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Debian Derivative Optimized for the Raspbery Pi Released

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the officially-want-one dept.

Debian 95

sfcrazy writes "The Raspberry Pi foundation has announced the release of the first SD card image based on the Raspbian distribution. The image will make it easier for Raspberry Pi users to switch from 'generic' Debian Squeeze to this 'optimized' image." The new image is based on Wheezy and optimized for ARM with floating point instructions, and supersedes the Squeeze based soft float image. Benchmarks show much improvement in performance, and the updated software in Wheezy generally improves the usability of the Raspberry Pi.

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Slashdotted already (1)

vhfer (643140) | about 2 years ago | (#40687059)

Can't reach http://www.raspbian.org/ [raspbian.org] -- maybe already slashdotted. Google seems to confirm this address is correct.

Re:Slashdotted already (4, Funny)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about 2 years ago | (#40687807)

Is the domain being hosted by 1,000 Pi's in a cloud cluster?

Re:Slashdotted already (2)

HogGeek (456673) | about 2 years ago | (#40688497)

If it is, I would recommend selling them to all of those that are waiting and buy a real server...

Re:Slashdotted already (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about a year and a half ago | (#40725799)

No, it's on a reasonablly decent dedicated server and neither network load or CPU load appeared to be a problem according to MRTG.

I'd guess the problem was some kind of misconfiguration somewhere (probably a limit set too low) but it was back up again before I noticed these posts.

In related news... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40687075)

ARMv6 still slow. If this CPU were in your cellphone, you'd be shopping for a better one.

Re:In related news... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40687123)

If this CPU were in my cellphone, I'd have paid a LOT less for it.

Re:In related news... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40687141)

Unless you just want a phone that works and costs $35. Not everyone has unlimited money to buy phones that have processing power that mostly exists for bragging rights.

Re:In related news... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40687251)

costs $35

Before or after the Broadcom subsidization?

Re:In related news... (3, Informative)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#40687315)

Before & after. Because broadcom does not subsidize it (they would go broke at the rate it is being produced ~ 4000 per day)

Re:In related news... (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | about 2 years ago | (#40687383)

Sorry, I just don't think that's true. I have no idea if Broadcom is subsidizing the RaspberryPi components, but they could if they wanted to. "Subsidize" doesn't necessarily mean "free"

Re:In related news... (4, Informative)

jimicus (737525) | about 2 years ago | (#40688379)

It was explained way back in the early days how it's being done.

Broadcom originally agreed to keep the fab running when they get a big order and produce a small number of extra chips which they'll sell to the foundation for the bulk price.

Re:In related news... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40687395)

What social media manipulator is responsible for this "Raspberry pi is subsidized by broadcom" nonsense? Who is trying to spread this misinformation and for what reason?

Re:In related news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40687553)

It's not misinformation. Broadcom supplies the main component at a price that wouldn't be available to a small customer like the Raspberry Pi Foundation if that Foundation were not basically a club of Broadcom employees (including a guy who was on the design team for that chip).

Re:In related news... (4, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#40687601)

By this logic every deal the Sales Dept. makes is 'subsidized' depending on customer. RPi got a sweetheart DEAL, not subsidization.

Re:In related news... (3, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#40687811)

That doesn't mean it's subsidized. Subsidized implies that Broadcom is paying for each Raspberry Pi, either through selling components at a loss or by giving cash to the foundation.

If you mean Broadcom gave the Raspberry Pi Foundation a deal on components that would normally only be available to bigger customers, I can believe that. Actually subsidizing each board? Doubt it.

Re:In related news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40687627)

It's just a meme, born from the endemic pessimism in the comments section on Slashdot. There isn't an actual conspiracy to spread it, and there doesn't have to be; that's how memes work.

Re:In related news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40687831)

Bullshit. There are no coincidences on the comment section of a top 1000 trafficked site [alexa.com] in the US.

Re:In related news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40687981)

Right, right, and Rick Astley was secretly orchestrating everyone suddenly posting "Never Gonna Give You Up" in the surprise links where they used to post goatse.

Re:In related news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40688201)

Since pi designer is a chip designer at Broadcom and certainly didin't use any Broadcom resources in the design (Or were they offered because it started as a non-profit project with volunteer labor) and it won't hurt Broadcom to lead-loss their devices into the hands of users by selling at cost or below - and displace the same marketing scheme of TI and BeagleStuff, it doesn't take a social media manipulator to figure it out. I'm just surprised they have not been blocked from the US by the anti-dumping rules. NOT surprised the final real price basically doubled.

