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Jessie
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Re: PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING, Thank you.

Sun Dec 25, 2011 6:27 am

First, thank you for taking the time to view and join the Raspberry Pi forums.  The foundation here has done a great job of making this thing happen.  What is the point of this post?  Well this is your typical Forum Faq that tells you what topics come up often and where to find the answer without posting.  While having more topics posted and more frequently does create more google (and any other search engine) hits it dillutes the knowlege base here.  You will see people often refer people to the FAQ, the wiki, or the search option, and often times a admin/mod will then lock the topic.  This is not to be rude, and if someone does it in a rude manner we would like to know, it is done to keep the sanity of long time forum members, and to make sure that when someone does a search on these forums the don't find 2000+ garbage posts that they have to wade through to find the information they need.  Let us start with the most important things to check out first.

The Official FAQ:  http://www.raspberrypi.org/faqs

The Official Wiki: http://elinux.org/RaspberryPiBoard

The Official Forum Wiki: http://www.raspberrypi.org/for.....re-posting

The Search Function: http://www.raspberrypi.org/for.....rum-search

Ok now on to common topics…

Documentation/Datasheets:  Edit…In a nice turn of events Broadcom has decided to let loose of a breif 200+ page datasheet.  Many thanks to the people that massaged this out of their hands and onto the internet for the low level hacker types to enjoy.  Linky:  http://dmkenr5gtnd8f.cloudfron.....herals.pdf

Info on the ARM core contained within the BCM2835: http://infocenter.arm.com/help.....index.html

More useful information on this core:

http://www.arm.com/products/pr.....rm1176.php *Be sure to click the "Resources" tab about half way down the page.

GPU Drivers:  Kind of related to the topic above but not the same.  You will be accessing the GPU through driver function calls, and Open GL calls not through registers.  The source for the GPU's drivers is not going to be supplied by Broadcom, nor is it's low level functionality.  These are just the constraints of the SOC chosen, if it really upsets you that much there are plenty of alternitive ARM based PCs out there to purchase.  Do a search if you are interested in this topic.

Note on the above two topics:  Many people come here and are upset with the lack of "openness" of the SOC.  They claim that this defies the goals of the project or undermines student's ability to learn.  Please keep in mind that the foundation keeps things as transparent and open as they can but some things are out of their control.  The main goal of the project is to provide studends with a learning device that cost $25.  The goal is not to make the most open source/hardware project out there.

VGA port:  Why is there no VGA port?  Quite simply, the SOC does not support RGB out and it would have raised the cost above the target.  The foundation is aware how important this issue is and it will be addressed in a future model.  Again this is another thread that gets started often.

http://www.raspberrypi.org/for.....quests/vga

Why not 512MB or 1GB of ram?  Not feasable for this SOC.  This particular SOC uses package on package ram, and the cost was too high for more than 256MB.  In addition we arn't talking x86 compiled code anyway, ARM uses denser code.

Windows (any version):  Someone may possibly get Win CE working on this device, most here argue that it isn't worth the time, but if you want to spend the money and make it happen then go for it.  This has been discussed many times here is one example: http://www.raspberrypi.org/for.....38;ret=all , and another about ReactOS: http://www.raspberrypi.org/for.....38;ret=all .

Also I am aware that Microsoft has stated that they will be making a verision of Win8 for ARM, but they also have stated that they will be only supporting 3 ARM chips Tegra, OMAP, and Snapdragon.  Since there is no source code avalible for Windows products there little chance of making it work on this platform, and even if you did there wouldn't be any compatible applications other than stuff that ran on an abstraction layer or compatiblility layer.


Windows on ARM is being written to run on ARM SoCs from NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments, and it will only be available on devices designed to run it - you won't be able to buy a license for Windows on ARM and install it on an existing tablet, or a tablet designed to run Android.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/.....rm-details



Sound input: This has been poping up a lot lately, and there is none.  Your options are to write your own code to bitbang audio input through the GPIO pins, or buy a usb mic or sound card.

