EDITED 21 MAY 2013 AT 08:41 GMT TO CLARIFY AND ADD SOME DETAILS ABOUT WAYLAND AND NOOBS
Eben and Liz have been having horrible problems with connectivity in and around the Maker Faire San Francisco venue (actually in San Mateo about 20 miles South), so I am taking the wholly unauthorized liberty of staying up until 4:45 AM Best Coast time to pass on the great news that Eben presented at the Faire on Saturday. I have shaky-phone video of the last 14 minutes that I'll post as soon as I have access to something more capable than a mobile device and better bandwidth than what's available via the oversubscribed cell networks here.
A Pi port of the Wayland protocol for a GUI windows compositor to talk to its clients, a C library implementation of that protocol, and a Weston reference implementation that incorporates full Pi BCM2835 System-on-a-Chip (SoC) graphics processing unit (GPU) acceleration is in alpha testing. The Wayland architecture integrates a display server, window manager, and compositor. The Wayland compositor can be a standalone display server running on Linux kernel modesetting and evdev input devices, an X application, or a Wayland client itself. The clients can be traditional applications, X servers (rootless or fullscreen) or other display servers.
With GPU acceleration, the Pi implementation of Weston provides the infrastructure that will allow a user interface to be developed on a par with a current Mac OS X GUI, complete with spiffy animations and delicious, shiny-candy, translucent color 3-D widgets. This is vitally important to the intended education market which is largely not happy at all with the transition to Windows over the past decade or so, that was accompanied by poor to no training on non-intuitive OS and applications software, as well as the Office/ICT debacles. Don't worry tin-foil-hat conspiracy theorists, the command line and other desktop GUI alternatives will still be available.
Here is the home page for Wayland:
and here is the page with instructions for installing, configuring, and executing the Pi Weston reference implementation:
Eben also showed the new BerryBoot-based New Out Of Box System (NOOBS) multi-boot and distro installer tool, the Release Candidate RC1 version of Pidora (the OS Formerly Known as Prince ... I mean Fedora Remix for the Raspberry Pi), and the camera module, of course. He showed NOOBS installing Pidora from a list of Arch Linux, Raspbian, OpenELEC, Pidora, RaspBMC, and RISCOS. NOOBS establishes a new read-only ext4 partition below the FAT boot partition and the ext4 partition contains compressed minimal images of each distro. When a distro is selected for installation, the appropriate image is decompressed into the normal OS partition, execution is handed over for booting and configuration, and then the remaining resources needed are installed via the network.
With the camera module, he captured some happy snaps of the standing-room-only audience, despite three very bright stage lights, backlighting from the open doors at the rear of the venue, and comparatively no lighting of the audience itself. Apparently Rob has WebGL running in an alpha Chromium OS distro and the Chromium browser reportedly supports HTML5, including video playback. Most of these can be seen starting by next week after doing an apt-get update && apt-get upgrade, and the rest will be available Real Soon Now (much less time than it took for the camera module, soooo maybe within a year?). OK, Liz, I was just joking! Pleeease don't sic Mooncake on my poor carcass via a telepathic connection ... It's almost like she's everywhere, on people's hats, photo pins all over the Faire ... GAHHHH!!!
I will be hunting down every last Pi-related project on display at the Faire Sunday when not otherwise volunteering with the event staff, and Eben and Liz don't have any formal commitments (yet) that will get in the way of their perusal of the exhibits. One interesting side effect of the Pi is that if you do a search for Raspberry Pi in the Maker Faire smartphone app, about 100 exhibits and presentations are returned, meaning people are putting it in their keyword list when submitting their descriptive comments. Only about a dozen exhibits actually have any connection with the Pi and some of those are Brushes with Greatness, at best.
As they say on the late night talk shows, More to Come, So Stay Tuned!