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clicky
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Re: Pi4 as Desktop computer

Sat Jul 13, 2019 8:01 pm

I'm really enjoying this. In my KDE setup I've installed more themes, but more importantly found winning combination for 'eye-candy':
Compositor Enabled, Rendering backend: XRender - no vsync...

Image

So results are quite exciting:

Image

It is not as fast and snappy as on high-end desktops but still usable. I really wouldn't mind using RPi as desktop now! :)
Even shadows are rendered quite nicely without losing performance...
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Giga_Pi
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Re: Pi4 as Desktop computer

Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:04 am

I recently tried cinnamon on my raspberry pi 3B+ with buster, and it ran great! I was able to get some nice themes installed in order for it to look really nice, and it did look amazing!
GNOME for Pi

A project to get the popular GNOME desktop to run on Raspberry Pi OS.

Guide here: https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=66&t=276512

Pi4 4GB @2GHz GPU@750MHz with ubuntu 20.04

cruster
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Re: Pi4 as Desktop computer

Sat Aug 03, 2019 11:18 pm

A "Desktop Computer" ?

Depends what you're after. If it's general internet browsing, email, Youtube watching (still jerky at 1080p) a bit of programming. Yes.
"Casual use" for sure. a desktop PC replacement, depending on your meaning? Absolutely NO.

As well. "As is" without adding heatsinks or fan cooling or both (In my case) It will throttle back. As supplied it has a very natural tendancy to simply cook itself.

Then there's the whole Linux versus Microsoft world. Not going to go there.

As a PC replacement Desktop replacement? (If that was the question) No. Definitely no.

As is. It's fun. Interesting, niche and quite amazing for what it is.

pagenotfound
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Re: Pi4 as Desktop computer

Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:41 am

cruster wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 11:18 pm
A "Desktop Computer" ?

Depends what you're after. If it's general internet browsing, email, Youtube watching (still jerky at 1080p) a bit of programming. Yes.
"Casual use" for sure. a desktop PC replacement, depending on your meaning? Absolutely NO.

As well. "As is" without adding heatsinks or fan cooling or both (In my case) It will throttle back. As supplied it has a very natural tendancy to simply cook itself.

Then there's the whole Linux versus Microsoft world. Not going to go there.

As a PC replacement Desktop replacement? (If that was the question) No. Definitely no.

As is. It's fun. Interesting, niche and quite amazing for what it is.
Be careful with words like "absolutely" or "definitely".

There are people on this forum (including me) who have been using a Pi 3 as a desktop PC since it came out. There are some problems when I have 30 open tabs in Firefox with ~15 plugins, especially when some of them are Twitter, but it works. I have compiled Gimp in the background while doing so.

You'd better use Firefox with some adjustments instead of Chromium for this. Also zram is a must have on the Pi 3, which is why I'm waiting for the 4 GB Pi 4 to become actually available before I upgrade.

k-pi
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Re: Pi4 as Desktop computer

Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:55 am

I've had a RPi4B/4GB for a month or more, but it just sits there in the box it came in.

Why? Because some of the software drivers don't work yet, things that I need.

The EDID doesn't work, & there is still no USB booting, (as of 10/7/19 Raspbian download).

The dual monitors may or may not be working, they were working on it, when I put mine back in its box.

I'm on other forums where people are also wanting one, but it needs to have all the software drivers working, before I could recommend it to them.

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Re: Pi4 as Desktop computer

Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:34 am

k-pi wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:55 am
I've had a RPi4B/4GB for a month or more, but it just sits there in the box it came in.

Why? Because some of the software drivers don't work yet, things that I need.

The EDID doesn't work, & there is still no USB booting, (as of 10/7/19 Raspbian download).

The dual monitors may or may not be working, they were working on it, when I put mine back in its box.

I'm on other forums where people are also wanting one, but it needs to have all the software drivers working, before I could recommend it to them.
This is stupid. Get it out of the box, try it on your monitor. If it doesn't work, add hdmi_ignore_edid to config.txt,or perhaps some specific HDMI timings or grab an EDID that does work from another display and use that.

For USB boot, use a SD card to redirect boot to the USB device you want to boot from. The only difference from native USB boot is you need a SD with with just bootcode.bin on it and some config.

