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Jim Manley
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Maker Fairey Tales - NOOBS and Pidora and Wayland, Oh My!

Sun May 19, 2013 11:48 am

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:
http://wayland.freedesktop.org

and here is the page with instructions for installing, configuring, and executing the Pi Weston reference implementation:
http://wayland.freedesktop.org/raspberrypi.html

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!
Last edited by Jim Manley on Tue May 21, 2013 7:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Maker Fairey Tales - NOOBS and Pidora and Wayland, Oh My

Sun May 19, 2013 1:16 pm

So these are all the secrets they've been keeping from us :)

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Re: Maker Fairey Tales - NOOBS and Pidora and Wayland, Oh My

Sun May 19, 2013 7:16 pm

simplesi wrote:So these are all the secrets they've been keeping from us :)

Simon
Heh, this is only the official product forum, so it's probably the last place to look for actual news - unless you count Foundation denials as tacit admissions of what's coming next! ;)

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Re: Maker Fairey Tales - NOOBS and Pidora and Wayland, Oh My

Sun May 19, 2013 10:22 pm

Gordon announced this at the Cambridge Jam yesterday. I filmed his announcement, but stupidly got distracted packing up my demos when he was actually showing it right at the end of the Jam, so no film of that. I did see it boot though and was very impressed with the boot speed and the range of OSes on offer (and that it all fits on a 4 Gig card).

I did get a shot of the Pi prototype that Eben showed the BBC originally though :)
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Re: Maker Fairey Tales - NOOBS and Pidora and Wayland, Oh My

Mon May 20, 2013 9:04 am

Here's the announcement vid if anyone's interested...
http://youtu.be/Bc631QRq-zI
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Re: Maker Fairey Tales - NOOBS and Pidora and Wayland, Oh My

Mon May 20, 2013 9:29 am

Well that explains the 'mysterious' firmware commits
https://github.com/raspberrypi/firmware ... dc25d83260

Why is this information 'top secret'? Seems like development would have benefited from community involvement and feedback.

Edit: This is completely normal behavior for a corporation. I guess I just expected more transparent operation from a charity.

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Re: Maker Fairey Tales - NOOBS and Pidora and Wayland, Oh My

Mon May 20, 2013 10:07 am

OtherCrashOverride wrote:Well that explains the 'mysterious' firmware commits
https://github.com/raspberrypi/firmware ... dc25d83260

Why is this information 'top secret'? Seems like development would have benefited from community involvement and feedback.

Edit: This is completely normal behavior for a corporation. I guess I just expected more transparent operation from a charity.
Like any company (Yes, the Raspberry Pi Foundation is a company, although specifically a charitable one with charitable rules), announcements of new stuff is very good advertising. Community driven development has to be announced well before release, which negates any impact when, finally, the product does get released.

By doing some of this dev in their own time they also have no pressure to release ("Where's the camera? Where's the camera? Where's the camera? Where's the camera?") and can afford time to get stuff right.

I'd also argue that for certain things, avoiding constant 'input' from community also leads to less feature creep, and a shorter time to market. It also requires less 'management' - code merging etc.
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Re: Maker Fairey Tales - NOOBS and Pidora and Wayland, Oh My

Mon May 20, 2013 10:31 am

Jim,

You have lots of interesting news there. Which prompts a lot of questions:

The Wayland thing sounds great. One thing I have always wondered though is "Does it maintain operation over a network like X11 does?"
...education market which is largely not happy at all with the transition to Windows in recent years...
I'm curious, I thought educational institutions around the world had been stuck on Windows for ages. Still, it's good news, better they find their way around open systems with a future rather than remain enslaved by dead end proprietary systems which don't promote learning at all.

Chrome OS with accelerated graphics sound great and all but what is the mystery browser that gets acceleration that we can use on Raspian?

Any news about Qt5 and GPU acceleration there? In WebKit for example.

Of course we all want a camera for our Pis....

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Re: Maker Fairey Tales - NOOBS and Pidora and Wayland, Oh My

Mon May 20, 2013 10:45 am

The Wayland thing sounds great.
Wayland is a protocol definition between a display server and its clients. Weston is a reference implementation of that protocol. Neither provides a GUI or 'widgets' or defines a desktop or anything higher level. The purpose is to take framebuffers and display them on the screen. The contents of those framebuffers is outside the scope of it. Because it is framebuffer (surface) based, the memory requirements for maintaining a unique surface per application window results in a larger memory footprint than traditional non-compositing display servers.

