Q&A with Gordon Hollingworth our Director of Software

Matthew Timmons-Brown, aka The Raspberry Pi Guy, was in the office recently and nailed down the elusive Gordon Hollingworth for an interview. It contains top secret stuff. Which obviously isn’t so secret any more but is very interesting. Enjoy!

29 comments

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Looking forward to the screens becoming available. I have already order a HDMIPi through Kickstarter, but a low cost small screen sounds promising. A touch screen would be even better as that would open up a new way to interface with apps written for the Raspberry Pi.

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I’m very happy to here there is a possibility about the screens.
Hope they come available very soon! Would be great to get some more infos!
cheers

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Same here. Making the pi even more portable.

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For me wayland is going to be a users first time experiences game changer. I often find the speed of x a real shame. I guess this is why the foundation is spending so much time on this.

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best. post. ever.

I’d really enjoy seeing quarterly our monthly interviews like this. With due respect to other content on this blog, the information Gordon just shared is much more relevant to me than a lot of the posts here.

One answer that didn’t really carry any meaning was that of the android question. Is there a transcript available? I’m not sure what the reason for not supporting android was.

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He said it was too closed. Therefore, not open enough for educational development use.

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I would be happy to do another one (and I’m sure Matt wouldn’t mind turning up for an hour to record it) if you’ve got any questions.

Currently I’m out of questions so the video would be pointless!

Android isn’t on the target because we’ve only got enough resources (engineers) to support a single operating system. Also it’s a fairly closed OS and therefore doesn’t work out very well with the educational aspects of Pi. Finally it’s not that simple to port existing Linux applications to Android which means you don’t get all the goodness of linux (think Scratch, python libraries, mathematica etc. it would just be harder)

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I would be very happy to film another Q&A video with Gordon – however as he said we need more questions!

Maybe ask for questions in a future blog post? ‘Bend Gordon’s Ear a second time’?!

The Raspberry Pi Guy

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Are there any roadmap for the release of wayland on Pi, are we talking H1 2014?

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Poor Jonathan – another name-check opportunity missed (when the subject of USB development came up).

Liz, Eben, maybe it is time to sing out the individual praises for all of the Pi Team at the Foundation?

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I got by OK! But yes, Jonathan should get a mention. Perhaps when the new driver is released.

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Jonathan’s relatively happy not having his name and persona broadcast around the world…

He get’s enough praise in the office as it is we wouldn’t want it to go to his head!

Gordon

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You see – when Jonathan left us to join you, I wasn’t convinced. I still believe that he is working undercover for ‘The Dark Side’ now. So, I am waiting to see his name in lights (or, at least in Pilluminated Pixels) to be sure that he is actually doing what he says he is doing !!! (I am not even convinced that his arrival at Pi Towers was actually over-shadowed by a State Visit from the RH Mr. Cameron that same day).
I do agree though, you have to be careful in just how much praise you give him – personally, we just used to heap ridicule and scorn on him all the time. He seemed perfectly happy with that (I just think that he felt happy that someone was talking to him!!!)

Niall ;-)

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It’s still Top Secret for me, the film wont load so I can’t see it.

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Great stuff – really useful for the geek community to find out what’s in the offing.

Are there any plans to do a similar session with Head of Educational Development to find out what the plans for developing the Pi’s educational use given that schools will need to buy stuff in May/June ready for the Computing curriculum start in September?

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Well we’re all going to the Jamboree Simon. I’m happy to film it, if it’s something Clive wants to do :)

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Yes, thank you for such an interesting update.
I have one question: can you give any indication as to the likely price of the displays?

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Not yet no…

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If history is any guide, availability of the displays will suddenly be announced at 6 AM GMT on February 29th … no, that’s not a typo, note when the next year there will be a February 29th. Now you know how long the wait really will be, and then demand will outstrip supply for at least six months :lol: Just kidding, we have nothing but love for our Foundation volunteers – I’m sure the displays will be announced someday, and the wait for delivery won’t be more than five months … ;)

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Was hoping to hear about the progress of Wayland, felt a little like the question was dodged here. Hope to hear more about it in the not too distant future.

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I know my idea is a long shot and going beyond the current profile. But since the Raspi community is so established now, could you guys think about high-end version of Raspberry?

