Adeianos
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Tue May 29, 2012 10:36 am

I have to say, starting off, that I'm coming to this from the opposite position of the OP.
I'm a professional Linux SysAdmin at a large Webhosting company, and heard about the
Pi initially through a coworker. From our perspective, the first thing we checked was the
hardware specs, and realized that it wasn't anywhere near what the hearsay about it was
saying, but, it is still perfectly suitable for my personal needs.
I purchased my Pi primarily to build a "laptop" for coding and SSH purposes, planning to
fabricate a case large enough to hold a 15-20" screen and a full size keyboard, with a carrying
handle. Even including my Windows gaming laptop (which I'm on currently), every computer
in my home runs at least one instance of Linux, as well as having 2 Dedicated servers that I use
for projects that require IP-based software licensing.

To get on to my reason for posting on this thread, I feel that the misrepresentations of the
Pi's capabilities are going to be pretty damaging to the project's goals. Let's start with the
Wikipedia entry on the Raspberry Pi:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raspberry_Pi
In August 2011, fifty Alpha boards were manufactured. These boards were functionally identical to the planned model B, only larger to accommodate debug headers. Demos of the board showed it running the LXDE desktop on Debian, Quake 3 at 1080p, and Full HD MPEG-4 video over HDMI.
This is the first entry on the capabilities of the Raspberry Pi listed in the article. This can easily be
interpreted by people who aren't technically-saavy as the hardware being easily suitable to desktop
replacement, as High Definition gaming and video is typically thought of as being something that
only modern computers are capable of. Most people won't check and find out the original
requirements for Quake 3 were a 233 Mhz Processor and 64 MB of RAM, and that it was released in 1999.

Next, is the "Shipping Now" article from geek.com:
http://www.geek.com/articles/chips/35-r ... -20120416/
The main board for the Raspberry Pi fits in the hand, and comes equipped with a 700MHz ARM SoC, HDMI-out, two USB ports, an SD card slot, Ethernet, and 256MB of RAM. Clearly you’re not going to run Crysis on this device, but it is a complete package that could encourage people all over the world, and especially in developing countries, to get interested in computer science. The RasPi will also have the juice to run a game like Quake III or output 1080p video over HDMI.
Again, a reference to Quake 3 without a reference to the original requirements for the game. This
article goes so far as to mention you can't run a modern game, but the game chosen to mention is
Crysis, which was hyped primarily for its hardware requirements at the time.

Starting to improve, is the PCWorld article:
http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/a ... _last.html
Originally designed to encourage kids around the globe to learn programming, the diminutive device can actually be used for a variety of other purposes as well, including spreadsheets, word processing, games, and playing high-definition video.
This article at least addresses the purpose of the Pi, but still goes on to talk about it being used for
games and HD Video. The article completely glosses over the hardware specs, aside from
mentioning that it is ARM based and has 256 MB of RAM.

Finally, the best Launch article I was able to find, is that from wired.com:
http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/04/ ... customers/
The Raspberry Pi is a tiny investment that be used to experiment with Linux and software programing without the fear of destroying family photos. For $35, potential students can hook the tiny computer to a keyboard and display, and get their hands dirty with the Python programming language.

The computer ships with 256MB of on-board of RAM and a 700MHz ARM chip, and boots from an SD card with either the Fedora, Debian or ArchLinux distros installed. It’s definitely not a system designed for speed.
This article brings up three important points: The goal of the project, the hardware specs, and that it is
"not [sic] designed for speed." If anything, this is the article that proponents of the project should be
pointing people to in regards to reading material prior to pointing them to the forums. It does a decent
job of setting expectations, and doesn't mention gaming, HD Video, or spreadsheets at all.

As a bonus, an article on 5 things you can do with the Pi:
http://gizmodo.com/5889245/five-things- ... spberry-pi
By plugging in a Raspberry Pi to your tellybox you get a proper desktop web browser that will actually work with the modern web and a potentially huge library of apps and games.
This is the sort of article that leads toward the assumption that users will be able to just plug in and
(I'm not picking on bamboozled, it's just a convenient example) watch BBC videos, or watch
youtube, or play HD games on your television.

For the tl;dr amongst us, we need to be pointing people towards resources that stress the goals of
the project, rather than all the things that we'll be able to do with the Pi once the community has had
time to develop a decent software suite for it.

hippy
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Tue May 29, 2012 10:53 am

khisanth wrote:I don't understand how people would buy the Pi at this stage and expect a Windows 7 Core i7/i5 experience.
Probably because of the media hype and grand claims that non-technical people can't easily equate to real life performance. Most do not understand that GPU performance does not equate to CPU performance and when they see claims such as "outperforms the iPhone 4S by a factor of two" read it as the R-Pi is twice as fast as an iPhone 4S.

