Raspberry Pi For Dummies shows you how to get the best from your Raspberry Pi, whichever model of Raspberry Pi you have. You will learn how to set it up, including connecting it up, downloading and installing its software and configuring its settings. You'll be shown how the desktop environment and the Linux command line can be used to manage your Pi and its files. You'll learn how to browse the web, use free productivity software (LibreOffice), edit images in GIMP and play music and video using the Kodi media center software.
In a series of creative projects, you'll discover how to create games in the child-friendly Scratch programming language, program in Python, code music using Sonic Pi, build a maze maker program in Minecraft, and make electronic games that are controlled by your Raspberry Pi. The book also includes inspiring projects, recommended software, and troubleshooting tips.
The book assumes no prior knowledge of electronics, Linux or similar computers, so it's perfect for beginners to computer science. We do assume, however, that you've used a Windows or Mac computer before to do things like browse the web and write letters. As you would expect, the book is written in the friendly and accessible style that has made the For Dummies series one of the most popular reference book series worldwide.
The third edition of this popular book (published September 2017) has been updated to cover the Raspberry Pi Zero and Raspberry Pi 3, Scratch 2, Python 3, Pygame Zero, and the PIXEL desktop. The Sonic Pi chapter has been updated with a new focus on improvising music. The electronics chapters have been rewritten and include an introduction to GPIO Zero, so you can get started with electronics faster.
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Watch the video introduction to Raspberry Pi For Dummies
Download a free paper case template for your Raspberry Pi
You can download a free Raspberry Pi For Dummies paper case template to protect your Raspberry Pi. Just download the PDF and print it out, cut it out and then glue it together. It includes holes for the sockets and ports on your Raspberry Pi, and you can additionally cut into it to accommodate any GPIO connectors you're using. There are three versions of the case:
The book also mentions my Amstrad CPC games, which you can use on the Raspberry Pi using the Lakka OS. They include a number of games I wrote for Amstrad Action and Amstrad Computer User magazines back in the 80s. If you're looking for a dose of retrogaming on your Raspberry Pi, give them a go!
Video: Watch the Minecraft Maze Maker in action
One of the chapters in the book shows you how to use Python to build worlds in Minecraft. As well as showing you how to add and remove blocks in the Minecraft world, the chapter shows you how to create a program that generates random mazes you can explore in Minecraft. Here's a video showing my Minecraft Maze in action.
Play the Scratch game
Raspberry Pi For Dummies teaches you how to program, first using the highly visual Scratch programming language, and then using Python. Below you can play the Scratch game you'll learn how to make. To play the game, click the green flag. The game starts straight away: use the cursor keys to steer and the spacebar to fire.
Sorry - this requires Flash, and does not work in Internet Explorer. This is purely for demo purposes. You don't need Flash to use Scratch on your Raspberry Pi.
Mike Cook is an electronics expert with a particular interest in micro controller/computer applications. He has worked as hardware team leader at Pace Micro Technology, and was technical editor of The Micro User and contributing editor to Acorn User magazines.