<< Summary

Setup the Raspberry PI Raspberry PI

Sep-2013.
We assume that you already have a Raspberry PI, along with its power supply (AC or DC, whatever).
We will show how to setup everything on the Raspberry PI to get started. This is actually a list of the steps I went through to get started with mine.
We will need to edit several configuration files and other scripts. You can use any editor you wish, "nano" can do the job, I myself prefer "vi". At the end of the day, that's the same, only the result is important. gedit is also working just fine on the Raspberry PI, in a graphical environment.

Requirements

First, flash the SD card, as explained here. I used the Raspbian (NOOBS) image. It comes with Java. It works like a charm.
Next, we will require several softwares to be installed on the Raspberry PI, some are necessary, others are convenient.

An FTP server

This one will be very convenient when you will need to transfer files on you Raspberry PI.
To install, type:

 Prompt> sudo apt-get install vsftpd
    
Then edit (sudo edit) /etc/vsftpd.conf:

 anonymous_enable=NO
 local_enable=YES
 write_enable=YES
 local_umask=022
 allow_writeable_chroot=YES
 chroot_local_user=YES
 user_sub_token=$USER
 local_root=/home/$USER/ftp
    
Important: If there is a problem, try removing the 2, or 3 last lines.
If you're still having problems, you can try this config file.
Start this ftp as a service on the PI:
  
  Prompt> sudo service vsftpd restart
    
Inmportant note: scp does the same job. And there is nothing to install...
From Windows, use WinSCP.
Interestingly, if scp is good enough for you, you can forget about ftp.

Install RXTX Java libraries

Read this good article.
Just type:

 Prompt> sudo apt-get install librxtx-java
    

Fing

A very cool utility. Combination of Find and Ping.

 Prompt> wget http://www.overlooksoft.com/packages/download?plat=arm
 Prompt> sudo dpkg -i overlook-fing-2.3.deb
 Prompt> sudo apt-get install libpcap*
    
and finally:

 Prompt> sudo fing
    

Create an ad-hoc network, from the Raspberry PI

Read this good article.
Make a backup:

 Prompt> sudo cp /etc/network/interfaces /etc/network/interfaces_backup
    
Then edit (sudo edit) /etc/network/interfaces:

 auto lo
 iface lo inet loopback
 iface eth0 inet dhcp
 
 auto wlan0
 iface wlan0 inet static
   address 192.168.1.1
   netmask 255.255.255.0
   wireless-channel 1
   wireless-essid RPiOnTheBoat
   wireless-mode ad-hoc
    
In the lines above, RPiOnTheBoat will be the name of your ad-hoc network.
Restart wlan0 (wlan0 is the name of the wireless network interface).

 Prompt> sudo ifdown wlan0
 Prompt> sudo ifup wlan0
    
(reboot in case you have an error message)

Then we might need a DHCP Server:

 Prompt> sudo apt-get update
 Prompt> sudo apt-get install dhcp3-server
    
Then edit (sudo edit) /etc/dhcp/dhcpd.conf

 ddns-update-style interim;
 default-lease-time 600;
 max-lease-time 7200; 
 authoritative;
 log-facility local7;
 subnet 192.168.1.0 netmask 255.255.255.0 {
   range 192.168.1.5 192.168.1.150;
 }
    
Reboot..., all should be all set!
There is a good atricle about the Raspberry PI connections here.

Setup the Raspberry PI as a wireless Access point

See here.
This setup allows any device to connect to the Raspberry PI (other Raspberry PIs, Android devices, etc).

Wiring PI, PI4J, I2C

You install WiringPI as explained here.
You need to install PI4J, as explained here.
This would install PI4J in /opt/pi4j. It might be a good idea to set the PI4J_HOME variable in your .bashrc file.

 export PI4J_HOME=/opt/pi4j
    

You need to enable I2C, as described here.

A Note about the screens, HDMI or RCA

If you have an HDMI screen connected to the Raspberry PI the first time you boot your system, you might experience some problem when trying to use an RCA monitor in the future.
The way to fix that is to edit (sudo edit) the file /boot/config.txt, and to comment the NOOBS autogenerated section at the end of the file.
Next time you reboot, the problem is gone, you can use an RCA screen.

Some more utilities

Chromium
Chromium (Chrome for Linux) works fine on the Raspberry PI.

  Prompt> sudo apt-get install chromium-browser
    
gedit
Some non-vi savvy people like editors in a graphical environment. gedit works great.
  
  Prompt> sudo apt-get install gedit
    
dos2unix
If you are working on Windows, this utility will turn the scripts you ftp from Windows in a way they can run on Linux.
  
  Prompt> sudo apt-get install dos2unix
    
VNC Server
Remote graphical desktop.
  
  Prompt> sudo apt-get install tightvncserver
    
System monitor
A graphical system monitoring application
  
  Prompt> sudo apt-get install gnome-system-monitor
    

Keyboard config

The keyboard if by default configured for en_GB. To change that, like to a US keyboard, edit the file named /etc/default/keyboard, and change the XKBLAYOUT property from "gb" to "us".

 Prompt> sudo vi /etc/default/keyboard
    
Reboot will be required after that.

Console font size

Depending on the screen you work with (2.8" touchscreen, car rear view camera screen - 4.3" or 7", etc), you might need to change the size of the font of the console, in order to be able to read it.
To do so, use the following command, from the console:

 Prompt> sudo dpkg-reconfigure console-setup
    
I choose UTF-8, Guess optimal character set, Terminus, and then choose your font size. All work fine for me.

Init, banners, and others

You can make cool banners (like 30+ years ago) at http://www.network-science.de/ascii/.
Oliv did it