The R-Pi is still promoted as "a capable little PC", which suggests comparability with what people consider a PC, and only now are reviewers stating that people expecting it to be a desktop replacement will likely be disappointed.

Most are probably expecting it to be slower than their PC, but simply not expecting it to be as slow as they find it is.

tufty
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Tue May 29, 2012 10:59 am

khisanth wrote:I don't understand how people would buy the Pi at this stage and expect a Windows 7 Core i7/i5 experience. Maybe the general thumbs up from the current owners made the non techie people think "ooo this seems to be a dirt cheap PC that I can use for my web browsing and gaming" then quickly realise it isnt and is not aimed at that.
To add to what hippy has just said, it should also be pointed out that people who are currently receiving their Pis are those who got up at 6am GMT on launch day, and managed to "express interest" somewhat before I did. At that point there was little to no "thumbs up from current owners", as there were only 10 beta boards out in the wild. So, assuming they didn't know what they were getting, they were working purely on the pre-launch hype.

Simon

hzrnbgy
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Tue May 29, 2012 12:04 pm

Maybe they are not expecting a CoreI5 experience. Maybe they just expect usable performance which, from what I read in the forum is hard to come by.

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khisanth
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Tue May 29, 2012 12:07 pm

I have not tried Chromium browser yet, but Midori crashed on certain web pages and if I based my opinion on the performance of Midori I would not be very happy! :)

Sadly it seems that most people I know (family, work colleagues, friends etc) define computer performance/speed/power by what happens in their web browser. How often have you heard "For god sakes, my computer is really slow" ? When in reality its the browser itself or more likely their internet connection.

I got Quake III up and running and it feels like a different machine, very smooth and nippy with only a slight slow down when a lot is happening on screen.

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khisanth
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Tue May 29, 2012 12:10 pm

bigsi111 wrote: My kids aged 8 and 12 have started to program, made a lego house for the Raspi and think it's cool that it's not like the PC.
Hehe, when I was in my room at 1am updating some packages it suddenly hit me, I am using a computer that is SILENT !! :) Was such a weird but nice feeling to compute in peace and quiet.

So I know what they mean in a way that it's not like your usual PC.

hzrnbgy
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Tue May 29, 2012 12:11 pm

Unfortunately, the device is marketed "capable little PC", and that to most people, means browsing the interwebs.

JetsetWilly
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Tue May 29, 2012 3:40 pm

hzrnbgy wrote:Unfortunately, the device is marketed "capable little PC", and that to most people, means browsing the interwebs.
Aint that the truth.
Its so slow its quite unbelievable, and crashes more times than Gary Numan on a bad day

jamesh
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Tue May 29, 2012 5:49 pm

hzrnbgy wrote:Maybe they are not expecting a CoreI5 experience. Maybe they just expect usable performance which, from what I read in the forum is hard to come by.
OK, almost every single post you make is unrelentingly negative - and you don't even have a device yet, and are going entirely on what you read. Now, I've let it go so far, but if you continue to be so negative, I will put your posts on moderation.

This is the Foundation website, and since you are using the Foundation website to slate the Foundation product at every opportunity without actually used the Foundations product, (or accepting it status at the moment as 'in development', I think that fair enough.
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thetechy
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Tue May 29, 2012 6:03 pm

Part of my purchasing decision was not only to "play" with this amazing little PC (and it is a PC) but also to support the aims of the foundation.

Performance:
"..graphics capabilities are roughly equivalent to Xbox 1 level of performance. Overall real world performance is something like a 300MHz Pentium 2, only with much, much swankier graphics"
http://www.raspberrypi.org/faqs

Goals:
"We want to see cheap, accessible, programmable computers everywhere"
http://www.raspberrypi.org/about

hippy
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Tue May 29, 2012 6:05 pm

Adeianos wrote:Finally, the best Launch article I was able to find, is that from wired.com:
http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/04/ ... customers/
... It’s definitely not a system designed for speed.
Compare and contrast with, http://www.sparksite.co.uk/entries/the_raspberry_pi -
Linux will run much faster than an operating system like windows ... This makes the Pi’s tiny size and processing power go much further, and makes it work speedily ...

the Raspberrypi is fast, cheap and despite its size; fast.
You could think they were each talking about two different products.

thetechy
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Tue May 29, 2012 6:13 pm

hippy wrote:
Adeianos wrote:Finally, the best Launch article I was able to find, is that from wired.com:
http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/04/ ... customers/
... It’s definitely not a system designed for speed.
Compare and contrast with, http://www.sparksite.co.uk/entries/the_raspberry_pi -
Linux will run much faster than an operating system like windows ... This makes the Pi’s tiny size and processing power go much further, and makes it work speedily ...

the Raspberrypi is fast, cheap and despite its size; fast.
You could think they were each talking about two different products.
With the greatest of respect, review by WIRED and review by sparksite, "A website by & for young people in Wiltshire". I have to say I know where I would want to gather an informed opinion on a technical subject from.

