fruitoftheloom
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Re: Pi Is Too Complicated

Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:15 am

This whole post is just a load of crap from a long term Poster who should know better than to start a Flame War.

Jamesh above is correct in his responses that issues arise because Poster read Blogs and Tutorials which do not relate to Raspbian Stretch or resurrect old Posts.

If it does not state Raspbian Stretch it is not fit to be usable.

It is 11 months since Raspbian Stretch release and apart from one exception, PiNet, everyone should of ditched Raspbian Jessie & Wheezy as well as Debian ARMEL.
Adieu

Heater
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Re: Pi Is Too Complicated

Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:22 am

epoch1970,
So in fact containers hide a lot of complexity to end-users.
The intended end user in the case of the Pi is young kids and others who have never programmed before trying to get off the ground with their first "Hello World" program in whatever language. My claim is that Docker containers are not needed at that point and add a huge pile of complexity that will confound our end user. Like so:
https://gist.github.com/joerx/56e266448b4c2519dd66

mfa298,
From what's been said elsewhere that change was about providing a better user experience (or fewer issues) for the majority of users.
I can understand the motivation. It's just that every change like that wastes an hour or a day as you have to stop what you are doing and find out what happened to break your stuff. It's especially annoying to find that your Debian based system has diverged from the "Debian way" that you use everyday on other systems, for not much of a good reason.

ejolson,
Linus has maintained the mandate "don't break userland" for at least a decade...
Yes, at the source code, API level. Linus Torvalds has repeatedly refused to freeze the binary interfaces. That is why one has to rebuild ones nvidia drivers for every kernel update. That is why kernel modules I created a few years back no longer work.
As a result, Linux binaries from 2004 continue to run without any difficulties on recent kernels.
Not really. Such binaries are insulated from the kernel by libc and other libraries.

Imperf3kt,
If tutorials become outdated, then perhaps the fault lies in the inexperienced user?
Fine. Blame the user. The newbie to programming and Linux and everything that is just starting out with his new Pi and eagerly following some tutorial. Likely they will give up in frustration when things don't work and there is no clear reason why.
If a tutorial fails, learn why.
Ultimately that is what we have to do. It can be a long and painful road that wastes much time. Even for the experienced old hands.

Eventually you learn that if you are not starting with a clean installation and following the instructions of the vendor then eventually you will get tied in knots.

You learn that any and all tutorial, videos, blogs around the net are not gospel truth but merely hints at what might be possible.

achrn
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Re: Pi Is Too Complicated

Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:26 am

Imperf3kt wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:26 am
Could you be more specific?
All the stuff I've tried, has worked no matter the version of Raspbian I use.
Headless setup. Any tutorial that fails to mention creating a file 'ssh' in the boot partition is not going to work.

The last one that bit me was MySQL - the means to authenticate as the root user within the database has changed (and has changed from the way I've been doing it for decades). Historically, I have always simply logged in as the root user (with a good password), that no longer works and you now need to login from the system root account without a password. That locked me out from my network backups for a time. It's a non-trivial headache to find the 'new' way of doing something sometimes.

I don't think the way to solve the problem is to freeze at some historic version of all software, but denying that there is ever any such problem is not helpful either.

Heater
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Re: Pi Is Too Complicated

Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:53 am

achrn,

To be fair, the way MySql works is not really the doing of Raspbian or probably even Debian from where it comes. I can imagine things have changed in the move from MySql to MariaDB.

This is no doubt true of hundreds of other programs. They change of their own accord, as their creators see fit.

That is the constant software churn we live in. That is why Debian has such long release cycles. So as to provide islands of stability. That is why other distros have long term support versions.

jamesh
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Re: Pi Is Too Complicated

Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:05 am

achrn wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:26 am
Imperf3kt wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:26 am
Could you be more specific?
All the stuff I've tried, has worked no matter the version of Raspbian I use.
Headless setup. Any tutorial that fails to mention creating a file 'ssh' in the boot partition is not going to work.
And our tutorials, I think, have that.
achrn wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:26 am
The last one that bit me was MySQL - the means to authenticate as the root user within the database has changed (and has changed from the way I've been doing it for decades). Historically, I have always simply logged in as the root user (with a good password), that no longer works and you now need to login from the system root account without a password. That locked me out from my network backups for a time. It's a non-trivial headache to find the 'new' way of doing something sometimes.
A Debian change, not specific to Raspbian.
achrn wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:26 am
I don't think the way to solve the problem is to freeze at some historic version of all software, but denying that there is ever any such problem is not helpful either.
But who's problem is it? Ours? No, not usually.