To leave it in the box when the fixes for your 'problems' are so trivial (the above is about 30 minutes work) is just...well...words fail me. Are you just doing it to prove some sort of point?
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Re: Pi4 as Desktop computer

Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:38 am

k-pi wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:55 am
I've had a RPi4B/4GB for a month or more, but it just sits there in the box it came in.
If you don't want it, send it to me I'll give it a good home.
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Re: Pi4 as Desktop computer

Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:17 am

jamesh wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:34 am
For USB boot, use a SD card to redirect boot to the USB device you want to boot from. The only difference from native USB boot is you need a SD with with just bootcode.bin on it and some config.
I have seen a few posts suggesting this as the current solution for USB booting but does this actually work for the Pi 4B ?

The documentation says "Note that if a bootcode.bin is present in the boot partition of the SD card in a Pi 4, it is ignored".

https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentati ... teeprom.md

I thought it was executing the bootcode.bin which facilitated the redirection but perhaps not.

jamesh
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Re: Pi4 as Desktop computer

Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:43 am

hippy wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:17 am
jamesh wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:34 am
For USB boot, use a SD card to redirect boot to the USB device you want to boot from. The only difference from native USB boot is you need a SD with with just bootcode.bin on it and some config.
I have seen a few posts suggesting this as the current solution for USB booting but does this actually work for the Pi 4B ?

The documentation says "Note that if a bootcode.bin is present in the boot partition of the SD card in a Pi 4, it is ignored".

https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentati ... teeprom.md

I thought it was executing the bootcode.bin which facilitated the redirection but perhaps not.
Good point, you need to set up via the config and kernel command line. bootcode.bin isn't used on the 4.
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hippie403
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Re: Pi4 as Desktop computer

Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:11 pm

I've just setup a Pi 4 4GB with a 250GB USB3 SSD as a desktop system to replace an old Pentium 4 2GB RAM 120GB PATA HD running Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. /boot on micro SD, /root on the SSD.
Seems like quite a nice cheap upgrade to me!

Got a small issue, I cant watch ABC TV iView (Australian free catchup TV service) because it needs WideVine DRM in Chromium which Raspbian doesn't have. I've seen a suggested work around using a binary library from an ARM ChromeOS distro, but that seems fraught with peril.
Any chance of working something out with Google for Widevine DRM in Raspbian Chromium?

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bleep42
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Re: Pi4 as Desktop computer

Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:23 pm

jamesh wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:43 am
hippy wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:17 am
jamesh wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:34 am
For USB boot, use a SD card to redirect boot to the USB device you want to boot from. The only difference from native USB boot is you need a SD with with just bootcode.bin on it and some config.
I have seen a few posts suggesting this as the current solution for USB booting but does this actually work for the Pi 4B ?

The documentation says "Note that if a bootcode.bin is present in the boot partition of the SD card in a Pi 4, it is ignored".

https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentati ... teeprom.md

I thought it was executing the bootcode.bin which facilitated the redirection but perhaps not.
Good point, you need to set up via the config and kernel command line. bootcode.bin isn't used on the 4.
I just leave the /boot partition on the SD card, exactly as is, with the one change in the cmdline.txt to make 'root=/dev/sda1' (I actually use the UUID, its safer), then the whole Linux system is on a cheap (£15) 128GB SSD plugged into the USB3, you then need a single line edit to /etc/fstab to tell it where '/' is, that's it, Simples...
It's noticably quicker booting up and in general use, especially when large files are being thrown around and as I understand it, only the Kernel, overlays and config files are ever loaded from the SD, nothing is saved to it (for the paranoid) everything else is read/written to the SSD.
See project here:- https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/view ... 1&t=244515
Regards, Kevin.
Last edited by bleep42 on Fri Aug 09, 2019 2:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.

jahboater
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Re: Pi4 as Desktop computer

Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:54 pm

Pi4 as Desktop computer

All my other computers are now boxed up and going into storage for our house move.
I have kept out just one - my Pi4!

So for an indeterminate period, the Pi4 will be my only computer ....
I am using it now to post this.

The compact "official" Raspberry Pi keyboard takes some getting used to after the Filco mechanical keyboards I normally use, but it works OK.
The Pi4 CPU is plenty fast enough.

k-pi
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Re: Pi4 as Desktop computer

Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:14 pm

Are you just doing it to prove some sort of point?
Yeah, you could say that.......this product was released with incomplete driver software in its own distro......stuff that I require to use it as I have been using my RPi3/B/B+/A+. :(

You'll get there....one day....but until then, I call it as I see it. 8-)

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pi-tastic
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Re: Pi4 as Desktop computer

Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:13 pm

noobs allow you to install the os to a usb device. witch is pretty nice! ( for the pi4b )
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pi-tastic
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Re: Pi4 as Desktop computer

Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:24 pm

if you are use to using a 3.8ghz machine with 8gig ram, then your expectations of using the PI4B as a Desktop computer are going to be not great.