I guess it depends... (2)

gosand (234100) | about 2 years ago | (#40687587)

I was paid $50 to get my phone (free with rebate).. now the service, that's another story. But they go hand-in-hand, so you can't really separate them. It's an HTC Sensation, and is my first foray into smartphones. It's cool - but I really still don't get how people can't live without them. And I'm no luddite, hell I used to work for THE cell phone company back in the day and had one of the first flipphones and first StarTacs. I got those because it was cool.. now I just find them annoying for the most part.

Re:I guess it depends... (3, Informative)

oxdas (2447598) | about 2 years ago | (#40689591)

They can be separated and are in many countries. You were not paid $50 from your phone company. You received a loan from your phone company for the cost of the phone plus the fifty dollars. You will repay the loan over the next few years in the form of inflated rates for your service. If you continue to use the phone on their network beyond your contract terms then you will still be paying the subsidy without getting any benefit.

Re:In related news... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40687721)

It is weird when you are fixing someones XP pc and you realize that your phone has 2x the memory, a faster processor and screen with slightly more pixels than theirs. A good kind of weird.

graphic drivers (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40687103)

The bigger performance problem so far are the X window system device drivers.
Right now it seems the driver is just a frame-buffer driver and the CPU does all the work,
and is not using the GPU.
Until they write accelerated drivers, the performance will by slow.

Re:graphic drivers (5, Interesting)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 2 years ago | (#40689441)

This is indeed what I said on Engadget; this announcement basically says the team compiled most of the stuff for hardware-FPU whereas previously it was either using software-FPU or had both codes compiled-in, as such this stuff does indeed help CPU-bound software that is heavy on the maths, but doesn't really do anything for basic bit-blitting or linear gradients used in graphics. Most of the "slowness" - complaints I see when reading any RPi-related news is exactly due to CPU having to do all the drawing.

It's been a long time now since I been lurking around the RPi forums, but so far I have not heard of plans to bring out an accelerated X-driver which is quite a shame. It really limits the usefulness of the system. I still hope the devs do come around to it eventually, though.

Why fork? (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#40687171)

Why not contribute the changes you make back to main line Debian?

Re:Why fork? (5, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#40687267)

Because its optimized for the Raspberry Pi hardware and the tweaks it uses are likely to be near worthless for most other hardware. Its like all the distributions that were coming out for the EEE PC (first low cost netbook to gain popularity) which had the main advantage of being really easy to install/use on the particular platform. In other words, instead of spending a few hours configuring Debian to optimize it for my hardware I can just install a simple OS.

Re:Why fork? (3, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#40687375)

In other words, instead of spending a few hours configuring Debian to optimize it for my hardware I can just install a simple OS.

Its not that simple. Now you have to subscribe to the debian security mailing list and backport all security patches to your little customized OS.

Also some day your little offshoot OS will go away or the devs will stop working on it. Now what? That'll never happen with main line Debian.

I hate supporting special little OS like that, its absolute agony. Main line Debian or nothing, please.

Re:Why fork? (3, Insightful)

fatphil (181876) | about 2 years ago | (#40688727)

> That'll never happen with main line Debian.

Try telling that to those of us with DEC Alphas. For some bizarre reason we really won't believe you.

Re:Why fork? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40689499)

You can have a hot, fun girlfriend while also believing that mommy and daddy will always be married forever. Debian may end someday, granted it likely wouldn't happen sooner than a forked specialty distro for a specific device using a chipset that will be obsoleted in a few years would, but that's a silly reason not to try out an optimized offering. Unless you're waiting for that perfect girl, you know, the one just like mom.

Re:Why fork? (1)

bheading (467684) | about 2 years ago | (#40691489)

I'm at a loss as to why anyone would prioritize back-porting security fixes.

The device is intended for hobbyists, not mission critical internet-facing applications.

Re:Why fork? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 2 years ago | (#40691963)

Now you have to subscribe to the debian security mailing list and backport all security patches to your little customized OS.

No need to subscribe to the list really, just pull in the packages as they appear and let they autobuilders have at them.

Compared to following testing (which we are doing at the moment) following the various types of updates to stable will be a walk in the park.