So far, despite me asking twice, no-one has really come up with any real divergences from Debian that Raspbian has that cause big problems, and yet it's been claimed this is an issue.
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hippy
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Re: Pi Is Too Complicated

Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:38 am

achrn wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:26 am
Imperf3kt wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:26 am
Could you be more specific?
All the stuff I've tried, has worked no matter the version of Raspbian I use.
Headless setup. Any tutorial that fails to mention creating a file 'ssh' in the boot partition is not going to work.
Needing a country code to enable WiFi is something new which out of date tutorials won't have covered.

There have also been changes to Samba defaults which caught people out, had things which were working stop working.

The /dev device naming for UART ports has changed somewhat over time.

Use of the I2C-0 bus also changed, is no longer available, and there have been other changes to the I/O which means a tutorial for one board doesn't always apply to another.

Introducing systemd outdated a lot of tutorials. I don't know if how udev rules are specified has changed during the Pi's time but I do know that has caused problems for some Linux users, has caused some problems for the company I work for.

Networking has changed considerably from using /etc/network/interface editing to dhcpcd configuration.

The use of frame buffers seems to be changing to allow the use of multiple frame buffers. Any tutorial saying only one can be used will instantly be come outdated.

I doubt all that can be blamed on Raspbian as such, but for users who don't understand how things are that's what gets blamed because "what used to work with Raspbian no longer works with Raspbian".

It's also not the fault of the Pi that older tutorials are out of date, haven't been updated. That's the 'nightmare of Linux', let documentation become outdated, keep it up to date, document all the options and have it become a bloated confusing mess because one doesn't know what the user has.

Most authors work to 'done and dusted', don't see it as their problem that a change has outdated what they once wrote. To be honest it's one of the reason some people do not embrace supporting Linux as it's often more trouble than it's worth.

The not caring for backwards compatibility has authors not caring that their work becomes outdated. Millions of authors cannot be expected to keep their work up to date just because Linux has a rather gung ho attitude to change. Many won't even know things have changed, or how it should now be. It's shifting sand and one soon tires of running just to stand still.

I don't know what the solution is and there probably isn't one. Welcome to Linux.

mfa298
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Re: Pi Is Too Complicated

Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:56 am

jamesh wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:05 am
So far, despite me asking twice, no-one has really come up with any real divergences from Debian that Raspbian has that cause big problems, and yet it's been claimed this is an issue.
The only thing I can think of that usually get's moaned about is the networking one, where those with experience in dealing with Debian/Ubuntu servers are used to using the setup with /etc/network/interfaces with static IPs. So using dhcpcd is different to what they're used to. (To some extent I'm one of those). See the argument from Heater in a previous post.
Heater wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:22 am
mfa298,
From what's been said elsewhere that change was about providing a better user experience (or fewer issues) for the majority of users.
I can understand the motivation. It's just that every change like that wastes an hour or a day as you have to stop what you are doing and find out what happened to break your stuff. It's especially annoying to find that your Debian based system has diverged from the "Debian way" that you use everyday on other systems, for not much of a good reason.
The counter argument for that is that it's a few hours(combined) for people people who know the other ways, know that Debian is about choice (so there's not always one right way) and have a decent idea of how to google for relevant answers. Versus the hundreds of hours when the 'old' way doesn't work for a wireless desktop like connection which then a beginner is unable to even work out how to think about fixing it.

For networking Debian has several ways it can be configured (/e/n/interfaces, NetworkManager, dhcpcd). Whilst /e/n/interfaces might work better for servers it's not the best option for desktop systems used by beginners. So for a system aimed at beginners not having /e/n/interfaces makes sense. For the more advanced user it's also easy to switch back to /e/n/interfaces (or probably NetworkManager if you so wish).

