Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 30th May 2012 22:21 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems It took the world a good while, but today, my Raspberry Pi finally landed on my doormat. Since it only arrived today, I haven't had the time to put it through its paces, but I do have a few first impressions to share with you all, while I also want to explain how the Pi will allow me to complete my already seven year long quest for The Elusive Three.
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seven year long quest for The Illusive Three
by zima on Wed 30th May 2012 22:42 UTC
zima
Member since:
2005-07-06

This Pi will be used run the last of what I've been calling The Illusive Three: AmigaOS4, MorphOS, and RISC OS. These three all require special, custom hardware, making them more difficult to obtain; still, I vowed to get my hands on all three

And I must point out that, as far as experiencing RISC OS in general (and now) goes - it already runs fine under emulation, certainly well enough to do a review of the OS itself ;)
(overall, it's probably more convenient on a laptop for semi-serious daily use - what you apparently aim at, Thom, as part of review process - than on RPi + mild cable spaghetti; all that's required: http://www.osnews.com/thread?509236 )

BTW, the situation with MorphOS improved since its OSNews review: now it also runs on some "surplus" Powermacs, including G4 Mini - technically still a bit "special, custom hardware" but at least quite inexpensive and easy to obtain (plus relatively powerful, vs. MorphOS requirements and Efika).

Edited 2012-05-30 22:58 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Emulation... Yuck.

:).

Reply Score: 3

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

What's one more abstraction layer? ;) (heck, an emulated RISC OS machine - with an OS mostly written in asm IIRC - could very well end up with less layers than a typical software stack that we use nowadays(?))
Especially in times when we readily accept virtual machines, and have no lack of processing power.

And perhaps there's also the "green" aspect that you should keep in mind and at least point out ;P (you know, for those who might be interested only about RISC OS ...and getting another piece of future-electronic-waste, hardly used, for what they probably could accomplish just as well - if not better - under emu?)

Edited 2012-05-30 23:14 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I think the Raspberry Pi would definitely help in the "green" department. Five volts at 700 milliamps is less power than those LED light bulbs that are supposed to be so "green".

Reply Score: 2

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Not in the scenario it was about. If somebody just wants to check out RISC OS (nostalgia, curiosity, whatever), occasionally* toy around with it, then the resource & energy consumption of manufacturing (plus shipping?) will most likely tend to dwarf any energy usage from occasionally running RISC OS in an emulated fashion on a laptop.
(and I wonder how often those people will leave their PC on anyway, when toying with RPi...)

* Let's be honest here, at best minuscule number of people will be retiring their laptop to use RPi as a main machine. And this is just about mentioning the emulation possibility to those who won't, instead of rejecting it like that; it's just prudent and honest, IMHO.

Edited 2012-05-31 21:02 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Should be "elusive," not "illusive"
by ajoffe on Wed 30th May 2012 22:43 UTC
ajoffe
Member since:
2006-05-27

Illusive: deceptive; illusory
Elusive: difficult to find, catch, or achieve

Reply Score: 5

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Yeah, kinda silly. Fixed it!

Reply Score: 2

wanker90210 Member since:
2007-10-26

I want to pick at Thom too! 700Ma hurts my eyes. 700mA please.

I'm not at all jealous Thom got his before me ;)

Reply Score: 1

I love my N9..
by leech on Wed 30th May 2012 22:44 UTC
leech
Member since:
2006-01-10

But I'm in the same boat, I love playing around with Operating Systems and strange hardware. Will eventually be getting a Raspberry Pi.

I still would love to get an AmigaOS4 piece of kit, supposedly there is going to be a Netbook that will run it. Some cool devices for us geeks coming around.

Reply Score: 2

Almost got mine, too!
by cookieninja on Wed 30th May 2012 23:02 UTC
cookieninja
Member since:
2005-11-11

Mine actually arrived sometime last week, but I work away from home and didn't get to go home last weekend :-(

Very excited about this weekend, when I finally get to play with my pi! Has anyone used the composite (I think) output ? I may have to use that sometimes, so interested in the quality of the output.