Software is required to be re-written to work with Weston. The interim solution is to run a X11 server on Weston. This means an *additional* layer is added to desktops during the transition. Qt and GTK both have Weston backends. The hope is that software that utilizes either of these toolkits will require less modification (if any) to work directly with it.

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Re: Maker Fairey Tales - NOOBS and Pidora and Wayland, Oh My

Mon May 20, 2013 11:36 am

Err... yeah. So can apps using wayland be run on machine A whilst their display is on machine B with a network in between?

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Re: Maker Fairey Tales - NOOBS and Pidora and Wayland, Oh My

Mon May 20, 2013 11:45 am

http://wayland.freedesktop.org/faq.htm
Is Wayland network transparent / does it support remote rendering?
No, that is outside the scope of Wayland.

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Re: Maker Fairey Tales - NOOBS and Pidora and Wayland, Oh My

Mon May 20, 2013 12:01 pm

So now I'm worried.

Are we about to retrograde from network transparent display back to Windows style "you can only see it on the machine its running on". All for the sake of some prettier graphics.

I hope not. But that link goes on to say:
This doesn't mean that remote rendering won't be possible with Wayland, it just means that you will have to put a remote rendering server on top of Wayland.
Which sounds promising but who is taking on that challenge?

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Re: Maker Fairey Tales - NOOBS and Pidora and Wayland, Oh My

Mon May 20, 2013 12:21 pm

Remoting the display is trivial. This is already done in current X11 using VNC (not VLC). The difference is that X11 and Windows Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) remote the graphics commands in addition to the framebuffer. This means that X11 and RDP can utilize the hardware acceleration of the remote display. Wayland can not as it does not define a graphical command stream. It can only send you a picture as VNC does.

So it seems lately like I get to break the news that there is no Santa Clause or Easter Bunny (apologies if you found this out too from this thread). The RPi is a $35 computer. Its not going to replace a $500 (or more) Windows or Mac machine. I feel its important that people do not get the wrong impression that an update in the coming weeks will change that.

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Re: Maker Fairey Tales - NOOBS and Pidora and Wayland, Oh My

Mon May 20, 2013 12:50 pm

OtherCrashOverride wrote:Why is this information 'top secret'? Seems like development would have benefited from community involvement and feedback.
Hardly top secret. Firmware features are pushed out to help with testing, and with honest commit comments about what the changes mean.

In reality, I didn't decsribe the details of NOOBS to you, because a number of people were working on this, and there was a desired place to announce it (e.g. Maker Faire).
I don't want to spoil other people's announcements.

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Re: Maker Fairey Tales - NOOBS and Pidora and Wayland, Oh My

Mon May 20, 2013 12:54 pm

OtherCrashOverride wrote:So it seems lately like I get to break the news that there is no Santa Clause or Easter Bunny (apologies if you found this out too from this thread). The RPi is a $35 computer. Its not going to replace a $500 (or more) Windows or Mac machine. I feel its important that people do not get the wrong impression that an update in the coming weeks will change that.
I'm not sure where the quote "on a par with a current Mac OS X GUI" came from, but obviously it's not going to be a MAC OS X experience.
You can drag windows around at 60fps, but the contents of those windows are produced by a 700MHz arm, and Midori etc running inside those windows will run no faster.

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Re: Maker Fairey Tales - NOOBS and Pidora and Wayland, Oh My

Mon May 20, 2013 1:00 pm

OtherCrashOverride.
Remoting the display is trivial.
So trivial that MS Windows could do it until about Windows 2000. Unix machines had been doing it with the X Windows System since about 1984.
This is already done in current X11 using VNC
Remote display of X11 apps does not require VNC. X11 is itself a system for remote display of apps. VNC is a relatively new kid on the block (~2000).
...It [Wayland] can only send you a picture as VNC does.
That means:
a) It will be as slow as VNC.
b) It will consume more network bandwidth
c) It requires the machine running your app to have all the graphics
acceleration.
So it seems lately like I get to break the news that there is no Santa Clause or
Easter Bunny
That's not news to me. I was asking these questions in a more general context.
For example I can imagine one day that I ssh into my new Debian version 10.0
(or whatever) installation and find I cannot forward any of it's new shiny apps
to my local machine.
I feel its important that people do not get the wrong impression that an update in the coming weeks will change that.
Very true.

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Re: Maker Fairey Tales - NOOBS and Pidora and Wayland, Oh My

Mon May 20, 2013 1:33 pm

My 'top secret' comment earlier was in regards to NOOBS (not the firmware commit).

