pjc123
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Raspberry Pi Review

Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:03 pm

Below is a review that was just released today. Between this review and some user's impressions, I am debating on canceling my order (it is supposed to ship next week). I figure by the time I get the pi, a case, SD card, etc., etc., I am going to spend a lot of money for a slow piece of hardware that is going to just frustrate me while waiting for it to boot, display a graphical screen (on the rare occasion I am not using the command line) and run programs, especially since I am typing this post on a modern 4 core multithreaded computer running various flavors of 64 bit Linux. And yes, I understand they are trying to keep the cost down, and yes it has other capabilities like a GPIO, and yes it is nice and small, and yes I am helping out a charitable organization among other things. I may wait until a second generation is released with perhaps a faster or multicore processor, larger ram, etc.

http://www.engadget.com/2012/06/01/rasp ... #continued
My Raspberry Pi Project Page:
https://www.flaminghellmet.com/launch/

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grumpyoldgit
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Re: Raspberry Pi Review

Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:17 pm

I think your expectations and those of Endgaget are not in line with what the Pi is all about. If you look at the comments on the Endgaget article, most of the readers do get the point. It isn't meant to be competing with the speed of a modern fast PC. It just isn't.

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Gert van Loo
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Re: Raspberry Pi Review

Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:54 pm

What caught my eye was the remark "For the moment, the community around the Pi is small."
About 150.000 sold in the last 2 months! Even if you think 150.000 is 'small', the production is only starting to ramp up. I can't help it, but to me that puts the whole article in context.

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bigsi111
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Re: Raspberry Pi Review

Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:14 pm

How I laugh at the ignorance of journalists...

If you cannot understand the basic premise of the Raspi you shouldn't review or buy one.

The B Board is the "development" spec., the one that will help the true retail version be user friendly enough to help kids proram instead of just use computers.

All that being said how exciting is it to be at the start of something so important as this? I love it. Yes, it's slow browsing the web, but so what, you can learn about Linux and program in Python without the current slowness being a problem.

This reminds me of the early 80's and the community will hopefully eclipse those halcyon days.

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Gert van Loo
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Re: Raspberry Pi Review

Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:59 pm

Today I read a very interesting post: This was from a very experienced Linux user who is using the Pi to get his re-partitioning scripts working. This is extremely time consuming on any other computer as you have to re-install the OS if you make an error**. Here he just has to re-flash the card.
Shows you what a unique product we have.

**What I understand he could not just have a spare partition and re-write the one he destroyed as he is working with the partition data itself.

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Jongoleur
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Re: Raspberry Pi Review

Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:05 pm

As is often said at another place "You must be new around here..." :)

I'm not trying to be snide, but the performance "limitations" of the Pi are well known and have been well publicised by the Foundation; Anything graphical that uses the GPU will perform as briskly as you'd want it to. Anything that relies on the ARM CPU to manipulate graphics will be slow. As slow as, say, a 300 Mhz PII based PC running modern software. The problem I have with the engadget review is that they're ripping apart a DEVELOPMENT system, with an initial cut operating system that does not, as yet, have accelerated video drivers, mainly treating it as a finished product through most of the review and bemoaning the "fact" that its useless as an educational device because the user is dumped at a command prompt and has to type a command to start a graphical environment.*

In the end, the engadget review serves a purpose, it does remind folk that the Pi isn't a super-fast general purpose computer and that is good, as it reduces the hyped-up expectations that have been fanned by the more illogical end of the XBMC community and some other commentators.

I've got a Raspberry Pi which has now been living on my desktop for the past three weeks or so. It runs the Debian distro. I didn't have any problems with getting it started. I've installed a lightweight webserver and moved apps that I'm currently running on a Sheevaplug. Its coping well. I've run startx :o Works fine, I read about the Midori problem. Yes its a dog, so install Chrome. Thats better. Fiddled with the screen res as on a 16" TV the default leads to eyestrain. Ditto with the overscan settings. And so on. Its a learning experience (or revision? I had similar problems running SuSE on a 16Mhz 386SX with 4MB RAM in the mid 90s).

pjc123. Get your Pi and adjust your expectations. You can still use your monster PC. Just use ssh to connect to the Pi across the network. Best of both worlds and you can run the Pi headless, eliminating the need to connect keyboard/mouse/monitor to it! If you're worried about cost, don't get a case. It'll run just fine without one. A 4 or 8GB Class 4 SD card won't break the bank. What else? The cheapest HDMI cables WILL work, same with ethernet. Inexpensive PSUs WILL work. A USB keyboard and mouse set will be just fine too. If you don't have stuff spare it can be sourced for about the price of the Pi. The more odds and ends you have, the cheaper the initial cost will be. Be brave! Jump in, the waters lovely!!!

On the other hand, if you want a faster multicore processor and more RAM you better look at what might come out of China to fulfill your percieved needs. It'll be a while before that comes to the Pi universe and you'll have a long wait.

