s_shturma
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu May 14, 2020 3:48 am

Web-focused OS Pyxian for Raspberry Pi

Thu May 14, 2020 5:24 am

Full disclaimer, I'm one of the creators.

We have recently completed a private beta and opened our software to more folks: https://www.renetec.io/make
It's based on Raspbian with Chromium as web-engine.
Here’s how it helps build functional and beautiful apps on Raspberry Pi:
  • Boots as a full-screen web browser
  • JavaScript APIs to access common interfaces, like UART and GPIO
  • Settings app for device and application management (choose which apps to start on boot, upload apps from flash, control screen orientation, etc.)
  • Application examples and demos
  • Remote debugging from a web browser
Works on Raspberry Pi 3+ and Raspberry Pi 4 with any display.

I’d love to hear feedback and what features do you guys think would be useful.

Thank you!

fruitoftheloom
Posts: 22708
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:40 pm
Location: Delightful Dorset

Re: Web-focused OS Pyxian for Raspberry Pi

Thu May 14, 2020 8:03 am

s_shturma wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 5:24 am
Full disclaimer, I'm one of the creators.

We have recently completed a private beta and opened our software to more folks: https://www.renetec.io/make
It's based on Raspbian with Chromium as web-engine.
Here’s how it helps build functional and beautiful apps on Raspberry Pi:
  • Boots as a full-screen web browser
  • JavaScript APIs to access common interfaces, like UART and GPIO
  • Settings app for device and application management (choose which apps to start on boot, upload apps from flash, control screen orientation, etc.)
  • Application examples and demos
  • Remote debugging from a web browser
Works on Raspberry Pi 3+ and Raspberry Pi 4 with any display.

I’d love to hear feedback and what features do you guys think would be useful.

Thank you!

It would be beneficial if it ran on all Raspberry Pi models with the BCM2837 SoC.
Rather than negativity think outside the box !

Asus ChromeBox 3 Celeron is my other computer.

s_shturma
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu May 14, 2020 3:48 am

Re: Web-focused OS Pyxian for Raspberry Pi

Thu May 14, 2020 5:48 pm

fruitoftheloom wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 8:03 am
It would be beneficial if it ran on all Raspberry Pi models with the BCM2837 SoC.
Agree! Actually, it should work on Raspberry Pis based on BCM2837 SoC, but we haven't tested yet. I'll post the update here once we do, just want to make sure we're not advertising something that's buggy :shock:

s_shturma
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu May 14, 2020 3:48 am

Re: Web-focused OS Pyxian for Raspberry Pi

Sat May 16, 2020 8:44 pm

So, I tested Pyxian on older Raspberry Pi, particularly 3 model b v1.2, all works fine. I don't have more older versions, so would appreciate if someone could try Pyxian on them and let me know. I don't see a reason why it wouldn't work, but would be nice to confirm that.

hippy
Posts: 7177
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:34 pm
Location: UK

Re: Web-focused OS Pyxian for Raspberry Pi

Sun May 17, 2020 12:36 pm

Got as far as the "P|PYXIS" splash screen on an original Pi 1B and seems to have frozen. Can connect via SSH so it hasn't crashed.

That should cover Zero, Zero W, A, B, A+ and B+, all using BCM2835. Your 3B test should also cover 2B 1.2. Which only leaves 2B 1.1, using BCM2836, untested.

s_shturma
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu May 14, 2020 3:48 am

Re: Web-focused OS Pyxian for Raspberry Pi

Sun May 17, 2020 8:50 pm

hippy wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 12:36 pm
Got as far as the "P|PYXIS" splash screen on an original Pi 1B and seems to have frozen. Can connect via SSH so it hasn't crashed.

That should cover Zero, Zero W, A, B, A+ and B+, all using BCM2835. Your 3B test should also cover 2B 1.2. Which only leaves 2B 1.1, using BCM2836, untested.
Thank you so much @hippy! This is great! :)

hippy
Posts: 7177
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:34 pm
Location: UK

Re: Web-focused OS Pyxian for Raspberry Pi

Sun May 17, 2020 11:57 pm

s_shturma wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 8:50 pm
Thank you so much @hippy! This is great! :)
You are welcome. Should it in theory work on BCM2835 / ARMv6 ? If so, I'm happy to poke around and see what's gone wrong if you can tell me where to look or commands to try.

