Linked by Howard Fosdick on Sat 24th Nov 2012 04:12 UTC
Linux Software for the Raspberry Pi is quickly moving forward. Beyond the several core Linux distros, another couple dozen systems are available, with NetBSD, FreeBSD, and Chromium imminently stepping into the mix. (Ubuntu will not join them as it requires ARMv7 and the Pi is ARMv6). Two dozen programming languages are available, including Python, Perl, Java, Ruby 1.9.2, BASIC, and more. Since the Pi is a full fledged ARM computer, it should run nearly any ARM app within its system requirements. See the RPi Wiki or Foundation website for more info.
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RPi is still open-source hostile.
by Aristocracies on Sat 24th Nov 2012 17:39 UTC
Member since:

As a Raspberry Pi owner, I'm increasingly unable to view the device as anything more than a $35 promotional toy advertising Broadcom's Videocore IV. You don't get to really play with that chip -- which by the way, drives the entire board and is the most interesting thing soldered onto it. The ARM gets initialized by the Videocore, the ARM merely exists as the interface users have to interacting with this black box.

You don't like the fact the firmware blobs are buggy and you trivially lock up the board while developing? Is low-level access really the only way you're going to develop applications interesting to you? Sucks to be you!

According to Liz Upton, one of the PR creeps from the Raspberry Pi Foundation has the following to say to actual developers complaining:

'... keep trying to rustle up some outrage if it gives you a kick; I’d recommend finding something else to do soon, though. We don’t want you developing an ulcer.'

When asked: 'Am I allowed to be outraged by the fact that it’s not really open, since I see no mention of actual documentation for the hardware? Or by this: ? Can I get outraged by that?'

She replies: 'Well you *could*, but you wouldn’t half look silly.'

(sourced from: )

What a charmer. This is someone totally detached from reality and is so full of herself and her own product she actually thinks she can talk to developers that way. She has no awareness that nothing the RPi has done or offered is very groundbreaking, ARM SoC eval boards like the RPi were inevitable -- the evolution of products like the Sheevaplug and other plug-computers in addition to hobbyist hits like the Arduino paved way for this.

Hardware is being eaten by software. Broadcom wants to produce an artificial value to their hardware by locking it up with their own crappy software and they want you to cheer for what an innovation this is. End of story.

Edited 2012-11-24 17:43 UTC

Reply Score: 4

kateline Member since:

Interesting comment. I haven't gotten into the Pi heavily enough to figure out all you have about the Broadcom chip. I wonder if the small-board competitors have the same issue? I'm gonna look them up and see if they all use Broadcom. Thanks.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Aristocracies Member since:

There simply isn't anything in ARM SoC space where this is not the situation at the moment. The closest we have are people attempting to reverse-engineer ARM's Mali line of GPUs (used on that ODROID-X, for example) and the Lima driver currently is quite primitive, as WereCatf mentioned.

This is pretty serious stuff, though. Every day I'm more convinced that the war against general purpose computing is going to be won by merely cutting off access to proper video card support. How relevant can you really be to the average person if you can't even handle a compositing desktop with the bells and whistles like they've come to expect? Oh boy, we have framebuffer access -- I'm sure my family is going to love rocking Openbox like it's 1999.

The fact is -- right now there's a $120 board that's more than capable of handling most people's desktop needs, except we can't write proper software to make that fully realized. But feel free to gaze upon and wonder what could be.

Edited 2012-11-24 20:53 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

Aristocracies Member since:

Replying to myself just to throw in: for fun.

An entire collection of people who have been banned from the RPi forums merely for discussing issues with the hardware and firmware. Liz Upton apparently has discovered the term 'concern troll' and has used it vigorously in maintaining their image on the forums.

The impression the RPi Foundation keeps giving me with their interactions with developers and users is that we're not really the people they care about since we're not going to go and give them a press release.

I'm all in favor of supporting other ARM SoC boards because while they may not be any more open than the VideoCore IV, at least you won't be dealing with people more concerned with their image than with users having problems with their product. Probably also won't see a self-congratulating press release lying about the nature of what it is you exactly open-sourced.

I've been enjoying working on the ODROID-X, admittedly $120 -- but it crushes every other board I've played with in performance and still has GPIO pins and hobbyist support. I'll be picking up an MK802III as well.

Really, these things are so cheap it's fun to collect. I'm especially looking forward to getting a hobbyist version of:

Edited 2012-11-24 20:34 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

bhtooefr Member since:

BTW, the hobbyist version of that is already out:

Reply Parent Score: 5

ndrw Member since:

It isn't. Read the whole discussion (and several before) and you'll see they just got tired of dealing with a troll.

Raspberry Pi is about as open source friendly as most off-the-shelf PCs. Yes, you need firmware (BIOS) to bootstrap your OS and, yes, you need a closed-source GPU driver if you need accelerated video. But other than that it is a fully open platform. There are plenty of things you can do with the device without touching GPU (frankly speaking, if you wanted to do something performance intensive you should avoid these devices anyway).

I also would like to have a fully-open ARM SoC but please be fair. RPi guys have already done more than their share of promoting open ARM systems. It is not their job to produce SoCs with open drivers.

Reply Parent Score: 5

zima Member since:

I also would like to have a fully-open ARM SoC but please be fair. RPi guys have already done more than their share of promoting open ARM systems. It is not their job to produce SoCs with open drivers.

To be fair, they basically just took the "nearest" SoC available - the Broadcom R&D bureau ( ) responsible for RPi SoC is a stone's throw away from RPi headquarters.

There are also some personal ties involved (one of RPi founders/directors working at Broadcom)

Reply Parent Score: 3