Raspberry Pi 2

Got myself one of these little marvels a couple of weeks ago. I bought a "Raspberry Pi 2 Complete Starter Kit" from amazon.fr for 66 €, including enclosure, charger, HDMI cable, wifi adapter and SD card with the NOOBS system on it.


Once setup, you can easily access and control this little computer from another one through SSH, so I decided not to get a display nor keyboard. Just for the initial setup, however, I connected it to a TV with the HDMI cable and borrowed a USB keyboard. After that, it stays connected by ethernet cable directly to the Livebox, and is accessible from all computers on home network.

After some trial and error days, I had to reinstall the system. I concluded that it was easier to directly download a Raspbian image and redo the SD card, instead of reinstating the backup image of the SD card I had made. Indeed it was; no initial offline setup needed; with Raspbian booted, SSH was running by default and I could connect and login from my Macbook Pro. SSH is command line access thorugh the Terminal. Of course, you can have "normal" desktop access also, if you want: I installed the tightVNCserver package and have a program called Chicken on my Mac.

Earlier I had upgraded my Macbook Pro with a SSD disk, so the old 320GB hard disk was available. Got an USB enclosure for 15 € and an USB hub (4 ports) with its own power for 20 € (there is now enough power from the USB ports of Raspberry to power disks).
So the Raspberry is now my NAS server. I can easily add additional disks to the hub, if needed. Maybe I will move the 2 external disks of the iMac and Macbook Pro, used mainly for Time Machine backups, to the RasPi and access them over the home LAN.

After this basic setup, I installed a software called Unbound, and we now have our own, fast DNS server! Not dependent on Orange (who may censor your destinations) nor Google who records IP addresses and destinations.

Yesterday I finalized the setup as a torrent client. I only need to drop the .torrent file to a specific directory and RasPi starts downloading automatically, the latest Ubuntu .iso image file for example.

In summary, for 100 € I now have a NAS server + DNS server + torrent client, and plenty of room for further development. And a lot of new Linux knowledge.

Further development could be to use it as VPN client/gateway for all outbound internet traffic, web server with personal blog, ... All of these are low CPU tasks, so very suitable for the little Raspberry.

My interest for a personal DNS server was purely technical; can I make it work?
Other advantages could be: avoid the possible filters ("censorship") of your ISP, avoid the tracking and profiling done by Google or OpenDNS (recently bought by Cisco) name servers, and maybe a slight speed gain since the DNS resolution is done close by (but this is just some milliseconds, I suppose).

A Tor gateway would be for anonymizing the traffic and location. Running my own DNS server is not anonymizing my internet activity, my IP address is still the same.
Here is one tutorial on how to setup Tor on Raspberry: http://www.instructables.com/id/Raspberry-Pi-Tor-relay/

I hesitate making Raspberry PI a network gateway, because it has only one ethernet port, which also shares the bandwidth with the USB ports. Ideally, a network gateway would have two gigabit ethernet ports.
Today I was reading this article: http://korben.info/passerelle-vpn.html on how to make your own VPN gateway and server (sorry, it's in French).

Pwned by your own kid !! lol

Hi Krister,

Interesting article, and something I've been looking at setting up myself for a while, but just never got around to it.

Couldn't you just run a tor daemon instead of unbound and route all traffic through that ? Just trying to understand the advantage of using a dedicated DNS resolver on the Pi.

There was an interesting piece on the BBC's Click programme about setting up a VPN with a Raspberry Pi: Raspberrry VPN

Love this video

You really have to be careful with children nowadays


I have Time Machine active and it makes backups twice a day.

Yes, Many people have mentioned how their SSD refreshes parts of their computers other disks can't reach. Just make sure that you don't leave very long between backups of the data on the SSD. The technology isn't, IMHO, yet mature enough to be trusted for long-term storage (& perhaps not medium-term, either). Of course, we all backup our 'normal' disks at least weekly, don't we...?


Ben Heck just posted this video on pi media centers.

The SSD storage is much better than I imagined, my mid-2010 Macbook Pro got a new life. Two years ago I had maxed the RAM from 4 to 8 GB, and it flies!

I'm less worried about the Raspberry's disk and network performance. Most limiting factor, I think, is our home network using partly old standard Wifi (g) and 200Mb/s Powerline adapters. I will, however, test if RasPi can work as our DLNA server too, connecting to the TV via Playstation 3 :-)

Hi Krister,

Great little machines, aren't they? I've a couple of the new Pi 2 models as well as a couple of the original model B. All the same, I rather suspect that the SSD on the Macbook Pro will out-perform the Pi-attached storage by quite a long way. (Apart from anything else, the ethernet port on the Pi passes through the USB chip, so is going to be rather limited as to maximum throughput.)

Completely agree with you about how good these are for polishing the Linux skills. I've put a number of networking tools, including MRTG, onto one of mine, By also installing a web server, Apache 2, I can now browse to see a variety of graphs covering network traffic, CPU utilization and so on, all at a pocket-money price. Little wonder they sold 2 million of the Pi model 1 around the world!