sunnuntai 11. tammikuuta 2015

Raspbian unattended net install - a bare bones server for Raspberry Pi

When running a little computer like Raspberry Pi with only 256 MB RAM operating system is in a very important role. Raspbian unattended net install offers an environment with modest consumption of RAM (in my case only 36 MB!). In addition Raspbian UA (= unattended) install is very versatile. You are allowed to edit a single file (installer-config.txt) and tell what is installed and what is not. The whole server fits on a tiny 512 MB SD card. Not bad at all!

Sounds promising! However you'll be doing it all at your own risk! So make sure you have a spare SC card and some extra time. First a tiny image with only absolute minimum files needed for starting the setup is downloaded and written on an SD card. Then Raspberry Pi is started. Setup program fetches all needed files from the Internet and configures files on the fly. This all worked for me. Hope it does the same for you too!

That's my 512 MB SD card.
It's enough for Raspbian UA.
You'll need:
  • Raspberry Pi B or B+
  • SD card (min 512 MB) formatted as FAT 32 (mine was FAT 16 and it did work as well)
  • Internet connection with DHCP enabled

Open the following web page and download the latest version of Raspbian unattended. As I have a Mac I decided to download and extract this file: . There is also bzipped file available: . The Unarchiver did the trick and extracted XZ-file.

There are many ways to write an image on an SD card. You can use command line tools (ie give UNIX-commands) or try a graphical UI. ApplePi Baker is able to write images on Mac. It's easy, free and has a GUI. Read my blog post how to use ApplePi Baker.

Fingers crossed! After writing the image place the SD card in Raspberry Pi. Power up your Raspi. Hope for the best! I had to reset my wifi bridge. After that setup started to work as it received an IP. It took for me at least half an hour and after that there was a tiny setup of Raspbian on SD card. As I wrote earlier only 36 MB of RAM is needed leaving almost 200 MB free! I was able to ssh from my Mac immediately after the install. Remember to change your password. Default login is root and password for root is raspbian.

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