Liz: Many thanks to all at Seneca College, and especially Chris Tyler, for all their work on this. As usual, it’ll be available on our downloads page as a direct download and as a torrent, and we would be very grateful to all those of you who are prepared to seed a torrent for us. I’ll hand over to Chris:
The Raspberry Pi Fedora Remix is ready for download!
What is the Raspberry Pi Fedora Remix?
The Remix is a distribution comprised of software packages from the Fedora ARM project, plus a small number of additional packages that are modified from the Fedora versions or which cannot be included in Fedora due to licensing issues – in particular, the libraries for accessing the VideoCore GPU on the Raspberry Pi.
The SD card image for the Remix includes a little over 640 packages, providing both text-mode and graphical interfaces (LXDE/XFCE) with an assortment of programming languages, applications, system tools, and services for both environments. There are over 16,000 software packages available from the Fedora ARM repositories which can be easily installed using the Internet to customize your system to meet your needs and interests (again, using either command-line or graphical tools).
Some of the highlights of the software included in the SD card image:
- Programming languages: python, perl, ruby, bash
- Version control: git
- System administration tools (command line and/or graphical) for configuring various aspects of the system including the network, date/time, users, and printers
- Command-line and graphical tools for installing/removing/updating software
- ssh (secure remote login) and printer services
- Graphical applications: word processing (AbiWord), spreadsheets (Gnumeric), image editing (GIMP), and web browsing (Firefox)
- Editors for programming: vim (text mode) and gedit with plugins for file management, terminal, and python console (graphical mode)
How do I install the Remix?
The easiest way to install the Raspberry Pi Fedora Remix is to grab the installer, written by Jon Chiappetta. Here are the links:
Fedora RPM: http://files.velocix.com/c1410/fedora/installer/fedora/fedora-arm-installer-1.0.0-1.fc16.noarch.rpm
Windows ZIP: http://files.velocix.com/c1410/fedora/installer/windows/fedora-arm-installer-1.0.0.zip (Two notes about the current Windows release:  you may need to right-click and select “Run as Administrator” to access the SD card, and  the installer may have problems with paths that include spaces. Both of these issues will be addressed in a future version of the installer). The Windows installer works on Windows Vista and Windows 7 (but not XP).
Other systems (Python script – packages for other platforms welcome): http://files.velocix.com/c1410/fedora/installer/source/faii-1.0.0.tar.gz
The installer automates the process of downloading the image, decompressing it, and installing it onto an SD card. Here’s a screenshot:
To use it:
- Plug in an SD card.
- Click on the refresh (circle-arrow) buttons to get a list of images and current mirrors and a list of available destination devices.
- Select the image you wish to download (r1) – or, if you’ve already downloaded an image, click Browse to select the file.
- Select the SD card device you wish to write to (Caution! Make sure you don’t write to the wrong device, and make sure the SD card does not contain important data – the selected device will be overwritten!).
- Click Install.
When the installer is done, you’ll have a 1.6 GB image installed on the SD card.
For your first boot, this is the recommended system configuration:
- HDMI or DVI-D monitor connected to the HDMI output.
- USB keyboard (and, optionally, mouse) on the USB port.
- Ethernet connection to a DHCP-managed, IPv4 network.
- SD card inserted.
The first time the system boots, the SD card image will be resized to completely fill the card, and then the system will go through a first boot process, prompting you to:
- Set the root (master) password for the system.
- Create a user account and set a password for that account. You should use this account to login to the system.
- Select the system timezone.
- Choose either text or graphical mode as the default for booting.
The system will then start up. If there is no input device (keyboard/mouse) connected during boot, the system will skip these configuration steps and boot directly into character mode interface; the SSH server will be started, and you can login with the default root password of “fedoraarm”.
The Kernel provided in the Remix image is the Raspberry Pi 3.1.9 kernel from GitHub, with a combined Fedora/Raspberry Pi configuration file. This configuration includes the devices in the System-on-a-Chip, modular support for most USB devices and optional network features, and kernel features expected by Fedora packages, including IPv6.
Raspberry Pi Libraries
The Raspberry Pi proprietary libraries, headers, and utilities, included in /opt/vc in the Debian image, are installed into regular system locations in the Fedora Remix image (/usr/lib for libraries, /usr/include for headers, and /usr/bin and /usr/sbin for utilities). This reflects the fact that these files are part of the core distribution and not a third-party add-one.
The source code for the demonstration multimedia apps is contained in the /usr/share/vc-demo-source directory. Instructions for compiling and using these apps is on the Raspberry Pi Fedora Remix wiki documentation (see link, below).
The kernel, GPU firmware, start-up scripts, and proprietary libraries/headers/demo source are all provided by RPM packages. This software, along with all of the Fedora packages, can be installed/removed/reinstalled/updated from online software repositories. This means that if new GPU firmware or multimedia libraries become available, they can be installed with a simple update command (“yum update”) or a mouse click on the graphical software updater.
The Remix is distributed as four separate pieces, carried by three separate mirror networks:
- The SD card image files are being mirrored by the Raspberry Pi community’s mirror network.
- The Velocix content delivery network is mirroring the installer program plus the Raspberry Pi-specific remix package repositories.
- The Fedora mirror network is mirroring the Fedora ARM package repositories.
Many thanks to Liam Fraser and the sites comprising the three mirror networks.
The Future of the Raspberry Pi Fedora Remix
The Fedora ARM project is hard at work building Fedora 17, which we hope to release concurrently with the PC versions in May. This should be the most complete Fedora ARM release produced to date.
Students in the SBR600 course at Seneca College are working to on an improved version of the Remix incorporating files from Fedora ARM 17, and this will also be released in May.
The Fedora ARM project has the goal of achieving primary architecture status during the Fedora 18 development cycle — which means that, from that point on, the ARM build of Fedora will receive the same priority and be released on the same schedule as the PC (x86) versions.
As this project progresses, we anticipate moving most of the Raspberry Pi-specific software packages into the main Fedora ARM project, except where prevented by licensing issues.
Release notes, information on where/how to get help or to get involved, FAQ about the Remix, and more are on the Seneca CDOT wiki at http://cdot.senecac.on.ca/raspberrypi.
A Quick Word on Trademarks
This software distribution is counted as a “Fedora Remix” in the terminology of the Fedora project because it contains software not found in the Fedora package collection. Please do not refer to the Remix as “Fedora” or use the Fedora infinity logo or wordmark in conjunction with the remix – please refer to it as a “Fedora Remix” and use the secondary mark in accordance with the Fedora Trademark Guidelines. (Note that we have specific approval to use the Secondary Mark with a modified colour scheme to match the Raspberry Pi logo).