Losing the will to live


23 posts
by BigJeffIE » Sat Jun 23, 2012 7:43 pm
Every couple of weeks I decide that today is the day I'm going to get my raspberry pi to do something useful.

Today it was get xbmc running so that I could use it as a media player.

For Saturday morning I spent the hours trying to get Raspbmc to work.

For Saturday afternoon I spent the hours trying to get OpenELEC to work.

Raspbmc looked the easiest to get working as it came with it's own installer. What aload of rubbish that was. After a few attempts it finally installed to the card and after a few boots in the Pi it managed to show a picture of a Rasberry with a big R on it. Not bad for 4 hours of my life I'm not going to get back.

So I gave up on that and tried OpenELEC. No installer but only 40 simple commands to get it working using the wiki so why not. after running the commands

git clone git://github.com/OpenELEC/OpenELEC.tv.git

and

PROJECT=RPi ARCH=arm make

about 10 times over another few hours because of various crashes and errors I decided that wasn't going to work either. Having a Raspberry Pi is great but I didn't realise you also have to have a super computer running Linux to be able to build the files to install on the card.

So after about 8 hours I've got a raspberry pi that still can't do anything.

I hope I'm the only one that's going through this. In the days of the zx81 and bbc micro if you typed in good clean code and commands you got good output. Now a days it seems that no matter what you type in it's going to fail to work without hours and hours of slogging through google searches trying to figure out why on earth it just doesn't work.

I'm thinking of starting up a Raspberry Pi group for people who get stressed out by linux erroring every single step of the way... would anyone else be interested?
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri May 11, 2012 7:55 pm
by Joe Schmoe » Sat Jun 23, 2012 7:50 pm
Watch it. You're about to get your thread closed and/or get yourself banned.

They don't tolerate negativity around here...
Never answer the question you are asked. Rather, answer the question you wish you had been asked.

- Robert S. McNamara - quoted in "Fog of War" -
Posts: 2621
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:11 pm
by BigJeffIE » Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:00 pm
I'm hoping my Pi will take pity on me and give Linux a good kick in the right direction.

I think it's working, It's monitor is saying Downloading Root File System 68%...

It hasn't got that far all day...

Plllleeeeeeaaaaaassssssseeee work...
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri May 11, 2012 7:55 pm
by JeremyF » Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:03 pm
There are pre-built OpenELEC images here: http://kvarley.co.uk/RaspberryPi/OpenELEC/
{sig} Setup: Original version Raspberry Pi (B, rev1, 256MB), Dell 2001FP monitor (1600x1200), 8GB Class 4 SD Card with Raspbian and XBMC, DD-WRT wireless bridge
Posts: 516
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:06 pm
by BigJeffIE » Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:15 pm
Raspbmc installed successfully!!!!! Yeeesssssss!!!!! 12 hours, soooo much bad food and 3 headaches later and it's working...

Pi I knew you could do it!!!!

All is forgiven :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri May 11, 2012 7:55 pm
by metaljay » Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:53 pm
Weirdly, I have to agree with u, whilst I love the Pi, and the thought of learning to program on it...unfortunately in reality it's slow and sluggish

Saying that, it's the start of the dev cycle so there are bound to be many bugs
User avatar
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:26 am
by alexeames » Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:31 pm
BigJeffIE wrote:Raspbmc installed successfully!!!!! Yeeesssssss!!!!! 12 hours, soooo much bad food and 3 headaches later and it's working...

Pi I knew you could do it!!!!

All is forgiven :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:


Raspbmc has been suffering a DDOS attack over the last couple of days, but it's up and running today. I installed it on my Pi. The worst part was obeying the "Formatting SD card partitions, please be patient." On an 8 Gig card that took the best part of an hour and I darn nearly gave up, thinking it had crashed.

I have OpenELEC too and, for my needs - just playing H.264 mp4s, there's very little to choose between them. It may be that some of the advanced features on one or the other are better?

Anyway, well done for not giving up. I cross-compiled my OpenELEC a few weeks ago using their instructions on a Ubuntu machine (old, pentium 4) it took ~6 hours, but it worked. First time I'd ever compiled anything. But now there are disk images available there's no need to do that if you don't want to.
Alex Eames RasPi.TV HDMIPi.com RasP.iO
User avatar
Posts: 2065
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 11:57 am
Location: UK
by bredman » Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:09 pm
Why did you go for the experimental distributions? Why didn't you use the default Debian distribution?

You are using the developer release of a product. The Debian distribution is a bit rough around the edges but is usable. To try anything else you need to understand that you are really on the leading edge and there is a fair amount of effort required.

