Wikijunior:Raspberry Pi/Introduction to the Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi 4 is the latest model.

What is the Raspberry Pi? edit

The Raspberry Pi is a low-cost single-board computer designed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, a charity based in Cambridge, United Kingdom.

It was designed to educate children about how computers work and to get them interested in programming. Back in 2012, the original Raspberry Pi would cost only $30 US dollars which was its main selling point.

You will need edit

Most of these can be acquired inexpensively or found lying around the house. The Raspberry Pi Foundation sells a kit that includes a mouse and keyboard.

×1 mouse
use a USB-wired mouse
×1 keyboard
use a USB-wired keyboard
×1 monitor
use a monitor which has a mini-HDMI, HDMI or DisplayPort ports
×1 mini-HDMI cable
use a mini-HDMI to HDMI cable
×1 MicroSD card
use a Class 10 MicroSD with at least 16GB of storage

A few of the tutorials require a speaker or headphones to output sound.

Ports edit

The Raspberry Pi's ports are spread out across each side to lower manufacturing costs and save the customer money. These are the ports for the Raspberry Pi 4 going clockwise:

  1. General Purpose Input-Output (GPIO) pins – 40 pins that can be used to control or power electronic components.
  2. Ethernet port   – a network adapter that can be connected using an Ethernet cable to your home router or a network switch. It can also be used to power your Raspberry Pi using Power over Ethernet (PoE), instead of a USB-C cable.
  3. USB-A ports   – 4 standard USB ports that can be used to plug in flash drives or accessories such as a mouse and keyboard.
  4. 3.5mm jack   – an audio jack that can be used to output sound using a speaker or headphones.
  5. Micro-HDMI ports   – 2 ports that can be used to output the video from the Raspberry Pi to a monitor, television or a projector.
  6. USB-C port – used to power the Raspberry Pi.
  7. MicroSD slot   – a slot for a MicroSD card which stores the operating system and its files.

Wireless networking edit

The original Raspberry Pi only had an Ethernet and required a cable to connect to the Internet or other Raspberry Pis on the same network. Or a compatible USB dongle to connect to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth®.

Modern Raspberry Pis have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® chips built-in:

  • Wi-Fi   – a wireless networking standard for connecting to an access point, usually with a password.
  • Bluetooth®   – a wireless networking standard for connecting accessories such as a keyboard, mouse or speaker by pairing them.

Operating systems edit

The Raspberry Pi supports many different operating systems. We recommend purchasing a microSD card (minimum 16GB) and downloading the Raspberry Pi Imager software from the Raspberry Pi website. The New Out-Of-the-Box Software (NOOBS) image includes a friendly interface for setting up the Raspberry Pi.

Remember that these are just some examples of operating systems that can run on the Raspberry Pi and nearly all Linux OSs can run on Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi OS edit

The PIXEL desktop on Raspberry Pi OS.

Raspberry Pi OS (formerly Raspbian) is a specially adapted version of Debian Linux and is the officially supported operating system for Raspberry Pi. We recommend it for this Wikibook, as all the tutorials have been tested using it.

There is also Raspberry Pi Desktop which supports laptops and desktop computers (with the Intel x64 processor architecture), though some software such as Minecraft: Pi Edition is not included.

The Introduction to Raspberry Pi OS chapter goes into detail for setting up, installing and using Raspberry Pi OS.

Lakka edit

Lakka's XMB user interface can be used with just about any video game controller.
The popular slider puzzle game 2048 is completely free and will run on any Raspberry Pi model.

Lakka is a Linux operating system that runs the popular video game emulation platform Retroarch.

Lakka has a user interface that resembles the XrossMediaBar (XMB) used on the Sony PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable and old Sony Bravia TVs which allows you to play old video games from consoles such as:

  • Gameboy/Gameboy Color (GB/GBC)
  • Gameboy Advance (GBA)
  • Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
  • Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)
  • Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
  • Nintendo 64 (N64)
  • Sony PlayStation (PSX)
  • Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP)

Lakka also supports arcade machine emulators such as MAME and FinalBurn Alpha to play classic arcade games such as Pac-Man, Tetris, Street Fighter and Frogger.

There are also free games that can easily be installed such as the action platformer Cave Story (NXEngine) and puzzle game 2048.

More modern Raspberry Pis are more capable of running more modern game consoles!

Ubuntu edit

Ubuntu is a Linux operating system which is one of the most popular linux OSs.

Manjaro edit

Manjaro Linux is a fast, lightweight, and easy-to-use operating system that provides users with a stable and cutting-edge computing experience, all while being built on top of the renowned Arch Linux distribution.

Further reading edit

Raspberry Pi Beginner's Guide 4th Edition (ISBN 978-1912047734) is the official book from the Raspberry Pi Foundation for getting started with the Raspberry Pi. The 4th Edition is formatted less like a book and more like a magazine with plenty of illustrations. You can freely download and re-share the PDF file with your family and friends under the lenient CC-BY-NC licence.

There is a physical Raspberry Pi Store in the Grand Arcade Shopping Centre, Cambridge, United Kingdom. If you can visit the city they sell accessories, books and some exclusive stuff that can't be found anywhere else.