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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Member since:

So how does this closed GPU situation impact you with the boards and devices you play with?

I suppose I should stick with the Raspberry Pi for ARM fun then, and possibly look into the Loongson based solutions for the long term. Either way, I'm slowly weaning myself off of x86. I suppose I'll hold onto my "classic" rig for BeOS/Haiku/Win98 gaming purposes but my main computing devices will one day be devoid of x86 and Windows.

Reply Parent Score: 2

WereCatf Member since:

So how does this closed GPU situation impact you with the boards and devices you play with?

There was a few weeks back a mini-story here about three different ARM-based boards, similar to the RPi, and I wrote there in the comments about my experiences with my Pandaboard. See Or if you don't wish to read the whole comment I'll just say that the current situation sucks arse.

I really like all the possibilities and the general idea that these small, cheap boards represent, but until there is a company out there that is actually willing to maintain a properly working set of drivers for their chips and/or willing to release fully-working F/OSS drivers I just cannot quite recommend anything. I wish the companies would see the potential and commit themselves to enabling us -- as a community -- to take the scene where it belongs.

Edited 2012-11-25 06:26 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

WereCatf Member since:

I don't know if you wish to continue the discussion any longer, but well, the Cubieboard ( ) is a great board hardware-wise: it's got powerful enough CPU and GPU for most desktop-tasks, it's got a SATA-connector for using real HDDs, there's not any particular component on it that gimps the rest, and the expansion headers provided on the board include all the most important features -- I particularly like the inclusion of SPD/IF - header there. The board is also cheap at only $49, meaning that you wouldn't break any budget even if you bought everyone in the family a box of their own.

Alas, the board is also a great example of how badly the software side of things can ruin an otherwise terrific product, what with things like the Mali-400 - driver sometimes actually being SLOWER than even a FBDEV at basic 2D operations, the drivers either missing X11 - support or OpenVG and/or OpenGL ES being broken, and so on. (See more on that!) Similarly, H/W video acceleration is downright useless in that that only applications that directly utilize the CedarX - library can use it; no Gstreamer-support, no OpenMAX, no nothing. An example of what no standard method for accessing the acceleration - features means is VLC: VLC only works from console, no GUI, and since Cedar lacks YUV420 there's no OSD, either! ( and )

The above is exactly why I actually try to recommend people to stay away from these things for now; sure, all the hardware-features look great on paper and it's easy to get excited about these, but once you actually try to use the thing you'll quickly write it off as a failed investment on your part!

Reply Parent Score: 6

Morgan Member since:

Thank you very much for that detailed analysis! I was afraid such a deal was too good to be true. I think I'm going to spend that $50 on the rev. 2 RPi instead, and donate my old one to a friend who wants to get started with programming and sensors/motor control.

Looking ahead, I'm going to be selling some of my superfluous gear (laptops and such) and look into getting a Loongson-based mini PC. It's a platform I haven't had a chance to work with yet, and it promises fully open hardware and software. We'll see if Stallman is right about it. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 3

RawMustard Member since:

Yep, have 3 raspi's sitting in the cupboard collecting dust. I replaced them with mini-itx boards with i3 low power processors. These use a bit more power at 35 watts, and cost a little more (but not much) but at least they do what they claim and work ten thousands times better and I can run whatever I want on them.

The whole arm thing on linux for general use is a scam!

Reply Parent Score: 2

Dirge Member since:

I am not sure how the current situation in the ARM graphics space differs from say Nvidia's binary blob on x86. Not that I am advocating closed source drivers.

There is some speculation over on Phoronix about Imagination Technologies open sourcing their PowerVR graphics in the near future. I hope this comes as a neat surprise to you.

Reply Parent Score: 1