Setting up a Raspberry Pi for Node.js Development

I bought a Raspberry Pi Model B+ back in December. I didn't have a monitor to plug it into so it just kind of sat idle for a while.

I recently picked up a new monitor so I've been tinkering with the Raspberry Pi and I wanted to capture all of my setup and configuration.

Don't bother with “Noobs”

I just went ahead and installed Raspbian rather than boot with Noobs and ultimately end up installing Raspbian anyway. Download it here.

Find the SD card

I'm using a Mac to write the image.

Get a list of all the disks:

diskutil list

Identify the disk representing the SD card and unmount it. In my case it is /dev/disk2:

diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk2

Write the image to the SD card

Use the dd tool to write the image to the SD card:

sudo dd bs=1M if=2015-02-16-raspbian-wheezy.img of=/dev/disk2

dd doesn't show any output unless there is an error or the process is finished. To see the progress, you can open up another terminal and send SIGUSR1 to the process: kill -SIGUSR1

or, you can just press <ctrl>-T in the same terminal where dd is running.

Boot the Pi!

Once the image has been written to the SD card, eject the card:

sudo diskutil eject /dev/disk1

Put it into the Raspberry Pi and turn it on. When it finishes booting, it will automatically run raspi-config. Go through the menus and set things up as you like. Be sure to enable SSHd for secure remote terminal sessions.

Update existing packages and install some useful software

Be sure to update the installed packages:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

Since I'm running on a Mac, I like to have Appletalk and Bonjour installed:

sudo apt-get install netatalk

I'm really liking Node.js lately, so I plan on writing code using that. The version in apt-get is severely out-of-date, so here's an alternative way to install it:

sudo dpkg -i node_latest_armhf.deb

Once it is installed, you check which version was installed like so:

node --version

Another good thing to have is wiringPi which is a C library for access the GPIO pins. It also includes a command line utility, gpio, for manipulating the GPIO pins:

git clone git://
pushd wiringPi

Once it is installed, test it out:

gpio -v
gpio readall

More info here.

That's it for now.

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