Making Changes

Important Commands

LXDE (or, X) is the GUI for Raspbian. Otherwise, you're in Terminal.

Unless you tell the RasPi to boot into X on start up, you will boot into Terminal. However, anything you can do in X, you can manipulate quickly in Terminal. SO MUCH POWER. Settle yourself. POWER. Relax.

Assuming you've never worked with either, there are some important Terminal things to remember.

The default username is: pi

The default password is: raspberry

While you type the password, you won't see any keystrokes.

To start up X, type:

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startx

To reboot the Pi, type:

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sudo reboot

The RasPi does not have a built-in power switch, so to kill the power, you have to unplug the USB connection. Before doing that, you need to issue a shutdown command:

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sudo halt -p

The Pi will then enter shutdown procedures, and tell you when it's time to power it off, with the phrase:

Power down

To edit a file on the pi, you type:

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sudo nano /thisIsTheDirectory/thisIsTheTextFile/

After you've installed the PiTFT screen, only one display will be available to use by the framebuffer at any given time (the driver of the display for the RasPi.)

To switch between them, type:

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FRAMEBUFFER=/dev/fb0
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FRAMEBUFFER=/dev/fb1

Until you are ready to test the GIFs, I recommend sticking with the HDMI. The larger screen real estate is needed to finish all of your Terminal commands.

To open the original configuration screen for the Raspberry Pi, type:

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sudo raspi-config

Update Everything

Now that you're sitting in Terminal, or sitting on the desktop of X, you'll want to get going on the road of installation. First, we want to update and upgrade all the built-in software just installed from NOOBS. You will need that ethernet connection to be active.

If in X, open the application on the Desktop labeled, LXTerminal. You are now running Terminal inside X.

To update all of the software, type:

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sudo apt-get update

Follow the on-screen prompts. Revel in your new importance.

Once that concludes, it's time to upgrade the packages, so type:

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sudo apt-get upgrade

Follow the on-screen prompts. This one may take a while.

Install Chromium

The GIFs for this project will play inside out of Chromium, in X.

A great thing about Linux (Raspbian) is the ability to install programs directly from Terminal.

Just type:

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sudo apt-get install chromium

And follow the on-screen prompts.

Change the Video Memory Allocation

The default video memory allocation for the B+ is only 64 MB. We want to assign more, for the GIFs.

Type:

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sudo nano /boot/config.txt

You're looking for a line that should say either, 

gpu_mem=

or 

gpu_mem=64

Or it's possible the line isn't there whatsoever.

In any case, the line should either be modified, or added to say,

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gpu_mem=256

Then hit Control + O, follow the prompt to save by hitting Enter, and then Control + X to exit nano.

Turn Off Screen Blanking:

There is a persistent power-saving feature on the Raspberry Pi that is duplicated in many places. To disable it, you'll need to turn it off in different ways.

First:

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sudo nano /etc/kbd/config

change:

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BLANK_TIME=30

to

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BLANK_TIME=0

Then Control + O, follow the prompt to save by hitting Enter, Control +X, and you've finished the first adjustment.

Second:

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sudo nano /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc

After the first line, type in these three lines:

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xset s off
xset -dpms
xset s noblank

Then Control + O, Enter, and Control + X.

Third:

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sudo nano /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf

Under the SeatDefaults section, you want to modify it to be:

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[SeatDefaults]
xserver-command=X -s 0 -dpms

Then Control + O, Enter, and Control + X.

Fourth: Noticing a pattern yet?

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sudo nano /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE/autostart

We'll be back here, but for now let's just get rid of the screen saver and double up the xset commands.

Find the line:

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@xscreensaver -no-splash

and comment it out, by adding a #

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# @xscreensaver -no-splash

Next add three additional lines directly below the now commented line:

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@xset s off
@xset -dpms
@xset s noblank

Then Control + O, Enter, and Control + X.

Overclock the Raspberry Pi:

Overclocking the B+ doesn't void the warranty. To bump it up from 700 Mhz to 800 Mhz, type:

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sudo raspi-config

You'll recognize this screen from the first time you booted up Raspbian. Use the navigation arrows to scroll down, hit the right arrow once you've highlighted Overclocking, and then hit enter.

On the next screen, select 800 Mhz, hit the right arrow, and hit enter. More juice!

This guide was first published on Jan 13, 2015. It was last updated on Jan 13, 2015. This page (Making Changes) was last updated on Aug 18, 2019.