riklaunim
Posts: 265
Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:34 pm

My idea for a flexible "Strawberry Pi"

Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:07 pm

Raspberry Pi is popular, but there are constantly questions about Android, Chrome OS, more RAM, SATA, Ethernet, and what not. When Allwinner A20 single board computer decided to look and be somewhat compatible with Raspberry Pi all the blogs, social media went crazy and probably more people heard about Banana Pi than Cubieboard ;) GPIO is 3.3V and low power which makes it incompatible with cheaper 5V Arduino addon boards. Depending on use something could be upgraded or skipped.

So now, how to make a "Strawberry Pi" that would allow hardware flexibility, but would not be vendor-locked to specific hardware (or be more friendly to third party compatible replacements) and would not deprecate existing hardware?

Let split the single board computer into two parts - the computer and the GPIO shield. The shield connects via USB or other non-hardware-specific interface and the computer can script it with a standardized API with Python or Scratch. At start the computer would be current RPi, while the GPIO shield would be new product. Later on any computer could work with the GPIO shield (either things like Cubieboard, Radxa, or your PC with double nVidia running in SLI, Android phone, tablet and alike) - under the requirement that it provides the same APIs/tools functionality to configure and script the GPIO shield (this makes it easy to make compatible clones, you could choose if you want a basic low power PC or something that runs Android, Chrome OS or x86 and Windows, or specific like OpenRD and alike).

The GPIO shield:
- let say that at best it will be a FPGA with easy to use configuration tool - you say which pins are I2C, SPI, digital I/O, or... Ethernet, USB etc. The easy to use tool would have to be created, the FPGA wouldn't be as cheap as microcontrollers but would give a lot of GPIO flexibility
- it could also be a microcontroller board, that would work just like a configured FPGA board would
- every board would have to support and provide the standardized API/SDK (look at mbed family, Arduino also in general; extended WiringPi maybe) - that would make it easy to create third party GPIO shields (although the creator would have to do some codding ;))
- to some extent it can standardize the front panel of the shield. The SparkFun SerIO looks handy - closed, female pin headers and inner surface for good labels. For FPGA the inner surface could support replaceable cards as you could change what is where.
- some shields could also work stand-alone after being programmed etc. :)
- if not needed the shield could be skipped.
- current Raspberry GPIO could also support that API (like WiringPi)
- Arduino Firmata could also be wrapped around it to make Arduino board work as such shield :)

Write once run anywhere? :D

Some software standardization could also be made for ARM single board computers (with Linaro maybe), so that there will be some certainty that given software pack (like Qt5/PyQt5) works on given set of boards and so on.

User avatar
FLYFISH TECHNOLOGIES
Posts: 1750
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2013 7:48 am
Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Contact: Website

Re: My idea for a flexible "Strawberry Pi"

Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:27 pm

Hi,

I was unable to get the main purpose of your message... is this your wish-list which (you hope) to be processed by somebody, or is this an announcement about the project you're starting ?


Best wishes, Ivan Zilic.
Running out of GPIO pins and/or need to read analog values?
Solution: http://www.flyfish-tech.com/FF32

riklaunim
Posts: 265
Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:34 pm

Re: My idea for a flexible "Strawberry Pi"

Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:51 pm

Just my idea ;)

User avatar
mahjongg
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Posts: 12125
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2012 12:19 am
Location: South Holland, The Netherlands

Re: My idea for a flexible "Strawberry Pi"

Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:56 pm

riklaunim wrote: Let(sic) split the single board computer into two parts - the computer and the GPIO shield.
we already have (or will have soon) that, its called the "compute module"
http://www.raspberrypi.org/raspberry-pi ... w-product/

and yes, it could become a standard for exchangeable hardware, someone might even, at one point in time, try to make an upgraded CPU module.

for now you cannot make a truly "PI compatible" system without using the Broadcom BCM2835 SoC. good luck with trying to recreate that with an FPGA.

riklaunim
Posts: 265
Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:34 pm

Re: My idea for a flexible "Strawberry Pi"

Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:00 pm

mahjongg wrote:for now you cannot make a truly "PI compatible" system without using the Broadcom BCM2835 SoC. good luck with trying to recreate that with an FPGA.
For the GPIO you can. You just need the same set of GPIO and the same high level API/library for it.