So in terms of JamesH's question. I think that seems to be one issue that keeps cropping up about where things diverge. However I'm not sure it is really an issue as such and those who constantly moan about it should probably know better.

jamesh
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Re: Pi Is Too Complicated

Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:13 am

hippy wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:38 am
achrn wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:26 am
Imperf3kt wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:26 am
Could you be more specific?
All the stuff I've tried, has worked no matter the version of Raspbian I use.
Headless setup. Any tutorial that fails to mention creating a file 'ssh' in the boot partition is not going to work.
hippy wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:38 am
Needing a country code to enable WiFi is something new which out of date tutorials won't have covered.
Forced on us by the ludicrous legislation and frequencies of 5G wireless not being consistent worldwide.
hippy wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:38 am
There have also been changes to Samba defaults which caught people out, had things which were working stop working.
From Debian.
hippy wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:38 am
The /dev device naming for UART ports has changed somewhat over time.
From Linux in general
hippy wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:38 am
Use of the I2C-0 bus also changed, is no longer available, and there have been other changes to the I/O which means a tutorial for one board doesn't always apply to another.
Fair enough, although not really a OS thing, as its a HW change that needs to be catered for.
hippy wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:38 am
Introducing systemd outdated a lot of tutorials. I don't know if how udev rules are specified has changed during the Pi's time but I do know that has caused problems for some Linux users, has caused some problems for the company I work for.
From Debian.
hippy wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:38 am
Networking has changed considerably from using /etc/network/interface editing to dhcpcd configuration.
From Debian.
hippy wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:38 am
The use of frame buffers seems to be changing to allow the use of multiple frame buffers. Any tutorial saying only one can be used will instantly be come outdated.
This will probably be true, although I'd prefer new features that people have been clamouring for to be included, to be added, rather than holding them back because some old tutorial will become slightly older. Note, the frame buffers will work as they always have done (I hope), you'll just have more than one of them (i.e. just adds /dev/fb1)
hippy wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:38 am
I doubt all that can be blamed on Raspbian as such, but for users who don't understand how things are that's what gets blamed because "what used to work with Raspbian no longer works with Raspbian".

It's also not the fault of the Pi that older tutorials are out of date, haven't been updated. That's the 'nightmare of Linux', let documentation become outdated, keep it up to date, document all the options and have it become a bloated confusing mess because one doesn't know what the user has.

Most authors work to 'done and dusted', don't see it as their problem that a change has outdated what they once wrote. To be honest it's one of the reason some people do not embrace supporting Linux as it's often more trouble than it's worth.

The not caring for backwards compatibility has authors not caring that their work becomes outdated. Millions of authors cannot be expected to keep their work up to date just because Linux has a rather gung ho attitude to change. Many won't even know things have changed, or how it should now be. It's shifting sand and one soon tires of running just to stand still.

I don't know what the solution is and there probably isn't one. Welcome to Linux.
And Windows.




In short, seems to me that some people are saying they would have preferred to stick with the Pi1 and we should never updated the OS? Have I got that right?
Principal Software Engineer at Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd.
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gordon77
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Re: Pi Is Too Complicated

Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:20 am

I wouldn't say too complicated just too many changes to keep track of in the OS. But l don't think that's the RPF fault.
The issue l find is getting all relevant details / documentation, it seems to leak out at times, normally in these forums.

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thagrol
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Re: Pi Is Too Complicated

Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:37 am

At risk of repeating myself (from another thread), the gist of the OP's complaint seems to be that things change, authors don't update their tutorials, and I have to find the solutions for myself.

At risk of sounding like a troll, my question to the OP is this:

Why not stop complaining at the wrong people, contact the relevent author(s), and where you have found the solution, post your own turotial?

