I bought a Raspberry Pi for myself this Fall in order to play around with the minicomputer that is so popular these days as an opportunity to teach myself a little more about Linux, hardware, and networking. I read many many posts about lots of individuals running the Pi as a media server for their first experience with this computer. Seemed like a reasonable place for a Pi noob like myself to start as well…
If this previous paragraph sounds anything like you, consider this post a warning.
TL;DR version: DON’T! Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.
- Install RaspBMC to SD card
- Boot Pi
- Wait for OS to initialize
- Realize process is frozen
- Reboot Pi
- See that installation is corrupted because previous attempt to start failed
- Go back to step 1
- Continue previous steps until the XBMC interface actually installs all updates without freezing or corrupting itself
- Try to do something once interface is loaded
- Oops, you moved the mouse too quickly or used the wifi connection and pulled too much power; system is hung
- Continue this process until you can get to the “Plugins store”
- Browse available plugins
- Peruse the vast wasteland of useless XBMC plugins
- Realize that nothing worth loading runs on an ARM processor (Want Netflix/Hulu/CW/ABC/etc? Too bad!)
- Say fuck it all and install something else your SD card. This thing wasn’t meant to run XBMC
If you want a media player, just buy a commercial product like a Roku 3 or Apple TV. By the time you’ve invested enough time, money, and energy in just getting what the Pi needs to run (case, 5V/1A+ PS, USB cable, HDMI cable, powered USB hub, SD card, mouse, keyboard, wifi dongle, etc), you will have spent MORE on an inferior product!
But wait a minute, this was supposed to be a learning exercise for you, right? Didn’t you at least learn something about the hardware or Linux? Well maybe, I did learn how to get my TV tuner working on my laptop, in an attempt to get it working on the Pi. So there’s that. But the time I wasted and frustration I endured was absolutely not worth learning that bit.
I’ve got Raspbian wheezy, a Debian derivative for ARM processors, installed on it now. That is running great so far. Probably just going to keep it there too. I’m still running Mint, also a Debian-derivative. Its easier to keep everything the same for the sake of learning