kme
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Re: No OS news?

Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:40 pm

I'm some what worried there isn't any OS news.

As far as I have picked up from the forum it appears that Debian works out of the box. But this must be a default Debian then, and R-Pi is anything but default. There is no ISA/IDE/ATA/SATA/eSATA bus just as an example so there is absolutely no reason to waste kernel space on these. Xorg can similarly be cut hard down as the hardware is 100% well defined.

The alternative is Fedora and this one apparently is actively developed for R-Pi (by Seneca, presume?), but we hear nothing?

I'm a bit worried as though making hardware is a big task, making good software is an order of magnitude harder.

It won't be much fun sitting with a RAM limited R-Pi and a bulky, overweight default Linux.

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abishur
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Re: No OS news?

Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:59 pm

I thought we already saw it in action accessing the SD card and an external USB drive using a vanilla Debian install (well I say vanilla, but I mean vanilla plus the GPU kernel patch ;) )
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liz
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Re: No OS news?

Thu Nov 10, 2011 5:12 pm

There are several distros which have been working on porting Raspi spins. We will probably be supporting Fedora as our official distro (they've been spectacularly helpful), but if you read around you'll see that Arch, Meego, and Debian (and there are bound to be others I've forgotten) have all been ported successfully too. Yes, software's difficult, but it'll be ready to go at launch.

ETA - there will be an announcement on the blog when we make a decision on which distro will be the "official" one.
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chris evans
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Re: No OS news?

Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:52 pm

Sorry for being thick but where is the official blog?
I've looked in * Home * FAQs * Shop * Wiki * Forum o Messaging * About us
and used the Forum search!
I realise the front page could be regarded as it but I'm not sure!
Looking forward to exciting things. Chris
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liz
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Re: No OS news?

Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:57 pm

It's the front page. ;)
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gatto
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Re: No OS news?

Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:37 pm

I can't see why people are worried about RAM usage...I guess it'd be pretty tight on the 128MB model, but I ran Arch Linux with Openbox on a ThinkPad T30 with 768MB and it only used about 60-80MB (without any tweaking), and I'm pretty sure it only even used that much because it scales according to how much you have available. Think light.

raffy
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Re: No OS news?

Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:52 am

I hope that the (really helpful) facility put up by the distro group in deploying support for RP users will be considered in the choice of "official" distro.

pepedog
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Re: No OS news?

Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:32 am

Archlinuxarm, I have packaged kernel and have a rootfs ready. Just a thought, if vfp versions of the blobs were available, would a repo of vfp show a marked performance increase?

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liz
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Re: No OS news?

Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:05 am

Eben says he suspects it might for a very small number of applications. At the moment, the limiting factor for web browsing is X performance; browsing might be a useful case for that.
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kenpem
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Re: No OS news?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:13 pm

Of the first two deployments I have in mind, one of them is a headless embedded server. In that particular case, I don't care about graphics performance at all, so would be perfectly happy with less traditional/desktop environments. One of the BSDs, in fact, would suit perfectly. Any gurus care to comment on the likelihood of that working?

BTW, I quite like the new forum. Nice 'n neat.

Benedict White
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Re: No OS news?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:24 pm

liz said:


There are several distros which have been working on porting Raspi spins. We will probably be supporting Fedora as our official distro (they"ve been spectacularly helpful), but if you read around you"ll see that Arch, Meego, and Debian (and there are bound to be others I"ve forgotten) have all been ported successfully too. Yes, software"s difficult, but it"ll be ready to go at launch.

ETA - there will be an announcement on the blog when we make a decision on which distro will be the "official" one.


Is there any chance that there will be no single official distro.

Personally I like Arch, but I would rather see a series of offerings.

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liz
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Re: No OS news?

Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:27 pm

There will be a series of offerings (it's just a Linux box, so *you* can put whatever the hell you like on there), but we need to give one distro the official Raspberry Pi blessing because it's to be used in schools. If a curriculum and lessons are to be built, it's useful if everybody is using the same platform.
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Benedict White
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Re: No OS news?

Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:37 am

liz said:


There will be a series of offerings (it's just a Linux box, so *you* can put whatever the hell you like on there), but we need to give one distro the official Raspberry Pi blessing because it's to be used in schools. If a curriculum and lessons are to be built, it's useful if everybody is using the same platform.


The difference between distros is like the difference between jackets. On the one hand different people feel comfortable in different jackets and on the other had, it is a jacket.

In that sense I don't see the need to choose. Personally I use ArchLinux (X86) because the package manager is very good, and the config files are where you expect them to be. That said there are always evangelists for all sorts of distros which is why there are all sorts of distros.

