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A better raspbian for pi zero

Posted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 10:37 pm
by munocat
The current raspbian is so bloated that install take so long. Then the update after boot take hours still going after 3. The reason why I bring this up. I found an old copy of Linux, kernel 3.x. Wow that system was fast, and worked wonderfully. Yet when the current noobs is great on the quad cores. I think the lower end single cores need there own distro. With out the bloat.

Re: A better raspian 4 pi zero

Posted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 10:43 pm
by Andyroo
I think you have a problem as the download and install of the full version of Raspbian takes me way under 20 minutes from download to use on a Zero W.

That includes SD card write, first boot to expand space, WiFi setup, raspi-config and updates

How old is your card and what size? I’ve moved all but one to 16Gb A1 rated cards.

Re: A better raspian 4 pi zero

Posted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 10:45 pm
by pcmanbob
If you don't need the GUI then try raspbian lite, boots much faster .

Re: A better raspian 4 pi zero

Posted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 10:49 pm
by W. H. Heydt
munocat wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 10:37 pm
The current raspian is so bloated that install take so long. Then the update after boot take hours still going after 3. The reason why I bring this up. I found an old copy of Linux, kernel 3.x. Wow that system was fast, and worked wonderfully. Yet when the current noobs is great on the quad cores. I think the lower end single cores need there own distro. With out the bloat.
There are 3 current Raspbian packages. There is "Full Raspbian with recommended packages", "Raspbian with Desktop", and "Raspbian Lite". Which one you use depends on what you need. If you don't need the GUI desktop, choose Lite. If you're concerned about size and speed, choose Raspbian with desktop and then add whatever additional packages you want. If you want everything without having to think about it, go with the Full version.

My own experience is that, when upgrading is slow, it is probably Wolfram. Their servers appear to have capacity issues. Everything else is pretty quick. So if you use Raspbian with desktop and then add in everything *except* Wolfram, you shouldn't have a speed problem.

Re: A better raspian 4 pi zero

Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 12:57 am
by HawaiianPi
In my opinion, the Pi Zero (or any other single core model) is way too slow to use as a general purpose computer, so my Pi0 computers run headless on Raspbian Lite, which has no desktop GUI (or extra software).

That being said, it should not take anywhere near 3 hours to update the desktop versions. The update/upgrade process puts a heavy load on the network and SD card, so if either of those are slow it will heavily influence the time.

SD cards can be a big performance bottleneck with upgrades because they have terrible random I/O performance. The new "A1" performance rated cards can be significantly faster at random IOPS (input, output operations per second). This makes a very noticeable difference when used as an OS drive in our little Raspberry Pi computers (much of what an OS does is non-sequential).

And definitely avoid the full version with recommended software if you have no need for most of the extra educational and productivity software. Instead, use the Lite version (or the Desktop version if you must) and just install the software you need. This reduces the number of updates needed and speeds up the process.

Just for the heck of it, I wrote the 2019-04-08 Raspbian Stretch with desktop image to a 16GB SanDisk Ultra A1 micro-SD card, popped it into my Pi0W and did an update and full-upgrade using the time command to measure how long it took. I was using a WiFi connection to my router at the other end of the hall, which is connected to 100mbps FiOS Internet.

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[email protected]:~ $ time sudo apt update && time sudo apt full-upgrade -y
Get:1 http://archive.raspberrypi.org/debian stretch InRelease [25.4 kB]
Get:2 http://raspbian.raspberrypi.org/raspbian stretch InRelease [15.0 kB]
Get:3 http://raspbian.raspberrypi.org/raspbian stretch/main armhf Packages [11.7 MB]
Get:4 http://archive.raspberrypi.org/debian stretch/main armhf Packages [221 kB]
Get:5 http://archive.raspberrypi.org/debian stretch/ui armhf Packages [45.0 kB]
Get:6 http://raspbian.raspberrypi.org/raspbian stretch/non-free armhf Packages [95.5 kB]
Fetched 12.1 MB in 27s (443 kB/s)
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
53 packages can be upgraded. Run 'apt list --upgradable' to see them.
real 0m49.827s
user 0m34.646s
sys 0m4.444s


So the update portion took just under 50 seconds.

