Running Debian with xfce4 on A13-OLinuXino


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Today I received a letter from customer from Greece which made my day. I printed it to picture to may insert in WordPress and you can read it by pressing the picture above.

It seems A13-OLinuXino opened new possibilities for kids to learn here on the Balkans in smaller mountain villages where the schools are on limited budgeds and can’t buy big expensive computers.

I completely agree that our WIKI and documentation is quite lot at the beginning and work in progress, but OLinuXino community is still small (we started A13 OLinuXino in May 2012 ) and we have no the resources of the other similar projects like the hundreds of thousands RPi owners or Texas Instruments resources backup for BB.

So please be patient with us🙂 I’m assuring you we do our the best but our forces are limited and we run too many things together.

To install Debian with graphical interface and set of tools like libre office etc is very easy on A13-OLinuXino. The SD card we ship is only with console as we do not want to fill it with unnecessary packages.

Here I will write the simple steps to install Xfce4 on A13-OLinuXino:

1. Log in A13 Debian.

The default A13 login and password are:

login: root
password: password

2. Establish WIFI connection

type:

# ifconfig -a

lo Link encap:Local Loopback
inet addr:127.0.0.1 Mask:255.0.0.0
UP LOOPBACK RUNNING MTU:16436 Metric:1
RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
collisions:0 txqueuelen:0
RX bytes:0 (0.0 B) TX bytes:0 (0.0 B)

tunl0 Link encap:IPIP Tunnel HWaddr
NOARP MTU:1480 Metric:1
RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
collisions:0 txqueuelen:0
RX bytes:0 (0.0 B) TX bytes:0 (0.0 B)

wlan1 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 48:02:2a:eb:21:1c
inet addr:192.168.0.229 Bcast:192.168.0.255 Mask:255.255.255.0
UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST MTU:1500 Metric:1
RX packets:166 errors:0 dropped:726 overruns:0 frame:0
TX packets:7 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
RX bytes:31361 (30.6 KiB) TX bytes:1248 (1.2 KiB)

and look at your wlan number. In this case we have wlan1

open the file /etc/network/interfaces- for example using vi tool

# vi /etc/network/interfaces

and add

auto wlan1
iface wlan1 inet dhcp

wpa-ssid YourSSIDname
wpa-psk YourWPAkey

reboot A13-OLinuXino board

3. chek your connection

# ifconfig -a

if everything is ok you should see something as:

wlan1 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 48:02:2a:eb:21:1c
inet addr:192.168.0.229 Bcast:192.168.0.255 Mask:255.255.255.0
UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST MTU:1500 Metric:1
RX packets:166 errors:0 dropped:726 overruns:0 frame:0
TX packets:7 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
RX bytes:31361 (30.6 KiB) TX bytes:1248 (1.2 KiB)

4. for updateing apt-get’s local database with server’s pkglist’s files type

# apt-get update

5. for installing menu-driven package manager type:

# apt-get install aptitude

6. for installing X window type:

# aptitude install xfce4 xfce4-goodies lightdm

it can take between around 30 min to 2 hours depend on your Internet connection

7. for installing WEB browser type:

# aptitude install iceweasel

8. restart the A13-OLinuxino board or start GUI with

# startx

you should see something like this:

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12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Iain Cunningham (@IainIsm)
    Nov 23, 2012 @ 12:40:07

    It’s worth noting that if one has a fast internet connection nearby that can be used to put package files onto the SD card in advance then this may save time if installing to multiple boards. To do this the instructions here are quite good: http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/apt-howto/ch-basico.en.html#s-dpkg-scanpackages

    Reply

  2. Norman Van Treeck
    Nov 24, 2012 @ 22:30:26

    Reblogged this on Astronomy and Law.

    Reply

  3. David Burke
    Nov 27, 2012 @ 23:55:04

    Now if Olimex offered this XFCE ( or LXDE ) graphical Debian setup with instructions on their SD Card they would obviously get more customers immediately! Like the “Raspbian” distribution for the RaspberryPi but use the “chromium” browser not that “Midori” offering.

    There is little need for an extensive support WIKI when just the basic setup is readily available and immediately usable. WIKI content will then flow due to the increasing user base. This is why the Raspberry Pi is successful. It may not be as good as other hardware but it is well supported by users. Android support is good but Debian graphical support is mandatory! That is the basic test that we apply to all of these little boards. Fail here and you will not get our money!

    I think the board cost issue is overdone, the RaspberryPi has limitations imposed on it because of it’s price, this limits the satisfaction and usability. Also USB Host issues remain, could be caused by too many shortcuts/compromises?

    I would suggest the “Synaptic” package manager for newbies ( my personal preference because of it’s graphical interface that M$W users could find approachable🙂, but include “Open Office” as standard along with the “Gimp”. This provides the basic “Education Package” that most Teachers in underprivileged regions are desperately crying out for.

    Must say that 4-core Allwinner news has got my immediate attention! Particularly if it contains a SATA interface😉

    Reply

  4. lz2ilr
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 22:00:05

    this is fun, its all about learning. if its going to schools the teacher should learn to set it all up, then they will be in better stead to teach and to maintain the system. i found its best to dd the boot partition then copy root filesystem to a manual created patition. i will try to post mine in googledocs when its finished the above steps, but of course your hardware may vary, as mine did. had to find out how to install the wifi card i had available. get on irc chat olimex channel, the guys give great support.

    Reply

  5. Chris
    Feb 16, 2013 @ 00:10:21

    I had to add the following to /etc/network/interfaces to connect to my hidden SSID WPA2 network:

    wpa-scan-ssid 1
    wpa-ap-scan 1
    wpa-key-mgmt WPA-PSK
    wpa-proto RSN

    Maybe this helps someone with a similar Wi-Fi setup.

    Reply

  6. FSID
    Feb 23, 2013 @ 01:03:25

    I don’t succed in modifing the

    # vi /etc/network/interfaces

    The system replies me that

    “”readonly”option is set

    I don’t now how to set it up

    Reply

  7. Trackback: A13-OLinuXino-WIFI running Scratch IDE perfect platform for kids programming education | olimex
  8. pherroo
    Jul 31, 2013 @ 11:35:33

    I have an access point and no password
    What I write

    wpa-psk YourWPAkey ( no yourWPAkey)

    Reply

  9. tychuot101
    Nov 27, 2013 @ 06:49:28

    Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment for UNIX-like operating systems. It aims to be fast and low on system resources, while still being visually appealing and user friendly.

    To install Xfce on debian 7 wheezy
    # apt-get install xorg xfce4 xfce4-goodies thunar-archive-plugin synaptic gdebi wicd

    To install extra XFCE packages
    # apt-get install xdg-utils xfce4-power-manager xfce4-goodies htop bzip2 zip unzip unrar-free

    There are more gui to choose from http://namhuy.net/1085/install-gui-on-debian-7-wheezy.html

    Reply

  10. Pawan Raaj
    Jan 29, 2014 @ 10:05:50

    ifconfig doesnt show any wlan device. how to make it up?

    Reply

  11. Michael Nycz
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 21:34:46

    The SD card that I purchased from Olimex has the xfce4 installed on it. However, when I try to launch it, it starts to launch and I see the graphical screen, but then the mouse pointer goes away and then the board locks up (I lose access from ssh and the mouse and keyboard are not responding). Has anyone had this issue? Is there some configuration of xfce4 that might explain this behavior?

    Reply

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