Raspberry Pi – Glossary of Terms

While you get get away for quite a while without really knowing why you have to do things like type ‘sudo’ or ‘apt-get’ when working with Linux / Raspberry Pi, we thought it would be useful to start explaining some of those terms any why you need them.


Sudo stands for “super user do”. It is used to execute the command written after sudo as a super user. Similar to “Run as Administrator” in Windows.


A disk utility that can be used to backup and restore disk images. It takes and input file (if) and output file (of) and creates a duplicate.


In Linux, there are a bunch of different text editors with varying levels of complexity. We have found Nano to be the easiest to use while still having all the features that we need for editing files on our Raspberry Pi’s


APT stands for Aptitude, a package management tool in Linux based systems. The apt-get is used to fetch software packages and install them.


“sudo reboot” is a quick and easy way to restart your Raspberry Pi, it should be executed when any system files have been modified.


You shouldn’t just unplug your Raspberry Pi while it is running, it is best practice to make sure that it shuts down before unplugging the power (just as you would do with any other computer). “sudo shutdown -h”


VNC stands for “Virtual Network Computing”. In the world of Raspberry Pi, we run a VNC server that VNC clients can connect to. It gives you access to the Linux GUI from your laptop of desktop which can be quite useful. You can get a client from here: http://www.realvnc.com/


If you are an Apple user, you may have seen Bonjour before. Avahi and Bonjour are software services that simplify network discovery of devices. In the case of the Raspberry Pi, if you are running Avahi daemon on the same network as your Apple computer, you should see the Raspberry Pi in your Finder window.

MAC Address

MAC stands for Media Access Control, this is a unique id for hardware components. It is part of the component and will never change.


Stands for “general purpose input/output”.  These types of pins can be found on the Raspberry Pi along with a ton of other hardware.  They are general purpose because the hardware allows for you to program their functionality, or change their functionality at runtime.


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