Re:Why fork? (1)

spongman (182339) | about 2 years ago | (#40695365)

quit your trolling.
the pi foundation already has two debian releases that do use Debian mainline. the reason the raspian guys are re-building everything is because Debian doesn't do a port that supports hf on arm6. if you hate it so much, try convincing Debian to add a new port...
the raspian guys already automatically merge mainline updates.

Re:Why fork? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40687269)

They haven't changed much code, only recompiled it with different settings, so there isn't anything to push back to Debian.

Re:Why fork? (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#40687869)

So I can use official Debian source packages with Raspbian with no modification? Just add the source repos and use 'apt-get source --compile' and it just works?

Re:Why fork? (4, Informative)

mpthompson (457482) | about 2 years ago | (#40688443)

From the Raspbian FAQ:

For the great majority of Raspbian users, for practical purposes the answer is "No". Packages from the Debian repositories cannot and should not be used with Raspbian. However, if you really know what you are doing and can deal with a file system that may no longer boot, it may be possible to get certain select Debian packages working with Raspbian. The rest of this answer deals with how that might be done.

Debian armel packages use the soft float ABI which is incompatible with the hard float ABI used by Raspbian. In theory it should be possible to install Debian armel packages in parallel with Raspbian packages using multiarch. However multiarch setups conflict with a hack we had to make to support the videocore libraries and there are other potential issues too. As such we don't currently recommend or support multiarch configurations with Debian armel and Raspbian armhf.

Debian armhf packages should be compatible with raspbian packages but a system with such a mixture WILL NOT RUN ON THE PI. Furthermore there may be corner cases where libraries build slightly differently on Raspbian. Such mixed systems can be useful for development (they were used heavily in the process of creating Raspbian) but are not recommended for general use.

Architecture independent ("arch all") packages are compatible between Debian and Raspbian. Source packages should in general be compatible though some may need modification to adjust compiler settings (most Debian packages just use the compiler defaults but some use their own settings for various reasons).

Re:Why fork? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40688221)

Judging by what's written above it would be enough to install proper architecture (currently unofficial armhf).

Re:Why fork? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40687289)

It's just a cross-compile for a different (subset of the) ARM arch. There's only so many ARM ports that Debian wants to maintain.

Re:Why fork? (4, Informative)

petermgreen (876956) | about 2 years ago | (#40688637)

For the record we are NOT cross-compiling. We are building natively on arm hardware (though admittedly not on Pis)

Re:Why fork? (1)

rthille (8526) | about 2 years ago | (#40691473)

Why? Certainly building on a Core i7 with 4 cores and 8 threads would be much faster and result in the same binaries (bugs excepted).

Re:Why fork? (2)

petermgreen (876956) | about 2 years ago | (#40691735)

Short answer: because that is what debian does and if you want to remain sane when rebuilding something as large as Debian you try and stay as close to what they do as possible.

Long answer: while there is some limited support for cross-compiling in the debian tools it is very poorly documented and there is absoloutely no requirement for individual packages to support being cross compiled, let alone any testing as to whether packages meet that requirement. Trying to cross-build would mean that in addition to solving armv6 hardfloat specific issues (which fortunately are relatively rare) we would also have to fixup every package to support cross-compiling.

Re:Why fork? (1)

rthille (8526) | about 2 years ago | (#40692133)

Ah. I'm used to NetBSD where cross compiling (the base OS at least) is taken for granted.

Re:Why fork? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40844389)

Apparently nothing in NetBSD base uses autoconf scripts. It is not that cross compiling is an issue so much as the test scripts folks include sometimes assume native. And, Debian includes more pre-built packages than _anything_ else. So, its build system must work for, what I am guessing, is at least an order of magnitude more builds than a base NetBSD.

apt-cache search '.*' | wc -l

Almost 40,000 packages available (debian testing/unstable hybrid system).

There are half solutions telling the kernel to spawn executables, on e.g. an amd_64 system in qemu if they are for the e.g., the armel arch, but often it is just easier to use native builds. The kernel spawn executable in qemu trick also doesn't work for all the kernels that Debian officially supports (Freebsd and HURD, as well as Linux).

The Debian build system scales well to parallel hardware, so a bunch of arm boards is faster than a single x86 at the task too.

