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Re: Isn't this all too complicated?

Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:09 pm

TheManWhoWas said:

The Pi could have a simulated battle arena where all the players program their robots. They can go round each other's houses, plug their Pis into the router, and they'll automatically find each other and then the robots will battle controlled by their programs. That would be pretty cool right?

Your ideas are all cool. I think inter school competition is great.

Doesn't have to be there at launch. When basics are taught.

One idea I would add is art. Make a computer program produce art such as 30 different animals. You can show a gallery of computer produced results. Nice thing about art is every new algorithm can prove useful. So it rewards all the effort. Its especially pleasing when the computer draws things you can't and yet technically you made it.

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Re: Isn't this all too complicated?

Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:15 pm

Chris Rowland said:

My point is that giving people a command prompt and letting them get on with it is throwing them in at the deep end.

The sort of thing people need is some help about the basic things, in this case the syntax of the "for" keyword.

What was provided was several pages of technical information, including the BNF definition.  The syntax is there - somewhere - but it's not easy to find.

This sort of thing belongs in a technical manual, not be the first help that's provided.

But I've no idea how to achieve anything else, this seems to be fundamental to Python.


I guess you're not old enough to remember the early days of DOS.  "Giving them a command prompt" is exactly what it did.  The old familiar "c:\" is all you got "OOTB".  You had to create an "autoexec.bat" for it to do something else.  And millions upon millions of people got along just fine with it.

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Re: Isn't this all too complicated?

Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:32 pm

Having skimmed and read through the thread I think that the original premis of it all being too complicated is almost opposite to what the Pi actually provides. I really don"t think that programming languages or OS make too much impact on the question other than just general usability. Many of the barriers to using standard PCs are that they are perceived as hugely complicated. PCs are big boxes with lots of bits inside so they must be complicated, complex and horredous to programme it all. The perceived dangers of programming the wrong command and wiping the whole system or the old internet scare story of the infinite loop blowing up the expensive CPU don"t reduce the terror.
On the otherhand a computer the size of a credit card can"t be complicated can it, you can see all the parts and not having all the bits, fans etc mean that you can"t do any real damage from the wrong command can you?
Say you want to connect it to say an LED then what is the worst that you can do? Blow it up? Well then that is a $35 lesson, do the same on your desk to and it"s an £80+ new motherboard and maybe a peripheral card, video etc if you made a real mistake. How many people never mind kids are willing to risk that?
Once you recognise this then other advantages such as simply changing the SD card if it gets corrupt or having different ones for different reasons just reduce barriers further.
What you have to be careful of with software is to not distract from the advantages. We have all these programming languages because they are all good for the particular purpose they were built which is actually best depends on the purpose, this may be Python or something else. Availabilit of help and examples are likely to be key to getting people involved so that when they are stuck and struggling they can get the key help they need before they throw it out of the window. The Arduino community here are a good example of how things have taken off with a small easily accessible and programmable environment and emulating that would not be a bad thing.

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Re: Isn't this all too complicated?

Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:51 pm

TheManWhoWas said:

That would be pretty cool right?
Yes, it would all be pretty cool. And it's all going to happen.

The one thing it is almost certainly not going to do to is to drop into a command prompt... unless you tell it to.

It will boot up into a desktop, nominally compatible with Windows, with as many icons on the screen as the educationalists think is a good idea. They will be in charge; all us geeks can do is build cool stuff.

So they will have a Python IDE, Scratch, Alice and anything else that people can persuade the foundation is a good idea, will fit on the media, and is not going to confuse the kids through having too many choices.

And if a kid wants something that is not provided, anything else can be installed through the GUI or by swapping files with their friends.

But if you want to make absolutely sure that the RPi is going to offer the sort of stuff that your child needs, then buy one and be part of creating that stuff. Even, and especially, if you have no idea what you are doing; dumb users are a rare and invaluable asset to a project like this.

