We’ve all had that experience: the first Raspberry Pi boot sequence.
A large raspberry appears on the screen. Fantastic!
Then it boots. Glorious it is. A humble ncurses configuration window offers SD card configuramability options. Simply typing startx starts x! And then you can really play!
It’s love at first sight. And we want so badly to continue to love it as much as we used to. After achieving “omega squirrel,” you need to decide what to do with it. So what now to do with the old ARMv6 architecture?
Run it as a webserver!
A fantastic idea! A webserver doesn’t really need that much oomph to push pages right?
Wrong. php-mysql web applications (some of the simpler applications to run on a web server) die on the pi. Two second load times, miserable performance. The list goes on and on.
Run a phone system on it!
Raspbx is an awesome distro that includes FreePBX and Asterisk and runs on top of raspbian. It works great (though the web interface is exceedingly slow).
Ran fantastic for about 2 months. Then I logged in one day to find this:
root@raspbx # vim test.txt
root@raspbx # ls
bash: ls – Command not found
root@raspbx # shutdown -h now
bash: shutdown – Command not found
At that point I realized there was a relatively severe problem. What, you ask? Well, simply put, an SD card cannot handle the workload associated with a continuous duty server. Options? Run the whole kit and caboodle off an external USB2 hard drive. Requires chain booting off an SD card.
I did, however, come across the humble BeagleBoneBoard (or whatever horribly multisyllabic trademark they’ve put on it) which is basically a larger Raspberry Pi with more everything. Not bad at all. New architecture runs Ubuntu just fine, and it’s also about twice as fast. It includes its own internal flash memory.