Reply Score: 1

how long until xbmc is ported?
by modmans2ndcoming on Wed 30th May 2012 23:25 UTC
modmans2ndcoming
Member since:
2005-11-09

talk about a super sweet xbmc player.

Reply Score: 4

RE: how long until xbmc is ported?
by bnolsen on Wed 30th May 2012 23:41 UTC in reply to "how long until xbmc is ported?"
bnolsen Member since:
2006-01-06

youd be way better off with a mele a1000 for that purpose. no codec limitations, already a case and you can plug in a 2.5" sata drive.

I was up when the released the pi trying to get one. Mine is still supposedly 2 weeks out. Frankly though work has gotten me so I wouldn't be able to contribute so well.

Edited 2012-05-30 23:42 UTC

Reply Score: 3

LouisBarman Member since:
2010-06-06

XBMC on the RasPi is stunning. I use the Raspbmc and it plays all the youtube and BBC iplayer better than my laptop, with no playback issues at all. The installation of Raspbmc was piss easy too, you just need a blank sd card. The only issue is the menus are a slightly sluggish (I haven't even needed to over clock) and there is a 5 second delay before buffering starts which is annoying, but once it starts playing there are no issues. (mpeg4 does not work but I don't have any), I use the Android XBMC remote control.

Ha Ha Thom I ordered my Pi a day after you and we both got exactly the same delivery date, but mine arrived about a week ago.

Watch that S2 power adapter as my pi would crash occasionally using it, you really need a greater than 700mA charger. The debian image is very flaky with lots of rough edges and very slow. The very new Raspian OS is looking very good (with hardware floating point) and runs faster. run the rpi-updater to get the latest kernel with pre-emption turned on on Debian

Reply Score: 5

bnolsen Member since:
2006-01-06

some people were saying that the 1080p "killa sample" h264 1080p clip runs smooth on an a10 processor and does not on an rpi. but that's just a benchmark.

Reply Score: 2

A lot smaller that I expected.
by JAlexoid on Wed 30th May 2012 23:45 UTC
JAlexoid
Member since:
2009-05-19

The device itself is a lot smaller than anything I expected. But wow, is does it tickle my geek nerve.

Reply Score: 4

err linking
by sn0n on Wed 30th May 2012 23:46 UTC
sn0n
Member since:
2005-08-09

2005: review The Elusive Three.
I'm guessing this should have been a link?

Reply Score: 2

RE: err linking
by Athlander on Thu 31st May 2012 07:25 UTC in reply to "err linking"
Athlander Member since:
2008-03-10

2005: review The Elusive Three.
I'm guessing this should have been a link?


You misread.

This little board will finally make OSNews whole, and it will mean the end of a quest I embarked on when I joined OSNews back in 2005: review The Elusive Three.


means that, back in 2005, when Thom joined OSNews, he embarked on a quest which was to review The Elusive Three.

Reply Score: 2

TV / Car / Server ?
by stabbyjones on Wed 30th May 2012 23:51 UTC
stabbyjones
Member since:
2008-04-15

I can't decide and the fact that after I ordered I was given three weeks wait time hasn't really helped my dreams.

... only two more weeks to go.

Reply Score: 2

RE: TV / Car / Server ?
by Jondice on Thu 31st May 2012 04:02 UTC in reply to "TV / Car / Server ?"
Jondice Member since:
2006-09-20

I think you should make it a robot, so it can follow you around and do all of these tasks. Though if you can make a robot that can connect itself to the tv alone that is already fairly impressive, especially considering how finicky my PS3's HDMI connection seems to be.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: TV / Car / Server ?
by zima on Wed 6th Jun 2012 23:59 UTC in reply to "RE: TV / Car / Server ?"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

if you can make a robot that can connect itself to the tv alone that is already fairly impressive

