While the credit card-sized Raspberry Pi computer can be carried in a pocket, when the board is used outside the home it's often necessary to hook it up to a screen and keyboard.
Given that lugging a flatscreen display around with you isn't an option, one enterprising teenager has created a tool for easily setting up the Pi from a laptop.
The PiBakery software simplifies the process of setting up a Rasperry Pi, for instance to use nearby Wi-Fi networks or to allow a laptop remote access to its desktop.
PiBakery allows a desktop or laptop PC to create a customized version of the Raspbian OS that runs on the Raspberry Pi. Creating this bespoke version of Raspbian is relatively easy, as PiBakery includes a drag and drop GUI for piecing together common setup tasks, as shown in the image at the top.
As seen above, PiBakery's simple interface allows users to create a version of the Raspbian OS that will automatically connect to a specific Wi-Fi network and run the remote access software VNC Server every time the machine is booted. Once the user has finished customizing the OS, PiBakery will flash the image to an SD card, ready for use in the Pi.
This custom Raspbian image can be altered after it's created, allowing the user to drop in details for a new Wi-Fi network, for instance, or to add new blocks that represent additional setup tasks to be performed.
The project's creator, 17-year-old David Ferguson, said he came up with the idea after he attended a Raspberry Pi event but didn't have a monitor, keyboard and mouse to set it up.
Underneath the covers, PiBakery converts each block into a script that performs the setup task. It's possible for users to create new PiBakery blocks to carry out additional tasks and to submit them to the PiBakery GitHub repository, meaning the range of tasks that PiBakery can handle should grow over time. Every time a new block is added, PiBakery users will be given the option of downloading it.
There are currently 19 PiBakery blocks available, capable of a range of setup tasks, including installing a software package of the user's choice. PiBakery will also always offer the latest version of Raspbian for customization.
PiBakery can be downloaded for Mac and Windows machines, and can also be run from its source code. The project's website also offers an easy to follow guide for creating custom Raspbian images using PiBakery.
Read more about the Raspberry Pi
- Raspberry Pi: The smart person's guide
- Raspberry Pi 3: The inside story from the new $35 computer's creator
- Raspberry Pi 3: How much better is it than the Raspberry Pi 2?
- Pi-Top review: A Raspberry Pi laptop for tinkering on the go
- Hands-on with the New Raspberry Pi camera module
- Raspberry Pi and Docker: Tiny $35 computer gets major new release of HypriotOS (ZDNet)
- Turn any hard drive into networked storage with Raspberry Pi (CNET)
Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.