /mnt/sdcard
    2. mount /dev/mmcblk0p3 /mnt/sdcard
    3. mount /dev/mmcblk0p1 /mnt/sdcard/boot
  8. Copy the contents of the boot directory from the repository you just cloned to the new boot directory and the kernel modules to the lib/modules directory on the main root partition
    1. cp -r firmware/boot/* /mnt/sdcard/boot/
    2. cp -r firmware/modules/3.18.7-v7+/* /mnt/sdcard/lib/modules/
  9. Edit the fstab file to reflect the new UUID of the partition and change from being an ext to a vfat type
    1. blkid /dev/mmcblk0p1 – this will give the UUID of the partition
    2. vi /mnt/sdcard/etc/fstab and edit the line which contains /boot to contain the above info
  10. Create a /mnt/sdcard/boot/cmdline.txt file containing the following:

    dwc_otg.lpm_enable=0 console=ttyAMA0,115200 console=tty1 root=/dev/mmcblk0p3 rootfstype=ext4 elevator=deadline rootwait

  11. Create a /mnt/sdcard/boot/config.txt file containing the following:
    #uncomment to overclock the arm. 700 MHz is the default.
    arm_freq=700# NOOBS Auto-generated Settings:
  12. save and close any open files on the sd card then unmount and ensure all writes are complete
    1. umount /mnt/sdcard/boot
    2. umount /mnt/sdcard
    3. sync
  13. You should now be able to remove the SD card from your PC and boot it in your new shiny Raspberry Pi 2

I’m sure it won’t be long before dedicated images are available, but for now this seems to work for me. I haven’t tried any more than the minimal install, with these your mileage may vary.

Note: Please remember this will only work on the newer Raspberry Pi 2.


Extra steps suggested by Tim Bosse

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14. Install rpi-update.
Install binutils and tar.

Download and setup rpi-update.

# curl -L --output /usr/bin/rpi-update https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Hexxeh/rpi-update/master/rpi-update && sudo chmod +x /usr/bin/rpi-update

15. Run rpi-update as root.

I find this is important to run any time you get kernel updates from Fedora repos.

I have a wireless USB dongle that I use.

16. Install NetworkManager-wifi and NetworkManager-tui (because I find nmcli not so much fun).

I’ve created an image based on steps 1-13 it’s fairly rough and ready so YMMV


Raspberry Pi Wildlife Camera

A while ago I built a Raspberry Pi based nature camera, sometimes known as a trail camera. Normally I cover most of my projects on here but this one has been a little different as it was featured in this months Linux Voice magazine. For this very reason I won’t feature a write-up here, just a few images and videos captured using it and a couple of pointers to the software used in the project.

The software stack simply consisted of:


RPi Cam Web Interface

GitHub repo for above interface software (My fork of the repo)

Here’s a few captures and pics of the components:





If you would like to read the full article, or better still the whole magazine, head over to LinuxVoice. Please support the chaps there by subscribing 🙂

2013 – A good year

I thought I’d finish off the year with a bit of reflection, overall it’s been a pretty good year in both camps of my life – the geek/tech and the family side. Obvious highs of the year include:

  • Birth of my second child, Alfie.
  • OggCamp 13
  • LinuxCon Europe
  • Barcamp Blackpool
  • RossLUGs 3rd year – some fantastic meetings this year.

It certainly has been a full on year.

It’s been a really tech filled year, as since moving house last September I’ve had my own space for all my tech which is a real bonus. It’s allowed me to really get back into electronics with Arduino building the home automation system, the electric meter monitor (still to be finished) and more recently bringing a snowman christmas decoration back to life:

As part of my job heavily entails virtualisation and storage I’ve been getting heavily into oVirt, GlusterFS and Openstack (more specifically RDO). Making commits upstream too, to both code and documentation.

One of my other highs of this year tech wise was establishing a presence on GitHub I’ve uploaded most, if not all, the code I’ve worked on this year and licensed it with GPL with great reward of folks actually looking at my code. I feel like I’ve really given something back there.

On the topic of giving back, I finally became a Fedora ambassador this year. I’ve thought about it in previous years as I’ve always used the distro and given back where I can. After an experiment of using Ubuntu solely for a while I reverted back to my much cherished comfort zone, but decided to go the whole hog and really get involved in what has turned out to be a great community. Attending the events I regularly and ones I don’t, on behalf of the project has been a rewarding experience so far.

So whats in store for 2014? Well hopefully I’ll continue on this track, more open virtualisation, more Arduino, Raspberry Pi, more Fedora. But also coming in 2014 will be another track, STEM. I recently became a STEM ambassador which will allow me to impart some of my knowlege and skills and help bring a better quality of education in the tech sector to children. I’m hoping to get involved with, and also run, Arduino, Raspberry Pi coding sessions throughout 2014 so watch this space.

All in all 2013 has been an excellent year, lets hope 2014 is as good, if not better. All the very best to you all.


New projects: Pi’s and Arduinos

Recently I’ve been working on several new projects, all of which use either a Raspberry Pi or an Arduino.

Site-To-Site VPN

A friend of mine recently opened a new satellite office, and as part of his day to day work had a requirement to connect the two together so resources on either side could see each other. Site-to-site VPN I thought, and what better kit for the task than a couple of Raspberry Pi’s. Nice and small so they can be kept along side the routers. Each site had a simple ADSL broadband link, with a couple of PC’s connecting up.