USB 3.0, SATA, or anything else that requires a bus?  These are not present because the only bus avalible on the BCM2835 is a USB 2.0 bus.  Even the model B uses the USB 2.0 bus to connect to the chip that generates the two ports and ethernet.  It dosn't make any sense to bottleneck a USB 3.0 device through a 2.0 port.  Sata could be useful but it would add to the cost of the device and there are plenty of SATA to USB 2.0 adapters and enclosures.

Is (insert distro) going to be avalible for the Raspberry Pi?  If the makers of X distro port or a user ports it than yes.  Debian, Fedora, and Arch will be avalible from the start.  From the sounds of it Puppy is in the works as is a couple others.  For info on distros currently running on actual hardware look here: http://www.raspberrypi.org/for.....ributions/ .  Please adhere to the rules of the distros board:http://www.raspberrypi.org/for.....this-forum

HDMI, input, CEC, version number:  There is no input fuctionality.  CEC is supported.  The HDMI version is 1.3a.

HDMI & Composite at the same time?  No,  one or the other not both.  No dual displays unless you can find a USB monitor that works with Linux, or buy two R-Pis and install some desktop spanning software.

The bootloader:  The SOC loads the first thing in the fat partition on the SD card.  Whatever it says to do after that it does.  Can I boot from a USB stick or USB HDD?  Yes but you still need an SD card tell the SOC where to look.  There are plenty of old SD cards out there for dirt cheap and even the smallest card should have enough space to put the bootloader files onto.


There has been some confusion about the firmware and how the bootup proceedure goes.  It is quite simple the firmware resides on the SOC, not on the SD card you won't be able to destroy it.  The GPU handles the inital boot up proceedure, after that it is all things as normal.



Will the R-Pi come with…Power Supply? No. SD card? No.  For the price it will come with the R-Pi board itself.  Will the foundation sell these parts? Yes.  If bought from the R-Pi store what distro will come on the SD card? Unknown at this point, an official distro hasn't been determined.

System Clock, Real time clock…ect:  There is a system clock, there is however no way for it to run while the R-Pi is off. There may be an expansion board later to allow for it.  Right now you will be able to input the time and date at startup each time or have it go out to the internet for it.  This will be a potential issue for some people's projects, but the Raspberri Pi can't be all things to all people.  I'm sure that after launch there will be individuals who fit the R-Pi with a RTC chip and a coin cell and then the option will be there for all, but it just wasn't an option for the boards as it would have driven the price over target and the PCB over size.  http://www.raspberrypi.org/for.....quests/rtc

Mounting Holes?  There are no mounting holes in the initial version.  Why not?  In order to meet the foundation's goal of credit card size they had to be sacrificed.  It is a bummer for some.  Statements have been made that later revisions will have them at some point.  This can be discussed further here:  http://www.raspberrypi.org/for.....38;ret=all or numerous other threads if you use the search function.  Hot glue or rubber stick on feet are your friend.

Will there be a case?  Yes.  There will be a case once the educational product launces in 2012.  Plus many of us users have designed some and I'm sure someone will produce 3rd party cases.  Due to the size of the board it will also integrate nicely into many products like larger USB hubs, and keyboard, and joysticks.  Read here: http://www.raspberrypi.org/for.....8;search=1

When are they going to be released? Short answer…When it's done.  Long answer…The alpha and beta boards are out.  When they are done being tested and all issues are worked out the foundation will put in an order for the PCBs and the IC placement.  Right now all signs are pointing to Feb of 2012, but I must stress that there never is/was/will be a set launch date.  Update: The first lot of boards are supposed to return from the factory Feb 20 2012.  So I would expect that soon after that they should be up for sale.

Will there be pre-orders? No.  Quit asking. Why not? There are not enough people to manage pre-orders and all the crying that comes from people when they have to wait for a board due to demand.  If you see any vendor offering pre-orders then realize it is a scam, all Raspberry Pis will be sold through the store intially.

Are you going to ship to [insert country here]?  Yes, the Raspberry Pi will be shipped worldwide.  What will shipping cost to… Don't know yet.