It is a bit unfair to ignore the recommended download and then complain that you have to do a bit of work.
Posts: 1413
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:38 pm
by BigJeffIE » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:27 pm
Can I get it running on the standard debian build? I didn't realise that...The wiki sort of took me in the direction of openelec or raspbmc. I'll try that next then...

and thanks JeremyF, I used your link to the OPENElec image and it worked first time, I wish I had that at the start :)
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri May 11, 2012 7:55 pm
by Dilligaf » Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:31 pm
As someone whos family has experienced suicide and "losing the will to live" I will say that I don't appreciate your post at all. If Pi problems are enough to stress you out that much I seriously suggest that you seek professional help immediately.
Posts: 283
Joined: Wed May 23, 2012 6:48 pm
by speculatrix » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:48 am
Comparing the ease of getting a simple Basic program running on an 8-bit micro with the complexity of a GUI-running Linux platform isn't exactly reasonable, is it? ;)

A more reasonable comparison would be to compare it with using a ready-made and relatively stable distro, such as Debian, and running a few simple Python programs.

I think the Pi may suffer a slight backlash from the way it's been marketed as a simple device for people who've never even heard of 'Hello world'. But then it has the capability to take them much further than those 8-bit boxes ever could. Have you tried installing a GUI-based media player on a BBC Micro? Thought not...
User avatar
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:29 am
Location: France
by simonthepiman » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:07 am
If you need simple intructions for installing the Pi take a look at my How2Setup pages
http://www.simonthepiman.com/
Once the Pi is running it appears quite stable, and is relatively easy to install -
dont give up the will to live - you are one of the first few out there with a Pi so will have the odd issue
Simon

http://www.simonthepiman.com (Beginners guides)
User avatar
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:42 am
Location: Battle - Sussex
by jamesh » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:20 am
speculatrix wrote:Comparing the ease of getting a simple Basic program running on an 8-bit micro with the complexity of a GUI-running Linux platform isn't exactly reasonable, is it? ;)

A more reasonable comparison would be to compare it with using a ready-made and relatively stable distro, such as Debian, and running a few simple Python programs.

I think the Pi may suffer a slight backlash from the way it's been marketed as a simple device for people who've never even heard of 'Hello world'. But then it has the capability to take them much further than those 8-bit boxes ever could. Have you tried installing a GUI-based media player on a BBC Micro? Thought not...


Has it been marketed as a simple device? I'm not sure it has - it's been marketed as a device who's primary purpose is for teaching people about programming and computers. Which isn't simple. Yes, we do says it's a capable little PC - but PC's are not simple either.
Unemployed software engineer currently specialising in camera drivers and frameworks, but can put mind to most embedded tasks. Got a job in N.Cambridge or surroundings? I'm interested!
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 11686
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm
by speculatrix » Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:39 pm
jamesh wrote:Has it been marketed as a simple device? I'm not sure it has - it's been marketed as a device who's primary purpose is for teaching people about programming and computers.


I think the implication is quite clear. It's a small, cheap device attempting to evoke those heady days of 8-bit when people got their first introduction to the mysteries of computers. As computers have become commodities, people have become more distanced from what makes them work and so that demystification is needed again. I like the idea that the Pi will get people - and especially kids - to think about what goes on inside, and to that end selling them a board without a fancy casing etc is a good way of driving this home. However, as we're seeing, there are dangers here, too.

If all you wanted to do was introduce kids to programming - and given the ready access so many have to computers already, at home or in school - then a custom-made, software-based programming environment that they could run on any Windows or Mac box would have functioned as well - no hardware required. And yes, I know that a cheap computer like the Pi might increase that level of access ( although not as much as some are predicting, I'd guess, given the final cost once required peripherals are added into the equation).

Don't get me wrong: I'm a big fan of this project. I just don't think that the possibilities and challenges are quite as clear-cut as some people seem to think. Only time will tell because the responses we're seeing so far are, naturally, from a self-selected group of early adopter geeks (myself included). And even some of them are having problems. ;)

I think the long-term value & viability of the Pi - and its ability to realise the ambition of getting more people into programming - will depend on what emerges from this shake-down period, such as slicker distros & software stacks that present a shallower learning curve.
User avatar
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:29 am
Location: France
by jamesh » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:11 pm
Computers are not simple. They never have been. Even the 8 bit micros were not 'simple'. Learning to program isn't simple. Which was my point.

Yes, you could produce a custom made software environment to run on PC or Mac. But I don't think that as good a teaching tool as the whole device itself - it's certainly not as flexible. It certainly won't have achieved the same level of awareness that the Raspi has achieved, which is a big part of the whole thing. Might even have cost more - the sort of system you are envisioning would be some man years of work - probably in excess of £200k to develop. That's more than the Raspi cost, and that includes the software.

Still we will have to wait and see how it all pans out - even after only a couple of months, the software quality has improved dramatically so I expect the 'final' result to be pretty good.
Unemployed software engineer currently specialising in camera drivers and frameworks, but can put mind to most embedded tasks. Got a job in N.Cambridge or surroundings? I'm interested!
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 11686
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm
by speculatrix » Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:16 pm
I don't disagree with anything you say. I just think there's sometimes a slight lack of clarity about the purpose.