If you were using the 3B+ as a desktop computer then move to the PI4B then it will feel like a pretty LARGE improvement....
the PI4B is mostly usable. where the 3B+ is annoying slow... but to each is own in what you can personally deal with.

if you were on a deserted island with only a usb power bank 3B+ inside its official 7" touch screen, Connected to a ham radio running from a boat / RV SLA battery and a string of lemons cut in half. and an antenna made with wire form the ignition coil of the boat draped across 2 palm trees. then it would be the best thing since sliced bread, As you are trying to get help using FT8 13 characters per message lol.
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clicky
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Re: Pi4 as Desktop computer

Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:02 pm

I've got home today, put my MBP aside and used Pi4 (with half a tetrabyte SSD and 4K monitor) as only computer and enjoyed it equally as I would any other. Chromium/Thunderbird/Terminal/Kate/PyCharm - all worked in pretty much way I would expect my Mac to work. Maybe moving windows around was *as smooth as* - but way from unusable or annoying.

PyCharm works like a charm - and, as a plus, I was able to plug little wires to my Pi4 and see i2c devices attached to it - quite unlike my laptop where I wouldn't dare to do something similar. Especially *while it is working*!

Just to prove the point - I won't be firing my laptop over the weekend and left my Pi4 running...
(BTW - this KDE with composing, shadows, opacity and such - is even looking slightly better than OSX)
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Re: Pi4 as Desktop computer

Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:07 pm

clicky wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:02 pm
Especially *while it is working*!
Connecting anything to a Pi while it is working is an extremely bad idea -- USB should be hot-pluggable, but nothing else is. Even USB may have power problems when hot-plugging.
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jahboater
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Re: Pi4 as Desktop computer

Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:13 pm

Heater wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:35 pm
After wasting the whole afternoon trying I gave up. Doing such a thing is nearly but not quite yet supported by Rust. It takes hours to run the build anyway.

A silly story perhaps. But my point is that software support is even more important than CPU speed and memory space when it comes to replacing ones Desktop Computer with a Pi.
It sounds more like a Rust problem than a Raspbian problem.

A more mature language would work.

ejolson
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Re: Pi4 as Desktop computer

Sat Aug 10, 2019 5:38 am

Heater wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:49 pm
No worries, I can fight with it till it works, hope that someone else gets it working or give up and use my other PC's.
Did you try on both 32-bit and 64-bit ARM distributions?

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clicky
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Re: Pi4 as Desktop computer

Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:46 pm

Returning back to the topic: I have managed to stick to what I said on Friday - I've been using only Pi4 for all my computing needs and really enjoying it. I've fixed apple keyboard support (now I have '~' and backtick where they belong) and a few other tiny things...

Also, started preparing it for pi4j v2 project: got both pi4j 1.3 and new pi4j 2.0 (SNAPSHOT) out, compiled them using maven and imported them into Idea, along with my demo i2c project (using pi4j) and all worked quite well. I can't see anything preventing me from fetching tavrasm for linux (source) and recompile it here so I can return to my 'remote' switch Atmel (ATmega328) project and others. VC code works well, too.

Besides that it seems that slack is going to happily share screen and do audio (maybe even video) in chromium... After that there isn't much more I would need to do day to day hobby and even professional coding. Only thing I don't have and I am sure would be improvement is Eclipse with its incremental compiler - but these days I mostly use Python (for PiWars and/or professionally with Airflow and such).

Being spoiled by OSX - I do slightly suffer with line breaks in terminal and maybe with easy to use Finder stuff - but those are not Raspbian related nor entirely unfixable (and some even just matter of preference).