I understand your frustration but by not sharing your findings you're doing nothing to help others resolve things.
Note to self: don't feed the trolls
If you believe "L'enfer, c'est les autres" (Hell is other people) have you considered that it may be of your own making?

jamesh
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Re: Pi Is Too Complicated

Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:38 am

gordon77 wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:20 am
I wouldn't say too complicated just too many changes to keep track of in the OS. But l don't think that's the RPF fault.
The issue l find is getting all relevant details / documentation, it seems to leak out at times, normally in these forums.
The OS itself doesn't change hugely* when looked at from the outside, the surrounding distribution on the other hand does.



* sometimes there is a relatively large jump, every couple of years, as we move from one Debian to the next (i.e. Wheezy to Stretch). However, even then the majority of the OS stays the same at the user level, even if there have been changes internally.
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Please direct all questions to the forum, I do not do support via PM.

jamesh
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Re: Pi Is Too Complicated

Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:40 am

thagrol wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:37 am
At risk of repeating myself (from another thread), the gist of the OP's complaint seems to be that things change, authors don't update their tutorials, and I have to find the solutions for myself.

At risk of sounding like a troll, my question to the OP is this:

Why not stop complaining at the wrong people, contact the relevent author(s), and where you have found the solution, post your own turotial?

I understand your frustration but by not sharing your findings you're doing nothing to help others resolve things.
Even better, if you have a found a useful tutorial on a subject that we don't cover on the site, and you think it fits in with our documentation aims, let us know and we can write one, or even supply one yourself. It's all in Github.
Principal Software Engineer at Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd.
Please direct all questions to the forum, I do not do support via PM.

achrn
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Re: Pi Is Too Complicated

Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:04 pm

jamesh wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:05 am
achrn wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:26 am
Imperf3kt wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:26 am
Could you be more specific?
All the stuff I've tried, has worked no matter the version of Raspbian I use.
Headless setup. Any tutorial that fails to mention creating a file 'ssh' in the boot partition is not going to work.
And our tutorials, I think, have that.
achrn wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:26 am
The last one that bit me was MySQL - the means to authenticate as the root user within the database has changed (and has changed from the way I've been doing it for decades). Historically, I have always simply logged in as the root user (with a good password), that no longer works and you now need to login from the system root account without a password. That locked me out from my network backups for a time. It's a non-trivial headache to find the 'new' way of doing something sometimes.
A Debian change, not specific to Raspbian.
achrn wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:26 am
I don't think the way to solve the problem is to freeze at some historic version of all software, but denying that there is ever any such problem is not helpful either.
But who's problem is it? Ours? No, not usually.

So far, despite me asking twice, no-one has really come up with any real divergences from Debian that Raspbian has that cause big problems, and yet it's been claimed this is an issue.
I never claimed it was your problem. I never assigned any blame on anyone.

I was responding specifically and explicitly to the claim that "All the stuff I've tried, has worked no matter the version of Raspbian I use." That hasn't been the case for me. It won't have been the case for very many people.

By all means, says that it's not a problem that anyone can fix, but it's wrong to say it doesn't exist.

achrn
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Re: Pi Is Too Complicated

Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:12 pm

jamesh wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:13 am

From Debian.

From Debian.

From Debian.
I'm struggling to understand the point of this post.

The OP was bemoaning that because Raspbian is built on Debian it changes too often due to changes in Debian, and Jamesh's apparent rebuttal of that is to say the changes come from Debian. So you're in agreement?

hippy
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Re: Pi Is Too Complicated

Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:12 pm

jamesh wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:13 am
In short, seems to me that some people are saying they would have preferred to stick with the Pi1 and we should never updated the OS? Have I got that right?
Pretty much as I see it.

Change cause problems; so don't change, don't slavishly rush to follow whatever Debian does, don't seek to be as up to date as one could be.

I don't necessarily agree with that. It would solve some issues but it creates others.

And that's the problem; there is no single perfect solution.

It was suggested people could just stick with what they install, never update. Every tutorial they have for that will keep applying to that.

The trouble comes when they don't have a tutorial and need one. Sod's law will say that what they find only applies to something beyond what they actually have, will be as wrong for them as an out of date tutorial is for users of up to date systems.

So what to do, how to satisfy users of both old and new ? Users of the new complain old stuff is out of date, users of the old complain new stuff doesn't apply to them.

