The Importance of Standard Processes

In my regular job, I manage a network security engineering team for a Fortune 50 company with over 200,000 employees. We work hard to develop standard processes so that we work smarter and more efficiently. These standards allow us to do the same thing the same way every time. It also helps keep the complexity of our operating environment as low as possible. For instance, by following our processes and adhering to established standards my engineers can log into a device in Tokyo and know its basic configuration is identical to that of the same type of device we have installed in New York, London, or Los Angeles.

By and large, most Raspberry Pi owners have them for personal use. Even though they aren’t running the network for a large company or even a small company it doesn’t mean that they can’t benefit from standard processes. Those processes don’t need to be a collection of 40-page peer-reviewed documents. They can be a few simple checklists.

For instance, here’s my checklist for installing a new Raspbian image and performing the initial configuration.

  1. Install the image on an SD card from my Mac.
  2. After the copy is complete, make sure the boot partition on the card is mounted.
  3. Make a backup copy of the config.txt file.
  4. Edit the config.txt file and make sure the video settings are configured to accommodate my monitor setup.
  5. Save the file and eject the SD card form the Mac.
  6. Insert the SD card in the Raspberry.
  7. Attach the monitor cable.
  8. Attach the Ethernet cable.
  9. Attach the USB cable to my IOGear USB switch (for keyboard and mouse) or insert the dongle for my iPazzPort wireless keyboard/trackpad, depending on my needs at the moment.
  10. Insert WiFi dongle.
  11. Attach the power cable, wait for the boot sequence to complete and open raspi-config.
  12. Update raspi-config.
  13. Expand the filesystem.
  14. Enable boot to text console.
  15. Change system locale to en_US.UTF-8.
  16. Change timezone to US/Central.
  17. Change keyboard layout to:
    1. Generic 101-key PC
    2. English (US)
    3. No AltGr key
    4. No Compose key
    5. Use Control+Alt+Backspace to terminate the X server
  18. Enable SSH.
  19. Exit raspi-config and reboot.
  20. Login as pi user.
  21. Become root user with “sudo su -“. NOTE: I know steps 21 and 22 could be accomplished with a single “sudo passwd” command. However, in my 23+ decades of experience with Linux and other Unix operating systems I have found that on some systems this will change the password of the account in use when issuing the sudo command. By changing to root directly you can avoid this and be confident that it’s actually the root password you are changing. This is one of my personal standard processes. 🙂
  22. Change the root password with “passwd“.
  23. Press Ctrl+D to return to pi user.
  24. Update the apt packages repository data with “sudo apt-get update“.
  25. Update all packages with “sudo apt-get dist-upgrade“.
  26. Reboot with “sudo reboot“.
  27. Configure WiFi. (This has its own checklist)
  28. If this card is not going to be used right away, shutdown with “sudo shutdown -h now” and unplug from power when shutdown is complete. Remove the card and file it in its proper place.

Some of the items in this checklist may have checklists of their own, e.g. WiFi configuration, and I will provide those in future posts so be sure to check back.

Keith

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