Re:Why fork? (1)

tchuladdiass (174342) | about 2 years ago | (#40693303)

A number of years ago I was developing for some Linux based PDAs (Sharp Zaurus), and the main issue I had with cross compiling was that a package's "configure" script would inspect the machine it was running on, so wouldn't produce proper configs for the target platform, among other similar issues. So what I did then was run the builds on the target platform, but use distcc so that it would shove over the pre-processed C files over to my main host to cross compile. The resultant binaries were identical to what was compiled natively (since the header includes and other preprocessing, and linking, was done on the target hardware). Looking around, this appears to be the exact method that Arch linux uses. Would something similar work for you, or do you find that GCC still produces invalid executables in a cross compiling setup using the same input you would have on the native hardware? If this would work, then would it also be faster to run your builds completely on a PC using Qemu/arm (along with distcc)?

Re:Why fork? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40687291)

Mainline Debian ships with binary kernels for various ARM platforms. Once you recompile the kernel and change enough of the surrounding software infrastructure to support a very specific platform, it pretty much has to become a fork. There are a number of examples of this with Debian.

Re:Why fork? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40687399)

There aren't that many other platforms which use the outdated ARMv6 architecture, where hardware floating point instructions are available but not the much more capable SIMD instructions. To give you an idea how obsolete this architecture is: You can't even run Firefox for Android on it, as that requires ARMv7.

Re:Why fork? (5, Informative)

arkhan_jg (618674) | about 2 years ago | (#40688407)

Why not contribute the changes you make back to main line Debian?

Well it's not much of a fork, much more a port.

The debian foundation has two ARM binary versions, the 'performance' version (armhf) that's compiled for ARMv7 or better chips, and the 'compatible' (armel) version that's compiled for IIRC ARMv4 or better.

One of the reasons the pi is so cheap is it uses an older SoC, based on ARMv6. The cortex chipsets A9 you see in say, the iphone or samsung SoC are ARMv7 instruction set based. So up to now, the standard raspberry pi debian distro was the vanilla armel squeeze, with a wheezy armel beta. However, the pi ARMv6 does have floating point hardware that allows for 'hardfloat' compilation rather than the 'softfloat' compilation option - which is used in the ARMv7 version of debian, but not the armel version. Using the hardware support for floating point calculation is obviously faster than doing it in software emulation, thus the new port to take advantage of every little bit of performance you can get out of the $5 SoC on the pi.

So raspbian is basically debian ARM, but all the binary packages have been recompiled with the hardfloat option to take advantage of the floating point hardware; they're using wheezy as the target, which is current debian testing IIRC. It's debian armhf, but compatible with the v6 pi. The Debian Foundation weren't interested in supporting a 3rd version of debian on ARM hardware, which is entirely fair enough - the amount of people interested in an ARMv6 with hardfloat who aren't using the pi is going to be very small, though they can of course run raspbian on their hardware too if they also have ARMv6 with hardware floating point; it's not like debian are rolling in money themselves. They were happy for a 'roll your own' version though, which is what has happened.

Last I checked, the raspbian project team (which is basically two guys) had successfully compiled basically everything in the debian package tree, along with keeping up to date with the constantly changing nature of debian testing; they had a compile farm running continuously to keep up, and the setup is worth reading about when the raspbian site comes back; it's a tiny operation that's giving hundreds of thousands of pi owners a significantly faster default distro on a shoestring budget. I think it's brilliant, and is an excellent example of why open source is so awesome. Want an entire OS and software custom compiled to get every ounce of performance out of the hardware? Go for it! And look, these guys have done it for you!

Re:Why fork? (4, Informative)

petermgreen (876956) | about 2 years ago | (#40688581)

Good question, the changes we make in raspbian come into basically three categories.

1: changing compiler defaults. Theese can't be pushed upstream until/unless the debian tools get an understanding of flavours*. This is a subject I intend to bring up on the debian mailing lists in-time but it may well cause a flamewar.
2: hacks, it's inevitable that when you have only two people doing a project on this scale that you will run into issues that you don't have the manpower to solve properly and so have to hack around to keep things moving forward. Such hacks include things like reducing optimisation levels, using non-default gcc versions and disabling testsuites. I don't think debian would want these changes.
3: proper bugfixes, I do try and push these back to debian where possible.

We do not intend to be a fork, the VAST majority of source packages are imported from debian and rebuilt with no source changes whatsoever.

* a flavour is a variant that is binary compatible but has different minimum CPU requirements.

