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.