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Finding a Linux distro and software that work

This article is part of a series titled Trying Linux 2022. You can read the other items in there series here:

  1. Giving Linux another try
  2. Finding a Linux distro and software that work
  3. There is no multi-tasking on the Raspberry Pi

I wrote yesterday’s article about giving Linux another try while things were still installing, i.e. too soon. Here is everything that I tried:

With the OS up and running, I moved on to installing software. Git was included already, and I used apt to install nodejs and vim. Brew doesn’t work with ARM devices, so I need to manage some software manually.

I decided that it would probably be a good idea to use pnpm instead of npm on a low-memory device. It required at least Node.js 14, but the latest version available from apt was 12.

After going through the usual journey of trying to update Node.js, I ended up installing NVM and going with the new 18 LTS. With that updated, I could install pnpm with: npm i -g pnpm

The included version of Chromium struggled to render emojis correctly, so I opted for Firefox instead. I used the Raspberry Pi’s package manager to install firefox-esr and it worked great. I made sure to install uBlock Origin to hopefully help a bit with performance.

With all that in place, I now have a serviceable Linux machine for tinkering! It still struggles a bit running multiple processes at the same time, but it’s definitely good enough for now.

About the author

Sean McPherson is a software engineer for Khan Academy who specializes in web and mobile app development. He lives with his wife, sons, and dog in Pittsburgh, PA.