So, in part one I described our intentions and what we want to achieve. In this part I will go though how we chose an OS for our Pi, and why we chose it.
tl;dr: We chose to use Raspbian because it’s quick-and-easy to set-up, there is a stable release and it is well supported and widely used.
The Pi Download page is a good start when choosing an OS.
We grabbed an Arch image, threw it on an SD card and booted the Pi. We then spent some time configuring the window manager, spent some more time sorting out the usual stuff one does on a new install: networking, locale, NTP, etc. Nothing special here.
After doing all this, we realized I made a mistake, somewhere along the line something went wrong and the Pi thought the 8 GB SD card was only 2 GB. A fresh install was required. I couldn’t be bothered to do it all again, so instead I changed to Raspbian, just to try something new.
The next hour was delightful, Raspbian uses a tool called raspi-config. Here you can easily configure all of the stuff above, including memory management, overscan, SSH, boot behaviour, package updating and more.
Once that was complete the Pi now booted straight to a GUI and was ready to go.
So Why Rasbian?
I’m not at all ashamed to admit that we stuck with Rasbian because it was easy. I have played with a few OSes in my time, and often enjoy the wars I get in with Gentoo’s package manager, however now we have some focus for the project, and some goals we want to hit. It seems only sensible that we choose an OS that does a lot of the necessary but ‘boring’ work for us. Along with this, we know that Rasbian will always have a stable release and they have a bunch of packages available to boot.
Anything. I don’t think our project really holds any limitations that would lock us in to any distribution. I’m confident that if we had the time, patience and will we could complete this project using /any/ distribution of GNU/Linux. We chose the one that worked quickly, and the only small annoyance is I have to get used to using apt-get install. Fine.
Woo a working Pi. \o/