mikerr
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Re: [Suggestion]Discontinue NOOBS

Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:22 am

While I never use NOOBS - I see it as necessary - if only for its ability to run simply by copying a few files to a fat-formatted sd card
That makes it easy for windows users to get started (or even android phones to create cards without rooting - see my sig )

I do think it was better when there was multiple OS on the default card,
due to raspbian increasing in size - its now the only OS/distro shown if you don't first connect network.

Might be better for discoverability if other OS were shown in the list even without network.
Android app - Raspi Card Imager - download and image SD cards - No PC required !

mattmiller
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Re: [Suggestion]Discontinue NOOBS

Thu Jan 19, 2017 7:23 am

And for balance, here is example of the support issues it causes
viewtopic.php?f=91&t=171910#p1100847

jamesh
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Re: [Suggestion]Discontinue NOOBS

Thu Jan 19, 2017 8:12 am

Important to remember that an enormous number of people use NOOBS, and we don't get that many new issues turning up here.

That said, things have moved on and with things like Etcher, it's much easier for create SD cards. I'll have a chat with the people in the office, see what they think.
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Re: [Suggestion]Discontinue NOOBS

Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:03 am

jamesh wrote: I'll have a chat with the people in the office, see what they think.
Have a look at PINN before you have your chat.
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Re: [Suggestion]Discontinue NOOBS

Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:15 am

mattmiller wrote:And for balance, here is example of the support issues it causes
viewtopic.php?f=91&t=171910#p1100847
But he's not stated what,where and how that SD card is setup. We don't know if NOOBS is used.
NOOBs support says you need a monitor, keyboard and mouse. So if NOOBS was used, then he's using the wrong thing.
That is not NOOBS fault.

If some of the PINN options are added it would help?
VNC and SSH are there.

For me, not having to wipe a load of SD cards when I could have just run update in noobs to get it working on the newer Pi's, no use now but in future maybe as newer Pi's come out and newer features are added. There must be a reason they keep updating git ;-)

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Re: [Suggestion]Discontinue NOOBS

Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:42 am

Another example of NOOBs trouble, none of this complication and misunderstanding is necessary for a simple image install.
viewtopic.php?f=28&t=172041

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Re: [Suggestion]Discontinue NOOBS

Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:47 am

We don't know if NOOBS is used.
That's my whole point :)
I'm suggesting that NOOBS depreecated so that we can help/support without 2nd guessing what method someone is running Raspbian on their Pi.

I fully understand that NOOBS has re-deeming features but is it sensible nowadays to support them both?

This is not intended to be a "NOOBS IS COMPLETELY DAFT" rant but in fact to get some considered thinking done at Pi over the pros and cons over best approach from now on to help newbies out :)

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procount
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Re: [Suggestion]Discontinue NOOBS

Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:49 am

I have been holding off my response to this thread for a while to see where it went, but I think the time has come to respond.
I am saddened by the title of this post, and worse that JamesH has considered the opinions of people who don't even use it to start a discussion in the RPT offices about it.

There have been over 11 million sales for the Raspberry Pi in nearly 5 years.
I can only speculate at how many distinct users that means there are - somewhere between 1 million and 11 million users perhaps? Maybe less if they all have more than 11 Raspberry Pis each!
How many different use cases for using a Raspberry Pi will those distinct users have?
The original aim of the Raspberry Pi was to get more kids into computer coding and improve their skills. But there are a lot of people who use their Pi as a media centre, or a retro gaming console, or a high altitude balloon tracker with imaging capabilities, or a robot controller, or a wifi access point/router, or an educational knowledge server in a 3rd world country, or... the list goes on and on.
What makes some people think that there is only one solution that this forum should promote, support or offer advice on? Only one OS and only one way of installing it?

The beauty of the Open Source and Linux community is the diversity of applications and solutions that come out of it. Who are we to say that those solutions are not valid? A support forum is there to support people in whatever direction their interests lie. If you are not interested in a particular subject, then don't subscribe to it, but let others support them as they are able and don't suggest for them to stop supporting it just because it doesn't interest them.

NOOBS fills a particular gap in the market for a particular set of users, especially those new to Linux coming from a Windows background who just want to get started with a Raspberry Pi using tools and techniques they are familiar with. It is there to provide a safety net in case the OS gets trashed, allowing the user to get back to a working system. It promotes experimentation with other OSes by offering a choice and an easy way to install them and change them. It also provides a boot manager facility to allow booing of multiple-OSes allowing each to have their own kernel (distinct from BerryBoot) and you can blame me for suggesting that feature in the first place (https://github.com/raspberrypi/noobs/issues/71). I'm sorry, but Etcher cannot be considered a replacement for all that NOOBS does. And just because we may have 5 years of experience with the PI, doesn't mean that all the new users coming to the RPi every day have that same experience. The need for a tool like NOOBS is still as valid today as it was when it was started.

