So, you have the hardware, but keep staring at it is not as interesting as it sounds, so, what do you need to play with the Pi now that you have the devices plugged in? Answer: an operative system. Without an operative system (OS for shorter), your PC, laptop, cellphone, TV, etc. would be as interesting as a gray stone (unless you are a geologist). You may know it as "Windows" plus a number (or if you are old enough, some letters) after it, but in the open source world the OS's name we will hear is "Linux" with all their flavors (distros). At the beginning, the Raspberry had the Debian 6 with LXDE as Graphical User Interface (GUI), but from 2011 at present, new distros have been developed, each one with their own instructions to install and setup (as well as with their advantages and disadvantages). One thing that you may have noticed about the Raspberry is that it does not have a hard disk, and there is no need for it to have one, because the Raspberry uses an SD card to contain the OS and all the files you will download or develop in the future.
For newbies (or lazy people like me), someone came up with the idea to gather up the most popular OS's for the Pi, so we have the NOOBS (New Out Of Box Software) SD card. It is included in some "starter kits", or you can buy it as an extra.
|Official NOOBS SD card.|
The user simply has to insert it in the SD port of the Pi, and then wait for it to give some signs of life.
And then a fancy menu is displayed on the screen in which the user can select one (or several, as we will try in the future) OS to be installed.
|The fancy menu.|
If you have a spare SD or micro-SD card (minimum 4 GB), you can make your own NOOBS, you only have to follow the instructions given in this link.
|I was able to use this one for my interests.|
And after the multicolor screen it shows the following:
And then, the fancy menu. After installing one (or several) of the OS's available, the Pi will restart and show you the following screen:
If you change your mind about the OS installed (or if you want to try them all one-by-one as I did), you can hold the SHIFT key until the "fancy menu" is displayed, you have to remember this because there is a probability that I will forget to mention it in the future.
In the following entries I will detail the OS's included in this card, and if the future is venturous, another OS's that are not included in there.