I’ll run through the complete setup in a seperate post as a Howto/tutorial, but the process was so simple to get them setup literally flash raspbian to a couple of SD cards, go through the motions to get a working console. I removed any unneeded packages, then installed and setup OpenVPN. After a bit of broadband/user error at one of the sites, simply opening the ports on the routers firewalls it all connected up beautifully. Fileshares and network based resources were all available wherever they wanted.

Home Automation
For a long time now I’ve been wanting to implement some kind of home automation system. After looking at X10 i was a little disappointed, as the technology was very dated and slow but also very expensive. Any other newer technologies were a little out of my price range, and also a very closed shop. So after about 12 months of it being on the edge of a project, a lot of research has been done and I think I am now in a position to put something in place. I’ll be using a mixture of Arduinos (or shrimps if I can), Raspberry Pi’s and other tech.

The idea is now coming to fruition due to a decision to transform all the lights in the house to 12v from 240v. This will make working with lighting a lot easier and safer, and cheaper due to not having to employ a spark to do all the connecting for me. The rough plan of attack will be to combine arduinos and mosfet transistors as switching mechanisms. Also implemented on these arduinos will be ethernet shields in order to connect the circuits up and have them centrally managable.

Essentially taking a traditional, feed -> switch -> bulb circuit and turning it into feed -> transformer -> arduino -> “switch” -> bulb. the switch component will be defined by the use of the light and could comprise of a push button SPST, an android app, a PIR or a combination of those. I plan to use a combination or software technologies for running all this, MQTT, python, PHP etc.

I plan to replace any fluorescent lights with LED strips, and have been toying with the idea of RGB here too which will bring a whole new depth to the lights. Many things to consider and a lot of exciting tech to play with, that is accessible, cheap and using open standards.

Exciting times.

Post Raspberry Jamboree Event

Let me start by saying, Saturday was a fantastic day out – even if I was there as crew not an attendee. The day started as most of these type of events do, runnning slightly late, I was a little worried at first as I thought I was the one running late (even though I was bang on time), but then I remembered who I was waiting for :). Eventually bumping into familiar faces everything started to fall into place. Kitting out the place with microphones and laptops for presentations in the main room seemed to go without any major hitches and led us up to the opening time of around 10:30, the usual mayhem followed as it always does with a mass of people queuing to get into the event. It didn’t seem to matter though, as all the crew were on deck and ready to deal with the, what seemed to be smiley happy, crowd.

Already on the way to being setup CPC’s stand offered a few Pi based goodies to look at and purchase. The displays included a minecraft Pi, a Pi controlled robot arm and Lego, or the Simon based game.





With the room pretty much packed, Alan opened the event with his usual teacher style (hands up, no calling out, 3 2 1 silence etc… are you chewing) introducing the newly built community surrounding the Pi and its Jams. Handing over to Steve Furber, the designer of the Legendary BBC Micro,  for the keynote speech regarding the state of computing within education.





Following on from Steve’s great session was Andrew Robinson, talking about his endeavours with robotics and the Pi-Face addon for the Pi which he developed.


Supposedly next was Carrie Ann Philbin, however we ended up having our first (and only) technical glitch of the day with her slides being on Google Docs the internet connection typically disappeared. After a few moments of frantic fiddling the presentation was quickly switched with William H Bell (not that William Bell) from CERN labs and a key figure behind the brilliant Mag-Pi publication.


Carrie Ann finally got to the stage and delivered what to me was the highlight of the sessions.


Some fantastic ideas already in place for teaching using the Raspberry Pi, she seemed very passionate and switched on.

Next came the discussion panel which included Ben Nuttall of Mad-Lab, Lisa Mather a parent, Ben Smith a Teacher and Dawn Hewitson from Edgehill Uni. Oh and a last minute push onto the stage for Jack Wearden. All of whom, along with Alan, have had direct involvement with running Raspberry Jam sessions around the country. Again excellent ideas bouncing around the room, along with myself on mic duties.

The slices of Pi came next which were 15 minute slices of folks talking about their experiences with projects related to the Pi, whether they be personal projects like Arthur Amarra‘s voice controlled robotics, Duncan Smeed’s Undergraduate students producing gadgets, or Alex Bradbury from the Pi foundation talking about how to Manage the Pi’s in schools, mainly around preparation of images and the logistics of flashing them.



Next came a short, welcome, break for a bite to eat and a mooch around the Education Innovation conference in the main body of the GMEX,  managed to pick up a couple of the Pi recipe card packs from OCR. Hoping to use these packs in a future Raspberry Jam.  The details for these can be found here.

Unfortunately I had to leave fairly early and disappointingly I missed what seems to have been dubbed the best talk by Amy Mather (daughter of Lisa) the 13 year old mini geek.

All in all it was a fantastic day which I’m proud to have been part of even if it was only in a small way. Great to see the guys Les, Dan, Olly, Arran and Heeed. Oh and I got myself a second model B Pi from the CPC stand.

Raspberry Jamboree Event


This coming Saturday, 9th March, I’ll be helping out as crew member at what could be the most exciting Raspbery Pi event since its launch. CPC are sponsoring the jamboree, with talks from plenty of familiar, and some not so, faces at the exhibition centre in Manchester. Much looking forward to it. Full writeup will follow after the event, I am expecting an announcement or two though, not sure what though.

Sorry if this sparked your interest in the event but all tickets are sold out, you can join the waiting list though by visiting: http://raspberryjamboree.eventbrite.com/