I have been considering a simplified installer after seeing all the comments with people having difficulties writing the flash images. The following are some of my thoughts on the subject:

* The solution needed to allow a user to download a single file and unzip or otherwise decrompress the contents to a blank, formatted or newly purchased SD card with a single FAT partition using a regular file manager with no special software such as WIn32Imager.

* The SD Card would then be inserted into a Pi and powered on. A minimal linux would boot entirely from the FAT partition. Network/Wifi information would be prompted for in a robust GUI or DHCP used.

* After confirmation of network availability, the solution would then repartition the SD Card so the FAT partition is minimal and create an ext4 partition. If the event of an error, the SD Card would still be usable in a different system.

* Once the Pi has partitioned the card, an OS image would be written as it downloads.

* Alternatively, a program could be run (also with a GUI) on a windows/mac/linux machine to function as a tftp or similar server to provide the OS image to the Pi on the local network; both self discovering.

I hope some of these ideas make it into future versions of NOOBS particularly because I really dislike the idea of wasting SD card space on image(s) for restore.

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Re: Maker Fairey Tales - NOOBS and Pidora and Wayland, Oh My

Tue May 21, 2013 8:40 am

Wayland solves the problem of not having a GPU-accelerated display server, window manager, and compositor, which the Wayland architecture and protocol, and Weston implementation combine. People keep immediately leaping to remote desktop rendering over 1970s 50 Kbps leased phone lines as if that was ever a Really Good Thing - I'm here to tell you from painful experience that it was not, it's just all that was available. The Pi is advertised, promoted, and marketed by the Foundation as a $25/$35 personal education computer and nothing more. Any misperceptions that others ascribe to it are purely their works of fiction, and one of the more popular fictionalizations is that it needs to be able to faithfully transmit its glorious 1080p HD output over networks at 60 fps (and preferably higher). Even with high-end desktop systems, if you have a bunch of them sending that kind of display data all at one time, your network is going to slow to a crawl, and it doesn't matter how many GHz or cores you have in each box.

I've updated my original post to make it clear that the GPU-accelerated display server, window manager, and compositor that Wayland and Weston provide establish the infrastructure that could allow a Mac OS X level of a GUI to be developed, e.g., dock icon animation, window zooming, dynamic desktop widgets and elements, etc, including 3-D effects (projected onto the 2-D display, of course). I didn't intend to say that it would come with all of the bells and whistles of an actual OS X GUI right out of the gate.

No one else had posted anything about Eben's presentation after nearly 12 hours, it was 4:45 AM, I hadn't been to bed yet that night, nor had I had more than three hours of sleep a night for more than the week preceding the Faire as I'm a volunteer through the entire week of prep leading up to the Faire and the weekend of the event. That's on top of an 80-plus-hour-a-week "day" job, teaching kids STEM as a volunteer after school, being a volunteer senior docent at the Computer History Museum and animal caretaker and visitor guide at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, organizing two Jams per month 100 miles apart, and a bunch of other miscellaneous activities - so, bite me. Show me what you've done to defend your country (and the rest of the sorry world mostly too chicken and cheap to do it themselves), how many companies have you helped start and grown to eight-plus figures, show me your patent portfolio, stop hiding behind not-cute anonymous handles, and grow a pair, for once.

I'm really getting fed up with the kibbutzers who keep sniping at the Foundation and anyone who shares their goals in STEM education. The Foundation has to put up with it because otherwise they'll just get called even worse things than they already are, but I don't have to, and I'm not going to, not by a long shot. The Pi was never designed to be a media center, a multi-service host, or a lot of other things that some have shoehorned onto it, and the fact that it can actually do even a modicum of such tasks is nothing short of simply amazing ... and totally unintended. People piss and moan about everyday miracles such as commercial flights, while 86 years ago Monday, Charles Lindbergh spent 33 hours flying solo, non-stop across the Atlantic for the first time, and all he had was a bag lunch to keep him satiated.

It just frosts me to no end how inconsiderate and self-entitled some people have become and dare to demand things they haven't done anything to deserve. Stop and take a look around and maybe you'll notice that upwards of 120,000 Syrians that were around a couple of years ago now aren't, while 1.2 million of their families, friends, and neighbors have beat feet to wherever they could walk just for scraps of food and water, and maybe a lousy tent with sandstorms blowing through it. Go join a humanitarian team in some hell-hole in the Third World where diseases we haven't seen in more than a century in our countries are still rampant and killing millions, especially kids. Spend some time in North Korea, where people are eating tree bark and grass because their Dear Leader is spending what little capital they do have on daily 747 cargo flights full of top-notch Western luxury goods ranging from Johnny Walker Black to Dior diamonds (they maintain power by paying off fellow thugs and beating up everyone else that they don't just have murdered, sometimes just to set random examples).