The Raspberry PI is currently underpowered (2, Interesting)

cachimaster (127194) | about 2 years ago | (#40687379)

For only a few more dollars you could have a slightly more powerful CPU like tha allwiner A10 [wordpress.com] and a little more RAM soy you can run real debian and real ubuntu like the Beagleboard, Beaglebone and the Odroid-X can and you wouldn't need a forked, stripped linux distro, you could run the real thing. You don't need a weird graphic processor without drivers that nobody will touch, you need RAM and compatibility.

I hope they fix this in the next revision, the allwiner is selling for penauts nowadays.

Re:The Raspberry PI is currently underpowered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40687617)

Right now the biggest challenge to the r'pi is ramping up production so that they can produce as many as is needed to meet demand. The Raspberry PI is *horrifically* overpriced for anything I want to use it for now, because it costs $35 + waiting several months.

Most of the projects I can see using such a computer for I don't need a faster computer, I just need a machine delivered within a few days of me ordering it!

Re:The Raspberry PI is currently underpowered (1)

blackest_k (761565) | about 2 years ago | (#40689353)

Maybe an iomega iconnect no display but you can boot from a usb stick quite simply and run debian.
It is much better than the original firmware. I was surprised to find it installed gimp when i was installing sane (for a hp multifunction which was only supported for printing by iomega's firmware) so i tried it gimp2.8 on a nas :) minidlna is much more reliable than the twonky media server that comes on the std firmware. there is 256mb of ram costs about euro 50 and uses about 5 watts. there is a kernel with support for usb audio and more usb ports.


Re:The Raspberry PI is currently underpowered (3, Insightful)

ThorGod (456163) | about 2 years ago | (#40687693)

Odd...most of the uses I can come up for this machine don't have it hooked up to a monitor.

Re:The Raspberry PI is currently underpowered (1)

markjhood2003 (779923) | about 2 years ago | (#40691063)

Exactly my thought. I'm thinking of it as a replacement for the Linksys NSLU2 slugs I've been using as media servers for the past 6 years or so. And since X11 is available for the platform then we'll have interactive terminals, editors, and graphical clients running on the Raspberry Pi that don't need a local graphics display (which is the case for the Linksys NSLU2).

Re:The Raspberry PI is currently underpowered (1)

Trogre (513942) | about 2 years ago | (#40691483)

Not that odd - that someone's intended use for this device is different from yours.

Re:The Raspberry PI is currently underpowered (5, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#40687695)

This leads one to the question... underpowered for what exactly?

Buy the right hardware for your project. If this doesn't fit then don't buy it. Buy the ODroid-X [techspot.com], which is a quad core 1.4 Ghz if that is better.

PI is giving me a platform to cheaply learn some stuff, so it fits my needs fine.

Re:The Raspberry PI is currently underpowered (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#40687715)

These days, when A15 is almost on the market? I don't get why all the boards like this always use a core that is almost ten years old or so. Hmm, A15...quad-core to boot, nice.

Re:The Raspberry PI is currently underpowered (3, Informative)

rufty_tufty (888596) | about 2 years ago | (#40688279)

It depends on the application. The A15 would be the wrong thing if you were interested in minimizing:
*design complexity

All of which the Pi is interested in doing.

Re:The Raspberry PI is currently underpowered (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#40688901)

I'd welcome an A15 based board that would allow me to replace my current desktop, an aging, although perfectly sufficient AMD Sempron 64, with something comparable in speed yet much less power hungry, something that could be almost always-on. It's probably a slightly different task but it eludes me why there doesn't seem to be any development in this area - something Efika-MX-style, only with a more modern ARM core.

Re:The Raspberry PI is currently underpowered (1)

jkflying (2190798) | about 2 years ago | (#40689923)

it eludes me why there doesn't seem to be any development in this area

Probably because the A15 isn't out yet...

Re:The Raspberry PI is currently underpowered (1)

galanom (1021665) | about 2 years ago | (#40693447)

Intel Atom (D2700 2x2.13GHz@10W)? AMD Zacate (E-450@18W)?
I bet you can find them at the $50-$70 range (motherboard+cpu).

Re:The Raspberry PI is currently underpowered (3, Insightful)

Ixokai (443555) | about 2 years ago | (#40687717)

A few more dollars, so like, $40? Okay, I'd do $40 for a more powerful CPU and more RAM. Maybe $50? Sure, I have the cash. I mean, it goes against the goal and purpose of the Raspberry Pi, so it might not make the target audience happy, but sure.

