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Build a Developer's Linux Workstation - Complete Guide

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YurkshireLad
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Posted by: @ronalex4203

I thought I would build a new workstation just for arduino/pi stuff. I have an existing Pi4/4GB so thought I could use that. I did the usual steps, download, burn with Balena Etcher to SSD USB drive that I was using already with Raspbian OS but when I did the first boot, the last thing I see is the growing message to expand the file system to make use of the entire 512GB. Then the screen turns a weird patterned grey and although the light on the SSD still flashes nothing is happening now for at least 30 minutes. Just to check, I then did the same thing with the latest Raspbian OS and it worked fine, when I go back to Ubuntu it just stops. Any ideas? Any boot up keys to hold to get into some sort of debugging environment?

IMG 6657

 

Which usb cable are you using? I bought one and tried to connect an SSD drive to my Pi4. Turns out not all usb cables are compatible and some result in incredibly slow performance. I swear mine reads and writes slower than a 3.5" floppy.

Here's my original post - https://forum.dronebotworkshop.com/raspberry-pi/raspberry-pi-4-very-slow-with-ssd/

This post was modified 11 months ago by YurkshireLad

   
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Ron
 Ron
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@yurkshirelad Thanks, but I am aware of that, these are high quality USB-C cables that were working with a different OS. The only change is the OS.

"Don't tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” - G.S. Patton, Gen. USA
"Never wrestle with a pig....the pig loves it and you end up covered in mud..." anon


   
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YurkshireLad
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Posted by: @ronalex4203

@yurkshirelad Thanks, but I am aware of that, these are high quality USB-C cables that were working with a different OS. The only change is the OS.

It worked on the Pi? Which OS?


   
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Ron
 Ron
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@yurkshirelad Raspbian

"Don't tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” - G.S. Patton, Gen. USA
"Never wrestle with a pig....the pig loves it and you end up covered in mud..." anon


   
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YurkshireLad
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Posted by: @ronalex4203

@yurkshirelad Raspbian

It could be the same problem I had if Ubuntu uses different USB drivers. Perhaps enabling the boot log output during startup might shed some light on this:

https://askubuntu.com/questions/25022/how-to-enable-boot-messages-to-be-printed-on-screen-during-boot-up

Otherwise I can't think of anything.

 


   
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Ron
 Ron
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@yurkshirelad If I could see a grub menu I might have a path of attack. Since this is a distro from RPI for RPI it is not possible the USB drivers are a problem. The overnight run didn't do anything any different, F1 and left shift don't work. Next I will burn a TF and try that.

"Don't tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” - G.S. Patton, Gen. USA
"Never wrestle with a pig....the pig loves it and you end up covered in mud..." anon


   
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Ron
 Ron
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I mispoke, already tried both a TF card and another SSD I use for another Pi, both work. what I need to try is flashing a different OS to the failing SSD to prove if it's the SSD or OS.

"Don't tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” - G.S. Patton, Gen. USA
"Never wrestle with a pig....the pig loves it and you end up covered in mud..." anon


   
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Ron
 Ron
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Great video for someone like me who wants to do the same or similar projects. I can NOT get Ubuntu to install on my RasPi 4/4Gb. It hangs near the beginning and does not even respond to the left shift while booting trick. I downloaded it from the Ubuntu site and it is labelled as for the Pi4 4 or 8 GB. If I do the exact same steps with the latest Raspbian release it works just fine. Rather than spend any time debugging, is it not true that all the software in your cheat sheet are open source and will run on the Raspbian OS as well?

"Don't tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” - G.S. Patton, Gen. USA
"Never wrestle with a pig....the pig loves it and you end up covered in mud..." anon


   
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Ron
 Ron
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I finally figured out what was happening. I hooked up the TV via HDMI to one of the Pi HDMI connectors. I also edited the cmdline.txt file and removed the quiet and splash keywords. So what happens is it boots normally except the Pi screen is not being used. I started to do some things with just the TV but the OS froze 3 times in less than 30 minutes. Worst piece of software I have used in a very long time.

I have sent a msg to Bill asking if there is any reason why I can not use the Raspberry Pi OS which is rock solid. It's all open source code and has the same roots so I think it will work ok but will wait for Bill's expert opinion. Meanwhile do any of you know?

"Don't tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” - G.S. Patton, Gen. USA
"Never wrestle with a pig....the pig loves it and you end up covered in mud..." anon


   
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DroneBot Workshop
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Posted by: @ronalex4203

is any reason why I can not use the Raspberry Pi OS which is rock solid

Raspberry Pi OS is a Debian-based Linux installation, just like Ubuntu, so you should be able to run the same software that I installed on Ubuntu.