I'm guessing Chromium, inox, or something related, failed to launch or crashed given the underlying Raspbian is running okay.

Forgive me if I'm wrong - I haven't done a lot with it so far, not even booted it yet on something it does work with - but it seems to run from SD Card. If so, it would be nice if there were a 'run from RAM, and unmount SD Card' option so there would be less risk of SD Card corruption if used as a GUI which might have its power pulled.

What attracts me, given its UART API, is it could make a Pi a very useful GUI display for microntroller projects, an alternative to Nextion and similar.

One final thing; will there continue to be a free version as you move forwards or will it become a paid-for /subscription model ?

s_shturma
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu May 14, 2020 3:48 am

Re: Web-focused OS Pyxian for Raspberry Pi

Mon May 18, 2020 6:04 pm

hippy wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 11:57 pm
s_shturma wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 8:50 pm
Thank you so much @hippy! This is great! :)
You are welcome. Should it in theory work on BCM2835 / ARMv6 ? If so, I'm happy to poke around and see what's gone wrong if you can tell me where to look or commands to try.

I'm guessing Chromium, inox, or something related, failed to launch or crashed given the underlying Raspbian is running okay.

Forgive me if I'm wrong - I haven't done a lot with it so far, not even booted it yet on something it does work with - but it seems to run from SD Card. If so, it would be nice if there were a 'run from RAM, and unmount SD Card' option so there would be less risk of SD Card corruption if used as a GUI which might have its power pulled.

What attracts me, given its UART API, is it could make a Pi a very useful GUI display for microntroller projects, an alternative to Nextion and similar.

One final thing; will there continue to be a free version as you move forwards or will it become a paid-for /subscription model ?
Inox (our web runtime) is built for ARMv7 architecture, so it is not expected to work on the boards below RPi 2B v.1.2, my bad for not mentioning it earlier.
We will definitely consider running from RAM completely. We would still need SD Card as a persistent storage for configuration items and for generic Web Storage API thus, but we can minimize its use. I appreciate the suggestion!
Using RPi as a UART-controlled self-contained GUI component is exactly the use-case we have in mind from the very beginning of this project. I'm really glad that it resonates!

Yes, we will continue to develop a free community version going forward.

hippy
Posts: 7177
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:34 pm
Location: UK

Re: Web-focused OS Pyxian for Raspberry Pi

Wed May 20, 2020 11:28 am

Thanks. ARMv6 support would be nice to have to allow use of a Zero W which is cheaper, smaller, and less power hungry than the larger A and B models.

Booted Pyxian on a Pi 4B 1GB and it did what it said on the can. The only issue I encountered was, after first boot on a no touch screen system, using mouse plus keyboard, the mouse pointer would keep disappearing when moved making it near impossible to use. Not sure if it was rotating screen orientation or just re-booting which resolved that but, after a subsequent reboot, it was fine.

s_shturma
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu May 14, 2020 3:48 am

Re: Web-focused OS Pyxian for Raspberry Pi

Wed May 20, 2020 6:02 pm

hippy wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 11:28 am
Thanks. ARMv6 support would be nice to have to allow use of a Zero W which is cheaper, smaller, and less power hungry than the larger A and B models.

Booted Pyxian on a Pi 4B 1GB and it did what it said on the can. The only issue I encountered was, after first boot on a no touch screen system, using mouse plus keyboard, the mouse pointer would keep disappearing when moved making it near impossible to use. Not sure if it was rotating screen orientation or just re-booting which resolved that but, after a subsequent reboot, it was fine.
I'll check out what could be wrong with the mouse pointer. Thank you for the heads up!

Frankly, I don't think supporting ARMv6 would provide good performance results, since it doesn't have enough power to efficiently run browsers. Also, Zero can't drive DSI or HDMi displays, and FPS rates of SPI displays are very low. The scroll, for example, would have a significant visual lagging. I did run into drivers that help significantly increase FPS rates of SPI-connected displays on Pis fbcp-ili9341. I don't know how much this leads to increase in resources consumption.

Update: Zero has mini-USB port, so my comments regarding SPI-displays while true, are not relevant.

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