Are you aware of [insert issue here] website issue?  Yes, right now priority goes to getting the boards shipping not fixing the website, or forums.  Admins are aware that the demand on this site is causing database, and PHP errors.  Nothing can be done about it at this point in time.  When the frenzy calms down some that will fix many of the issues.  Plus there are others such as the issue with the iPhone and Safari.  Just be patient, in a couple months these things will be sorted out.

What open source is and is not…Taken from here…https://trac.handbrake.fr/wiki/IsIsnt


Open source is:


A means to encourage software innovation among diverse groups of programmers
A policy of open inspection and analysis of source code, both to educate and provide a means for constructive criticism
A means by which programmers can "scratch their itch" for mental stimulation while at the same time solving computing problems that are frequently applicable even to non-technical users
Free, both intellectually and in terms of cost

Open source is not:


A way to get commercial-quality support at no charge
A free-for-all forum to ask for pie-in-the-sky software features and expect them to be implemented as requested and with no delay
An invitation to harass and otherwise frustrate a small and dedicated development staff because they didn't do what you wanted



This is a work in progress… There are tons of frequent questions I have not yet covered.  I will update as I feel it is needed (and have the time), and people will contribute to the thread as they see fit.

Why in the "Features and Requests" section?  Just because I feel this is where many of these questions come up.

Isn't most of this info avalible in the FAQ and Wiki?  Yes 99% of it, but it keeps getting asked so I'm just putting it in one more place.

Thank you for the people that took the time to read this giant rambling.

V 1.13  This guide licensed under GPL V3


 



Bacan
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Re: PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING, Thank you.

Sun Dec 25, 2011 8:36 am

@Jessie:  Well done!

I do take exception to one thing, your message was Not a giant rambling.

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liz
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Re: PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING, Thank you.

Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:36 pm

Thanks Jessie! I am thinking of renaming the FAQ page "Click here for free chocolate". That way, some people might actually *read* the damn thing…(best of all is when people post comments under it asking three questions which are answered in great detail in the page they're replying to).
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arm2
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Re: PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING, Thank you.

Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:59 pm

I think one of the problems with the FAQ is that it is now very very long. Replacing that page with (a slightly expanded version of, if possible) what Jessie has written above would I think save a lot of new but old questions.

Also the forum search only works on words of four letters or more, hence so may VGA, RTC, PSU etc threads! If the settings can be changed to allow three letters searches, a lot of time could be saved.

Chris Evans (CJE/4D)

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Jessie
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Re: PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING, Thank you.

Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:02 am

liz said:


Thanks Jessie! I am thinking of renaming the FAQ page "Click here for free chocolate". That way, some people might actually *read* the damn thing…(best of all is when people post comments under it asking three questions which are answered in great detail in the page they're replying to).


Thanks, I was thinking of something that people actually click on like... "Free iPad2" or "This guy got ripped without working out" or  "Free screen savers, and mouse cursors."  Anything that social engeneering experts generally use to feed people viruses and malware.

Prometheus
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Re: PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING, Thank you.

Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:09 am

Jessie said:


liz said:


Thanks Jessie! I am thinking of renaming the FAQ page "Click here for free chocolate". That way, some people might actually *read* the damn thing…(best of all is when people post comments under it asking three questions which are answered in great detail in the page they're replying to).


Thanks, I was thinking of something that people actually click on like... "Free iPad2" or "This guy got ripped without working out" or  "Free screen savers, and mouse cursors."  Anything that social engeneering experts generally use to feed people viruses and malware.


I can see it now... "I WANT SALE YOU ROLOX"...

treczoks
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Re: PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING, Thank you.

Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:41 pm

Just a note: You are talking about "this year" and "next year" - the text is from 2011, but for a text that is meant for a general audience which might miss the time reference, a clear "in 2011" and "in 2012" might be better.

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Jessie
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Re: PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING, Thank you.

Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:16 pm

treczoks said:


Just a note: You are talking about "this year" and "next year" - the text is from 2011, but for a text that is meant for a general audience which might miss the time reference, a clear "in 2011" and "in 2012" might be better.