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Re: Isn't this all too complicated?

Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:14 pm

TheManWhoWas wrote:Had a Linux equivalent been around in the 1980s, I wonder how many of the home computers we had then would have used it?
There were equilivents. Xerox Star, SGI workstations, etc. And if you drop the
Desktop Enviroment you still have Xenix, Unix, and many more. They were
wanted by most and almost no one had them.

Now we have Linux and Darwin as the popular.
We Have FreeBSD/NetBSD/DragonFlyBSD, MiNIX, and more as the open source.
We have SUN OS/SCO Unix as the commercial.
We have POSIX as an attempt at standardization.

For a graphics interface we have Xorg, XF86, Wayland, Y Windowing System,
NanoX, W Windowing System, etc.

For the UI elements we have many WMs.

For the Desktop enviroment we have KDE, GNOME, ROX, E11, etc, etc.

For a good unifide unix like system we have NOTHING, zero, not there.


And unfortunately we have bloat in most cases. As well as the attempt to
do every thing, so the programmer has to do little.

This was part of the driving force behind Unix, get rid of the bloat of
the big systems that try to do everything, and thus get rid of many of the
problems of those systems (Multix being the well know example of bloat+).

And now we are adding this bloat and unmaintainability back into the systems
that are modeled after the OS that meant to get rid of this bloat.

I realy hope that one day MiNIX will truely rise as our kernel, and core
servers. Do not get me wrong Linux was a good OS, it was well done for
its time, and for a long while it was not bloated. Linus lost control
of this issue due to all of the modules that have been added into the kernel
space (this includes those that are loaded at run time), and thus as I understand
even Linus describes todays Linux as bloated.

In personal computer OSes:
MS-BASIC had its day of glory (late 70s to early 80s).
CP/M had its time (very short unfortunately).
xx-DOS had its day.
Mac OS had its turn.
MS-Windows had its day.
Linux rules the world today.
Linux has had its very very long day in the sun, who is next.

And of course during all of those there were many smaller systems that
did a lot of good and had a lot of influence on the direction of things
that came after them.

Some times it is the good OS that rules, sometimes it is the best marketed
poorest OS, some times it is a battle, with no clear domination.

It is durring the times of battle that true inovation has its chance to show.
It is at the times that no single OS has absolute dominance in the Personal
computing world that there is a chance to do a lot of good.

We are in one of these transitional phases in that there is no clear only
OS, there are many, each with its following. Linux currently has the lions
share, though it is not alone. MiNIX is catching on. More people are
giving the BSD deritives there fair shake, Haiku OS is gaining significant
tracktion, Sky OS is known, AROS probably has more users than Amiga did in
the early 1990s, and there are many more that are getting real attention.

This will shape the future of Operating Systems for Personal Computers.
That is if Personal Computers survive this battle. Unfortunately it seams
that the embeded styled devices are slowly replacing the Personal Computer.
The RPi is a great step in helping to preserve the Personal Computer, as it
is a Personal Computer, though at the same time it gives a bridge to the
world of Cell Phones, Tablets, Game systems, etc, giving the opertunity to
pull people back to the personal computer and see what it is all about.

I know some younger people that have seen desktop computers, and know that
older people use them, though have never used one themself, having grown
up with a tablet in there back pack, a cell phone glued to there ear, and
believing that the internet is something that is inate and part of the
Cellular communication world.

Sorry about the long ramble, just something that touched my heart a bit.
RPi = The best ARM based RISC OS computer around
More than 95% of posts made from RISC OS on RPi 1B/1B+ computers. Most of the rest from RISC OS on RPi 2B/3B/3B+ computers

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Re: Isn't this all too complicated?

Sat Sep 28, 2013 9:37 pm

Oh wow, I think you may have just won the "user with the biggest necro" by bringing back a thread that hadn't been posted to for over a year and a half! :lol:
Dear forum: Play nice ;-)

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