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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WereCatf
Member since:
2006-02-15

I don't know if you wish to continue the discussion any longer, but well, the Cubieboard ( http://linux-sunxi.org/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 http://linux-sunxi.org/Mali400 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! ( http://linux-sunxi.org/VLC and http://linux-sunxi.org/CedarX )

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:
2005-06-29

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

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

and donate my old one to a friend who wants to get started with programming and sensors/motor control.


That sounds like a worthy cause. One can never learn too much!

I'm going to be selling some of my superfluous gear


Did I mention I accept donations...? *cough*

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. ;)


If you ever get your hands on one how about writing an article on it here on OSNews? I'd do that myself, but it seems unlikely I'll be getting one all due to shortage of cash!

Reply Parent Score: 2

RawMustard Member since:
2005-10-10

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

ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

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.


Any suggestions you could link to for inexpensive stuff that'll run XBMC and some emulators well?

(At least Snes9x and preferrably Mupen64Plus since our N64 controllers wore out but PCSX2 would be nice too since we've worn out Sony's patience for free PS2 DVD drive replacements)

My brothers really want a home theatre setup but, once you factor in the heat from an old big-screen HDTV and an old 5.1 receiver, the high-TDP Athlon64 3300+ that they got for free makes it too much of a heat source to use in the summer without air-conditioning.

Switching to a really cool-running HTPC would probably be enough to solve the problem.

Edited 2012-11-26 09:31 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

Dirge Member since:
2005-07-14

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

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

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.


Well, for one, NVIDIA is actually quite committed to keeping their drivers working and they expend a lot of effort in fixing bugs in a timely manner. On the ARM side of things the manufacturers do a few crappy releases and don't really care if a release breaks something that worked before. Just go and take a look at the link I posted earlier about the state of the Mali-400 driver.

I would prefer F/OSS - drivers, but I have no qualms about using closed ones, either, I just wish the companies actually cared about the quality of their drivers! Oh, and kept the drivers alive for more than 6 months.

Reply Parent Score: 3