That is a good point.  I will edit it sometime today to make some changes and fix some more spelling errors.

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Davespice
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Re: PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING, Thank you.

Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:02 pm

Good FAQ. I actually just read all this and it brought me up to date on a number of things that I now don’t need to go and read all the individual posts for

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Jessie
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Re: PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING, Thank you.

Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:26 pm

Davespice said:


Good FAQ. I actually just read all this and it brought me up to date on a number of things that I now don’t need to go and read all the individual posts for



Thank you, the fact that someone read it will keep me from killing myself today.  I was beginning to wonder if we write these FAQs and update the Wiki for nothing.  I probibly just need to take some time away from the forums.

richardp
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Re: PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING, Thank you.

Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:38 pm

Good guide, but unclear on software and drivers... many places keep drivers (GPIO etc) closed and Linus views this as acceptable.

Are all the drivers being released in source form?  (apart from the GPU that is), as the last thing I want is waiting for someone else to compile the drivers when a new Kernel comes out. (Kernel Magic changes play havoc on drivers)

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Jessie
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Re: PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING, Thank you.

Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:33 pm

richardp said:


Good guide, but unclear on software and drivers… many places keep drivers (GPIO etc) closed and Linus views this as acceptable.

Are all the drivers being released in source form?  (apart from the GPU that is), as the last thing I want is waiting for someone else to compile the drivers when a new Kernel comes out. (Kernel Magic changes play havoc on drivers)

Richard


Some of these questions I cannont answer in depth because I am just a mod, but I can re-gurgitate stuff that foundation members have said and hinted.  The only closed driver will be the GPU as far as I know.  The GPIO will be documented and what not but not until after launch.  You can expect full acess to the GPIO at some point just not right away.  The ARM core is well documented already and that info can be downloaded from ARM holdings.  ARM assembly will be useable should you have the skill, or just abstract useage of the CPU through function calls.  You shouldn't have to worry about the Kernel issue because the GPU blob really only does two things.  One it initiates the loading proceedure.  Two in interfaces with libraries such as Open GL and various other video libraries.  So in theroy the Kernel shouldn't have to ever access the GPU, but I could be wrong here.  There is framebuffer acess through the CPU as well so that people wanting to write their own os can use a dumb framebuffer to get their projects off the ground.

There is a DSP on the SOC but at least at launch there will be no way to use it.  The foundation is working with Broadcom on this but at the moment it will be unavalible.  Right now most of the issue is the legal aspects of things, and the restrictions placed on them by Broadcom.  The R-Pi team is working on getting more info and source avalible to the community but it takes time, and it may take a lot of time to work the coporate culture into giving people more of what they are asking.  I doubt we will get all of it but more will be forthcoming.

Edit: I haved added some links to the ARM cores in the FAQ at the top.

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Re: PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING, Thank you.

Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:56 pm

Jessie said:


In addition we arn't talking x86 compiled code anyway, ARM uses denser code.


O_o

Citation needed? Sure, Thumb helps, but how do you know it's denser than x86? And by how much? I don't mean "up to how much", I mean practically... if typical compiled ARM code is denser than the same x86 code, by how much and what is your source?

Thanks

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Chromatix
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Re: PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING, Thank you.

Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:16 pm

I picked a library at semi-random and compared their sizes on my TrimSlice (ARM based), my EeePC 701 (x86), an Atom nettop (AMD64), and the old PowerBook I use as a firewall (PowerPC).

x86: 1.95 MB

ARM: 1.40 MB

AMD64: 2.34 MB

PPC: 2.09 MB

So in this case the ARM version of the library is about 30% smaller than standard, while AMD64 bloats it by about 15% or so.
The key to knowledge is not to rely on people to teach you it.

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Re: PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING, Thank you.

Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:22 pm

Chromatix said:


I picked a library at semi-random and compared their sizes on my TrimSlice (ARM based), my EeePC 701 (x86), an Atom nettop (AMD64), and the old PowerBook I use as a firewall (PowerPC).

x86: 1.95 MB

ARM: 1.40 MB

AMD64: 2.34 MB

PPC: 2.09 MB

So in this case the ARM version of the library is about 30% smaller than standard, while AMD64 bloats it by about 15% or so.