Not for long, I guess, with wireless video home interlinks supposedly around the corner ;p

(generally, reminds me about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microcomputer_revolution#The_Home_Comp... ...while, in reality, it turned out that the computer itself is the easy & cheap part, so we just put them everywhere now, embedded, one per object & task)

Edited 2012-06-07 00:05 UTC

Reply Score: 2

to answer a few points
by gus3 on Thu 31st May 2012 00:37 UTC
gus3
Member since:
2010-09-02

The main board for the RPi really is the size of a credit card, minus the rounded corners. At least, mine was when I checked it against one of my cards. Who knows, my own RPi may have grown since then. ;-)

HDMI isn't a hard requirement for video; the RPi also supports composite output, via the yellow RCA connector. Both of these are driven straight from the BCM2835 SoC. If you have an old Amiga monitor lying around somewhere, you can use that as well, if you don't mind interlacing in the scanning.

The Debian image uses the "armel" build, with software-emulated floating point. This probably accounts for some of the speed issue you're seeing. The Raspbian project is an attempt to provide a Debian-based system for the "armhf" architecture, using hardware floating-point instead.

The other part that's slowing down your video, is that the built-in VideoCore IV GPU requires firmware that isn't available under the GPL. The Raspberry Pi folks have expressed interest to Broadcom, to release the firmware without requiring an NDA-license. AFAICT, that's as far as it's gotten for now.

I wrote my own review here:

http://mindplusplus.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/the-raspberry-pi-a-rev...

Edited 2012-05-31 00:48 UTC

Reply Score: 9

Anon
Member since:
2006-01-02

I was initially interested in Pi as a tool to learn how to write an Operating System from scratch! Yes I know, a massively challenging task, but something that would be interesting none the less, especially on ARM.

However, my hopes were quickly dashed when I learnt that this thing required a proprietary binary BLOB to get the graphics and other sub-systems to load.

Back to attempting to do this with an x86 VM I guess!

Reply Score: 5

Jondice Member since:
2006-09-20

I was also quite sad about this, even though I don't plan on writing an OS or doing anything close to that anytime soon. Might not have purchased one had I known, though I guess in designing such a cheap system their choice in chipsets may have been limited ... just a guess though.

Reply Score: 5

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

What probably also played a role, I guess, is how the RaspberryPi Foundation is a stone's throw away from the UK Broadcom R&D branch in Cambridge - which also designs that line of SoCs, it seems.

And how one of RPi fathers (even the director of RPi Foundation?) works as a chip designer at Broadcom.

http://www.raspberrypi.org/about
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alphamosaic

Edited 2012-05-31 18:27 UTC

Reply Score: 5

sithlord2 Member since:
2009-04-02

Technically, the GUI is not part of the OS, so why should this hold you back to write your own OS for ARM?

There are lots of interesting other tasks in writing an OS, like memory-management, filesystem drivers, etc... no binary bob prevents you from doing that :-)

Reply Score: 3

Anachronda Member since:
2007-04-18

It's actually a bit backwards. The GPU is the main processor and the ARM is an auxiliary. When the system is started, the GPU wakes up, fetches the blob from the SD card, and that blob contains a program that brings up the ARM.

No matter what OS runs, the blob is needed in order to boot the ARM.

Reply Score: 1

gus3 Member since:
2010-09-02

That blob can be anything capable of running in the L2 cache, as long as it's named "start.elf" in the FAT-formatted first partition of the on-board SD card. Who knows, perhaps someone could get Contiki OS in there?

Reply Score: 3

DexOSHacker Member since:
2012-01-05

I got my raspberry pi last Saturday and and been working on a port of x86 OS and already got it to use GPIO and setup frame buffer and display a image to screen, in bare metal mode.
All in full asm, so its doable.

Reply Score: 3

SWC01 Member since:
2012-05-31

Hi Dex,

Can you tell me, which assembler and command line parameters did you use to compile the assembly?
Thanks!