I have loved the idea of NOOBS since it was first developed and am a strong proponent of it, but I realise it doesn't suit everybody, so if you prefer dd or win32diskiamger, then carry on. I'm not forcing anyone or everyone to use it. Use whatever method suits you and help people who want to follow in your footsteps.

NOOBS is not without its limitations, but it was designed for a particular purpose and it does that well. It was not designed as a solution to everyone's unique use cases.
There were many things that I wanted it to do and thought were missing, so I decided to roll up my sleeves and get stuck in to make it do what I wanted it to do, and so began my road to PINN.
Unshackled from any RPT/F constraints, I started by adding new features that other people had developed, then adding new feature requests and finally adding my own new features. I have used NOOBS/PINN development as a way to learn more about kernel building, device drivers, QT and Linux in general. I've learnt a lot, but I still consider myself a newb!
So far I have added: wifi support, VGA666 display, NOOBSCONFIG support, usb installation, alternative website repositories, ssh access, vnc screen sharing, Password Reset, SD card cloning, self-update, CEC TV remote support and an alternative default OS selection.

But I am standing on the shoulders of giants, riding on their coat tails, or whatever similar metaphor you would like to use. Without NOOBS and its various developers and the help they provided me, (for which I am eternally grateful) I would not have learnt as much as I have and PINN would not exist. I have fed back features to NOOBS and even updated its documentation. I try to follow NOOBS advances as close as possible and make available all of PINNs features to NOOBS and the community. But the RPT/F are busy people, they need to focus their resources according to their own aims and strategies. I see it as a shame that they haven't been able to devote sufficient resources to NOOBS to keep it up to date with the more recent changes. The "balancing" link MattMiller provided above was itself nothing to do with NOOBS, although the last answer highlighted an issue that the change in disabling ssh on Raspbian has caused in NOOBS and the fact that NOOBS wasn't considered when the change was introduced. (However, I posted a workaround on the forum how to get around this limitation, and a simple change to NOOBS allowing the SSH file to be located on the recovery partition as well would have avoided this issue - I feel a PR coming on).

Likewise, the issue linked to by jahboater has nothing to do with NOOBS - it is to do with the different format partitions that Linux uses and Windows cannot handle.

I am heartened by previous comments that PINN is the New Noobs etc, but I would not like to see PINN replace NOOBS. I don't have the time to test PINN as thoroughly as NOOBS is, the knowledge to keep it up to date with new hardware advances, or the latest Linux kernels etc., or to support everyone's issues (although I try my best). I rely heavily on the noobs developers and other forum members for those aspects. If other people want to use it in preference, then great, but let's keep NOOBS going too! I like to consider PINN more as a beta testing ground for new features that could go into NOOBS if they are found to be useful, successful and robust. All of my changes are available to be pulled into NOOBS. But in many ways there is room for both of these tools. NOOBS is more barebones to get beginners started, whereas PINN is an alternative with increasingly more advanced features.

Some may consider NOOBS a transitional tool, to be dispensed with as soon as they learn the "proper linux way of doing things." To me it could be so much more than that, so I have my own future roadmap for what I want PINN to do and to make it a more universal support tool.

If there is one thing I have learnt since dipping my toe into the world of Linux, it's that there is always more than one way of doing the same thing. Use whichever one you are happy with, but don't disparage other techniques just because you see no need for them. If individuals don't want to support NOOBS in the forums, then don't. Just ignore the posts and leave it to those who do want to support it. And don't start recommending to discontinue something just because you don't use it and don't see it's value. NOOBS has no more issues than any other project and I tend to follow most NOOBS/PINN related posts. NOOBS / PINN / BerryBoot are all valuable tools for many users. I would rather that NOOBS had a little more support and consideration devoted to it, rather than it being discontinued.

Not everyone uses the Pi in the same way.
PINN - NOOBS with the extras... https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=142574

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procount
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Re: [Suggestion]Discontinue NOOBS

Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:57 am

Sorry for the long post, and to be clear, I hope it didn't come across as a rant. All I'm trying to say is that I think there is room for both.
But it would help if the documentation was improved and made more accessible to newbies, instead of the answers to many support questions being buried somewhere in this forum.
And if only people would write support requests providing all the detail that we need, instead of us having to elicit the required information. I suppose we can dream :D , but I don't think discontinuing NOOBS would help these aspects at all.
PINN - NOOBS with the extras... https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=142574

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Re: [Suggestion]Discontinue NOOBS

Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:06 am

Maybe rather than adopting PINN the RPF folks (JamesH & Simon) should grab the bits you've added and push them into their code and come out with a supported NOOBS V3.0. You can then continue with PINN development and at some point in the future the RPF can do another merge of the bits you've added.