Like when I "ported" a Raspberry Pi library to control max7219 LED panels with pyMCU I just had to change few lines where Raspberry functions were called to matching pymcu methods (while pymcu is a microcontroller board with no Broadcoms).

User avatar
mahjongg
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Posts: 12125
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2012 12:19 am
Location: South Holland, The Netherlands

Re: My idea for a flexible "Strawberry Pi"

Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:21 pm

GPIO ≠ Raspberry PI

(≠ means not equal to, other notations are != and <> among others)

fruitoftheloom
Posts: 20493
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:40 pm
Location: Delightful Dorset

Re: My idea for a flexible "Strawberry Pi"

Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:24 pm

riklaunim wrote:Just my idea ;)
Then please change your name Walter Mitty..
Retired disgracefully.....

Ravenous
Posts: 1956
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:01 pm
Location: UK

Re: My idea for a flexible "Strawberry Pi"

Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:55 pm

riklaunim wrote:So now, how to make a "Strawberry Pi" that would allow hardware flexibility, but would not be vendor-locked to specific hardware (or be more friendly to third party compatible replacements) and would not deprecate existing hardware?
A perfectly good idea in theory. But I don't think it will work.

(1) a lot of software development would be needed for each new processor.

(2) future requirements will always need some new sort of connector - get rid of HDMI and replace it with something, add a faster USB or network connection, etc. Your output shield will be obsolete then.

(3) for a small machine, it will always be cheaper (in my opinion) to make a new mainboard with the connectors required on board.

(4) you will always get the people who complain the two board system is too large. Look how many times people suggest the raspi is too bulky and ask about a special version with less connectors.

Ultimately things move fast in computing and stuff becomes obsolete. The landfill business is the only one guaranteed a future! It's annoying but sadly it's life.

User avatar
mahjongg
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Posts: 12125
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2012 12:19 am
Location: South Holland, The Netherlands

Re: My idea for a flexible "Strawberry Pi"

Thu Jun 12, 2014 12:07 pm

Android irrelevant for education
Chrome OS irrelevant for education
more RAM, err no, the current configuration allows for all we want, and also requires frugality when programming, which is a good thing
SATA irrelevant for education
Ethernet it has Ethernet, works well enough for this purpouse.

User avatar
Gert van Loo
Posts: 2482
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:27 am
Contact: Website

Re: My idea for a flexible "Strawberry Pi"

Thu Jun 12, 2014 1:13 pm

GPIO is 3.3V and low power which makes it incompatible with cheaper 5V Arduino addon boards.
Sorry but that made me laugh!
If there is one thing about the Arduino which utterly sucks it is the 5V.
I think the last 5V peripheral was designed about 20 years ago.
Everything nowadays is 3V3 or even lower.

User avatar
Cancelor
Posts: 757
Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:09 pm
Location: UK

Re: My idea for a flexible "Strawberry Pi"

Thu Jun 12, 2014 1:47 pm

mahjongg wrote:Android irrelevant for education
Chrome OS irrelevant for education
more RAM, err no, the current configuration allows for all we want, and also requires frugality when programming, which is a good thing
SATA irrelevant for education
Ethernet it has Ethernet, works well enough for this purpouse.
I sometimes wonder, why is 'frugality when programming' a good thing:?:
Can't find the thread you want? Try googling : YourSearchHere site:raspberrypi.org

Ravenous
Posts: 1956
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:01 pm
Location: UK

Re: My idea for a flexible "Strawberry Pi"

Thu Jun 12, 2014 1:50 pm

Cancelor wrote:I sometimes wonder, why is 'frugality when programming' a good thing:?:
Because it is possible to get too much of a good thing.

techpaul
Posts: 1512
Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2012 6:40 pm
Location: Reading, UK
Contact: Website

Re: My idea for a flexible "Strawberry Pi"

Thu Jun 12, 2014 2:23 pm

Cancelor wrote:I sometimes wonder, why is 'frugality when programming' a good thing:?:
Because not being frugal leads to un-necessary bloat and more bugs

KISS principle means less to go wrong, operates generally faster, and more efficiently on many levels.

