Klaus Zimmermann's Corner

"Bring your Pi to Work" day

For the past two days I decided to do a quick experiment in my office, owing to the fact that a lot of people were in vacation and the workload was quite low: could I survive doing a day's professional work entirely in a Raspberry Pi?

And just like that Bring your Pi to Work day was born.

The raspberry Pi 4 in my work desk

I'm no stranger to using my Raspberry Pi 4 as a desktop computer, but even I thought this would be a good challenge to tackle. There are already a few people BYOD in my company with their personal Macbooks and on (not to mention some freelance contractors). No wonder a thousand-dollar piece of hardware can be used for work. Let's now see you to do the same with an eighty-dollar one! >:)

And as the gauntlet was thrown, I was faced with the following dillema: which OS? FreeBSD, as awesome it is performance-wise, is screwed in terms of WiFi support (I'd be working entirely from the guest WiFi). So this left me with my best sidekick, the all-around, always there for you guy: Debian.

Debian is the guy who is there for you, and offered balanced support for usability, performance and software availability, which was important to load a browser compatible with Office365 and resist its bloat.

The results were surprising: not only the Pi4 survived with plenty of RAM left (about 3GB used), but it was surprisingly usable as a "fallback" thing. Stuff like PDFs or document files could be offloaded to non-browser alternatives, and even the dreadful MS Teams was passable (though no conference calling - that doesn't work with Firefox as far as I know). The next day, I decided to overclock it to 2GHz to see if the performance increased and the experience was nicer, even though the temperature was in the high 50s.

So in conclusion, although I still don't think that a wave of Pi4s will dominate offices anytime in the future, it can definitely be used to do non-specialized work in Office365. With some patience, who knows, you might even be able to daily-drive it. But keep your work laptop with you if you can, just in case you gotta make some calls or do something more serious...

What was the most (professional) work you've did with a Raspberry Pi? Let me know in Fedi!