And telling authors to get their tutorials updated doesn't necessarily solve things. It just means the users of old stuff will have less information available if authors are only covering the latest.

Authors are no more obliged to update their tutorials than an author has to describe older ways of doing things. Blaming authors is just a means of passing the buck.

If backwards compatibility was there there wouldn't be a problem. The tutorials would never go out of date but that's not necessarily or always a reasonable proposition.

As you noted; most changes aren't Raspbian but Debian, they affect Raspbian because Raspbian chooses to follow Debian. But that's a choice made.

Maybe don't do that, make the other choice ?

I'm not saying one should. I have acknowledged there are problems with either choice, but I think the OP's point was that it doesn't have to be how it is.

For some people lack of change is more welcome than change. For others it's the other way round. Is there a compromise to be had ? Maybe, maybe not.

ShiftPlusOne
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Re: Pi Is Too Complicated

Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:41 pm

Minor correction that the networking changes have mostly come from the UI work, not from upstream Debian. dhcpcd is still not found on a typical Debian install.

However, some people have the misconception that /etc/network/interfaces is the standard way to configure the network in Debian. Or that we have broken it in some way.

Debian recommends NetworkManager for the desktop or systemd's network management for the console.

We have both moved away from ifupdown, but still have it as a legacy option for people who don't want to move on yet.

People who say Debian changes too much should also keep in mind that the Debian is known for not changing enough and having out of date packages. All the other major distros moved away from sisvinit way before Debian switched to systemd. Package versions and configurations change way more often on other distros too. The channges that Debian makes are often forced on them by the direction Linux is going as a whole and those change are driven by the direction hardware and software are going. These things don't just happen in a vacuum because somebody got bored.

I'll also add that thee idea that we changed from ifupdown for 'no good reason' is ridiculous. We don't try to create more work for ourselves or our users. I've gone into the reasons many times before, so I'll keep it short. When the desktop moved to dhcpcd (for the same reasons no other major distro uses ifupdown for the desktop), I tried to keep Raspbian lite on ifupdown because I don't like changing things unless we have to. There were many cases where everything worked fine with dhcpcd, but ifupdown would have quirky behaviour that has to be worked around with extra parameters or hooks. After spending quite some time on trying to get a stable ifupdown based config suitable for Raspbian, I had to give up and go with dhcpcd. It's quite possibly that ifupdown was flakey at the time because it was around the switch to systemd and Debian may not have had all the issues ironed out yet and maybe it all works great now. But as mentioned earlier, it's too little too late, given that even Debian don't use ifupdown anymore.

What's clear from this thread is that everybody agrees some things are complicated. If we try to pin down what's too complicated or what the solutions are, everybody has different answers. Imagine the feedback we'd get from that user base as a whole if we dropped our Raspbian images and said we're focusing all our efforts on plan9 (or any of the other suggestions made in this thread). The remaining three customers would be very happy with that decision.

hippy
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Re: Pi Is Too Complicated

Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:12 pm

Two important questions are; what are people having problems with and why do they need to do whatever it is which is causing them problems ?

I suspect it's mostly Linux/Debian/Raspbian making it that way or they are doing something which isn't run of the mill.

The priority should probably be to identify what is run of the mill and is causing difficulties.

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Re: Pi Is Too Complicated

Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:40 pm

achrn wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:12 pm
jamesh wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:13 am

From Debian.

From Debian.

From Debian.
I'm struggling to understand the point of this post.

The OP was bemoaning that because Raspbian is built on Debian it changes too often due to changes in Debian, and Jamesh's apparent rebuttal of that is to say the changes come from Debian. So you're in agreement?
No, those points are to refute the claim that Raspbian is diverging too much from Debian which is making it more complicated. My refutation of the OP would be that, no, its not getting more complicated - it's simply changing a bit as technology advances.

It's Debian and the packages it incorporates that is making the majority of the changes. We make as few as possible, because otherwise the maintenance burden is too high. A lot of Raspberry Pi specific stuff is now upstreamed as well, so we get closer and closer to base kernel (helps having sold nearly 20M devices...!)

