Upgrades to my Pi fleet

I have recently expanded my collection of the little Raspberry Pi computers as MyGoodLadyWife has bought me a Pi2. I am hoping to be able to use the extra processing power due to the increased clock speed and quad-core CPU to good effect as a controller for a software defined radio. (More on that to come…)

But first, I needed to install an operating system. I did not want to simply transfer the existing SD card from the Pi B+ that Hector was proudly sitting atop of in my previous post. This is because the Raspbian image on that card is crafted to work on an ARMv6 CPU, whereas I can now use an image for an ARMv7 ‘HardFloat’.

I wanted to stay with Debian on my Pi2 so a quick trip to the relevant page on the Debian Wiki shows that there is a suitable image available for Debian 8, otherwise known as ‘Jessie’. So, I opened up the SpartiPi case and swapped out the old B+ for the new Pi2 (note that the case takes the Pi2 with as much ease as the original B+ it was designed for.)

So, all set to introduce the Pi2 to Debian Jessie. What steps are needed to make it all happen?

First, follow the link from the Debain Wiki to ” Debian Jessie on Raspberry Pi 2 by Sjoerd Simons of Collabora”. This will take you to a page with more background information as well as a link to where the bootable images can be found. I ended up downloading the following files:

jessie-rpi2-20150202.img.bmap
jessie-rpi2-20150202.img.gz

Great! I have the image file, but what does that bmap file do? On his page, Sjoerd recommends using a tool called ‘bmap-tools’ to write the image to the SD card. I had to pause to check if it was possible to install it on the machine I use to program my SD cards and yes, it is. There is a repository for OpenSUSE 13.1 which I currently use (as MGLW is very fond of Geeko the Chameleon, the OpenSUSE mascot!). I added a repository to Yast which I named ‘Tizen’ with the following URL:

 http://download.tizen.org/tools/latest-release/openSUSE_13.1/

This allowed me to install bmap-tools after which I was able to bring up a root console, change to the directory where the image and bmap file were stored and use the following command to write the image to the SD card:

 bmaptool copy jessie-rpi2-20150202.img.gz /dev/sdd

While at first glance it seems a lot of effort to install and use this tool it does have an advantage over using dd in that it gives an indication of progress in terms of percentage completed and it also gives an indication at the end that the process was successful.

The Pi2 is now on the bench, powered up and running Debian Jessie for ARMv7. I have been able to use the apt-get update and apt-get upgrade commands successfully so it looks like it is working correctly.

More to follow on my task of putting this little computer to work in my radio shack…