I don't see the need to choose one.

Bikko
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Re: No OS news?

Wed Dec 28, 2011 1:15 am

Windows 8 beta in feb

mengel
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Re: No OS news?

Wed Dec 28, 2011 1:19 am

Thank GOD we don't have worry about that on a Pi !!!

bodger
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Re: No OS news?

Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:47 am

glad to see you are going to have a "std" distro. as a blue collar linux user i find it very frustrating trying to sort minor issues with so many distros out there and sources of advice.choice and variety is great but people fail to realize that standardisation is the key to success. i would go even further and say that you should decide on your distro and not support anyother ! this may seem harsh but to non techies like me all the choice just leads to confusion.

i very much look forward to being able to buy a cheap purpose built linux device with a distro that works and hopefully a one stop shop for advice should an issue arise.

when you consider the amount of clever people writing/supporting all the various linux distros where could linux be now if they all pulled together on the same project ?

jamesh
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Re: No OS news?

Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:23 pm

Benedict White said:


liz said:


There will be a series of offerings (it's just a Linux box, so *you* can put whatever the hell you like on there), but we need to give one distro the official Raspberry Pi blessing because it's to be used in schools. If a curriculum and lessons are to be built, it's useful if everybody is using the same platform.


The difference between distros is like the difference between jackets. On the one hand different people feel comfortable in different jackets and on the other had, it is a jacket.

In that sense I don't see the need to choose. Personally I use ArchLinux (X86) because the package manager is very good, and the config files are where you expect them to be. That said there are always evangelists for all sorts of distros which is why there are all sorts of distros.

I don't see the need to choose one.


If you choose more than one, you have to support more than one. Not all distros are created equal. By having a standard one, you only need to support that one, saving a colossal amount of time and effort. Yes, they are all very similar, and what works on one will probably work on another.  However, that 'probably' increases the support burden considerably.
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Benedict White
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Re: No OS news?

Wed Dec 28, 2011 7:39 pm

JamesH said:


If you choose more than one, you have to support more than one. Not all distros are created equal. By having a standard one, you only need to support that one, saving a colossal amount of time and effort. Yes, they are all very similar, and what works on one will probably work on another.  However, that 'probably' increases the support burden considerably.


I can see why it looks that way, but I am not sure it will work that way.

In reality the issues will be mostly the same between distributions, and more likely than not due to software issues.

If you choose one, what you end up doing is fracturing a community, so all the people who use non chosen OS's will still use the R Pi, but they will use it within their own communities more than here.

This ultimately reduces the number of people to support the R Pi in it's primary use.

Something that is different about Linux to other OS's, is that the wider overall community can fix problems if they are part of the community that has the problem. So I still think that it would not be a good idea to choose one. (That said it's not my decision).

I am not just being contrary for the sake of it either!

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abishur
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Re: No OS news?

Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:54 pm

It sounds nice on paper but it never really works that way . Sadly, in our over legalized societies you have to very clearly define support.  Even though we all know that Linux is just a kernel and everything else is fluff, to the Joe Schmoe end user each distro is it's own unique entity as much as Windows is from OS X!

If a young "company" such as the r-pi can limit the legal support they have to provide that's a good thing.  It's a clear and definite "The issue isn't the r-pi" vs "well it works on the distro I use, let me pull up the obscure one you're using to test"

That said, I also don't think it matters at all.  While having an official distro is nice and frankly a good cover your backside move it doesn't affect anyone outside the baby user at all.  It's not like I *have* to use the r-pi endorsed distro.  For experienced users like you or me we can do whatever we want but it is helpful for people who are trying to learn computers to have a single flavor to get their toes wet before tossing them into the deep end
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jamesh
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Re: No OS news?

Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:02 pm

We need to provide something that people can put on their SD cards and make the device work. We only want to have to download, build, run , check and generally sanity  check one distro - that takes long enough. Now multiply that up by all the distros people might want. Not going to happen, it would take much too long. So, one distro, and perhaps two or three SD images for different purposes seems to way to go.
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mengel
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Re: No OS news?

Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:43 pm

I can see "support" of a kind for the education community. Otherwise I don't see an issue. All we really need is the gpu blob and we're off to the races ! Remember "Google Is Your Friend"

Benedict White
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Re: No OS news?

Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:43 pm

JamesH said:


We need to provide something that people can put on their SD cards and make the device work. We only want to have to download, build, run , check and generally sanity  check one distro - that takes long enough. Now multiply that up by all the distros people might want. Not going to happen, it would take much too long. So, one distro, and perhaps two or three SD images for different purposes seems to way to go.