Excessive code size generally leads to spaghetti code, unmaintainable code and worst of all unusable code
Just another techie on the net - For GPIO boards see http:///www.facebook.com/pcservicesreading
or http://www.pcserviceselectronics.co.uk/pi/

jamesh
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 23393
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm

Re: My idea for a flexible "Strawberry Pi"

Thu Jun 12, 2014 2:45 pm

techpaul wrote:
Cancelor wrote:I sometimes wonder, why is 'frugality when programming' a good thing:?:
Because not being frugal leads to un-necessary bloat and more bugs

KISS principle means less to go wrong, operates generally faster, and more efficiently on many levels.

Excessive code size generally leads to spaghetti code, unmaintainable code and worst of all unusable code
What he said.

My main bug bear is code bloat through bad programming, and unnecessary memory use through bad algorithm choice. Both are the results of bad/inexperienced software engineering.

Now there clearly are csases when you ned a LOT of memory to make something go faster. Handling images through a camera pipeline for example. But why does a webbrowser need half a GIG of memory to work fast? That one completely eludes me.
Principal Software Engineer at Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd.
Contrary to popular belief, humorous signatures are allowed. Here's an example...
"My grief counseller just died, luckily, he was so good, I didn't care."

fruitoftheloom
Posts: 20493
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:40 pm
Location: Delightful Dorset

Re: My idea for a flexible "Strawberry Pi"

Thu Jun 12, 2014 3:05 pm

Why is this being discussed, yet again, yet again, the Pi is a Pi and will for the forseeable future be based around the BCM2835.

If it was using a different SoC it would be a Beagleboard or any number of boards which fit the OP original fantasy.

I will say again, from my opinion, if you do not like what the 3 models offer, then find a product to suit your needs..
Retired disgracefully.....

riklaunim
Posts: 265
Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:34 pm

Re: My idea for a flexible "Strawberry Pi"

Thu Jun 12, 2014 5:28 pm

mahjongg wrote:Android irrelevant for education
Chrome OS irrelevant for education
more RAM, err no, the current configuration allows for all we want, and also requires frugality when programming, which is a good thing
SATA irrelevant for education
Ethernet it has Ethernet, works well enough for this purpouse.
On the other hand education is irrelevant to the buzz and traffic Raspberry Pi gets on the internet. How many posts/topics are about kids learning with Pi, and how many are about makers/hackers doing their funky and/or more advanced things? ;)

If you can be flexible then it's rather a better thing than keeping the project forcefully fixed on one concept, target group and not use the full potential of others.

Gert van Loo wrote:
GPIO is 3.3V and low power which makes it incompatible with cheaper 5V Arduino addon boards.
Sorry but that made me laugh!
If there is one thing about the Arduino which utterly sucks it is the 5V.
I think the last 5V peripheral was designed about 20 years ago.
Everything nowadays is 3V3 or even lower.
Chinese flooded the market with 5V (or 5V tolerant) boards. If there would be better powered 5V power pins on Raspberry then it wouldn't be a such issue for RPi. Adding 5V tolerance to other pins would give easy access to all those cheap boards without any bigger limitations.

User avatar
FLYFISH TECHNOLOGIES
Posts: 1750
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2013 7:48 am
Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Contact: Website

Re: My idea for a flexible "Strawberry Pi"

Thu Jun 12, 2014 5:52 pm

Hi,
riklaunim wrote:If you can be flexible...
Flexibility costs.
Many things can be made... much less of them can be sold (at reasonable price). ;-)


Best wishes, Ivan Zilic.
Running out of GPIO pins and/or need to read analog values?
Solution: http://www.flyfish-tech.com/FF32

techpaul
Posts: 1512
Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2012 6:40 pm
Location: Reading, UK
Contact: Website

Re: My idea for a flexible "Strawberry Pi"

Thu Jun 12, 2014 5:57 pm

jamesh wrote:
techpaul wrote:
Cancelor wrote:I sometimes wonder, why is 'frugality when programming' a good thing:?:
Because not being frugal leads to un-necessary bloat and more bugs

KISS principle means less to go wrong, operates generally faster, and more efficiently on many levels.