* Anyone remember what you had to type in MSDOS to get the graphical ** environment? :lol:
** If you'd paid extra and installed it...
I'm just a bouncer, splatterers do it with more force.....

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Gert van Loo
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Re: Raspberry Pi Review

Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:13 pm

Jongoleur wrote: * Anyone remember what you had to type in MSDOS to get the graphical ** environment? :lol:
** If you'd paid extra and installed it...
Today I made a joke which was not caught by a lot of my younger colleagues.
Somebody complained about the large number of compiler warnings in the latest code release.
He wrote "How do I get rid of all these warnings on my screen".
At which I answered: cls?

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Jongoleur
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Re: Raspberry Pi Review

Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:19 pm

Gert van Loo wrote:
Jongoleur wrote: * Anyone remember what you had to type in MSDOS to get the graphical ** environment? :lol:
** If you'd paid extra and installed it...
Today I made a joke which was not caught by a lot of my younger colleagues.
Somebody complained about the large number of compiler warnings in the latest code release.
He wrote "How do I get rid of all these warnings on my screen".
At which I answered: cls?
Or ESC 2J ? ;)
I'm just a bouncer, splatterers do it with more force.....

obarthelemy
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Re: Raspberry Pi Review

Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:33 pm

I actually quite liked that review. It's done from the perspective of the end user, and correctly highlights the Pi's limitations for that market. Engadget is an end-user site, so that is coherent.

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nick.mccloud
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Re: Raspberry Pi Review

Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:00 pm

I'm not sure how useful it is for a review of something from the publications own perspective unless they put some context on it. That is, if you are an end user gadget fanbois mag, why bother reviewing something not designed for your audience as if it were. Engadget have told their readers that it isn't the normal sort of thing they expect their readers to get involved with and why, but they didn't bother telling their readers what it was designed for and why it might not be a bad thing for the readership to stop killing fake people in the latest FPS and learn something useful.

I'll send my Pi to Horse & Hounds and see what they come up with ...

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Jongoleur
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Re: Raspberry Pi Review

Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:19 pm

nick.mccloud wrote:I'll send my Pi to Horse & Hounds and see what they come up with ...
H&H will point out (at length) that it isn't suited to 3 Day Eventing and has very strange dietary requirements.

"The Field" will find that it would be unsporting to use it as a lure for trout or salmon, but it might be adequate for pike.

and

"Hello!" would have a lot of glossy photos illustrating how the Raspberry Pi is the latest must-have celebrity fashion accessory.

I'm off to bed......
I'm just a bouncer, splatterers do it with more force.....

obarthelemy
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Re: Raspberry Pi Review

Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:11 pm

nick.mccloud wrote:I'm not sure how useful it is for a review of something from the publications own perspective unless they put some context on it. That is, if you are an end user gadget fanbois mag, why bother reviewing something not designed for your audience as if it were. Engadget have told their readers that it isn't the normal sort of thing they expect their readers to get involved with and why, but they didn't bother telling their readers what it was designed for and why it might not be a bad thing for the readership to stop killing fake people in the latest FPS and learn something useful.

I'll send my Pi to Horse & Hounds and see what they come up with ...
Well, when something isn't for me, I'm quite happy to be warned beforehand. Given the intense buzz around the Pi, and the widespread misconception that it is ready for widespread use, playing games (hey, there was a quake demo), serving as a media center (hey, there was a HD video demo), and browsing the web with abandon (hey, there's a screenshot with a browser running), a call to reality is useful.

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scep
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Re: Raspberry Pi Review

Sat Jun 02, 2012 6:42 am

Like obarthelemy I thought it was a reasonable and useful review**. I can't let this pass though :
Scratch is interesting, and certainly simple enough for a child to understand, but it's hardly intuitive and very rough around the edges.
Eh? Scratch is a robust and mature environment designed from the ground up on pedagogical principles. It's possibly the most intuitive way to learn the basic concepts of programming ever made :ugeek: It's widely used in teaching and is supported by a massive community and a dedicated team at MIT. It's a shame: that one sentence is in danger of breaking the whole review because it's smacks of lazy journalism and gives the idea that the reviewer fired up each of the things on the desktop, poked about for a minute and then wrote a sentence about it without further investigation. I'm sure that he didn't, but weak links in chains and all that...

One thing that is clear from this and other reviews, though, is that the Foundation would do themselves a huge favour by removing all references to web browsing in their PR and nuke Midori from a great height :shock:

@pjc: If you have any doubts, don't buy a RasPi as you'll probably be disappointed. (In fact, as you specifically compare it to your "modern 4 core multithreaded computer" I know that you'll be disappointed ;).) Lots of people seem to be buying a RasPi at the moment to "try it out" with no particular reason (they saw it on the BBC; their mate's got one; it looks cool etc). I'm guessing that many of these buyers will put their RasPi away in the drawer within a week of getting it. Fortunately, there are also lots of people buying them thinking, "I'm going to do X with it. And if I can't make it do X then I'll learn how to. And then I'll do Y and Z too."

It's all to do with expectations and willingness to learn. And learning is why the RasPi was made.

[**Though reviewing it as a consumer item without mentioning the "dev status" and planned education release was rather obtuse.]

Reider
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Re: Raspberry Pi Review

Sat Jun 02, 2012 9:51 am

The Pi will never suit everybody. I have a couple of spinal nerves destroyed in an operation, pain is severe and constant. To deal with it I take meds that affect the brain to stop the pain (poetry lol). Alas that's not all they stop. My short term memory and thought control goes in and out like chapters or sometimes pages of a book. Enough about me....

I had to make the decision to proceed with a purchase of the Pi or not. Could I cope with the learning and effects of the meds? I decided to continue and knew their may be additional costs my limited budget would have to stretch to. When the package arrived I used some of the hardware I already have from 7 computers here inc a Mac Mini. Networking was running the same day but still I could see my future needs and have ordered a WiFi adapter more likely to play nicely with the Pi than the spare I currently have.

I am learning Python for the first time. Have broken my SSH virginity and am now using VNC, both of which I had heard of before but never used. FTP is set up and I look forward to a new version of Fedora Remix being released, amongst many other things. Speed? It isn`t as slow as I feared and copes really well. Price? I don`t drink any more but if I did I doubt I could get a good night out for this price.

If I compare that price to the Pi well then theirs really no compare. Drink gets me 1 night and a hangover, the Pi gets me countless days and nights, possibly a feeling like an hangover when I overdo it but on the other hand I learn a lot from it too. Would I repeat my purchase now I`ve used it? Definitely, even at double the price. Now what you do is your choice, some of us know a good deal when we see it. No offense intended there either.

Steve

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AndrewS
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Re: Raspberry Pi Review

Sun Jun 03, 2012 4:49 pm

I agree it's a shame they didn't point out that RaspberryPi is still in the "development stage" - anybody know what they mean by: "finding compatible apps for the Linux desktop is an exercise in futility" :?:

And the article didn't even get the RPi's basic history correct - when talking about pricing they say "The Raspberry Pi, on the other hand, never drew a line in the sand". However AFAIK the 'line in the sand' has always been $25 for the Model A.

Disclaimer: I didn't bother reading any of the comments.

pjc123
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Re: Raspberry Pi Review

Mon Jun 04, 2012 6:55 pm

I decided to keep my order for the pi. The most important thing is that the money is going to help out an organization with good intentions. Even thought it is archaic hardware, It will certainly be more fun to play with than most Toys R Us toys. I never used any ARM products, so it will allow me to learn a couple of new things.
My Raspberry Pi Project Page:
https://www.flaminghellmet.com/launch/

bredman
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Re: Raspberry Pi Review

Mon Jun 04, 2012 9:30 pm

pjc123,

I'ts good that you are willing to give it a go. Try reading the MagPi magazine http://www.themagpi.com to see if it gives you any ideas.

If it all fails, turn the RPi into a Network Attached Storage to store a copy of your most important files from your Windows PC (http://elinux.org/R-Pi_NAS).

jeremybirch
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Re: Raspberry Pi Review

Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:45 pm

Well, my son had the Engadget stream running under XBMC within about 2 hours of receiving the board, and we watched several hours of HD streamed television through both tvcatchup.com and BBC iplayer without any difficulty.

There are a few gripes about the initial debian OS, but overall a sterling effort.
The 2d graphics is dog slow, but as the 3d is pretty quick this is just a matter of drivers not missing hardware, and will be fixed soon I trust.

Compiling on the Pi is pretty slow - a library I needed and which was not available to "apt-get" took several hours to build versus a few minutes on a laptop, but I only need to do that once.

My Linux application built and linked without any source changes once all the libraries and headers were in place, and I only needed to change one line to get it running perfectly from the version that worked on an Ubuntu laptop. [It may be my ignorance, but the character returned by getc at the end of a file was 255 which did not match the definition of EOF in the system - perhaps the implementation is assuming this is an unsigned int whereas I believe the standard states it is signed and negative values indicate EOF]

So I am pretty impressed so far.

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Emanuele
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Re: Raspberry Pi Review

Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:54 pm

jeremybirch wrote:... the character returned by getc at the end of a file was 255 which did not match the definition of EOF in the system - perhaps the implementation is assuming this is an unsigned int whereas I believe the standard states it is signed and negative values indicate EOF ...
I don't have a Raspberry Pi, but I've ported some C from x86 to ARM and this sounds familiar. It might not be your case, but chars in ARM C are UNsigned. If somewhere in your code you cast the result of fgetc to a char you're converting ([signed] int) -1 to ([unsigned] char) 255.

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