What would be nice and I am not sure I'll see them in short term are:
- Slack app (it is, after all, electron app)
- Eclipse (it might happen if I get more time and pester people to help me with it)
- My 3D printer's app (Robox - luckily I made command line version of tools for it in Java)
- DBeaver (Eclipse based, eh - Squirrel seems to be quite happy to run on Raspbian)

AS for docker, DB server and such - I would just grab another Pi4 and run them there. Only interesting thing to decide then is how much of dedicated HD (SSD) those spare Pi4 would have and how much would be shared over network (and how).

ejolson
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Re: Pi4 as Desktop computer

Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:51 pm

jamesh wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:00 pm
Rust problems? Not suitable for the Raspberry Pi forum, especially in a thread about the Pi4.
To bring things back on topic, it appears quite reasonable to me that a programmer could use a Pi 4B as a desktop computer. With the 2GB and 4GB models, the Pi isn't just for Python anymore. It can efficiently host many different software development tools.

It has become clear with this thread, if not before, that people use their desktop computers for different things: Programmers use their computers for programming.

Although the Rust programming language is only one of many emerging software development tools of interest to both beginning and experienced programmers, it is worth noting a Rust compiler is currently included in the Raspbian package repository. Furthermore, the standard way of installing the latest version of the compiler using rustup just works on the Pi. While Rust and many other languages are available for the 3B as well, in my opinion the additional RAM available on the 4B makes a noticeable difference when doing development on the desktop.

pica200
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Re: Pi4 as Desktop computer

Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:41 pm

I often use Sublime Text 3 for projects i'm working on. That will probably not get a port to AArch32 (and even AArch64 is questionable). I probably could live with VSCode since i already played with it a bit. It's just slower because electron bloat and on my i7 machine it eats freaking 1.9 GiB RAM for code files with a few hundred lines only with only a few plugins (another example of browsers eating RAM like there is no tomorrow).

That aside i would like to use it as a general purpose desktop replacement. Which includes things like web browsing, emulation, video playback and a bit software development. As said earlier the 32 bit kernel is a bit of a roadblock and i hope there is an official solution in the future. Video en-/decoders is another example of software which can benefit from the AArch64 instruction set (for codecs without acceleration).

Heater
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Re: Pi4 as Desktop computer

Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:01 pm

pica200,
It's just slower because electron bloat and on my i7 machine it eats freaking 1.9 GiB ....
I wonder what is going on there. I have been using VS Code for a long time. It has always been surprisingly fast and I have never seen it eat a gig of RAM. Just now with a bunch of C/C++ files open it's only occupying 200MB.

You prompted me to open a 650,000 line text file in VS Code. It opened in the blink of an eye and I can scroll up and down it fluidly. Still only up to 300MB memory usage.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

pica200
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Re: Pi4 as Desktop computer

Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:29 pm

Sorry for a bit of offtopic but i wanna clarify this:
I did a test now regarding mem usage. Opened the exact same project and files in both ST3 and VSC and both have very similar settings and plugins + the same theme. After opening them both and doing nothing ST3 takes 123.5 MiB and VSC 125.1 MiB. VSC took noticeably longer rendering the files and makes the CPU go up to 65°C on scrolling through a big file. ST3 makes it go only to 50°C doing the exact same which is slightly above idle (45-50). Scrolling is butter smooth on the former and a bit stuttery on the later. All that under Linux 5.2.4-1. This is not representative for the memory usage over longer periods of use and i reached pretty insane amounts of mem usage on both of them before. ST3 i got up to ~900 MiB and VSC up to ~1.9 GiB as said (and yes, with similar amount of files open).

PetesPi
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Re: Pi4 as Desktop computer

Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:56 pm

I feel extremely lucky getting my hands on the Pi4 (4 gig) unit, which have been flying off the shelf at the local Micro Center store.

But it has proven well worth the effort of commandeering one!

Yes, the Pi 4 rocks!

Thought I would share some impressions of the Pi4 4Gig-model, after about 10 days of heavy use as a dual-screen primary desktop.

Broadly speaking, the new Pi 4's Raspbian Buster desktop 'feels' as plucky and responsive as a $US 1,000 Mac Mini from a few years ago (even though I am running her off an SD-card). Can't wait for USB-booting to be offcially enabled so I can see speed gains from a USB-3 startup. I still use PI 2s and PI 3B+s but the latest model offers big boosts I attribute to the big ram upgrade.

For text crunching, using programs like libreoffice, focuswriter, pyroom, artha and ZimNotes, the Pi 4 performance leap lets me keep open multiple windows with absolutely no slowdown in performance or responsiveness. PDF documents open quicker and scroll much much easier even with large files like the MagPi magazine. On the Pi 2/&3B+, PDF viewing (even in zathura, mupdf and lightweight readers always felt a bit sluggish with larger files of picture heavy content).

