The Raspberry Pi ARM computers have excited a lot of people — I was in the first groups to have them, having Model B of the 256MB and 512MB varieties. Here are some things I’ve tried using the Raspberry Pi Model B 256/512MB for, with the following number ranking (my opinion only, others may fervently disagree).
In summary, the Raspberry Pi is a capable FTP/SSH server, but for field deployments, I would choose the Beaglebone Black as the Beaglebone Black has a CPU nearly twice as powerful, native Ethernet, onboard SSD, better onboard I/O (for local sensors), etc.
1: Cannot Install / Not working if Installed
2: Extremely slow, maybe single patient user only
3: slow, but perhaps usable for patient 1-3 users
4: adequate, may handle a handful of users (family, small club)
5: great, handles multiple concurrent users, not so much slower than a 10-year old Pentium 4 PC
Groupware (email/calendar) server:
As of this writing, Citadel was the only known easy to install groupware server. Accessing features took a few seconds per click, and it didn’t seem that users accustomed to using Google or Office 365 would have the patience for Citadel on Raspberry Pi.
Like SSH below, the Raspberry Pi can handle a few connections at once, but may well be limited to less than raw Ethernet speeds due to:
1) CPU: USB-ethernet onboard conversion
2) CPU: encryption (if using SSL/SSH, etc.)
3) CPU: filesystem — if using external HDD with FUSE (nfts,exfat,etc.)
4) CPU: USB HDD — takes some CPU to manage the transfer from USB to external HDD
5) SD card: read/write speed
Web LAMP server:
I have not done this personally, but you can search for people using the Raspberry Pi as an NGINX or WordPress server and it does seem to work live on their Raspberry Pi. example:
2 – 2.5
With LXDE, as of Aug 2013, with Raspbian the Raspberry Pi is just too painfully slow to be used as a desktop replacement. Web browsing (e.g. Gmail) is painfully slow and only tolerable in desparate situations. The Beaglebone Black on the other hand is just fast enough that one MIGHT be able to use it with LXDE desktop.
SSH server (port forwarding, SSHFS, remote management):
Rank 4 – 4.5
The Raspberry Pi does quite adequately in this regard — you will feel just a bit of the CPU limitation when using say >5Mb/sec, perhaps due to the USB-Ethernet adapter internal to the Raspberry Pi Model B as well as the SSH encryption itself–this shouldn’t be too hard to measure for the curious.
The remarkable project at:
works splendidly — the program can be modified to transmit narrowband (~ 5kHz) FM on the 2 meter ham band as well. I can think of some compelling uses for a $25 short-range FM transmitter!