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Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
Calculating upgrade... Done
The following packages will be upgraded:
  base-files ffmpeg gstreamer1.0-alsa gstreamer1.0-plugins-base gstreamer1.0-x java-common libaudiofile1 libav-tools libavcodec57 libavdevice57 libavfilter6 libavformat57 libavresample3 libavutil55 libcupsfilters1 libgs9 libgs9-common
  libgstreamer-plugins-base1.0-0 libjs-jquery libpam-systemd libpng-dev libpng-tools libpng16-16 libpostproc54 libraspberrypi-bin libraspberrypi-dev libraspberrypi-doc libraspberrypi0 libsmbclient libssh2-1 libswresample2 libswscale4
  libsystemd0 libudev1 libwbclient0 lxplug-ejecter lxplug-network lxplug-ptbatt omxplayer python-cryptography python3-cryptography raspberrypi-bootloader raspberrypi-kernel raspi-config realvnc-vnc-server rpi-chromium-mods rsync
  samba-common samba-libs systemd systemd-sysv udev unzip
53 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 119 MB of archives.
After this operation, 5,927 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Get:1 http://archive.raspberrypi.org/debian stretch/ui armhf rpi-chromium-mods armhf 20190514 [9,184 kB]
... snip ...
Get:53 http://archive.raspberrypi.org/debian stretch/ui armhf raspi-config all 20190423 [20.4 kB]
Fetched 119 MB in 50s (2,343 kB/s)
apt-listchanges: Reading changelogs...
Extracting templates from packages: 100%
Preconfiguring packages ...
(Reading database ... 80889 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack .../base-files_9.9+rpi1+deb9u9_armhf.deb ...
... snip ...
Processing triggers for libc-bin (2.24-11+deb9u4) ...
real 10m19.400s
user 5m41.165s
sys 1m55.689s


And the actual upgrade took 10.3 minutes, for a total time of 11 minutes 9.22 seconds. That's a far cry from 3+ hours.

Re: A better raspian 4 pi zero

Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 4:01 am
by fruitoftheloom
munocat wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 10:37 pm
The current raspian is so bloated that install take so long. Then the update after boot take hours still going after 3. The reason why I bring this up. I found an old copy of Linux, kernel 3.x. Wow that system was fast, and worked wonderfully. Yet when the current noobs is great on the quad cores. I think the lower end single cores need there own distro. With out the bloat.

Do not use NoobS, just use Etcher to create a bootable SD Card from one of the 3 downloads:

https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/raspbian/

Agree with above a Class10 or better SD Card.

Re: A better raspian 4 pi zero

Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 5:31 am
by LTolledo
for RPiZero series (or BCM2835 equipped RPi's for that matter) its better to run headless using Raspbian Lite.

and better use image file flashed using Etcher (not use NOOBS, PINN or other variants)

as most of my RPiZ, RPiZW are running headless (volumio, MotionEye, etc)
I do have some RPiZW, RPiA+ and RPi1B+ running desktop versions of Raspbian, but its not the full version.

....depends on the requirements of the system being built.....

Re: A better raspian 4 pi zero

Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:13 am
by Milliways
You should try one of the Foundation OS rather than the mysterious raspian

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Raspbian Stretch with desktop and recommended software
Raspbian Stretch with desktop
Raspbian Stretch Lite
You only have to download & install once each 2 years or so; a few minutes hardly matters

Re: A better raspian 4 pi zero

Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 8:39 am
by Heater
munocat,


If you are using noobs why are you complaining about Raspian? Just use Raspbian.

If an update is taking three hours it suggests something else is wrong not the the speed of your zero or Raspbian. Network or SD card perhaps.

On machines with limited capacity use Raspbian Stretch Lite or Raspbian Stretch with desktop

Re: A better raspian 4 pi zero

Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 8:49 am
by DarkPlatinum
IMO, the Pi Zero (W, WH) should only be used as a headless Pi unless used for a low powered retro games console. It just simply does not have the processing power for the Desktop to run nicely.

Re: A better raspian 4 pi zero

Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:34 am
by Gavinmc42
PiCore Linux runs pretty fast, very small too.
Even the TC Desktop is not too bad.

Raspbian is where you start learning , then you move on to other options.
If I need the Raspbian OS I update on a Pi3B then move the SD card to the Zero.

Re: A better raspian 4 pi zero

Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:53 am
by jamesh
Gavinmc42 wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:34 am
Raspbian is where you start learning , then you move on to other options.
Nope.

The best option is still Raspbian. There's enough in it that you will never stop learning.

Re: A better raspian 4 pi zero

Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:27 pm
by munocat
So i installed the non GUI version. Then ran update / upgrade to bringing it up to date. I want a GUI, so installed x11, and olvwm. The little pi, runs fast.

I have been a Linux user since 0.92 version. The pi zero is a lot more powerful than my 486 sx25 with 4mb Ram.

I will try to install a light browser. Otherwise this makes for a great computer.