Nice, thanks!

skrenes
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Re: PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING, Thank you.

Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:27 am

Thanks Jessie. I was about to request gigabit Ethernet and more RAM but I see that due to this SOC, that's impossible. I can't wait until it comes out and I can get it!!

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Jessie
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Re: PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING, Thank you.

Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:13 pm

ShiftPlusOne said:


Jessie said:


In addition we arn't talking x86 compiled code anyway, ARM uses denser code.


O_o

Citation needed? Sure, Thumb helps, but how do you know it's denser than x86? And by how much? I don't mean "up to how much", I mean practically... if typical compiled ARM code is denser than the same x86 code, by how much and what is your source?

Thanks


Google searches are your friend.  This is why ARM invented Thumb, for compiled code density and to make better use of ram.  I'm not writing a dissertation here, if you want to verify the truth run a search yourself.  Most of the crap I spout out can be found on ARM's website and re-regurgitated on Wikipedia.  I'm not that smart I just know how to research stuff.


Flaxx said:  Thanks Jessie. I was about to request gigabit Ethernet and more RAM but I see that due to this SOC, that's impossible. I can't wait until it comes out and I can get it!!


Thank you for reading the FAQ.

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Re: PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING, Thank you.

Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:26 am

Jessie said:

HDMI & Composite at the same time?  No,  one or the other not both.  No dual displays unless you can find a USB monitor that works with Linux, or buy two R-Pis and install some desktop spanning software.
Curious about this: Does either output take priority on the board itself if both are connected to a display, or is this something that would be determined by software/OS?

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abishur
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Re: PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING, Thank you.

Thu Jan 26, 2012 2:41 am

HDMI takes priority if I'm remembering correctly (it was discussed some time ago)
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Gordon Sim
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Re: PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING, Thank you.

Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:56 pm

Good FAQ, thanks.

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Gert van Loo
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Re: PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING, Thank you.

Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:36 pm

I did not write the software, but I have been told that on start-up it checks for an HDMI screen (As it can't check for composite). If there is no HDMI it switches to composite. I have no idea how you then select the format (PAL/NTSC/SECAM...)

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Chromatix
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Re: PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING, Thank you.

Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:45 pm

I heard there was a configuration file that could be edited for PAL/NTSC switching and probably some other fine-tuning of the composite output.  I forget which file it is.

It is not possible for a Composite signal source to detect what signals the target is capable of receiving.  However, some TVs are capable of adjusting to several different input types, which should provide at least enough usability to edit the file immediately after installation.

In some distros it would even be possible to blind-edit the file with care, if the method to do so was known in advance.  If all else fails, a "sudo sed -i" recipe could do it from the "Run Command" keyboard hotkey in a desktop environment.
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trip2011
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Re: PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING, Thank you.

Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:31 pm

I have a some questions.

1) On video showing work Raspberry Pi it is shown that it reproduces films in a HD-format. What is used for decoding acceleration mpeg4 or h.264 - GPU or block Vector Floating-Point (VFP)?

2) Whether acceleration of decoding of video in Linux-libraries of a part distribution kit for Raspberry Pi is used?

3) Whether probably to use hardware acceleration for video coding? For example to encode received from webcam video (at least 640x480) in mpeg4 or h.264 in real time?

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abishur
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Re: PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING, Thank you.

Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:37 pm

welcome to the forum trip!  The questions are largely answered in the forum already   If you check the front page and go back through their posts you should quickly find a post about the codecs they went with.

Also on the front page at the top right is a custom google search that is very accurate, I'd start there to find any unanswered questions
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isaac32767
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Re: PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING, Thank you.

Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:12 am

Idle Curiosity: Why have a composite port at all? If VGA is a vanishing standard, isn't composite even more so? On consumer devices, they're strictly a legacy port. I haven't seen a "real" computer with a composite port since CGA and Hercules went away some 20 years ago.

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