There’s a really fantastic piece in Techradar and Linux Format, going into considerable depth to compare, contrast and review five Raspberry Pi operating systems. If you’ve been thinking about trying out a new distro on your Pi, it’s a great place to start. (And well done, Raspbian!)
We’ve just had an email from one of our distributors:
I have noticed an increase in the quantity of returns where it’s claimed by the customer that the Pi will not boot. My view is that in the majority of instances they are attempting to use the unit with an OS that is not compatible with the Hynix chip, often inserting a card from a Pi they already have which reinforces the view in their mind that the new unit is faulty.
Just yesterday I received a batch of 21 units from a school and upon testing with the latest version of Raspbian Wheezy all booted normally.
If your 512MB Pi has a Hynix memory chip in the middle of the board (that’s the black, square RAM chip right in the centre, and it’ll either say Samsung or Hynix on it in white letters), please ensure you are using the latest version of Raspbian, which you can get from the downloads link at the top of the page. The version on that page will always be the latest available. It seems a lot of the people who have been caught out by this are folk who have bought a pre-flashed card from someone on eBay or Amazon. We always recommend against this, because the images on those grey-market cards are often months out of date – and a lot of work is done on the software every week, so a months-old operating system will bear little resemblance to the newest version. If you absolutely must buy a pre-loaded SD card, make sure you buy it from a reputable source.
This is one for you retro gamers: a Raspbian remix from Carles Oriol that turns your Pi into a whole suitcase-full of emulated hardware, from the Spectrum to a MAME cabinet, via the Oric-1, Atari 2600, Apple II and lots of other stuff besides.
Carles Oriol popped up briefly on Twitter earlier in the week to post this video, then vanished before I was able to get him to point me at a disk image. Happily, I was able to track him down on our forums, and from there to the Chameleon web site. You’ll find a torrent of the image, instructions for adding more emulators to the menu, more video, some words on each of the emulators and a little readme. We absolutely love it: there’s an SD card on my desk with this remix on it, and it’s not getting overwritten any time soon. Thanks Carles!
We are pleased to announce the release of our first SD card image based on the Raspbian distribution. This is the result of an enormous amount of hard work by Alex and Dom over the past couple of months, and replaces the existing Debian squeeze image as our recommended install. Notably, it is the first official image to take full advantage of the Raspberry Pi’s floating point hardware for, amongst other things, much faster web browsing.
Users who are still using Debian squeeze will definitely want to switch to this, as it contains numerous tweaks and performance improvements to the firmware, kernel and applications. Those who are using the recent Debian wheezy beta will also see a very worthwhile, but somewhat smaller, improvement.
Among many others, we would particularly like to thank:
- Mike Thompson and Peter Green from the Raspbian project
- Simon Hall for his optimised ARMv6 memcpy() and memset() implementations
- Everyone who has contributed to the Raspbian project so far
Special thanks to Edgar (gimli) Hucek, whose omxplayer accelerated media player is preinstalled in this image, and Sergio Conde for his work on packaging it for distribution.
Those interested in the remarkable history of the Raspbian project might like to take a look at this brief timeline. Adam Armstrong has done some benchmarking which demonstrates the benefits of hardware floating point across a range of applications.
As always, the image is available from our downloads page.
We’re hoping to release an official image based on Raspbian, the hard-float optimised port of the Debian operating system for the Raspberry Pi, over the next few days. Raspbian makes use of the floating-point hardware in the processor at the heart of the Raspberry Pi, an optimisation that we hadn’t been able to take advantage of in our previous soft-float Debian Squeeze and Wheezy releases.
Raspbian is so much faster than the images we’ve been using so far, and we’re really excited about it; we’ll be encouraging all of you Raspberry Pi owners to upgrade to it as soon as it’s available on our downloads page.
Here’s a sneak peek from Dom, one of our developers and a disgustingly clever gentleman. (This is the first time Dom has ever been called a gentleman.) He’s overclocked the Raspberry Pi he’s using to 1GHz; if you’re thinking of doing the same, check the Power Users section of our forums, and be aware that overvolting will void your warranty. Installations which aren’t overclocked won’t be quite as speedy as what Dom’s showing you here, but the performance increase over what we’ve seen with previous images is still very impressive with a non-overclocked Raspberry Pi. Over to Dom!