xenphor
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:12 am

Re: Questions about Raspi afte reading Wiki about video drivers, kernels, repositories, compiling...

Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:46 am

I'm thinking about getting a Raspi but had a few questions.

Am I to assume after reading the Wiki that the Broadcom chipset included in Raspi is using a closed source binary blob for drivers? If this is the case, then will we have to rely on Broadcom to keep the drivers current or else suffer from incompatibilities with future kernel updates? Will we have to reinstall the drivers every time a kernel update occurs?

Speaking of kernels, will we have to use a specially modified kernel on the Raspi or can we just go download the latest Fedora ARM release and use that? If using a modified kernel, will there be instructions on how to get it working with the latest releases of Fedora? Is it hard? How about keeping it updated in conjunction with Fedora updates?

Speaking of Fedora ARM, are the repositories for Fedora ARM robust? As good as x86? (I read in another post that they are pretty good but just making sure).

Speaking of x86, I'm assuming that since pretty much all software made for the desktop computer is made with x86 in mind, that I will have to do quite a bit of compiling for an ARM desktop. Is compiling software in ARM any different than x86? I'm assuming that just because I have the source code for a program doesn't mean it will automatically compile for ARM. Will there be any sort of guides or help in getting commonly used software compiled for ARM?

I'm thinking that having to compile software will be the biggest hurdle with this device (for non-programmers such as myself), as official repositories become outdated very quickly.

Thanks for the help.

Docteh
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:20 am

Re: Questions about Raspi afte reading Wiki about video drivers, kernels, repositories, compiling...

Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:30 am

Since they are not rolling out a distro of their own, I would not be terrible worried about having to compile everything. Nor about updates. Kernel updates? Likely they send patches upstreme.

Well, I have never used fedora so when I get my raspi I will be checking the fedora docs on how to do the equiv of: apt-get update;apt-get upgrade.

User avatar
Jongoleur
Posts: 1179
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2011 12:47 pm
Location: O'erlooking the sea, and all those effin windfarms...

Re: Questions about Raspi afte reading Wiki about video drivers, kernels, repositories, compiling...

Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:39 am

xenphor said:


I'm thinking about getting a Raspi but had a few questions.

Am I to assume after reading the Wiki that the Broadcom chipset included in Raspi is using a closed source binary blob for drivers? If this is the case, then will we have to rely on Broadcom to keep the drivers current or else suffer from incompatibilities with future kernel updates? Will we have to reinstall the drivers every time a kernel update occurs?

Speaking of kernels, will we have to use a specially modified kernel on the Raspi or can we just go download the latest Fedora ARM release and use that? If using a modified kernel, will there be instructions on how to get it working with the latest releases of Fedora? Is it hard? How about keeping it updated in conjunction with Fedora updates?

Speaking of Fedora ARM, are the repositories for Fedora ARM robust? As good as x86? (I read in another post that they are pretty good but just making sure).

Speaking of x86, I'm assuming that since pretty much all software made for the desktop computer is made with x86 in mind, that I will have to do quite a bit of compiling for an ARM desktop. Is compiling software in ARM any different than x86? I'm assuming that just because I have the source code for a program doesn't mean it will automatically compile for ARM. Will there be any sort of guides or help in getting commonly used software compiled for ARM?

I'm thinking that having to compile software will be the biggest hurdle with this device (for non-programmers such as myself), as official repositories become outdated very quickly.

Thanks for the help.



There are a number of discussions on the forum containing information on running a virtual ARM environment on the x86 platform, which will help you get up to speed in dealing with ARM based distros.  Heres a useful thread on getting a virtual machine (it was the first one I found), there are plenty of others!

Hope this is of some use!
I'm just a bouncer, splatterers do it with more force.....

tufty
Posts: 1456
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:32 pm

Re: Questions about Raspi afte reading Wiki about video drivers, kernels, repositories, compiling...

Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:32 am

As for the "binary blob" "issue", the binary is firmware for the gpu, in the same way that your existing motherboard has a binary that enables it to boot and provides a standardised bios interface. Obviously, that is a secondary role in the case of the Pi, the primary one being to steal your soul. Is it any coincidence that "Broadcom" is a poorly obfuscated anagram of "Satan wants your bananas"? I think not, but I digress. Changes to the blob should be transparent to the user (although there is the potential that changes to the Gpu code may require updates to the openGL/VG libraries which are also closed source)

In short - don"t worry about it.

Simon.

User avatar
teh_orph
Posts: 346
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:09 pm
Location: London
Contact: Website

Re: Questions about Raspi afte reading Wiki about video drivers, kernels, repositories, compiling...

Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:06 pm

I too am worried by this binary blob.

Can we find out from someone with said blob, to see if it is tied to a certain kernel version? I'd like to compile the kernel with a different ABI - is this possible or will we need to get someone to rebuild it for us?

rpt
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:09 pm

Re: Questions about Raspi afte reading Wiki about video drivers, kernels, repositories, compiling...

Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:12 pm

teh_orph said:


I too am worried by this binary blob.

Can we find out from someone with said blob, to see if it is tied to a certain kernel version? I'd like to compile the kernel with a different ABI - is this possible or will we need to get someone to rebuild it for us?


The binary blob is for the GPU - it is not ARM code. Therefore there is no dependency on the kernel version.

12+12!

User avatar
abishur
Posts: 4477
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:10 am
Location: USA
Contact: Website

Re: Questions about Raspi afte reading Wiki about video drivers, kernels, repositories, compiling...

Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:14 pm

Ah that wonderful blob, how it seems to pop up again and again and again and... you get the idea.  It's like a comic book hero, it just won't stay dead.

Anyways, I can see from your post count that you're new to the forum and therefore had no way of knowing that this is a hot topic issue with lots of strong opinions on all sides.  As Tufty said, it's more like firmware and a new linux kernel *should* not render the whole thing useless.  As far as I'm aware Broadcom is not the entity responsible for the blob however.  Broadcom made the chip but the blob is specific to the r-pi and as far as I am aware is "owned" by the Raspberry Pi Foundation (RPF)

Now, I'm closing this thread, but please feel free to make use of the search feature of the forum to find other open topics about the blob for more information (or disinformation as the case may be ) and  join in the conversation there.
Dear forum: Play nice ;-)

jamesh
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 26408
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm

Re: Questions about Raspi afte reading Wiki about video drivers, kernels, repositories, compiling...

Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:29 pm

Actually, the blob is compiled by Broadcom, but it's a Raspberry Pi variant - effectively the standard GPU blob with bits removed (unlicenced codecs etc). What's cool is that is pretty much top of tree so is in a better state than any commercial products out there using the Videocore - they go through lots more testing, and take some time to get from the Broadcom source tree to release.
Principal Software Engineer at Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd.
Contrary to popular belief, humorous signatures are allowed.
I've been saying "Mucho" to my Spanish friend a lot more lately. It means a lot to him.

Return to “General discussion”