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nick.mccloud
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Tue May 29, 2012 6:22 pm

It has suddenly struck me that all this concern & all these comparisons with other platforms & OS's are just a distraction.

The project was never about providing a general purpose computer for a tenth of the current market price.

If it doesn't sell millions over the coming years because it was considered too slow as a replacement for a machine 10 times the price, that will not be a failure.

As long as it provides a viable platform for people to safely explore the world of computing, operating systems & programming, it can be deemed a success.

In some respects, as long as the distributors don't get burnt and lose faith in the project, it wouldn't do us any harm to have the bubble well & truly burst so expectations can be properly set.

All that said, I don't find Chromium that slow - I have to wonder what expectations people have of their current browsing experience - but then my first internet connection was on a 1200/75 modem.

JetsetWilly
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Tue May 29, 2012 6:30 pm

Where can one get Chromium for the Pi please.
Anything has to be better than Midori

obarthelemy
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Tue May 29, 2012 6:34 pm

I'm a strong advocate of putting "what this not" clarifications clauses in FAQs (and sales proposals ^^).

The Pi is NOT:
1- a Windows PC. No flavour of Windows (95, 98, XP, 7, 8, RT, CE...) runs, nor will ever run, on the Pi.
2- comparable in performance to current x86 computers. Even though the Pi's video chip is quite good, the Pi's RAM (256 MB), Processor (single-core 700MHz ARM, broadly equivalent to a 350MHz x86 for integer computations) and I/O (1 single USB channel split into 2 ports) are very limited, making using the Pi outside of its teaching/hacking purview experimental at best, more probably irrealistic.
3- finalized yet. The OS and software are very much in a beta, or even alpha, state, and cannot as of 2012/6/1 be counted upon to work reliably or at all. Even the (first rev) hardware is very picky about which SD cards, USB/HDMI devices, and power supplies it runs with.

I'm wondering if such a disclaimer should not be displayed on the order forms, to make thing crystal clear to all buyers.

hippy
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Tue May 29, 2012 7:43 pm

thetechy wrote:With the greatest of respect, review by WIRED and review by sparksite, "A website by & for young people in Wiltshire". I have to say I know where I would want to gather an informed opinion on a technical subject from.
Me, too, but the point is that people aren't all techies, the R-Pi mega promotion wasn't to techies; it was via mainstream media to Joe Public. Many likely did hear about it and form their opinions from what they saw and heard on the BBC, in their favourite newspaper and from local sites just like that.

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bigsi111
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Tue May 29, 2012 7:45 pm

JetsetWilly wrote:Where can one get Chromium for the Pi please.
Anything has to be better than Midori
sudo apt-get install chromium browser

Do this in command line

jamesh
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Tue May 29, 2012 8:01 pm

hippy wrote:
thetechy wrote:With the greatest of respect, review by WIRED and review by sparksite, "A website by & for young people in Wiltshire". I have to say I know where I would want to gather an informed opinion on a technical subject from.
Me, too, but the point is that people aren't all techies, the R-Pi mega promotion wasn't to techies; it was via mainstream media to Joe Public. Many likely did hear about it and form their opinions from what they saw and heard on the BBC, in their favourite newspaper and from local sites just like that.
Difficult call to make for the Foundation. Do you take that interview with the BBC, or not. Do you give quotes to websites or not. The Foundation has to think long term. And once that stuff is out you have no control over what those people do with the information. The Foundation has not misrepresented the device - other people have, and there is nothing the Foundation can do about it. It wasn't our mega promotion - it's went viral, and went mega of its own accord. And rather unexpectedly.

I'm not sure what could be done to mitigate in those circumstances. The press really does have a mind of its own.
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Nr90
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Wed May 30, 2012 1:57 am

obarthelemy wrote:I'm a strong advocate of putting "what this not" clarifications clauses in FAQs (and sales proposals ^^).

The Pi is NOT:
1- a Windows PC. No flavour of Windows (95, 98, XP, 7, 8, RT, CE...) runs, nor will ever run, on the Pi.
2- comparable in performance to current x86 computers. Even though the Pi's video chip is quite good, the Pi's RAM (256 MB), Processor (single-core 700MHz ARM, broadly equivalent to a 350MHz x86 for integer computations) and I/O (1 single USB channel split into 2 ports) are very limited, making using the Pi outside of its teaching/hacking purview experimental at best, more probably irrealistic.
3- finalized yet. The OS and software are very much in a beta, or even alpha, state, and cannot as of 2012/6/1 be counted upon to work reliably or at all. Even the (first rev) hardware is very picky about which SD cards, USB/HDMI devices, and power supplies it runs with.