Reply Score: 1

DexOSHacker Member since:
2012-01-05

Sure, i used FasmArm, it uses fasms basic core, so you need to use some unusual instructions.
Basic R-PI bare boot.
[code]
format binary as 'img'
org 0x00000000
use32
;------------------------------------------------------
; This is where the GPU jumps to
;------------------------------------------------------
Start:
b RealStart
b EndlessLoop
b EndlessLoop
b EndlessLoop
b EndlessLoop
b EndlessLoop
b EndlessLoop
b EndlessLoop
;------------------------------------------------------
; Just put a loop here
;------------------------------------------------------
EndlessLoop:
b EndlessLoop
;------------------------------------------------------
; Leave space here has GPU may add things like
; Mac address
;------------------------------------------------------
times 0x8000- ($-Start) db 0 ; this may be needed (that the offset for linux kernels)
;------------------------------------------------------
; The "kernel" will start here.
;------------------------------------------------------
RealStart:
b RealStart
; Your code will go here
[/code]
This is the very basic code you need, use FasmWArm its a ide that comes with the window ver of fasmarm (can run in wine under linux).
Just save the above code as kernel.asm and click compile and it will out put a file called kernel.img.
Just format a sd card fat32 and add the above file plus
bootcode.bin loader.bin start.elf

You can get them here:

https://github.com/raspberrypi/firmware/tree/master/boot

Thats it, it will boot your code, not that it will do anything, but thats up to you to add the code.
I am working on a tut with example code.
Example the green OK led is interfaced to GPIO16.
This outputs a flat bin file, no links etc needed 8).

Reply Score: 1

xaoslaad
Member since:
2006-03-07

Really the topic says it all ;)

I am running Fedora 17 on mine and using it to run mutt, weechat, and other similar stuff in a screen session. It's the ultimate low power always on complete system that gives you access to everything you need. It's awesome ;)

Reply Score: 1

Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:
2006-07-14

Did you hear the presumptive Republican Nomanee for president is a unicorn!!

http://www.mittromneyisaunicorn.com/

Reply Score: 0

Yeah, RISC OS on real hardware
by cptsalek on Thu 31st May 2012 09:09 UTC
cptsalek
Member since:
2011-10-12

I'm not the emulator guy, I love to have an OS running on real hardware. Which is why I was really happy to learn that RISC OS will work on the Pi.
I hope I'll experience the feeling of "coming home" I'm imagining right now, being a former owner of an Archimedes A3000, A3020 and RiscPC.
The alternative would've been the Beagle Board, btw. ;-)

Reply Score: 2

I hope you'll like webOS as much as I do
by Xeron on Thu 31st May 2012 11:35 UTC
Xeron
Member since:
2012-03-08

but if you're trying it on a Pixi, Pre or Pre+, don't judge it too harshly.

It improved a hell of a lot after 1.4.5, and webOS on a Pre 3 or Veer is really awesome.

Also, if you're trying it on a TouchPad, it is still good, but webOS is at its best as a phone OS.

Reply Score: 1

Awesome
by SWC01 on Thu 31st May 2012 11:51 UTC
SWC01
Member since:
2012-05-31

I got mine too today. It's small...
I'm still at work, but I'm going to try it tonight.

Reply Score: 1

RISCOS
by henderson101 on Thu 31st May 2012 13:08 UTC
henderson101
Member since:
2006-05-30

Well, with regards to RISCOS, don't be too excited. It's not really all that exciting. I grew up using it (1988 - 1993) and used the "earliest" version (called Arthur) and then RISCOS 2 and 3 on various computers (A300 series, A400 series, A5000, A3000.) I lastly used to own an A7000 (RISCOS 3.7) which I sold a few years ago (I would have sold you it, had I known.) The A7000 is the best/simplest "official" hardware to get stared with. It used all PS/2 for mouse and keyboard and had a standard VGA connector and 72pin SIMM RAM. But, other than Elite and a couple of other games I played in the 90's the A7000 was a real let down. RISCOS in general seemed quirky, half finished and prone to crashing and taking the entire OS out. It had no memory protection and as it used a slightly different flavour or ARM, none of the older 24bit apps actually ran without patching. It became a curiosity, rather than something worth keeping.

