Looking like a small circuit board, the Raspberry Pi looks like it's more at home in a electronics classroom than in your living room. However, do not be easily intimidated by the Pi. This is a fully functioning single board computer designed to teach people more about how computers and programming works. The Raspberry Pi does require some additional components to get it up and running when it's freshly unpackaged, but these can easily found in any household, such as a spare microSD card to act as the hard drive and a micro USB phone charger to power the Pi.
The retail packaging provides a link to download an operating system. NOOBS is recommended for the absolute beginner to Raspberry Pi and/or the Linux operating system. When this is booted from the microSD card, it gives a selection of operating systems to download. Raspbian is quite popular for newbies, although the user interface appears to be more appropriate for middle school students. For those who are new to Linux, this is a great environment to learn how to code and get comfortable with this alternative operating system. For the more advanced Linux user, and for the purposes of this article, Pidora will be the operating system discussed.
The first time the Pidora operating system is used, it will prompt the user for setup information. Make sure that when creating the user to put in that user as an administrator. This will make life easier when installing and updating applications. Also, when setting the system time, unless there is an Ethernet cable plugged into the Raspberry Pi, make sure to uncheck any boxes requesting to synchronize the time with an internet server, even if you have a WiFi adapter plugged in. This will cause the installation to freeze as it looks for a non-existent internet connection to synchronize the system time.
As with any operating system, Pidora will occasionally receive updates. There are two options for receiving updates: Yum and Yum Extender. Yum is run by the command line and is generally faster than the Yum Extender. However, the Yum Extender has a graphical interface that can be helpful for searching out new packages and applications to install on the Raspberry Pi. Keep in mind that the Raspberry Pi only has 512 MB of RAM. Since it only has a small amount of memory, it makes a good compromise to do the system updates using the command line and searching for new software using the GUI. Either way, someone running Pidora will want to install programs to extend the functionality of this operating system, since it only comes with a couple of basic programs, so not a whole lot can be done "out of the box."
Pidora is perfect for those who already have some experience with Linux and are not afraid of using the command line when the need arises. However, anyone who is less comfortable with Linux should probably use Raspbian since they will find themselves frustrated with having to Google every little command that gets typed into the command line.