Giving NOOBS the ability to a) reset the pi password and b) fsck every partition on the SDCard are the pieces that are most needed. The number of threads on here for those two failures is incredible and that's something where NOOBS can add value that isn't available in plain Raspbian.

The primary thing NOOBS needs is a way to replace the NOOBS code, so that old NOOBS can run on new Raspberries without the need to do strange dances lifting bits from new NOOBS cards to old NOOBS cards.

I'd also add an enhanced clone function to move a 8GB NOOBS card to another 8GB, 16GB or 32GB card without losing existing set-up. So the folks that need more space get an option. I've not looked at how PiClone works in Raspbian with a NOOBS card but that PiClone function should also be available to be driven from the NOOBS menu.
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procount
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Re: [Suggestion]Discontinue NOOBS

Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:17 am

I totally agree with you, Dougie.

Of your requests, PINN already supports:
a) password reset
b) (Not yet, but fsck is in the roadmap)
c) Self update of PINN to latest version (optional)
d) PiClone is already ported into the PINN menu to clone an SD card to a new 8/16/32 GB card
All of these features can be readily incorporated into NOOBS.
PINN - NOOBS with the extras... https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=142574

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Re: [Suggestion]Discontinue NOOBS

Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:38 am

mattmiller wrote:
We don't know if NOOBS is used.
That's my whole point :)
I'm suggesting that NOOBS depreecated so that we can help/support without 2nd guessing what method someone is running Raspbian on their Pi.

I fully understand that NOOBS has re-deeming features but is it sensible nowadays to support them both?

This is not intended to be a "NOOBS IS COMPLETELY DAFT" rant but in fact to get some considered thinking done at Pi over the pros and cons over best approach from now on to help newbies out :)
But a simple point of asking the poster goes a long way, rather than guessing.
Why should a useful system be removed because somebody cannot be bothered to mention thier setup (or more asked what it is).
There are a lot out there who happily get along using it.

We are just a community volunteering to help these people. Just because some people cannot be bothered to ask a few questions or point to some FAQ that could be made on the main site for initial self help.
Maybe a better logging sort of help with tickets should be used, to see what the real problems are. The Foundation provide NOOBs and their Raspian setup, perhaps it's time to add real support behind it?

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Re: [Suggestion]Discontinue NOOBS

Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:55 am

I haven't perceived that NOOBS is causing any major problems and don't believe that discontinuing it would cause fewer. I think the premise that NOOBS is in anyway a burden is flawed.

I use NOOBS and prefer it for my needs. By all means officially change to PINN or back-port its nicer features into NOOBS but let's not lose something which provides for what NOOBS does and serves those who use it well.

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Re: [Suggestion]Discontinue NOOBS

Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:02 pm

Great that people on here are having a discussion about something, this discussion not something that should be shut down in my opinion.

Just my anecdotal experience for what it's worth, when I've been asked for help getting a Pi working often the solution is to show the person how to image Raspbian over an SD card that had noobs on it. Things usually go smoothly after that.

I find that people don't learn so fast when they are being spoon fed with turnkey processes.

Apologies for using a w***word bingo word.

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Re: [Suggestion]Discontinue NOOBS

Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:38 pm

Pithagoros wrote:I find that people don't learn so fast when they are being spoon fed with turnkey processes.
You're missing the whole point of NOOBS. It's there so that the folks with a Windows system and a brand new Raspberry can get their Raspberry doing something in less than an hour with no prior skills and no funky software needed.

Everyone with a Windows machine which can download and unzip NOOBS and can copy it to the root of their SDCard will get a Raspberry that boots (and is connected to the 'Net) in about half an hour from the point when their NOOBS download is complete. That's 100% essential for the Xmas market and for the "here's something for your birthday" group.

I tend to ignore NOOBS because I've been working with home computers since 1979, working with mainframes since 1981 and running Linux since 1995, but I'm not the target user for the Raspberry. The target user needs some hand holding and needs something that will get PIXEL running on their Raspberry without any specialist training required.

It is not a spoon fed turnkey system. It's just an installer to get a useful OS running.
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Re: [Suggestion]Discontinue NOOBS

Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:05 pm

DougieLawson wrote: It is not a spoon fed turnkey system. It's just an installer to get a useful OS running.
A pre-installed SD card with NOOBS installed for £5 is as just about spoonfed and turnkey as you can get without someone plugging it into the slot for you.