Reply Score: 5

<3
by Lava_Croft on Thu 31st May 2012 13:38 UTC
Lava_Croft
Member since:
2006-12-24

Get me an adapter so I can use a micro-sim in my N900 and you can have your go at the N9. But only for a short while, since I'm kind of in love.

Reply Score: 1

RE: <3
by bob_bipbip on Thu 31st May 2012 14:44 UTC in reply to "<3"
bob_bipbip Member since:
2009-04-28

Too ad Tom Live too far from me, i could lend him my n9 or pre3, i have both, and don't see a review about both is a big miss here.

Reply Score: 1

How is Arch on PI?
by abstraction on Thu 31st May 2012 18:12 UTC
abstraction
Member since:
2008-11-27

Has anyone tried Arch on the Raspberry? I'm interested in knowing how it compares to the x86 version.

Is it working well? Does it have a lot of packages? What quirks does it have?

Reply Score: 1

RE: How is Arch on PI?
by Morgan on Thu 31st May 2012 19:58 UTC in reply to "How is Arch on PI?"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

See my comment below. The only issue I've had so far is that it won't give me the full 1600x900 resolution on my monitor; it limits me to 1280x720 no matter which mode I set via config.txt. But, at least it's the correct aspect ratio; Fedora limited me to a weird tiny VGA resolution and Debian gave me something like 1536x864 that left a black border around the image.

Otherwise, using Arch on the Pi feels pretty much like using it on an older desktop; slow, no video acceleration in X but otherwise a fairly complete computing experience.

Once I've had time to really dig in I'll look at submitting an in-depth review here.

Reply Score: 2

AROS Broadway hosted on Raspberry PI
by saimon69 on Thu 31st May 2012 18:43 UTC
saimon69
Member since:
2008-10-26

There is some work in progress to port AROS on the Raspberry PI (as side effect of porting it to ARM), for now is working as hosted and here is a link to aros-exec with a video:

http://aros-exec.org/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=7215&foru...

Probably for native an open source video driver for the graphical chip might be required...

Reply Score: 2

You just got it?
by Morgan on Thu 31st May 2012 19:53 UTC
Morgan
Member since:
2005-06-29

Wow, so I actually got mine a day before you Thom! I haven't had time to mess with it much yet, though I will say I definitely prefer Arch Linux over Debian, Fedora and QTonPi (though the latter is meant to be single purpose). Arch seems almost as fast and stable as it does on my aging P4 desktop over in the corner, and apart from display issues over HDMI to my 1600x900 monitor it works very well.

I'm hoping to see some GPU drivers soon though; that alone will make possible a few important projects I have planned. Until then, I'll be looking into using it as a "cloud" server, and as the heart of a homebrew weather monitoring station. Those functions are best suited to the command line anyway.

Reply Score: 2

RE: You just got it?
by Lennie on Mon 4th Jun 2012 23:03 UTC in reply to "You just got it?"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

And I got mine today... I'll soon know if it fits the purpose for my project.

Reply Score: 2

Nice suprise
by tingo on Fri 1st Jun 2012 21:05 UTC
tingo
Member since:
2007-10-13

As a nice surprise, I got my Raspberry Pi today. No early warning (the order confirmation mail from RS Components said I would receive a mail when the Pi shipped), the DHL man just showed up. Not that I'm complaining. :-)

Reply Score: 1

AROS on Pi
by fredbooth on Sat 2nd Jun 2012 16:03 UTC
fredbooth
Member since:
2008-01-07

saimon69 beat me to it with his link to that video.

There's also a "Bring AROS to Raspberry Pi" group on Facebook, run by Steve Jones, who is quite an ambassador for AROS

Reply Score: 1