The problem with the whole argument of complexity is that an OS that does what Raspbian does, is a very very complex bit of software, and there are limits to how far you can uncomplex* it.


* New word, ™ jamesh.
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The Traveler
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Re: Pi Is Too Complicated

Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:02 pm

At risk of repeating myself (from another thread), the gist of the OP's complaint seems to be that things change, authors don't update their tutorials, and I have to find the solutions for myself.
Yeah, I kind of got that impression too. OTOH, I understand trying to create a curriculum for institutional teaching where it has to be pre-approved in advance, or curriculum vitae for one's personal qualifications can be difficult when the subjects are a moving target.

That being said, subjects like C programming and bash shell programming, despite changes in syntax and semantics don't really change much. But if one is teaching how to use A SPECIFIC PROGRAM OR OS FEATURE then yes, there could be problems. If one is teaching how to use Application X on operating system Y on hardware Z and any of those changes, well, adaptation is necessary to some degree. MicroSoft Word is still mostly the same Word is was 20 years ago, some details have changed.

Cheers.
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Heater
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Re: Pi Is Too Complicated

Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:23 pm

achrn,

I'm struggling to understand the point of this post as well.
The OP was bemoaning that because Raspbian is built on Debian it changes too often due to changes in Debian
Which I don't understand. Debian is one of the most conservative distros. It has long release cycles. It favours stability over new shiny bells and whistles. Debian releases spend a long time in "testing". Usually people complain that Debian moves too slowly. Ergo Debian is an excellent base to build long term stable systems on.

Unless you want to buy a ten year long term support contract from RedHat...

hippy,
Change cause problems; so don't change, don't slavishly rush to follow whatever Debian does, don't seek to be as up to date as one could be.
Again I don't get it. If you are following Debian you will not be rushing anywhere. See above. Besides I see no rushing, new Raspbian releases come quite a time after the Debian release.
As you noted; most changes aren't Raspbian but Debian, they affect Raspbian because Raspbian chooses to follow Debian. But that's a choice made. ... Maybe don't do that, make the other choice ?
Personally I think it's a very good choice. Well known, stable, well tested, mostly works as all other Debian machines on PCs and servers.

My bugbear is changes in Raspbian that cause confusion by making it diverge from Debian unnecessarily. Like the networking changes.

jamesh,
The problem with the whole argument of complexity is that an OS that does what Raspbian does, is a very very complex bit of software, and there are limits to how far you can uncomplex* it.
That hits the nail on the head.

I have often thought we have too much complexity in the Linux world for no reason. We have hundreds of Linux OS distributions. Thing is they are not really operating systems. They are operating system plus tens of thousands of applications all thrown together into the same box. Each with their own different package mangers, different package repositories, different setups and configurations. Chaos. Chaos for users to sort out and chaos for application creators to support.

* Do you mean "simplify".

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scruss
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Re: Pi Is Too Complicated

Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:31 pm

jamesh wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:40 pm
… there are limits to how far you can uncomplex* it.

* New word, ™ jamesh.
“simplify” would've been shorter, as Heater noted … and we have so many Linux distributions purely because we can.

Anyway, I don't think the OP's need for a “stable operating system targeted for use in teaching computer science that is easy to understand and to modify” meshes well with the Foundation's goals of introducing computers in an affordable way to learners. Minix or 7th Edition are still out there to learn from, but they're hardly enticing for new learners.

Debian does a huge amount of heavy lifting for the Raspberry Pi, allowing the Foundation's maintainers to concentrate on the Raspberry Pi platform's quirks and (more importantly) giving the freedom to build educational materials and community. Sure, Debian's a complex OS, but as soon as you want more than a microprocessor talking to a terminal, things get complicated.

There's some modern complexity that makes life easier. While we sometimes swear at USB (in hardware) and UTF-8 (in data), you don't want to know how much fun things like SCSI, ADB and juggling 8-bit charsets aren't these days.
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jamesh
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Re: Pi Is Too Complicated

Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:33 pm

scruss wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:31 pm
jamesh wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:40 pm
… there are limits to how far you can uncomplex* it.