Excessive code size generally leads to spaghetti code, unmaintainable code and worst of all unusable code
What he said.

My main bug bear is code bloat through bad programming, and unnecessary memory use through bad algorithm choice. Both are the results of bad/inexperienced software engineering.

Now there clearly are csases when you ned a LOT of memory to make something go faster. Handling images through a camera pipeline for example. But why does a webbrowser need half a GIG of memory to work fast? That one completely eludes me.
For examples of code bloat in all sorts of applications see http://thedailywtf.com :D
Just another techie on the net - For GPIO boards see http:///www.facebook.com/pcservicesreading
or http://www.pcserviceselectronics.co.uk/pi/

Tzarls
Authorised Reseller
Authorised Reseller
Posts: 224
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:59 am

Re: My idea for a flexible "Strawberry Pi"

Thu Jun 12, 2014 6:33 pm

riklaunim wrote:
On the other hand education is irrelevant to the buzz and traffic Raspberry Pi gets on the internet. How many posts/topics are about kids learning with Pi, and how many are about makers/hackers doing their funky and/or more advanced things? ;)

If you can be flexible then it's rather a better thing than keeping the project forcefully fixed on one concept, target group and not use the full potential of others.
What is better for unleashing your full potential than facing restrictions?

OTOH, I´m sure those hackers/makers doing their things are the main inspiration for kids learning to use the Pi. Just because we don´t read posts about kids using the Pi so frequently doesn´t mean they are not doing anything with it. And of course a kid turning an LED on and off won´t make to the headlines. I´m really starting to think that even the buzz and traffic the RPi gets on the internet is irrelevant to education.

jamesh
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 23393
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm

Re: My idea for a flexible "Strawberry Pi"

Thu Jun 12, 2014 7:27 pm

riklaunim wrote:
mahjongg wrote:Android irrelevant for education
Chrome OS irrelevant for education
more RAM, err no, the current configuration allows for all we want, and also requires frugality when programming, which is a good thing
SATA irrelevant for education
Ethernet it has Ethernet, works well enough for this purpouse.
On the other hand education is irrelevant to the buzz and traffic Raspberry Pi gets on the internet. How many posts/topics are about kids learning with Pi, and how many are about makers/hackers doing their funky and/or more advanced things? ;)

If you can be flexible then it's rather a better thing than keeping the project forcefully fixed on one concept, target group and not use the full potential of others.
Education is the aim of the charity behind Raspberry PI. All other aims come second to that, BY THE ARTICLE OF THE CHARITY! So, no, education is not irrelevant!

That, of course, does not mean the the Foundation are not delighted with the way it's been taken up in the huge number of places it has been. Without the income from those 3M Raspi's , the Foundation would not have the money it uses for furthering education in CS.
Principal Software Engineer at Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd.
Contrary to popular belief, humorous signatures are allowed. Here's an example...
"My grief counseller just died, luckily, he was so good, I didn't care."

Ravenous
Posts: 1956
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:01 pm
Location: UK

Re: My idea for a flexible "Strawberry Pi"

Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:12 am

riklaunim wrote:If you can be flexible then it's rather a better thing than keeping the project forcefully fixed on one concept, target group and not use the full potential of others.
There is flexibility - if you believe in this future proof pin layout, you can design version 1 yourself based on the Compute Module, and if people are interested do a kickstarter and get it into production. I might have a few myself if it has outputs that I like. Later versions might need alternate power regulators, etc. for whatever chip you use later but would share the same connector arrangement and always fit the same case.

(I personally believe it won't get enough buyers for the reasons I stated above, but you can try it and see.)

Return to “Off topic discussion”