Actually, if all you want to do is teach someone to program (as opposed to understanding the machine as a whole) I'd push people towards Processing. I think that's a superb environment in which it's possible to do amazing things but also get started very easily. On my Macbook Pro, I had Processing working with a Kinect in a matter of minutes.

The Arduino is another interesting lesson. Thanks to a tightly integrated and easy to use IDE, it has encouraged huge numbers of people to get into electronics, robotics and programming. I think it's actually achieved a proportion of what the RPi is aiming to do.

The RPi sits somewhere in between, I think. The GPIO pins are very important because they encourage experimentation. I think back to my BBC Micro days and how important things like the ADC port were. It's also important that the RPi has the power and flexibility provided by Linux. I just think that it will help if we can produce an easier introduction to it. Actually, something like Processing with extensions to provide easy programmatic access to GPIO, I2C & serial would be seriously impressive.
User avatar
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:29 am
Location: France
by jamesh » Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:58 pm
I had a BBC micro, wrote games, databases, utilities, used the ISO Pascal to write my University programming assignments. Never used any of the ports on it except for disk drives and joystick....
Unemployed software engineer currently specialising in camera drivers and frameworks, but can put mind to most embedded tasks. Got a job in N.Cambridge or surroundings? I'm interested!
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 11686
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm
by speculatrix » Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:25 pm
Ah, but the Beeb's various ports were heavily used in education. (For my sins, in addition to being deputy editor of Acorn User for a spell, I was also dep ed on School Computer User magazine - aka SCUM :shock: - and Educational Computing, which replaced it). The ability to interface all kinds of things with the Beeb was one of its chief benefits in the educational environment.
User avatar
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:29 am
Location: France
by AndrewS » Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:13 am
speculatrix wrote:If all you wanted to do was introduce kids to programming - and given the ready access so many have to computers already, at home or in school - then a custom-made, software-based programming environment that they could run on any Windows or Mac box would have functioned as well - no hardware required.

See the comments about "energy barrier" Eben has made in various talks. And the fact that *no matter* what a kid does to the RasPi (apart from plugging it into the wrong voltage), a "blank state" is only a SD-card-rewrite away...
User avatar
Posts: 3592
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:50 pm
Location: Cambridge, UK
by BigJeffIE » Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:11 am
Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about the Raspberry Pi, I think it's the greatest idea since the BBC Micro, it's linux that was driving me nuts.

I'm a good example of the person a Pi was brought out to help. I'm so used to Microsoft and how most things just work. They seem to get the rough end of the stick alot of the time but when you start looking into what they've actually achieved (and Apple, though I've never used a Mac myself). Linux is on a whole new level, it maybe free and very configurable, but everytime I try to do something I find myself pouring through code/man pages/web sites for what often seems like a simple task (well in MS windows anyway).

So my Pi is really helping to push me into learning Linux again, but I'm finding it very stressful!
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri May 11, 2012 7:55 pm
by jamesh » Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:17 am
Yes, it can be a bit of a struggle - I'm really only a beginner myself. But I do reckon its a skill worth knowing. And I do think that future releases of software for the Raspi will get easier. I also think that this project may well bring Linux to many more peoples attention, and the more people who know it, the better it will become (and easier).
Unemployed software engineer currently specialising in camera drivers and frameworks, but can put mind to most embedded tasks. Got a job in N.Cambridge or surroundings? I'm interested!
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 11686
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm
by rurwin » Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:36 am
BigJeffIE wrote:I'm so used to Microsoft and how most things just work.
Different things "just work" in Linux. For example the apt-get mechanism is incredibly more advanced than anything Microsoft has come up with. With Microsoft you have to download an installer and execute it, and either it comes with every dependency included or you have to chase them down yourself. Linux has multiple consoles and SSH. Some things Windows does better, some things it does worse but more accessibly (Linux never compromises), some devices come with Windows drivers but no Linux drivers. But mostly your problems will be due to the fact that you know Windows inside-out; it seems obvious because you know how it works. There are one or two big gotchas with the RaspPi, WiFi is one, the firewall might be another. On the whole Linux with a capable desktop manager is now usable by Windows users. It is not and never will be administrable by Windows administrators without some degree of retraining. However it is possible, should be and probably will be the case, that the software mix that ships with the educational release of RaspPi will be much easier to administer in every way that its target market will need.
User avatar
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Posts: 2904
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:16 pm
by rasbeer » Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:48 pm
Another thing is that computer & component manufacturers do a lot of behind-the-scenes work getting Windows etc working with their hardware. When this doesn't get done it can be huge headache (Intel GMA500 still doesn't have full-featured Linux drivers & a couple of years ago Linux support for *cough* Broadcom wireless chips was a problem.)

So compared to many PCs (& even more laptops) the Pi should provide a very uniform & eventually very well-documented environment for Linux (which can be confusing enough without hardware issues).
Posts: 242
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:35 am