It's barely any more than the walk through screens you get when you switch on a new or factory reset iPhone.

mattmiller
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Re: [Suggestion]Discontinue NOOBS

Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:28 pm

The Foundation provide NOOBs and their Raspian setup, perhaps it's time to add real support behind it?
:)
They are too busy fiddling while the forum burns :)

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Re: [Suggestion]Discontinue NOOBS

Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:30 pm

Pithagoros wrote:
DougieLawson wrote: It is not a spoon fed turnkey system. It's just an installer to get a useful OS running.
A pre-installed SD card with NOOBS installed for £5 is as just about spoonfed and turnkey as you can get without someone plugging it into the slot for you.

It's barely any more than the walk through screens you get when you switch on a new or factory reset iPhone.
What works for Apple probably works for others.
And a lot of NOOBs users have had to format and SD card and transfer some downloaded files. I have no idea which is the greater out-of-pocket the two. But when I was doing it, paying extra to have noobs on a card was not even a thought and that was about a year ago.

There isn't a one click click click installer from RaspberryPi yet.

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Re: [Suggestion]Discontinue NOOBS

Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:56 pm

bensimmo wrote:
There isn't a one click click click installer from RaspberryPi yet.
Isn't there?
http://www.pibakery.org/
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Re: [Suggestion]Discontinue NOOBS

Thu Jan 19, 2017 6:56 pm

DougieLawson wrote:
bensimmo wrote:
There isn't a one click click click installer from RaspberryPi yet.
Isn't there?
http://www.pibakery.org/
From RaspberryPi, https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/ I cannot see it there or links to using it as a good method.


Edit : I had missed that if you use the Software Installation instruction they do get instructed to use etcher.io now. Which does take some complexity out of burning the images.

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Re: [Suggestion]Discontinue NOOBS

Thu Jan 19, 2017 8:00 pm

bensimmo wrote:Edit : I had missed that if you use the Software Installation instruction they do get instructed to use etcher.io now. Which does take some complexity out of burning the images.
"C:\Program Files\Etcher\Etcher.exe is not a valid Win32 application" so that's not a good start, and I did install the Win32-X86 version. Thankfully 'Uninstall Etcher.exe' does run.

W32DiskImager may not be pretty, but at least that runs and does what it is expected to.

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Re: [Suggestion]Discontinue NOOBS

Thu Jan 19, 2017 8:11 pm

DougieLawson wrote: I'd also add an enhanced clone function to move a 8GB NOOBS card to another 8GB, 16GB or 32GB card without losing existing set-up. So the folks that need more space get an option. I've not looked at how PiClone works in Raspbian with a NOOBS card but that PiClone function should also be available to be driven from the NOOBS menu.
Basically piclone does the following.

1. Create a paritition table on the new card with the same layout as the existing one but with the final partition allowed to grow or shrink.
2. Create fat or ext4 filesystems on the partitions based on what was on the old card
3. Copy everything over with file-level copy operations

So it's perfectly capable of handling noobs-based installs

treeHouse
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Re: [Suggestion]Discontinue NOOBS

Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:23 am

I love NOOBS and PINN and have them on all my SD cards for my rpis.

I wish they existed for other achitectures Linux installs.

Please don't suggest they go away. That would be a terrible loss.

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Re: [Suggestion]Discontinue NOOBS

Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:43 am

hippy wrote:"C:\Program Files\Etcher\Etcher.exe is not a valid Win32 application" so that's not a good start, and I did install the Win32-X86 version. Thankfully 'Uninstall Etcher.exe' does run.

W32DiskImager may not be pretty, but at least that runs and does what it is expected to.
Huh. On macOS it runs flawlessly. Thing is, I've been programming and doing sysadmin work on all manner of Unix systems for a very long time, and I can rattle off the necessary dd and mount commands just fine, but I switched to Etcher some months back, because it sweats all the details for me.

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Re: [Suggestion]Discontinue NOOBS

Fri Jan 20, 2017 10:26 am

CarlRJ wrote:
hippy wrote:"C:\Program Files\Etcher\Etcher.exe is not a valid Win32 application" so that's not a good start, and I did install the Win32-X86 version. Thankfully 'Uninstall Etcher.exe' does run.

W32DiskImager may not be pretty, but at least that runs and does what it is expected to.
Huh. On macOS it runs flawlessly.
That's great but doesn't alter the fact it doesn't run for me :roll:

Luckily I'm not a noob and could get further than "nothing happened at all", not even an error message, when the installer simply exited after I clicked Finish with the "Launch Etcher" checkbox ticked.

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