The idea may seem odd but I am raising this since I see absolutely unique opportunity stemming out from Raspberry.
All is due to the Broadcom BCM7445 UltraHD SoC. The BCM7445 is the most advanced next generation media chip but it should have very reasonable price since it is intended for set-top boxes. Now since you have unique relation to Broadcom via the current hardware, this should facilitate the development of the high-end version.

Miniature computer based on the BCM7445 chip, which has quad-core ARM, 4K UHD decoding and HDMI 2.0 interface, would be outsmarting anything which is available now, by offering e.g. UHD media center. It would make accessible full capability of modern UHD TV’s (which will be common shortly). Such media computer which would surely attract huge attention and bring advanced users and developers to the community, they would not mind paying bit more for a unique hardware. I think Broadcom would be interested too in this idea, they are recently very active in developing support for the chip as can be seen from patches they are recently providing to the Linux kernel.

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Although I agree that it would be nice to have, the Raspberry Pi was not created to be a media-center.

The main idea was to have a platform which would support educational projects.

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That chips doesn’t have the Videocore inside it, so we would lose a lot of general purpose features – camera would be an obvious one. I think the 3D is less powerful, no encoding etc. So not a good choice for anything but a media centre.

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In my view the BCM7475 chip can not be refuted on technical grounds as well as its target can not be narrowed to the media center. Normal Linux functionality is is secured by quad core ARM7 Cortex which is no mean performer. For the display functions this chip excels since due to 4K support, 2D display processing has awesome power. The chip can make transcoding of 4 1080p streams and thus encoding is a piece of cake. For 3D it integrates Mali 400 with full Open GL ES. For capturing it even has HDMI input. Not even mentioning SATA and PCIe interfaces. Obviously this goes beyond the goal of basic education but after basic there is advanced education:).

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Hi, great post and some insights there…

Wondering about the list of projects that the foundation is supporting?

Are there current or future projects that you’re looking for developers for as I’d like to see if my skills and interests align with any projects you’re funding or looking to fund?

Thanks.

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In general all the people we have pulled in to work on Raspberry Pi either through hiring or contracting are people we’ve found through their work on various activities (Linux drivers, kernel support, graphics debugging, media debugging etc etc.)

If you want to get in you need to impress us first, then you can always PM me to discuss

Gordon

Gordon

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A MINIMALI(Z/S)ED VERSION OF RASPBIAN – YAY!!! Oh, sorry, got a bit carried away there, I meant to type in tiny little letters, “a minimali(z/s)ed version of raspbian” :lol: 1.2 GB is still pretty big, though, and I would rather see the smallest possible version that still has aptitude so that our various desired individual fluff can be apt-get installed as needed. I believe that can be done in under 150 MB with no X or other GUI, or any of the other niceties. Please consider this if at all possible as it makes a bunch of very educational things much more feasible, such as teaching how to build a distro by adding instead of subtracting (people tend to make more mistakes subtracting or dividing than adding or multiplying – must be that silly twos-complement stuff! ;) ).

People asking for Android need to consider what the Pi is not meant to be: yet-another means for corporations to suck our personal information out from under us. Android is not a happy experience when not run on a mobile device (why do you think Chromebooks don’t run Android?), which means something with a touchscreen. Yes, you can “run” it on a desktop-style system, as in execute the code, but it’s not designed for that kind of use at all. We already have RaspBMC and OpenELEC for media consumption and a perfectly usable (if a bit slow on the uptake occasionally) GUI with tens of thousands of applications ready and waiting to be used or installed. Besides, which version of Android do you want, 2.x, 3.x, 4.x, and which value of “x” do you want? There’s no such thing as just “Android”, and hardware requirements increase well beyond what the Pi can support as the Android version increases beyond early 3.x.

Other than that, more interviews with Gordon please, as he seems to be the messenger of good things to come (e.g., not one, but two GPU-direct, DSI-connected displays! Would it be looking a gift horse in the mouth to ask for a touchscreen option? :D <- horse's big, grinning mouth). Keep up the great work!

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Great news on the displays.
I don’t quite get the thing on 2GB SD cards, you probably won’t be able to buy them that small before long and they seem to cost as much as 4Gb anyway.

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There are lots of them out there, I agree that if you buy one now then its not a problem, but it also takes much less time to image a GB…

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