simplesi
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Re: Is Scratch really viable on Raspberry Pi?

Thu Sep 20, 2012 9:49 pm

This is what @lightin has said in PM so far (I've asked permission to repost here :) )
Hi Simplesi,

Unfortunately, most of the bottleneck appears to be due to problems with X drivers for rPi. We may push a small / smple change that will improve things a little. But it's looking like it's up to the rPi team to sort out the issues.

Amos
Then my answer
I'm not too bothered about the basic speed issues as I'm quite realistic over the differences between Scratch on a 3Ghz PC and Scratch on an 700Mhz arm

Its the issues like - no jpg backgrounds will load, the simultaneous key press locking and of course the most blatant speed one - the variable display update.

As "little people" we don't know who is doing what (and when )

MathsWhizz has provided a fix for variables but I feel there are probably some other objects (list???) that might need fixing as well and although you allow for mods that don't affect basic Scratch appearance/functionality to still be called and used as Scratch - it would be VERY nice to have a "sanctioned" version

I personally, will be introducing the Rpi to Age 9-11 primary children in 1 weeks time and we are going to start using it as a robot controller (programmed in Scratch of course) - it'd be nice to know that a modifed image would be available by half-term (end of October )
then lightin again
Ah! I didn't know there were so many issues. Most of them probably are due to issues with the squeak-vm (on which Scratch runs). But what is the bug reporting strategy for raspbian / rPi?

I'd imagine it would be good if someone could figure out the best place to report bugs. Probably it's in Debian, but I don't know enough about rPi / Raspbian to say that with confidence. If you could sort that out, and start filing bugs and give us a link to the tracker, it'd be a big help.
Seeking help with Scratch and I/O stuff for Primary age children
http://cymplecy.wordpress.com/ @cymplecy on twitter

simplesi
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Re: Is Scratch really viable on Raspberry Pi?

Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:15 pm

If you could sort that out, and start filing bugs and give us a link to the tracker, it'd be a big help.
We only know that things don't work :(

We know how to fix one (the variable display issue as provided by MathsWhizz on the main Scratch forum) and we know that was totally within the Scratch.image (as it is also an issue in the Windows image as well but not with such a detrimental affect on a powerful CPU setup)

The jpg stage background image bug - is that sort of thing handled by a special RPi only plugin??? Or the squeak-vm? Who maintains the squeak-vm?

We need Scratch/Squeak/Linux/Raspbian "grown-ups" working on this :)

Simon
Seeking help with Scratch and I/O stuff for Primary age children
http://cymplecy.wordpress.com/ @cymplecy on twitter

asb
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Re: Is Scratch really viable on Raspberry Pi?

Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:32 pm

simplesi wrote: We only know that things don't work :(
It is useful if you're able to check whether it's a Raspberry Pi specific issue or not. e.g. is the jpeg background bug there on latest Ubuntu or Debian Wheezy for x86?
The jpg stage background image bug - is that sort of thing handled by a special RPi only plugin??? Or the squeak-vm? Who maintains the squeak-vm?
There are no special Raspberry Pi-only plugins. I would assume JPEG handling is part of a squeak-vm plugin. Currently we are using the squeak-vm package straight from Debian wheezy (unmodified for armel, and for Raspbian of course compiled for armv6 hardfloat).
We need Scratch/Squeak/Linux/Raspbian "grown-ups" working on this :)
They are :)

simplesi
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Re: Is Scratch really viable on Raspberry Pi?

Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:37 pm

@asb
There seems to be a large amount of cognitive dissonance between your upbeat statements and what lightin is saying :)

Simon
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lightnin
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Re: Is Scratch really viable on Raspberry Pi?

Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:56 pm

Hi all - this topic started way back when things were much slower than they are now, but since it pops to the top, people who read the first few posts probably think things are more dire than they now are. Would the mods consider closing it, so folks can start a new one?

simplesi
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Re: Is Scratch really viable on Raspberry Pi?

Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:12 pm

people who read the first few posts probably think things are more dire than they now are.
No problem with starting a new thread but the actual issue reported by Clifford has not been fixed yet in any official release - its only MathsWhizz's efforts that are being enjoyed by the people who've I've sent a modified image to :)

Every other user of the RPi (who has tried Scratch out on a PC/Mac) may have a similar reaction as Clifford and maybe give up :(
Simon
Seeking help with Scratch and I/O stuff for Primary age children
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simplesi
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Re: Is Scratch really viable on Raspberry Pi?

Sat Sep 22, 2012 8:00 pm

Well - I went back in time today !

My SD card got corrupted at a RaspberryJam at Wigan and Ian kindly reformatted my card with the previous wheezy image and so I was thrown back to using Scratch on a plain 700Mhz CPU speed and with the variable display bug - it wasn't good ! :)

Back home now so I'm off to get it back to where it was :)

Simon
(Luckily I know a man with a modified Scratch image :) )
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BPK
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Re: Is Scratch really viable on Raspberry Pi?

Tue Oct 16, 2012 9:21 pm

Hi All,
Don't suppose anyone has tried scratch on the new 512 RAM pi and whether performance is improved?
Barnaby Kent
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simplesi
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Re: Is Scratch really viable on Raspberry Pi?

Tue Oct 16, 2012 9:43 pm

I haven't got a 512MB model but performance doesn't even make the top 3 in the issues list :)
its variable display (temp fix found but nothing official yet), jpegs not loading (no fix found yet) and keyboard sticking (tempfix found)

I find Scratch works OK when just running at 700Mhz (with simple progs it has to be said) and works quite reasonably in Turbo mode (unfortunately my own RPi setup doesn't last much longer that 4 days in turbo mode :( )

When I run into someone at a Jam wit ha 512MB, I'll do a compare to see if it makes any diff but I wouldn't expect to find one

regards
Simon
Seeking help with Scratch and I/O stuff for Primary age children
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simplesi
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Re: Is Scratch really viable on Raspberry Pi?

Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:59 pm

@ked - Does that fix the jpeg problem or do you just think it will? :)

Simon
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ked
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Re: Is Scratch really viable on Raspberry Pi?

Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:09 pm

@simplesi: I fully explain the situation in the post. If you want jpp's to load then compile your own VM or wait for an update via Debian if/when the situation is resolved. In this case it's not a bug per se that needs "fixing". The VM has for a long time included it's own jpg reader/writer for portability. The Debian packager applies patches that breaks that portability.

simplesi
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Re: Is Scratch really viable on Raspberry Pi?

Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:02 pm

@ked - well you know what's coming next - how do we compile the VM? :)

Simon
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ked
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Re: Is Scratch really viable on Raspberry Pi?

Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:36 pm

You're kidding right?

simplesi
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Re: Is Scratch really viable on Raspberry Pi?

Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:32 pm

No - I don't call myself simplesi for nothing :)

Simon
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ked
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Re: Is Scratch really viable on Raspberry Pi?

Fri Oct 19, 2012 5:36 am

Deep Scratch

But I think you knew this already ;)

simplesi
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Re: Is Scratch really viable on Raspberry Pi?

Fri Oct 19, 2012 6:18 am

Ah- I didn't realise you'd added stuff to it :oops:

Ta :)

Simon
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raffjones
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Re: Is Scratch really viable on Raspberry Pi?

Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:52 am

Good thread.

My son is 7, and has been using Scratch on my Mac. As other users have mentioned, its easy to get used to the immediacy of the response to user actions on Windows and Mac platforms.

I fully expected Scratch on our new Raspberry Pi to be a bit slower- but not that slow - it is extremely sluggish. Personally I wouldn't be able to stand it - software needs to keep up with the speed of ideas, and in this case it really is not.

I was just surprised as the two things are often mentioned in the same sentence with regard to getting kids interested in programming. I can already see him wondering why when he clicks a button nothing happens for a bit (OK, its a fraction of a second but over the course of a project that becomes very frustrating) or when drawing in the sprite editor things just lag behind where his head is. He's already making noises about wanting to go back to using my machine, which is a shame because I got him the Pi to give him sense of ownership of his work and ideas.

I will investigate further, and try to see what we can do (following some links from more experienced users on this forum), but it looks like there's no "simple" solution to this. There may of course be all kinds of things going on at MIT to try and sort it for Scratch 2.0 - this is just a comment on the "out of the box experience" of firing up the default Scratch on the preloaded Raspberry Pi OS smartcard.

jamesh
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Re: Is Scratch really viable on Raspberry Pi?

Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:48 pm

We are looking in to optimising Scratch - there are some behind the scene bits of code that do appear to be (much) slower than they should be. BUT, if you have a Mac, why not use it? The important thing is your sons learns this stuff without being put off. The Raspi can be used for other programming tasks (Python etc), which has much lower overheads at a later date! Once we have Scratch improved, things should be a lot better, but in the meantime...
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raffjones
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Re: Is Scratch really viable on Raspberry Pi?

Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:20 pm

Thanks for that, jamesh.

I should have prefixed my post by saying I think Scratch is just fabulous. For a 7-year old to immediately understand how to make things work shows that it is a brilliantly thought-out piece of software. We're excited that it is being developed and optimised.

Sure, we can use the Mac, and will continue to do so - its just that it's my machine and I take it to my design studio every day, so that rules out after-school sessions.

Nonetheless, we appreciate that for now Scratch on the RPi is not perfect, and look forward to any future improvements. I'm sure he can put up with it for a while yet - and certainly will not be put off!

simplesi
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Re: Is Scratch really viable on Raspberry Pi?

Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:05 pm

Scratch really feels the benefit of turbo mode so worth giving it a go and see if it works OK on your setup.

regards
Simon
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raffjones
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Re: Is Scratch really viable on Raspberry Pi?

Sat Nov 24, 2012 7:55 pm

simplesi wrote:Scratch really feels the benefit of turbo mode so worth giving it a go and see if it works OK on your setup.

regards
Simon
Thanks Simon.

We are using the preloaded SD card from Raspberry Pi (bought in May) and I don't think that distro has the ability to enable turbo mode. There is no config.txt file. I have literally no idea how to go about changing it to the "wheezy" distro which has the raspi-config. We don't have an SD card reader/writer and I've no idea if it can be done directly from the Pi. I guess a lot more googling and head-scratching are to follow!

I would love to try this though, to see if it improves the performance on Scratch.

simplesi
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Re: Is Scratch really viable on Raspberry Pi?

Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:00 pm

The RPi OS back in May compared to the latest release is equivalent to being over 100 years old :)

I use an SD Card reader I bought in my local pound shop for .... £1.

A highly recommended investement :)

Simon
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Re: Is Scratch really viable on Raspberry Pi?

Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:16 am

Any update on the potential improvements to Scratch on the Raspberry Pi?
I'm, starting a CodeClub in my kids schools using Scratch in January and it would be great to show them Scratch on the Raspberry Pi.
jamesh wrote:We are looking in to optimising Scratch - there are some behind the scene bits of code that do appear to be (much) slower than they should be. ... Once we have Scratch improved, things should be a lot better, but in the meantime...
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jamesh
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Re: Is Scratch really viable on Raspberry Pi?

Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:55 am

Nothing yet - will be announced when we have something. The work being done on X acceleration will help we believe, but there is also Scratch specific changes that should speed things up - it's finding the time and people to do the work.
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