Chapter 8: The Pi as a Productivity Machine

The flexibility of the Raspberry Pi makes it a good choice as a low-power general-purpose desktop computer. Although it will never reach the same levels of performance as a standard desktop or laptop, its low cost and environmentally-friendly power consumption help to make up for any problems with occasionally sluggish performance.

Although the Raspberry Pi-specific Debian distribution provided on the official website doesn’t include any of the usual productivity software you might expect of a general-purpose PC—such as a word processor, spreadsheet or image editing—this software can be installed via the apt-get command. You can also skip the local installation and use cloud-based software through the web browser, which can offer improved performance over locally-installed packages at the cost of flexibility and advanced functionality.

Using either of the methods described in this chapter—locally-installed applications or cloud-based services—the Pi can be used as a day-to-day machine for office and school work, while not harming its usability as a platform for programming and experimentation.


If you’re planning to use the Pi as a pure productivity machine, it’s a good idea to reserve more of the 256 MB of memory for general-purpose use and less for the graphics processor. To learn how to change this split, see the section on “Memory ...

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