Tech: Running Fedora Linux on Raspberry Pi4

Lars Poulsen - 2023-05-04

For the last year or so, I have kept a Raspberry Pi 4 mini-computer on my desk at work, under and behind my display screen. I have been doing this primarily to determine of it is stable enough to put into a production use. The results are still inconclusive.

What is Linux?

Linux is an operating system, which is in many ways similar to Microsoft Windows, or Apple MacOS. Linux comes in many versions diverging in different dimensions.

What hardware types it runs on: Windows runs on Intel- or AMD- versions of the x86 architecture (in 32-bit and 64-bit flavors) and on ARM-based microchips (in 32-bit and 64-bit flavors). So does MacOS. And so does Linux. Linux also is available for a lot of other computer architectures, from 20-year old PCs to datacenter mainframes.

Linux is "free software". It has been developed in a cooperative business model, and you can get it without paying for it. The hundreds of programmers that make a living developing and maintaining it get paid by companies that need to make sure it has the features they need for their use of it, but they have agreed to freely share the results of their work with the world.

What is Fedora ?

Fedora is a Linux DISTRIBUTION.

A distribution is like a grocery store brand name. All grocery stores sell more or less the same products, but they cater to different audiences. All Linux distributions contain the exact same operating system kernel, and mostly the same programs, but they cater to people with slightly different taste and style.

Almost all of them, however, fall in one of 3 major groups: Red Hat (Red Hat Enterprise Linux or RHEL, Fedora, CentOS), Debian (Ubuntu, Mint, many more) and SuSE Linux (a German enterprise software company). Between these groups, some of the practical aspects of system administration are different. The commands to update the system with the most recents "patches" (corrections) and feature enhancements are different. The files you may need to edit to tweak the setup of the system are in different places in the filesystem. The desktop may look different.

I have used the Red Hat group of systems for as long as I have used Linux, and for most of that time, I have used Fedora Linux.

What is Raspberry Pi?

The Raspberry Pi is a series of very small and very inexpensive computers designed in England. The computer is about the size of a deck of cards. You buy it in a kit and put the pieces together at home. The basic processor card costs under USD 40, but by the time you have an enclosure, a power supply, a memory card and a fan, you are up to USD 120, plus another USD 80 for a keyboard and a display screen.

This is not a lot less than what you might get a small Windows laptop for at the new years sale at you local office supply store, and you might put Fedora Linux on that as well. If your goal is to learn about Linux and to play around with simple programming, that may be better for you.

The point of the Raspberry, is that it is intended to be used to build systems that sit in a closet and run forever away from people that look at a screen. In addition to the usual connectors for disk drives, displays, keyboards and network cables, it has a place to connect relays and sensors.

My own goals with my Raspberry

My goal with my Raspberry is to use it as an edge router that can use the entire Linux toolkit to customize a firewall and network monitoring tool. To do this, it needs to be extremely stable, be able to stay fully updated so it can be maximally secure, and have easily usable programming tools.

In my work environment, I have a "professional" version of this. A swiss-built very compact computer with a 64-bit x86_64 CPU, 4 high-speed network ports, 8GB of RAM and and SSD system disk. But I am not quite willing to spend that much on a firewall for my house.

Why Fedora?

The "native" operating system for the Raspberries is a Debian flavor of Linux, called the Raspbian distribution. Obviously, since it is maintained specifically for the Raspberry, everything is tested to work well with the Raspberry hardware, so it can be expected to be the most stable version.

On the other hand, the Debian/Ubuntu/Raspbian systems are different enough from Fedora, that I always get confused when I ned to adjust something. So when it was announced in 2022 that Fedora was becoming available for the Raspberry, I jumped at it.

I have now been using it for a little over a year, and my experience so far has been:

Procedures for installing/updating the system

Use ssh to login remotely and

Pertinent System Features

Disk drive (SD card)

Initial layout
File SystemMountPointFsTypeName VG-LVSizeUsage

To change this, we first resize the mmcblk0p3 partition from 6GB to 60GB:
parted /dev/mmcblk0
resizepart 3 100%

Then resize the PV to fill the partition:
resizepv /dev/mmcblk0p3

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