Except, just some minor googling seems to put the items you're listening at $90 to $150. That's not a few more dollars. That's two to four times the cost.

Re:The Raspberry PI is currently underpowered (3, Informative)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 2 years ago | (#40687825)

Depending on where you live, the rasberry pi is a bit more than the advertised 35 dollars. In the USA I just paid $45 usd for one from element14.com

Re:The Raspberry PI is currently underpowered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40688985)

I was just troll moderated to death in a post the other day on slashdot. According to the slashdot community and moderators, you are a liar.

I don't know why slashdot loves to censor these days, but is a sad fact that for most of the world, the rPi absolutely is nothing close to being a $35 computer. If you get a resonable power supply and case, its easily a $60-$90 computer depending your case, power supply, and SD card.

But hey, these days the slashdot moderators absolutely hate anything truthful or factual when it conflicts with their distorted view of reality.

Re:The Raspberry PI is currently underpowered (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 2 years ago | (#40693437)

I have to admit I was a bit surprised to see "troll" on my post just now...

Re:The Raspberry PI is currently underpowered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40695743)

Well... for me it was around £30 (Something like £21-22 for the Raspberry Pi (which I believe is roughly $35?), then UK VAT (Value Added Tax, our equivalent of sales tax in the UK), and delivery).

As for power, I had plenty of spares lying around, as over here in europe they've decreed standardised power supplies for mobile phones for a while, so I have something like 5-6 suitable power supplies that are all equally interchangeable for phones/kindles/RPi/etc (Always makes travelling easy!).

Also had a suitable SD card around, I suspect it originally came from either a camera or a phone.

The last thing was a case, and mostly I do without, although I do have one made from a cereal box (a Punnet - http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/1310).

So yeah, you absolutely can spend an extra £20-£30 on accessories if you want, but it's also easy to get by with spare bits and bobs you have around.

Re:The Raspberry PI is currently underpowered (3, Insightful)

repvik (96666) | about 2 years ago | (#40687903)

Somewhere in between $50 and $90 is $72.49, which is the price for the Oval Elephant: http://www.ovalelephant.com/p-2062-mini-pc-android-linux-linaro-a10-chip-1gb-ddr3-ram [ovalelephant.com]
I've bought one of them, and it was shipped today. It's got a fair bit more oomph (1,5GHz Allwinner A10) than the RPI, a much neater package, an much more ram. Oh, and it's got 4GB internal flash, so you're not dependant on a SD card. It also has BGN wifi built in. It should shortly be able to run XBMC on android 4, although without HW decoding yet. It can also run linux.

Of course, it's slightly more than twice as expensive as the RPI. But it's way more than twice as valuable IMO.

Re:The Raspberry PI is currently underpowered (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40688089)

Little Attiny board, $5.
Atmega328 board, $12.
Arduino Board, $20.
Current Pi model, $35.
Your solution and others, $72
Tablets, small computers, $200

Right tool for the right job.

Re:The Raspberry PI is currently underpowered (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40689187)

Anyone please do not propose devices without GPIO/I2C/SPI/UART pins as a replacement for Raspberry PI. For many people this is key feature of RPI. 99% of those "replacement" were available long before raspberry (Gumstick/PogoPlug/etc). Problem was when you were looking something that can interact with physical world, such eval boards with similar performance were and are avialable but with prices well above > 150-200 USD. I would be really happy if someone can show me replacement that will have GPIO/I2C/SPI/UART within the same price range.

Re:The Raspberry PI is currently underpowered (2)

jkflying (2190798) | about 2 years ago | (#40690255)

PSOC3 FirstTouch Starter kit costs $50 and even comes with a USB cable for programming and/or power, and a 9V battery for when you want it away from wires.

It has an Intel 8051 (remember those?), is slightly smaller than a RaspberryPi, has GPIO/I2C/SPI/UART, has an onboard FPGA to handle all of the IO as well as extra blocks for things like DSP, coms interrupts and buffers, fast hardware lookup tables, custom logic etc. Internal ADCs, internal DACs, internal comparators, internal 25mA opamps. Analogue can be routed through almost any IO. Internal voltage boost so that you can power it off of lower voltage than the VDDIO. It even comes with a cool Labview-like setup program for configuring all of the IOs and FPGA blocks. Their chips sell for a couple dollars.

The only problem Slashdot has with it is that it doesn't run Linux. And no, I'm not affiliated with them, I just like their hardware. They also make the PSOC5, which has an ARM Cortex M3, but that still isn't enough to do your GPIO programming onboard in Python.

