It does not take long to install and configure Raspbian on an SD card. However, for users who need to repeat the same steps time and again on multiple Pis, there is an easier, less boring way to get the job done. This comes in the form of simple shell scripts which can automate installation.
The installation process for Raspbian is simple. It consists of downloading an image, copying the image to an SD card, booting, and executing the initial configuration. Next you update all of packages via the
sudo apt-get update and
sudo apt-get upgrade commands. Additional maintenance of the system, including a complete switch over to a newer operating system, can be accomplished by means of package administration.
In spite of the ease with which you can complete installation, the enthusiastic Pi hacker will be able to identify a significant drawback: The initial configuration which includes selecting a language, expanding storage to include all of the SD card, and possibly also changing settings to accomodate over clocking all need to be performed manually. Those who maintain a single system will not have any issues with this. However, going through the steps laid out in the Pi config menu over and over again can get annoying. Since the system creates new computer certificates on the initial boot, remote access from other devices can be problematic. Each user has to first delete all traces of the old device from the
~/.ssh/known_hosts file before access is granted via the same host name.
Unfortunately, there are a number of concrete reasons for having to start over each time. Various hardware devices have different software requirements. You may also wish to start a new project with a fresh install for the sake of simplicity. Although system maintenance is made simple through package administration, new applications are not automatically added to the Pi.
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