I wanted to get the Raspberry Pi working with OpenCV (Computer Vision library) so that I could do face-detection and possibly some more fun things (robot navigation!). Since I am not a strong programmer, I felt it would be prudent to use Python rather than C++, so I could possibly avoid getting bogged down in esoterica of compiling.
So how did I get it working? Same way I do anything: I use Google and find where someone else has already done it.
I used this tutorial. It has some extra steps that you don’t really need unless you want to also use VNC to control your Raspberry Pi. The author there in fact uses the VNC connection to use the GUI package manager and install the OpenCV libraries, which many say is not necessary, but for what it’s worth, I could not find the title of the libraries I wanted in order to retrieve them with apt-get, and I was already planning on setting up a VNC server, so I don’t feel it was a waste of my time. The instructions to use the face-detection demo worked fine.
On a slightly different subject, I used these instructions to install Google 2-factor authentication on the Raspberry Pi/Raspbian. This will give a high level of security to ssh logins, allowing me to feel comfortable making the Raspberry Pi accessible over the internet. You will need a way to run the Google Authenticator, which I am running on my Android phone.