Thing is, if there is more than one distro, you can get people using that distro to run the tests for you, and odds are, you will end up with a larger team with more combined experience. That way, people can choose what they want on their SD cards, and or change as they learn. For example, Arch is generally for more experienced users who like to tinker, make their own packages etc. Can be set up to run for non users, but then maybe Fedora would be better for a first timer.

The way you are looking at the problem seems to be using open source without wishing to leverage its biggest strength, numbers willing to help. (Including myself on Arch incidentally)

Tomo2k
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Re: No OS news?

Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:35 pm

Benedict, commercial support doesn't work like that.

You're thinking in terms of "Oh, there are loads of people using various versions of Linux and they'll all be able to help".

That is great for enthusiasts, but not much use for schools and commercial entities.

Anecdote time: I know of a competitor's product that was severely delayed because they initially used the model of support that you suggest – the delay almost killed the product entirely, though it's now coming back from the brink about four years late. (There were also other pollytics, the support issue wasn't the whole delay!)

They eventually purchased a commercial support contract from the likes of Red Hat/Ubuntu etc.

Commercial support goes like this:


I have an issue.
I contact the appropriate manufacturer/supplier/support organisation.
They respond with a solution that applies to my environment.

They do this quite quickly, because I've paid for them to do it – either by buying the product or a seperate support contract.

When schools start using this device, they will need a specific organisation they can go to for support, and for that support to be tailored to their specific needs.

Thus the Foundation itself can only directly support a very limited set of distributions, probably only one – and that is what will be used by schools.

They cannot provide direct support for every OS, distro and spin that enthusiasts will come up with, and we shouldn't expect them to. How could they?

This does not prevent (or even dissuade) enthusiasts from using anything they like, and for various communities to grow around the device and support each other.

As a concrete example – if you can't get the (future) camera working under a supported distro, then the Foundation will be able to help you, likely including specific code examples that will Just Work (TM) for you to work on with.

If you can't get it working under your custom Arch Linux, then you'll need to look at the 'supported distro' examples and then work out any necessary changes yourself within the Arch Linux community.

- Thankfully, the SD card method means that you can easily boot into a standard image to check your hardware.

Benedict White
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Re: No OS news?

Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:53 pm

Tom2K.

I have used commercial support.

When Novel was king it went like this:

You do all the looking up you can, and then you call Novel. They quickly realise you have looked and are no fool, so escalate to someone who can find his behind with both hands without a map. He gives you the answer, acknowledges that it is not a published one, the call does not cost the £400 it would have cost if you had not looked stuff up first.

Now MS is king it works like this:

You do all the googling the world can offer, and realise that your system is toast unless you can speak to someone who knows his stuff. So you make that call hoping that it will be like before. It isn't. It turns out they can't google as fast as you can, and as you can't escalate to a third line support your system is toast.

Now, I may be wrong in this, but I don't think the cost of the Pi includes support, either paid for by the Raspberry Pi foundation or for their support, or that it implies support from the chosen distro's community to the end users. The price of Linux support isn't covered by the whole cost of the unit, let alone the fact that they do need a few bob to actually make the thing.

Commercial support doesn't appear to be an option simply because there it can't be built into the price of the unit.

So, if you need support, the wider the community you have the more people there will be prepared to look at the problem. Android is cheap because it is tied down. You can root it, but then you are on your own.

Now, I am not quite sure how you meant

"If you can't get it working under your custom Arch Linux, then you'll need to look at the 'supported distro' examples and then work out any necessary changes yourself within the Arch Linux community."

The reality is that Arch is growing, has no commercial base but is extensively used by all sorts of people. It is not "custom". It is customisable for any purpose you want.

If something doesn't work under Arch, (or for that matter under any other distro I have used) the last thing I do is just boot up another one, there are easier ways to solve a problem.

BlueClogger
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Re: No OS news?

Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:37 am

It seems as if the decision has been made (and I support this) that the 'standard' distro will be Debian.

This is crucial for education and beginners as it provides a reference point for problem solving.

The amazing thing about Raspi is that you can mess about with your OS on a USB stick or SD card, and when it goes belly-up you can get back to the beginning dead easily.  At its miserable best System Restore rarely achieves this in Windows, and even with hard disc installations of Linux recovery is not always straightforward.  There is no 'best' OS - it depends on what you want to do.  I still like may aspects of RiscOS, but it is lacking in some areas of functionality and usability, so I mostly revert to Windows.  The learning curve for Linux is steep unless you stick to a simple GUI.

Raspi potentially offers the best of all worlds - a standard system when required, and safe messing about when you want to.

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