And yes, dual screens make a huge difference for daily usage as I can dedicate one for work and one for reading (my second monitor is a page-height vertical, which is excellent for full-page viewing of articles, word processing files as well as IDEs for code).

I did notice the second vertically-oriented monitor seems slightly sluggish, though I have yet to investigate why this is the case.

On the topic of dual monitors, let me discuss VLC for a moment. Playing video across two screens may not be particulary useful, but the PI 4 is able to show video at 1080 across two monitors effortlessly. Streaming audio was fine on the Pi2/&B+ models but the PI4 does an excellent job with video streams. I have found VLC video better than viewing from inside a browser.

As far as browsers — links2, surf and firefox all work like a charm on the Pi4. I prefer links2 as a go-to browser because it is highly customizable ( I prefer a black sreen with blue text), can be used largely without a mouse and is stunningly fast. Images are rendered as fast as text. It is a simple light browser, but you can output content like video, music and pdfs by simply associating mime-file types to specific programs — like omxplayer or vlc player for video.

Firefox works well, when i need java and scripts - things i would rather avoid, when possible. Speeds don't seem appreciably different whether i am using ethernet or 2.4 wifi, though I expected ethernet to outpace given the Pi 4 specs. Firefox is moderately fast and usage is acceptable.

....Suckless software's Surf may be the real hidden gem for browsing, If one finds links2 is too 'texty' or 'javaless,' then Surf is an excellent choice for a richer nested-menu candyland full web experience. On the Pi4 4gig, surf rides the waves convincingly....Surf seems to have the fastest video — better than firefox or chrome - by far. Launching and loading the app is also faster.

Plop "surf https://www.duckduckgo.com" into a main menu entry or a desktop launcher (or terminal) and you are off to the races. (Just be sure to delete your surf cache occassionally as it grows to absurd sizes).

Wktmltopdf and cutycapt are two utilities that basically quickly rip web pages into pdf form, which are excellent tools for saving a page for reference later...they both work faster on the Pi 4 and I find myself using custom shortcuts in the main menu to dump entire pages intp pdf for later reading. (You can cron-job em' and e-mail the results to yourself, if you wanna roll that way.) Another terminal tool that is worthwhile on the Pi is "surf raw," for zippy duckduckgo searches!

As a quick aside, the RPI daily main news pages seems to load a bit slower than most because of large picture sizes (though i have yet to verify that is the cause). Still worth the wait, though. Good stuff.

The thinner micro-hdmi cables have proven a non-issue and work great so far. I have seen a few temperature alerts (3 in 10 days of heavy usage) and though the pi runs hot in the official case. For reasons i have yet to fathom, I have found placing the case sideways (hdmi upward) keeps it cooler given the peculiar thermodynamics (or airflow) of my desk. Flirc case coming soon, I hope! (I must say i miss the hat-friendly removable top of the old 2/3B+ official case.)

On a final note, since we are now all discussing the "Pi as a Desktop" as distinct from the great learning and physical-computing platform it has always been and remains, I think the sore spot for Raspbian-Buster is the default desktop appearance. LXDE is fine for me because I know how to tweak the colors, icons and tool bars to my liking. But a Mate-like tweak tool that is accessible to new users (some who have never really used a linux machine or computer at all) might be really really really be worthwhile in winning over new Pi recruits. Yes, there are still people bereft of any command-line prowess that come from iOS-land and the first thing they want to do is customize colors and icons...so it might be worth considering what these emojinauts like.

Please understand, I am sharing my overall impressions and not a technical analysis of the Pi 4 here. And I hope those impressions inspire you to go out and get three — if you can find them. Sales are brisk here and getting one relatively quickly makes me feel like a lottery winner.

The Pi 4 is a remarkable machine at an amazing price. The folks at the foundation continue to impress me with their innovations from the Pi 2 (my first) to the Zero, through the Pi 4.

Really guys, well done. Only wish you could expand your PiShop franchises to physical locations over here in the US — perhaps a few mini branches in college bookstores at major schools like MIT. (Alternatively, you might want to consider a Pi Membership program where you donate $25 and are entitled to get next edition Pi at the regular $35/55 cost. I would gladly pay something to support the foundation and not have to spend a hours looking across the web for US retailers who are in supply. Just an ad hoc idea...)

Anyway, thanks for letting me share my early impressions of the PI 4 and keep up the great work!

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