* New word, ™ jamesh.
“simplify” would've been shorter, as Heater noted … and we have so many Linux distributions purely because we can.
How about uncomplexify?
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epoch1970
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Re: Pi Is Too Complicated

Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:40 pm

(I'm afraid Heater and I are off-topic but I guess the thread can suffer it.)
Heater wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:22 am
The intended end user in the case of the Pi is young kids and others who have never programmed before trying to get off the ground with their first "Hello World" program in whatever language. My claim is that Docker containers are not needed at that point and add a huge pile of complexity that will confound our end user. Like so:
https://gist.github.com/joerx/56e266448b4c2519dd66
On this education target segment I invite you to follow this Jupyter-based demo (or other binder-examples)
Then click on the "Launch on Binder" button displayed in the readme. (instantiates a server on BinderHub, hence the directions rather than a direct link)
And now you do Python stuff in an interactive environment, 0 manual install. Every time you run it, it runs the same. For an entire classroom.
That is today; and tomorrow I bet, on any Pi running an OS compatible with the containers used underneath.
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bensimmo
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Re: Pi Is Too Complicated

Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:49 pm

In schools textbooks do not actually change rapidly. They only change when a new syllabus comes out, we have just gone through the latest switch in the last 2/3 years with new A levels, GCSE and KS3 altering. That and 'Computing', not just 'ICT', being introduced at every KeyStage level.

If Pi's are in the course and they are use in the books and schemes of work/syllabus , then that is where a Long Term OS is needed, or at the least compatibility is kept.
Otherwise the books become more uselesser.
Cosmetic updates are not a problem, children can mostly cope with that :-)

The problem comes when these books are produced when Wheezy or Jessie was made and by the time they end Buster/Bullseye may be out and you cannot use the old Pi anymore and have to use the new Pi but cannot load that old OS on them to keep a standard platform you once used.

The biggest change I have seen (given it's about Pi2 time I started taking a porper interest) was the Pi3 and Jessie. I know some of that was to sort out making the new hardware work and still have the same code work on older Pi like the Zero and Pi2 with serial changes (often used for gps projects) but I don't think the only way to have prevented that was to look in to the future and see what may have happened.
That and networking and init changes.
Stretch doesn't really seem to have altered much other than the 3B+, again, altering the way some things have to work not much they can do about that.

and that is why using text books in computing is a poor idea. But it's the schemes and the teachers having to keep up with the changes an intricacy's. It seems easy, but that would need to be done in their own time at home normally.

I do have to say the website documentation has greatly improved since then.
I don't teach computing.

We also don't use the Pi's anymore in computing, they've been sidlined :-( Pi1 are too slow to run the current Raspbian revision, using the web for lookups and giving content just doesn't work nicelly
Especially given the PC's are just much quicker at it.

I have suggested they could VNC to them, to do remote programming from the PC's. We'll see how that goes but physical computing doesn't seem to be a priority :-(

hippy
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Re: Pi Is Too Complicated

Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:03 pm

Heater wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:23 pm
hippy,
Change cause problems; so don't change, don't slavishly rush to follow whatever Debian does, don't seek to be as up to date as one could be.
Again I don't get it. If you are following Debian you will not be rushing anywhere. See above. Besides I see no rushing, new Raspbian releases come quite a time after the Debian release.
Raspbian follows Debian. No matter how slowly Debian moves, how pedestrian it moves, no matter how Debian lags behind anything else, no matter how Debian favours stability over bleeding edge; the move to systemd in Raspbian was overnight; one either stuck with Wheezy or went with Jessie. Likewise for other changes. Bang. Tutorials valid one day were out of date the day after.

There's no way to soft soap it; that's how it is.
Heater wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:23 pm
I have often thought we have too much complexity in the Linux world for no reason. We have hundreds of Linux OS distributions. Thing is they are not really operating systems. They are operating system plus tens of thousands of applications all thrown together into the same box. Each with their own different package mangers, different package repositories, different setups and configurations. Chaos. Chaos for users to sort out and chaos for application creators to support.
Can't disagree with any of that. For many users 'the distribution' is what they consider 'the operating system', so any attempt at differentiation is lost on them.

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