Re:The Raspberry PI is currently underpowered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40695795)

For many. Not for me. And not for anyone I know that has RPIs. A bunch of people has bought the RPI because it runs XBMC. IMO, the Oval Elephant thingy is way better for that purpose.
A nice dev board for $150 with gpio/i2c/spi/uart/adc++ is the Odroid-X, that has a quad-core cpu :)

(Can't login on this PC, so posting as AC)

Re:The Raspberry PI is currently underpowered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40688077)

Olimex is aiming for a EUR 40-50 Cortex device for release in September, ~4x more powerful than the Raspberry Pi.

http://www.olimex.com/dev/a13-olinuxino.html [olimex.com]

Re:The Raspberry PI is currently underpowered (1)

mczak (575986) | about 2 years ago | (#40693205)

There's no way a Cortex-A8 1Ghz is ~4 times faster than a 700Mhz arm11. A factor of 2 would be a better estimate (only looking at the cpu, it also has twice the memory, not sure about the gpu if it can be used it will obviously be better than a framebuffer driver...).

Re:The Raspberry PI is currently underpowered (1)

mirix (1649853) | about 2 years ago | (#40694267)

I was going to bitch about them forgetting ethernet, but I see it has wifi.. good enough. Guess we'll see when they start selling them.

these things going for 70+ on ebay (1)

cod3r_ (2031620) | about 2 years ago | (#40688001)

That's like the only place to get them though =(

Re:these things going for 70+ on ebay (1)

jehan60188 (2535020) | about 2 years ago | (#40688155)

depending on shipping costs, that's not /that/ much of a markup. I ordered from element 14, and I paid $45 after tax/shipping. AND it's backordered 4-5 weeks. To some people (not me), having it a month earlier is worth the $25 difference

Re:these things going for 70+ on ebay (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 2 years ago | (#40688251)

depending on shipping costs, that's not /that/ much of a markup. I ordered from element 14, and I paid $45 after tax/shipping. AND it's backordered 4-5 weeks. To some people (not me), having it a month earlier is worth the $25 difference

I didn't even think of ebay, I would have done it. I paid 45 to element15 two weeks ago and now I wait..

armhf? (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 2 years ago | (#40688059)

How is this any different than armhf already in testing and unstable? It's what I'm running on my tablet.

Re:armhf? (3, Informative)

mpthompson (457482) | about 2 years ago | (#40688367)

Debian armhf in testing and unstable has a minimum CPU requirements of ARMv7-A+VFPv3-D16+Thumb2. Unfortunately, the Raspberry Pi CPU doesn't meet these specs.

What Raspbian did was rebuild virtually all Debian Wheezy packages to the ARMv6+VFPv2 specs of the Raspberry Pi. Fortunately, the armhf ABI is fully supported on ARMv6 which means that Raspbian built packages run fine under Debian Wheezy armhf. This made the port much easier than it otherwise might have been as all building occurred on Debian armhf systems and the resulting binaries just needed to be verified free of ARMv7 code.

Re:armhf? (2)

lindi (634828) | about 2 years ago | (#40688809)

The only confusing part is that they call the architecture "armhf". This means that you don't get an error message if you try to install debian armhf packages but they just crash when you try to run them.

Re:armhf? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 2 years ago | (#40692069)

The same applies if you are running debian on an older x86 box and try to install a deb built on ubuntu. Or if you try and upgrade from an older debian release to a newer one that has dropped support for your CPU variant.

Precedent is that debian architecture names specify cpu family/abi not specific CPU variants. This gives more flexibility but it does mean you can install packages that are compatible with those you have installed but are not compatible with the CPU variant you have.

Re:armhf? (1)

Rufty (37223) | about 2 years ago | (#40692009)

From the raspian faq [raspbian.org]:

The port is necessary because the official Debian Wheezy armhf release is compatible only with versions of the ARM architecture later than the one used on the Raspberry Pi (ARMv7-A CPUs and higher, vs the Raspberry Pi's ARMv6 CPU).

1.11GB? (1)

drwho (4190) | about 2 years ago | (#40693985)

1.11GB seems bloated. The only spare SD card I have around is 512MB. I know, I should go out and get myself some modern SD flash, which will probably be a lot faster too. My only question is why 1.11GB...? Because you've included all the ports, or...?

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