Re: A better raspian 4 pi zero

Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:41 pm
by rpdom
munocat wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:27 pm
The pi zero is a lot more powerful than my 486 sx25 with 4mb Ram.
I would certainly hope so, with 128 times the amount of RAM and 40 times the CPU clock speed (ignoring the other CPU differences like instruction set, cache, pipeline etc) :)

Re: A better raspian 4 pi zero

Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:50 pm
by jamesh
rpdom wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:41 pm
munocat wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:27 pm
The pi zero is a lot more powerful than my 486 sx25 with 4mb Ram.
I would certainly hope so, with 128 times the amount of RAM and 40 times the CPU clock speed (ignoring the other CPU differences like instruction set, cache, pipeline etc) :)
Never underestimate the ability of shoddy engineers to waste RAM and CPU cycles....

Re: A better raspian 4 pi zero

Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 4:05 pm
by jahboater
munocat wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:27 pm
The pi zero is a lot more powerful than my 486 sx25 with 4mb Ram.
I bet the Pi Zero cost a lot less too :)
My first one came free with a magazine, and I still use it frequently.

Re: A better raspian 4 pi zero

Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 4:30 pm
by rpdom
jamesh wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:50 pm
Never underestimate the ability of shoddy engineers to waste RAM and CPU cycles....
This is so true.

I liked the days when we had to squeeze every byte and clock cycle we could out of hardware. It was a challenge.

Re: A better raspian for pi zero

Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 8:45 pm
by W. H. Heydt
jamesh wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:50 pm
rpdom wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:41 pm
munocat wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:27 pm
The pi zero is a lot more powerful than my 486 sx25 with 4mb Ram.
I would certainly hope so, with 128 times the amount of RAM and 40 times the CPU clock speed (ignoring the other CPU differences like instruction set, cache, pipeline etc) :)
Never underestimate the ability of shoddy engineers to waste RAM and CPU cycles....
It used to be said that Microsoft could use up every clock cycle that Intel could build.

Re: A better raspian 4 pi zero

Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:32 pm
by Andyroo
jamesh wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:50 pm
...
Never underestimate the ability of shoddy engineers to waste RAM and CPU cycles....
I always had the dilemma that when a new member of staff started, did you buy the latest and greatest so developers could run VMs / big code editors / local SQL databases / YouTube videos / streaming music etc or a machine that was slower than the users so they had to make good code :o

Solved it by forcing testing to be signed off by the developer as usable on a VERY slow machine before passing over to the users for testing and woe betide the developer if the user said the result was slow :lol: :D

Re: A better raspbian for pi zero

Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:37 am
by Gavinmc42
Solved it by forcing testing to be signed off by the developer as usable on a VERY slow machine before passing over to the users for testing and woe betide the developer if the user said the result was slow :lol: :D
Linux Mint on old Celeron box makes for a good pretest box for porting code to Pi's.
Android tablets have similar hardware to Pi's, but has anyone gone down that road?
Never underestimate the ability of shoddy engineers to waste RAM and CPU cycles...
Hey don't blame the inguneers it is all the code monkeys fault that the "code" runs slow.
With all these dark themes we may as well go back to DOS text screens and get some speed back ;)

I imagine we can find ways to slow down even the Pi4 when it comes out :D
Nope.
The best option is still Raspbian. There's enough in it that you will never stop learning.

Depends if you want to spend the next 20 - 30 years learning Linux.
If you want to learn about operating systems don't stop as Raspbian, we have many options.

I do draw a line between learning on Raspbian and using Pi's in embedded applications.
Those are different purposes.
I never use noobs anyway, it is slow to setup especially on the single cores.
For Zero's grab the Raspbian Lite img and update it on an Ethernet Pi, I find that faster.

Any desktop apps I run on Pi3B+'s, much less painful.
For Zero's I mostly use Ultibo, PiCore, Buildroot, Raspbian, in that order of preference.

Re: A better raspian 4 pi zero

Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:05 am
by jahboater
Andyroo wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:32 pm
jamesh wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:50 pm
...
Never underestimate the ability of shoddy engineers to waste RAM and CPU cycles....
I always had the dilemma that when a new member of staff started, did you buy the latest and greatest so developers could run VMs / big code editors / local SQL databases / YouTube videos / streaming music etc or a machine that was slower than the users so they had to make good code :o

Solved it by forcing testing to be signed off by the developer as usable on a VERY slow machine before passing over to the users for testing and woe betide the developer if the user said the result was slow :lol: :D
I just run stuff on a down-clocked and reduced memory Pi Zero. Also use the valgrind tool (which should be used for testing anyway). It checks everything about every single machine instruction, including all the memory references, and so is around 100 times slower.
If the new code is comfortably usable with these two, its fine!

The Pi Zero is stable with:

arm_freq=200
gpu_mem=256