I'm wondering if such a disclaimer should not be displayed on the order forms, to make thing crystal clear to all buyers.
I think your idea is good, however I am unsure if the line "single-core 700MHz ARM, broadly equivalent to a 350MHz x86 for integer computations" will make any sense to the people who are surprised by the (lack of) speed anyway.
I think something along the lines of: "a processor of similar speed to a PC from around 1999" would get the message across better.

bredman
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Wed May 30, 2012 8:21 am

JetsetWilly wrote:Where can one get Chromium for the Pi please.
Anything has to be better than Midori
The instructions for installing Chromium are at http://elinux.org/RPi_Chromium

Demonic69
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Wed May 30, 2012 3:18 pm

My 1st impressions of the Pi. I've been in IT support for 15 years but have never used Linux for more than a few minutes. I am, however, an adept Googler.. er Googlist.

Simplicity - Unpacked Debian, stuck in the SD card and cables, followed the instructions for UN, PW and startx and "wow"-ed out loud at how quickly the little thing loaded a desktop! Luckily my TV was happy with the display settings, the Pi got an IP and my wireless keyboard worked fine.

Speed - Some things do take longer than my PC to load, but I was fully informed and expected this from the outset. I see this as a limitation of the gui, doing things through the command line is plenty fast.

Usability - As I said, I could Google for England. I installed VNC following a tutorial found on El Goog, then got it working from another quick G. (IP:1, duh). Next I googled torrent client and media player and got them installed and doing the do. Luckily, I don't flap when faced with an adverse OS, I just search, implement, then try to understand.

I can see the limitations of the current HW/OS setup. Debian has been customised for the Pi, not optimised. It's more of a proof-of-concept than a fully fledged, complete package IMO.

I'll carry on playing with this until I get a second one, which will be used to provided some much needed beef to some little micro controllers.

On a side note, I can't get the BBC website to load on my Arduino, WTF?

pkirk
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Wed May 30, 2012 3:38 pm

SLOW - Yes its a bit slow but what do you expect!! The little ARM CPU chip is barley warm to the touch - Compare this with Core ix running a game on a laptop - you nearly go deaf from the cooling fan noise!!! A Sony Paystation ;) or uSoft XBox can be used as room heater under full load.

SCARY & UNFRIENDLY- If you come from Windows then yes Unix is a bit scary but its incredibly powerfull and there is tons of free documentation online for download.
One golden rule in Unix - make a copy of any file before you edit. And if you mess up completely - just reimage the SD
:)

jamesh
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Wed May 30, 2012 5:02 pm

Demonic69 wrote:My 1st impressions of the Pi. I've been in IT support for 15 years but have never used Linux for more than a few minutes. I am, however, an adept Googler.. er Googlist.

Simplicity - Unpacked Debian, stuck in the SD card and cables, followed the instructions for UN, PW and startx and "wow"-ed out loud at how quickly the little thing loaded a desktop! Luckily my TV was happy with the display settings, the Pi got an IP and my wireless keyboard worked fine.

Speed - Some things do take longer than my PC to load, but I was fully informed and expected this from the outset. I see this as a limitation of the gui, doing things through the command line is plenty fast.

Usability - As I said, I could Google for England. I installed VNC following a tutorial found on El Goog, then got it working from another quick G. (IP:1, duh). Next I googled torrent client and media player and got them installed and doing the do. Luckily, I don't flap when faced with an adverse OS, I just search, implement, then try to understand.

I can see the limitations of the current HW/OS setup. Debian has been customised for the Pi, not optimised. It's more of a proof-of-concept than a fully fledged, complete package IMO.

I'll carry on playing with this until I get a second one, which will be used to provided some much needed beef to some little micro controllers.

On a side note, I can't get the BBC website to load on my Arduino, WTF?
Nice post. Great to see someone willing to take on the 'challenge'!
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Casalor
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Wed May 30, 2012 5:24 pm

I wholeheartedly agree with all of the positive posts above. Personally, I come from a technically varied background, having worked for twenty five years on range of things from huge model railway layouts to ground radar systems to UNIX based laundry management systems (written in BASIC) that utilised dumb terminals, barcode scanners etc. plus lots of things inbetween and I still try to learn something new every day. This is about learning, right?

Like all things technical, the learning curve may seem steep and imposing for a beginner - and anyone who's played Eve online for any length of time will know all about steep learning curves - but it's well worth it. Before they know it a new user will be administering/modding/programming their own system with confidence. All that's needed is a friendly and inclusive community and a wealth of information to search through.

obarthelemy
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Wed May 30, 2012 7:05 pm

"UNIX based laundry management systems (written in BASIC)". How un-glamorous can IT get ? ;)
You think IT'ing laundry could get the kids too get to it ?

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