Discovering Picore (Part II)

picore

We continue with interesting aspects of this distribution called Picore that we review in the previous post.

I warn you that it's a distribution that aims to maintain a "fresh" state on every reboot. Basically, the application you are going to use is downloaded and run in RAM memory and dissapear at the next reboot. That's the philosophy, but we can install applications maintain it always available. Let's see a bit how the system works and if it's really worth.


I opted for piCore-5.2-X that has a simple desktop environment but ready for any task. I want to thank bmarkus which is the main package builder and he offer to us support for Raspberry Pi in the forum. Let's start!...

[ Resizing the SD card ]

First thing we'll do is reclaim the entire space of our SD. To do it, follow some simple steps in the Terminal:


sudo fdisk /dev/mmcblk0
Press: p, d, n, p, 2, first cylinder of the Linux partition (in my case, 673), w
Reboot

You can see the Terminal running these commands in the following screenshot

Resizing the SD card with fdisk. Click to full size

Once we reboot the system, format the partition with:


sudo resize2fs /dev/mmcblk0p2

On this partition we'll have available the /tce directory where you can store documents, videos and other files, and applications that you download through the application manager. Two directories that are not volatile on each reboot are /opt and /home too.

/dev/mmcblk0p2 now has 1.7 GB free. Click to full size

[ What if I plug a flash drive? ]

If you're in X, automatically is mounted the /mnt/sdaX directory if you have the application PCManFM loaded. If not you have the MountTool that you can find in the Dock and mount/unmount any drive.

[ Now I want to try some apps ]

Before you must know the meaning of several concepts that, although at first seem confusing, it is not when you try.

Apps

Apps. manager

When installing an application, we can get from various sources. The principal will be the Cloud > Browse option and if you have previously downloaded any app, appear on the option Load App Locally. Packages has the extension .tcz.

Now let's look at the four methods that Picore Apps. manager presents to us:

  • OnBoot (tce-load -wi app_name): The application is loaded into RAM memory and will be ready at the next reboot (this is important). Must be included in the /mnt/mmcblk0p2/tce/onboot.lst file. If it's not included, add it by yourself. Boot times may be long, since that loads everything found in the file onboot.lst into the RAM.

  • OnDemmand (tce-load -wo app_name): Similar to above, but not load any app into RAM memory at startup, although is created shortcut menu if the application has the option to do it.

  • Download + Load (tce-load -wil app_name): Download the app and load it into RAM at the same sesion. This is the recommended option. You have available these apps in the /tce directory always.

  • Download Only (tce-load -w app_name): Just download the application in the /tce dir. If you want to load, run: tce-load -i nombre_app.

Once you have found the application, choose one of the four methods in the bottom left and pressing the "GO" button if you are in X.

Apps, mc, top & dillo3. Click to full size

To load previously downloaded apps, just go to the Apps > Load App Locally option, choose the program and press the Load button. From the Terminal: tce-load-i app_name.

Reviewing the package list, these are some packages that have caught my attention: aircrack-ng, bluefish, compile-essentials, curl, dillo3 (web browser), dropbear (light SSH server), ffmpeg, filezilla, firmware-atheros, firmware-ralinkwifi, firmware-rtlwifi, gnumeric, node.js, ruby 1.9 to 2.1 and go (programming languages), gparted, gpicview, grep, gstreamer, gtk 1-2-3, htop, ImageMagic, viewnitor (image viewer), kismet, lame, lftp (ftp/sftp/fxp/http/bittorrent client), LXDE, moc y cmus(music player), mp4v2, mpg123, nano, ncurses, netsurft, nfs-utils, nmap, ntfs-3g, openbox, pcmanfm, python, git, python-RPi.GPIO, rpi-videocore (raspivid, raspistill,…), wiringpi, mongoose (simple & functional web server, more info here), samba, SDL, SDL2, transmission, wget, wireshark, vnc.

[ Conclusion ]

piCore running Apps, XTerm, moc & viewnitor. Click to full size

Although these are the first steps to understand this operating system, it has many possibilities. You can read the pdf manual here. There are many missing packages in the repository and you don't have the possibility to watch videos yet. Hopefully that will come soon.

To fight daily I prefer Raspbian sincerely, but for a specific project like home automation control, a small web server, security camera control or connection through the GPIO port certainly it has much potential.

Now it's your turn.

Link: forum.tinycorelinux.net > Static IP over WIFI on RaspberryPI

Link: yalis.fr > Lightweight Windows Network Neighbourhood for TinyCore Linux


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