The main issue with running an Ubuntu desktop on the Raspberry Pi is memory, specifically the lack of it.  Although it SHOULD run on a 4 or 8GB Pi, the reality is that it barely runs with that small amount of memory.  And the issue is compounded if you are using a microSD card for the swap file (I really wish the Pi would come with an M.2 socket for an SSD).

However, Ubuntu is responding to this in the upcoming version (version 22.04LTS) by using a compression routine called ZSWAP, they claim it will allow the use of the 2GB Pi as well.

You can try activating ZSWAP using the following command in the Ubuntu terminal:

sudo sed -i -e 's/$/ zswap.enabled=1/' /boot/firmware/cmdline.txt

The beauty of the Pi is that since the OS is on a microSD card, you can easily swap operating systems.  Set one card up with Ubuntu and the other with the Raspberry Pi OS, and experiment to your hearts content.

😎

Bill

 

"Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window." — Steve Wozniak


   
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Ron
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@dronebot-workshop I guess I should have mentioned, I am booting from a 512GB SSD. I will upgrade from my current 4GB 4B to whatever the new Pi is called in a 16GB size if they offer it otherwise an 8GB size. I think I will stick with the Raspberry Pi OS as it is best suited for the hardware and so far is a lot more stable than my brief excursion into Ubuntu. Thanks.

"Don't tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” - G.S. Patton, Gen. USA
"Never wrestle with a pig....the pig loves it and you end up covered in mud..." anon


   
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b
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Posted by: @ronalex4203

I think I will stick with the Raspberry Pi OS as it is best suited for the hardware and so far is a lot more stable than my brief excursion into Ubuntu. Thanks.

Whilst I prefer Rpi OS, Ubuntu seems to work well on an Rpi 4 too.  Loads of references from a google, but here is a link to an article where someone likes it 😀

https://9to5linux.com/ubuntu-20-10-on-the-raspberry-pi-4-rocks-a-review

Posted by: @dronebot-workshop

The beauty of the Pi is that since the OS is on a microSD card, you can easily swap operating systems.  Set one card up with Ubuntu and the other with the Raspberry Pi OS, and experiment to your hearts content.

And as @ronalex4203 pointed out, don't forget that the Rpi can be booted from a usb stick these days, with much faster read/write times to boot.

 


   
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Ron
 Ron
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@byron My brief experience with Ubuntu is 3 freezes requiring a power off and on, the 7" screen was only used for maybe 4 lines of output before switching to the HDMI. I had a quick look for a fix but didn't come up witgh anything. The 3 freezes are a show stopper for me, plus they have a weird corporate approach and reminds me of the bad old monopolistic days of Intel/Msft.

BUT, we are not all the same and if you like it, then by all means go ahead. If I could not install the same tools that Bill recommends then I would have to struggle with Ubuntu until I beat it into submission.

Thanks for your input.

"Don't tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” - G.S. Patton, Gen. USA
"Never wrestle with a pig....the pig loves it and you end up covered in mud..." anon


   
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TheOutlander
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Ubuntu on RPI4 is in my project backlog. Sadly, the only RPI4 I have that is unused is a 2GB model which will end up in another project soon. My Ubuntu devices are all on Intel (homelab server or a VM on a desktop). Eventually, we will beat the supply chain issues and we can buy/hoard RPI4-8 again.

That said, while I have not installed all the software that Bill suggested I have installed the Raspberry Pi OS versions of several (or decided on an alternative workstation). I'm spoiled with space and a homelab with multiple development workstations - one Win10 and one RPI4-4 (not to mention the Nvidia Nano which is largely untouched). This gives me a bit of flexibility with Bill's suggestions across where I will use them the most. 

 

I must say, Bill's hardware build gives me ideas. I'm more an infrastructure guy than developer. Dronebot Workshop has an impact on my wallet, so I wonder if there is a "DrobeBot Workshop Effect" documented 🙂

"Hardware eventually fails. Software eventually works." - Michael Hartung


   
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Wm64
 Wm64
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I have found a work around to the lack of sound issue on the Ubuntu workstation.  I purchased a SANWU® Free Drive USB Sound Card, from Banggood.com.  I plugged this into one of USB ports, plugged speakers into the speaker jack, and rebooted.  There is now fully acceptable sound.

This leaves the workstation short one of the limited USB's on the NUC, and the external powered USB hub does not like the external sound card.

"There is no solution to which a problem will not be found." 


   
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