I mentioned in my last post that I hoped to move on to the LPIC-1 exam in the coming weeks. I’m going through a bit of flux in terms of my stable laptop setup at the moment and I wanted a bit of stability as I work my way through the course. The idea suggested itself to me: what if I work through the syllabus using a Raspberry Pi?
I have a few Raspberry Pi 3 and Zeros lying around the house, so I’ve chosen the latest model I have — a model B version 1.2. I can SSH into the device over wifi regardless of whatever laptop I’m using at the time.
I’m choosing to use a Raspberry Pi for a few reasons:
- I want something that feels (and is) ‘disposable’ — if I make some mistake in my settings, I can install everything from scratch fairly trivially
- I didn’t want to do it on a virtual machine because sometimes this can behave idiosyncratically and I wanted something as close to an ‘authentic’ Linux experience as possible.
- I didn’t want to use a server from a cloud hosting provider since a dedicated server running online is probably overkill for what I need. You can get cheaper if you’re just using part of a server (via some virtualised service etc) but that seemed likely to provide non-standard output.
- I wanted to plug and play bits of hardware as part of my studies. That’s obviously not possible on a cloud server, and can provide non-standard responses when done through a virtual machine.
- I didn’t just want to install Linux on a spare laptop since I don’t have one of those lying around where I currently am. If I break anything, moreover, the installation / reformatting process and so on takes much longer than just flashing a SD card for a Raspberry Pi.
The hardware is pretty decent on the model I’m using, at least for the purposes of the LPIC-1 exam. This seems like an ideal use case.
Once again, I’m following through using the Linux Academy’s video lectures. As far as I understand things, the LPIC-1 exam requires more than just passing familiarity with a few commands. For that reason, I’m using a few supplementary books. Once I’ve gone through both books and videos I’ll be testing myself with practice exams.
Yesterday I spent a few hours trying to get my base setup installed on the Raspberry Pi. I started with an ambitious plan to install the version of Arch developed for use on a Raspberry Pi 3 (i.e. this version of an ARM chip) but it ended up being somewhat non-trivial. I ended up breaking Pacman (the Arch package installer) and unable to install any new software or update the system.
I realised that Arch probably wasn’t the ideal setup for this experiment in any case. The default Raspbian distro, based on Debian Wheezy, seemed a better option. Flashing that onto my SD card and getting a headless copy up and running was easy.
I might take a short detour before diving into the LPIC course proper by working my way through the Linux From Scratch series. I figure I’ll learn some useful things in that process of building my own custom kernel / distribution that I can then build on through the LPIC-1 syllabus. But I haven’t fully decided on that path yet.