Home » Electronics » Installing Packages into the Raspberry Pi’s Linux

Installing Packages into the Raspberry Pi’s Linux

Once I got the RPi up and running headless on my local network, its time to build the software foundation that I’ll need to make it an effective development environment.  These are the packages that I loaded to get myself up and running.

Do Your House Cleaning First

I’m loading software via the Linux apt-get utility and you need to make sure its database is up to date. First thing to do is to update apt-get’s local database with server’s pkglist’s files.  Then checks for outdated packages in the system and automatically upgrades them.  Execute the following commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Search for Package or Package Description

Some times you don’t know package name but aware of some keywords to search the package.  To search for packages, use the following:

apt-cache search "text-to-search"
apt-cache search "text-to-search" | grep "more-search-text"


Synaptic is a graphical package management program for Linux software. It provides the same features as the apt-get command line utility with a X Windows GUI front-end.  While I will not be using X Windows at this moment, in the future I will and synaptic is a very nice alternative to apt-get when in in X Windows.

sudo apt-get install synaptic


Vim is a highly configurable text editor and widely available for many different platforms.  Emacs also has a large following, but I think everyone needs to be prepared to use vim if your serious about Linux.  The RPi Linux distribution appears to have vi loaded but vim is a superior tool.

sudo apt-get install vim
sudo apt-get install vim-gtk


PyRoom is a a fullscreen editor without buttons, widgets, formatting options, menus and with only the minimum of required dialog windows, it doesn’t have any distractions and lets you focus on writing and only writing.  It is the polar opposite of Vim, and as such, is a good editor for the novice or casual user, but requires X Windows and Python.

sudo apt-get install pyroom


Given that I plan to hack some to-be-determined applications using the RPi, I should consider establish some tools for  source code management. The last time I did serious software development in Linux (really Unix), I was using Source Code Control System (SCCS). The tools are much improved now and git is hands down the way to go.

sudo apt-get install git


We all have a favorite browser and I choose chromium for my RPi.  Chromium serves as a base for Google Chrome, which is Chromium re-branded (name and logo) with very few additions.

sudo apt-get install chromium


  1. ralphsrobots says:

    Hooray for vim. I gotta get me one of those RPi’s. How is the speed compared to a run-of-the-mill PC running Linux?

    • Jeff's Skinner Box says:

      I have been impressed by the performance of the RPi, and others who have gotten their hands on it seem to agree. But it all depends what you want to do with the little device. Its not going to be great web server (yet you can easily install Apache on and some people are). I think it has the possibilities of being a super Arduino with all the comforts of home (i.e. Linux). Check out this for RPi vs. PC vs. Arduino – http://www.branedy.net/?p=2256

      Also, there is a RPi Linux version called Raspbian (which I’m using) claims a 20% improvement and RaspberryPi.org just approved of over clocking the CPU to 1GHz giving it 50% more lift. Over clocking will be part of the next Raspbian release.

      Isn’t technology wonderful !!!

  2. John E Wulff says:

    Have purchased a Raspberry Pi/B in August 2013 and am running Raspbian from NOOPS supplied on an 8 GB flash card. I had no problems running most applications and porting the “immediate C” (iC) compiler I have written in C and the supporting tools written mostly as Perl and Perl/Tk including a graphical IDE allowing editing, compiling and running iC programs. A special feature of the IDE is showing the state of all iC variables as color changes. The only porting problem I had was assuming “signed char” in C, whereas the ARM gcc assumes “unsigned char”. Enough…

    I struck a real problem today, when I followed your recommendations to run apt-get update and upgrade. The wireless keyboard and mouse (DGTEC DG-WKB3001), which I purchased with the RPi went dead after the upgrade. On the first reboot the system automatically rebooted a 2nd time, when it went into an infinite loop showing an error. A 3rd manual reboot brought up the X desktop but the mouse and keyboard are absolutely dead. All I can do is re-install Raspbian.


    Or can you suggest any alternative action?

    PS I have only had the RPi for a week and spent 2 days porting.

    • John E Wulff says:

      Hooray – after switching off the RPi it booted ok with full mouse and keyboard support. Before switching it off I had noticed that the little green activity display in the bottom right task bar was showing 3 second burst of near 100% activity for the 10 minutes I had it on before switching off. I had not tried the mouse before switch off. May be the upgrades were being installed !?

      I will now install VIM, which is what I really wanted to do. A week struggling with the old vi in the Raspbian distribution is enough déjà vu.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: