teeth_03
Posts: 284
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 12:02 am

Is anyone actually trying to use Raspbian for desktop use?

Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:09 am

The majority of my time with my Pi is done messing with either Emulators or XBMC, as I havent used LXDE or Midori extensively, but I do know that it runs kind of slow for desktop use.

So I'm wondering if anyone actually uses it a lot for web browsing, checking email, or document processing, stuff that I would define as light desktop tasks?

Obviously the Pi isnt designed for this, but I'm also sure it wasn't designed to put Mario and Doom on my living room TV, along with my locally stored movie collection...

JeremyF
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Re: Is anyone actually trying to use Raspbian for desktop us

Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:47 am

I actually use my Pi often to do mundane things like go on Facebook (mobile version) and email.

It's fairly livable. Haven't tried word processing yet. It also makes a very fast thin client, surprisingly (connected to a really slow Windows XP box, both over 54mbps 802.11g)


(but maybe that's just because I'm currently in a 2-year experiment where I only own slow computers (A number of Pentium 4 laptops that I got for free and an old Mac Mini comprise my current workstation besides the Pi)
{sig} Setup: Original version Raspberry Pi (B, rev1, 256MB), Dell 2001FP monitor (1600x1200), 8GB Class 4 SD Card with Raspbian and XBMC, DD-WRT wireless bridge

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Sander
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Re: Is anyone actually trying to use Raspbian for desktop us

Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:15 am

teeth_03 wrote: So I'm wondering if anyone actually uses it a lot for web browsing, checking email, or document processing, stuff that I would define as light desktop tasks?
I've tried it on my sons, but they gave up; youtube and game sites were too slow for them.

I do use some GUI / X on my Raspi, though: login from my Ubuntu laptop with "ssh -X [email protected]." and then start a GUI program on the Raspi ... its output will appear on my Ubuntu laptop.

Cloudcentric
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Re: Is anyone actually trying to use Raspbian for desktop us

Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:56 am

Yes I prefer using LXDE GUI, Synaptic Package Manger is run daily to update.

Midori Web Browser is "usable" as long as one does not multi-tab. Yes it can be slow to load complicated web pages, BBC iPlayer and Youtube are impossible as well as some Flash and Java content is not loaded.

I use for mainly for proof of concept: http://debianarmpi.blogspot.co.uk :shock:
I know everything about nothing"

JeremyF
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Re: Is anyone actually trying to use Raspbian for desktop us

Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:11 pm

Also, I forgot to add, if you are going to try doing "normal desktop use", then you should use Openbox, not LXDE. Openbox comes pre-installed as well, just start it with

Code: Select all

xinit /usr/bin/openbox-session
{sig} Setup: Original version Raspberry Pi (B, rev1, 256MB), Dell 2001FP monitor (1600x1200), 8GB Class 4 SD Card with Raspbian and XBMC, DD-WRT wireless bridge

Stoick
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:43 pm

Re: Is anyone actually trying to use Raspbian for desktop us

Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:22 pm

Our Pi arrived just before our Windows computer died; the Pi has been nothing but a desktop.

LXDE
Midori and now Chromium [webmail etc]
Other browsers sometimes where speed a priority
Document Viewer (evince) for pdf
Scribus for homework (posters etc)
Focuswriter/Abiword for wordprocessing
Gnumeric for spreadsheets
CUPS for printing (very slow, and some problems)

Slow of course and some websites/documents are hopeless, but needs must. Lack of Flash/Java a limitation.

Windows PC back in action - we now have two computers!

pygmy_giant
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Re: Is anyone actually trying to use Raspbian for desktop us

Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:04 pm

I love it for programming and playing Penguins Puzzle.

Metatronin
Posts: 55
Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:19 am

Re: Is anyone actually trying to use Raspbian for desktop us

Sat Oct 13, 2012 4:21 am

I use one of my raspi's as a dedicated second desktop. I have it set at 900Mhz with a 128/128 memory split. I've used gimp,inkscape,scribus,ect. Once they load up most applications seem snappy and work well. When I want to watch movies or listen to music(or use you tube) I just load up XBMC within LXDE. I like Iceweasel for a web browser as well. It also is used to program both Arduino and the Parallax Propeller. I can fit it all into a backpack and go anywhere with it too(I have a portable tv for on the go computing).

It excels at being a tiny and affordable development platform that is great for programming on. So far, only the web really slows it down, but mostly due to poorly made web site designs.

urra901109
Posts: 34
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:48 am

Re: Is anyone actually trying to use Raspbian for desktop us

Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:49 am

I have been using my RPi as a desktop in the last couple of week. Mostly browsing mobile site. So far, in my opinion netsurf is the most responsive browser, midori tends to choke on multi tabbed browsing. As for media consumption, I simply launch my video with omxplayer (read on omxplayer "launch from GUI") it allows you to simply double click on video files from lxde.

teeth_03
Posts: 284
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Re: Is anyone actually trying to use Raspbian for desktop us

Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:45 am

I could never get the omxplayer launch from gui to work, whats the trick?

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Sander
Posts: 174
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Re: Is anyone actually trying to use Raspbian for desktop us

Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:26 pm

teeth_03 wrote:I could never get the omxplayer launch from gui to work, whats the trick?
omxplayer directly writes to the screen, bypassing GUI and WM and X and all ...

HTH

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Mr.Dave
Posts: 148
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Re: Is anyone actually trying to use Raspbian for desktop us

Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:32 pm

I gave up with using normal desktop environments, found it quite ridiculous that the Pi was designed specifically for Linux yet there is still no X hardware acceleration, its a deal breaker for me

XBian is now its permanent OS and I use it for streaming movies every night

JollyRoger
Posts: 154
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:48 am

Re: Is anyone actually trying to use Raspbian for desktop us

Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:06 pm

I use the Pi a bit for normal desktop use (Midori, Focuswriter, Claws-mail and some other standard lightweight apps), but I've moved away from LXDE to Bodhi Linux. This a bit of a learning curve with Bodhi, but its really good, and it seems faster than LXDE, and Omxplayer works better for me in Bodhi. I've turned off passwords completely (by editing the /etc/sudoers file) as I got fed up with repeatedly entering them.

Note that if you do try Bodhi, don't expand the image to fill the SD card using raspi-config - this really messes things up. Use Gparted instead.

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Lob0426
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Re: Is anyone actually trying to use Raspbian for desktop us

Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:25 pm

There is work on an X driver in progress, and we are supposed to hear something soon.
of course "soon" is relative here. :D I have waded around in LXDE on a Lapdock and it really is not too bad. An X driver will make a world of difference.

It seems to be getting better all the time as OS improvements come along. The overclocking helped some also. It just does not work too bad at all for a device that was designed as a programming tool!

I am not giving up my XPS8300 just yet!
512MB version 2.0 as WordPress Server
Motorola Lapdock with Pi2B
Modded Rev 1.0 with pin headers at USB

http://rich1.dyndns.tv/
(RS)Allied ships old stock to reward its Customers for long wait!

pygmy_giant
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Re: Is anyone actually trying to use Raspbian for desktop us

Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:51 pm

would an x driver speed up the web?

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Lob0426
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Re: Is anyone actually trying to use Raspbian for desktop us

Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:03 am

The X driver will make almost everything in the GUI (Graphical User Interface) (LXDE) faster. It will not help with HTML5, Flash or other video accelerators used on the web. But getting around in web pages will speed up quite a bit.
512MB version 2.0 as WordPress Server
Motorola Lapdock with Pi2B
Modded Rev 1.0 with pin headers at USB

http://rich1.dyndns.tv/
(RS)Allied ships old stock to reward its Customers for long wait!

rvalles
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:51 pm

Re: Is anyone actually trying to use Raspbian for desktop us

Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:40 am

With the 512MB RAM upgrade, it'll be significantly more usable for desktop purposes, in terms of actually being able to run a few applications without instantly running out of memory.

Then the bottleneck will be the lack of a proper X driver. Right now CPU has to do all the drawing, as X only uses the generic framebuffer driver.

For now, I'm keeping the 256mb pi for playing around and getting a $49 cubieboard, which has 1GB RAM, a SATA port and an ARMv7 (Cortex-A8) CPU for ARM-as-desktop experiments, from http://cubieboard.org.

teeth_03
Posts: 284
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Re: Is anyone actually trying to use Raspbian for desktop us

Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:15 am

How does Open/Libreoffice run on 512? Also, are there any decent email clients, thunderbird or evolution perhaps?

JollyRoger
Posts: 154
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Re: Is anyone actually trying to use Raspbian for desktop us

Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:16 pm

All these comments are really useful - thanks. I've not tried Viewnior, so I'll download it and have a play. Regarding an email client, Claws-mail is OK.

Metatronin
Posts: 55
Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:19 am

Re: Is anyone actually trying to use Raspbian for desktop us

Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:54 pm

As far as editors go, "gedit" is always an option(almost 70mb installed). It's pretty unlcuttered UI wise and handles highlighting of most programming/scripting languages etc.
Open office suite works nicely, it has performance like other programs where it reacts well once the initial program loads up. Once they offload the screen drawing to the gpu i dont see why it shouldn't speed up a bit though. Maybe alot even.

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Sander
Posts: 174
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Re: Is anyone actually trying to use Raspbian for desktop us

Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:23 am

Yfory wrote:
I haven't had a chance to test gedit on the 512MB yet, but tried it on Mac, seems to tick most of the boxes, but I wonder if there is a way to make it upload via scp? Will try it this evening on the Pi...
This is how I do it from my Ubuntu:

In Nautilus: File -> Connect to Server, then fill out IP address and account of the Raspi. Then connect = mount. From that moment on, I can browse and open and edit all the files on the Raspi. And I use gedit on my Ubuntu to open text files on the Raspi.

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dliloch
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Location: cleveland, ohio usa

Re: Is anyone actually trying to use Raspbian for desktop us

Fri Oct 26, 2012 5:10 pm

I'm using openbox .. but how do you configure the defaults on the menu??
I want to use netsurf .. did an export BROWSER=netsurf but had no effect...
thanks ..

SiriusHardware
Posts: 502
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Location: UK

Re: Is anyone actually trying to use Raspbian for desktop us

Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:47 am

Prior to the September 2012 build of Raspbian, my desktop 'test' application (surfing the web with Midori) was painfully slow, frankly unusable for any reaslistic purpose. Trying to type a post into this forum mean hitting a key and watching the letter appear up to a second later, FOR EACH LETTER, so that if I typed a five letter word quickly it would take up to five seconds for the word to appear.

However, with the release of the September 2012 build and 'turbo mode' along with various other fixes performance improved enormously, and Midori is now absolutely usable and I quite often go surfing the web on it - comes in handy when I'm programming something on my main PC and I need to have a web-based help page or other document up where I can see it at the same time.

The worst limitations now are those of Linux, not the Pi, such as no proper implementation of Flash.

If / when we have accelerated 'X', the Pi will finally fly at last.

Heater
Posts: 13918
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:02 pm

Re: Is anyone actually trying to use Raspbian for desktop us

Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:42 am

SiriusHardware,
The worst limitations now are those of Linux, not the Pi, such as no proper implementation of Flash.
This is not correct.
1) I view FLASH content on by Linux PC every day. It works fine.
2) The fact that FLASH dev tools arn't available for Linux is not a limitation of Linux but rather Adobe.
3) The fact that FLASH may not be avalable for the Pi or any other ARM processor is not a limitation of Linux or the Pi. It is a limitation of Adobe.

Also note that Adobe has announced, almost a year ago, that they will no longer support FLASH on mobile devices. The Pi is essentially a mobile device so FLASH is a dead end in the future of mobile phones, tablets, enbedded systems and the Pi.
Adobe has also said it wants to move over to HTML 5. So agin FLASH is a dead end on the PC as well.

All in all FLASH is not worth thinking about. FLASH is a good text book case study of why you should not invest your development efforts into closed source, single vendor, non-standards compliant languages, platforms or oerating systems.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

Metatronin
Posts: 55
Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:19 am

Re: Is anyone actually trying to use Raspbian for desktop us

Sat Oct 27, 2012 11:05 am

Honestly, I have not really had any flash related problems so far. Sure, I have to load xbmc to use youtube or facebook, but other than those two sites I haven't had too much trouble. There are also a few flash plugins(?) in the synaptic package manager. They won't do flash games or stream movies but it works fine for navigation at web sites that use it for that.

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