So, what was your problem, Bunky?
The best things in life aren't things ... but, a Pi comes pretty darned close! :D
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Re: Maker Fairey Tales - NOOBS and Pidora and Wayland, Oh My

Tue May 21, 2013 8:50 am

Wrong side of bed this morning? :)

(I love your posts BTW :) )

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Re: Maker Fairey Tales - NOOBS and Pidora and Wayland, Oh My

Tue May 21, 2013 8:57 am

simplesi wrote:Wrong side of bed this morning? :)
More likely not enough time in bed (asleep, that is) ;)
simplesi wrote:(I love your posts BTW :) )
Seconded. Jim Manley FTW :lol:

BTW, who's Bunky?
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Re: Maker Fairey Tales - NOOBS and Pidora and Wayland, Oh My

Tue May 21, 2013 11:18 am

OtherCrashOverride wrote: I have been considering a simplified installer after seeing all the comments with people having difficulties writing the flash images. The following are some of my thoughts on the subject:

* The solution needed to allow a user to download a single file and unzip or otherwise decrompress the contents to a blank, formatted or newly purchased SD card with a single FAT partition using a regular file manager with no special software such as WIn32Imager.

* The SD Card would then be inserted into a Pi and powered on. A minimal linux would boot entirely from the FAT partition. Network/Wifi information would be prompted for in a robust GUI or DHCP used.

* After confirmation of network availability, the solution would then repartition the SD Card so the FAT partition is minimal and create an ext4 partition. If the event of an error, the SD Card would still be usable in a different system.

* Once the Pi has partitioned the card, an OS image would be written as it downloads.
You've just reinvented berryboot - it already does all the above and more ;)
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Re: Maker Fairey Tales - NOOBS and Pidora and Wayland, Oh My

Tue May 21, 2013 11:28 am

Wayland solves the problem of not having a GPU-accelerated display server, window manager, and compositor, which the Wayland architecture and protocol, and Weston implementation combine.
I think that is the major point of misconception. None of those 'are the problem'. Weyland/Weston performs the same function that dispmanx and OpenWFC does. The only main difference is that it also defines input from devices like keyboards, mice, and touch screens. Its a glorified sprite engine. This distinction is important. The window *contents* are *not* hardware accelerated by Weyland nor are they defined by it. Weyland draws rectangles on a screen. Weyland is not going to OpenVG accelerate an application. Unless an application is specifically re-written to utilize OpenVG or OpenGL or OpenMax, it will be no more hardware accelerated than what is currently available with X11. Arguably, X11 apps will include *more* hardware acceleration due to it defining a graphics stream that *can* be hardware accelerated (yes, I am aware this is of little benefit on RPi).
I'm really getting fed up with the kibbutzers who keep sniping at the Foundation and anyone who shares their goals in STEM education.
Not sure what is meant by that. As far as I am aware there have been no posts in this thread stating or implying anything derogatory towards the Foundation or anyone else. The information I post is hoped to be informative and *educational*. Whether that information sits well with someone is beyond my control. Don't shoot the messenger.
It just frosts me to no end how inconsiderate and self-entitled some people have become and dare to demand things they haven't done anything to deserve.
Again, not sure where that is coming from. There have been no demands or ransoms made.
So, what was your problem, Bunky?
I too have no idea who Bunky is or what it is in refernce to.

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Re: Maker Fairey Tales - NOOBS and Pidora and Wayland, Oh My

Tue May 21, 2013 11:31 am

You've just reinvented berryboot - it already does all the above and more
So it would seem! I just got around to looking at it yesterday. I rewrite SD Cards often so I really need a 'zero effort' and efficient (pull image from my LAN not the internet) solution.

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Re: Maker Fairey Tales - NOOBS and Pidora and Wayland, Oh My

Tue May 21, 2013 2:33 pm

OtherCrashOverride,
I think that is the major point of misconception. None of those 'are the problem'.
Oh good. It's not just me. None of us knows what this Wayland thing is good for. Perhaps those that do can't explain it.

Bottom line is I still don't know.

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Re: Maker Fairey Tales - NOOBS and Pidora and Wayland, Oh My

Tue May 21, 2013 2:37 pm

Bottom line is I still don't know.
Me too - I thought it was going to make the RPi run like greased lighning but now I don't and I really don't know what it is to us muggles??? :(

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