ProDigit wrote: ↑
Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:56 pm
Yeah, the zero is part of a project.
I do have a 3B+, which works fine, but am trying to find alternative programs that will work better on the zero, and see how far I can take it, to make it into a desktop replacement.
With LibreOffice not functioning the way it should, it lowers the rating to about 50% usability.
The Zero is still great for coding; but I was hoping I could find a lighter weight alternative for office programs.
I share your interest in how far you can get with the Zero.
I remember fondly the days when I would fire up MultiMate Advantage II, or Lotus 1-2-3, and just fly around the clicky keyboard, no mouse, just lots of memorized keyboard shortcuts. Macros could do a raft of data studies overnight. And then I look at today, and sometimes suspect that most of our technological gains have gone to making things pretty on the screen.
A quick look at the Zero's 512 MB RAM and 1 GHz processor suggest to me that for the specs that are still comparable ... this is a machine that would have been a high end desktop around the year 2000! So why does it seem slow? Because the programs we run today (incl. the GUI) are so much more demanding than those available back then. And most office programs available back then probably won't run on the Zero's ARM chip. If they could, I'd bet they'd be speedy.
At some point you have to be realistic and acknowledge the limitations of the hardware in light of what we're trying to run on it. So I'm not sure you can fairly claim that LibreOffice isn't functioning the way it should. It may just require more RAM and processing speed on top of the GUI load that the Zero is already carrying. With just a browser, email client, and spreadsheet running, I'm using 2.5 GB of RAM on my windows machine. Granted, the browser is the worst offender by far. But the point is, the GUI plus a GUI application - can be weighty.
If you can find an office suite that runs off the command line of an ARM machine, please let us know!
You might be able to cobble together some basic terminal applications from various sources. Text editing should be a non-issue, though I actually haven't tried to print from the Zero command line just yet. I haven't even set up CUPS on the Zero.
Word Processing - seems like there's tons of text editors. For more functionality you could look into wordgrinder, pandoc, etc.
Spreadsheet - you could try sc, which is spreadsheet calculator. I have to say, though, it does not look like state of the art year 2000 spreadsheet. Not even 1992. More like 1986 or so ... but I could be missing a lot of power hidden in the no-dropdown-menu interface.
Presentation - rdp, tpp, sent
email - mutt, alpine
you may need to add some x window thing to be able to view graphics (PDF or jpg viewer for email attachments, for instance).
So I think you can, in theory, cobble together some programs and adapters/hubs/etc to create an ersatz desktop computer with the Pi Zero, but IMO you'd find it of little utility, beyond the satisfaction of mental exercise and problem solving. The full-size Pi is still very small and very low power - yet vastly more functional. The Zero is really optimized for embedded / headless use.
Look at it this way. The Pi 3B/3B+ is like a tiny house. The Zero is like a 1-person tent.