Small is beautiful

Carrying on from ‘Does size matter’ I have decided to test my Raspberry Pi 3 model B as a replacement for a desktop machine.

The black box (2×3 inches) is the Pi

The last time I used the Pi was about 6mths ago for a Python project for use in schools (a part of my former life) and the original SD card had Raspbian wheezy installed. On boot up the OS gui failed to load and eventually loaded a command line with errors.

Using another computer I downloaded the latest version of Raspbian….Buster and tried to reformat the SD card using SD formatter

Quick format didn’t work and I had to resort to full format. I then used Etcher to flash to image file to the SD card

Buster comes with basic desktop software installed and includes Libre office, Chromium browser, Claws mail and VNC viewer plus a host of other software and programming utilities

As mentioned in a previous post (Does size matter?) essential desktop software includes Veracrypt and KeePass, an encryption app and a password safe app.

The following website provides excellent and concise instructions to install Veracrypt version 1.2 on a Raspberry Pi

sudo apt install libfuse-dev libwxbase3.0-dev

wget -L -O veracrypt-1.21-raspbian-setup.tar.bz2 https://sourceforge.net/projects/veracrypt/files/VeraCrypt%201.21/veracrypt-1.21-raspbian-setup.tar.bz2/download

tar xvf veracrypt-1.21-raspbian-setup.tar.bz2

chmod +x veracrypt-1.21-setup-console-armv7

sudo ./veracrypt-1.21-setup-console-armv7

Installation takes a few minutes and is not quick.

Running setup at this point there is a long long process to spacebar through numerous license agreements…..and don’t forget to agree ‘y’ for yes at the end. Do not abort this process by pressing Ctl Z or Ctl X otherwise you will have to re-install from the beginning.

Before installing KeePass I thought it wise to update the OS using the following commands

sudo apt update

Followed by

sudo apt full-upgrade

Unfortunately this crashed the Pi ! although it was fine on re-boot and progressing the full update again.

Rather than installing KeePass I use a portable version of KeePass stored on a USB stick which can be used on a Pi by installing ‘Mono’

sudoapt-get install mono-complete

access your USB stick as follows

cd media/pi/yourUSB/KeePass

mono keepass.exe

It takes a few seconds to load but it is perfectly useable and has the added advantage that it can be used with Windows and other Linux operating systems.

In conclusion this version of the Raspberry Pi makes a passable desktop computer albiet a little slow, but it performs all the necssary desktop functions. e.g. Wordprocessing, Spreadsheets, Browsing the internet and using email. A Raspberry Pi 4 is probably a better option with as much memory as possible……4Gb