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Raspberry Pi: the modder's dream machine?

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Gradius 28th January 2012, 02:16 Quote
Will wait for a ARM7 version, and more Ethernet ports (preferable 1Gbps), so can use it as cheap personal firewall.
fluxtatic 28th January 2012, 06:58 Quote
Firewall is an idea I hadn't considered. I better tack another onto the list :)

For me, I'm very much planning on building one I can shove in my car - I'd looked at building a car PC a couple years ago, but I cheaped out. If the guts only cost $35, that cuts it dramatically...I've got a decent deck in there now, but I'd sell it if I can actually build what I first envisioned. Should have figured some of you lot would that far ahead already (watercooled, lawl.)

And Phil, not to fan the flames, but this actually has me interested in finally learning Linux to the point I'll actually do it. The half-assed projects I was working on before never really caught my fancy like RPi does. While I'm certainly no pro, I've never coded in an IDE in my life, and I've done all right in Windows. Might be different if I was using a compiled language vs interpreted, but I think you're being incredibly ignorant with your sweeping statements that this is a crap project because it won't use VS. I would be more than happy to get this same thing running some flavor of Windows (perfect, in fact, since that's the only OS I use), but I don't see anyone busting ass to release a Windows equivalent. How about you? You want to start a charitable foundation to try to help some kids, or just bitch about what a failure it is since it won't work with your preferred environment?

Out of curiosity, though, maybe one of y'all know - Who the hell decided we all had to listen to Richard Stallman and start calling it GNU/Linux? Right as he may be, the guy's an insufferable *****. Why reward him by giving in to his asshole demands?
Phil Rhodes 28th January 2012, 10:29 Quote
Quote:
sweeping statements that this is a crap project because it won't use VS.

I never said any such thing.

To repeat: my concern is that this is being sold as an ideal environment for inexperienced software engineers, which I think is very wishful thinking when Linux is involved. VS is just an example of something that's a lot easier; there are others.

P
r3loaded 28th January 2012, 11:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
To repeat: my concern is that this is being sold as an ideal environment for inexperienced software engineers, which I think is very wishful thinking when Linux is involved. VS is just an example of something that's a lot easier; there are others.
What about my fellow first year students who joined in October knowing barely anything about Linux or Java (or any programming in fact), yet are now able to code various Java programs using nothing more than a bash terminal and vim under Linux? The only way to learn coding and hacking skills is to read the material, and then practice by trying things out. VS has its place, but it's not necessary (or even simpler) for someone to learn programming with it as you imply.

In fact, I'd argue that the massive interface of IDEs actually put people off programming due to the vast array of tools and options that are presented to the user. Better to get familiar with the fundamentals of physically coding, then try to learn and use the more powerful tools for managing more complex projects.
Blackshark 28th January 2012, 11:12 Quote
Phil,

There are very few (serious) universities that start a computer science student off in VS. Why? Because it does not help teach you the 'life lessons' of programming, that you get when you learn with the likes of UML. As people of said, VS is but a really nice fancy GUI. Thats it. It is not a programming language. The language is either C#, VB, etc...

The point of the RPi project is to produce an educational tool. Its a shame that almost 100% of reporting has been about the XMBC port or the 25 dollar price. But this modern day journalism for you.

It is extremely hard to produce a windows based system for anything like the 25-30gbp amount the model B will sell for (if you include P&P). Part of the appeal of using ARM with the built in graphics that it has, running at 1080p, is that it is a very powerful little unit that produces little heat, requires little power and can use very cheap cables and accessories to get you started.

There is a chap in the US who is getting funding together so that his local schools can 'give' the kids one of these each. They can have them for a school year and plug them in to their TV or computer monitor at home, with some donated super cheap keyboards and mice.


Try that with a PC. Yes we could all go out and find some ancient old PCs, but they would weigh with their steel case, 100 times more than the RPi, use a lot more power, require 'old connector PS2' type keyboards and mice, not have the modern graphics of the RPi. They would not be portable, not run as quickly as the RPi and you would likely have a lot of problems with hardware failures.


Children today should NOT be given the easy option every time. There is a reason why it is better for kids to find things hard, because that is what real life is like. Learning to program on an RPi will take a girl/boy in to HELLO WORLD within 15 mins, small graphics in 30 to 45 mins. Its then up to the teacher and the children themselves to expand and with imagination, produce fantastic pieces of code. Yes, they might not be perfectly formatted like VS would force you in to (in a nice MS way ofc) but for the child they can say, I did this.
Phil Rhodes 28th January 2012, 11:26 Quote
Quote:
There is a reason why it is better for kids to find things hard, because that is what real life is like.

Sigh, this is all just so... "linux".

Linux people really seem to like things being difficult, they seem to like things where you never achieve anything because you spend your whole life fighting the system. It seems as if there's some sort of code of conduct where if something isn't hard and doesn't require hacking a thousand and one text files and recompiling your kernel six times, it isn't somehow worthwhile.

Computers are a tool for a job, a means to an end. It isn't about points for effort. If you are a linux person and your computer is your spare time project, your hobby, a laboratory experiment - which is what I get the impression it is - then fine, but please don't try to push it on other people, especially kids or the inexperienced, who just want to get the job done. Some people use computers to do work, to make stuff, to achieve things, and that's not the same goal as someone who just wants to noodle about with an experimental OS.

Anyway, this isn't particularly a linux/windows issue, this is just an issue of what's useful. Making people code on linux means that they'll become very adept at solving incompatibilities, fixing operating system glitches, copying text files about, downloading and unpacking archives... but they might not actually do that much coding. The barriers to entry are huge; you need to be a very competent linux expert long before you get anywhere near any actual software engineering.

You might say that's useful, but if linux is anything it is terribly inconsistent, and if you've solved one problem on one piece of software, the next time you hit the same problem the fix is likely to be entirely different. I've said it a million times, but while most of the operating system is written by unqualified latvian teenagers in their bedrooms, there will continue to be huge problems with documentation, consistency, standardisation and ultimately ease of use.

What worries me, that people will buy this thing with the idea it'll let them start writing C, then they'll discover the horrible truth: that they'll spend half their lives, or more, desperately bashing configuration and build scripts, and very rarely do anything new or interesting.

A decent IDE at least spares you that.
dancingbear84 28th January 2012, 12:40 Quote
Please listen to this.
I am interested in getting one of these to learn some basics. It may lead to more things in future who knows. There may be other ways to learn, but this has my interest and it is cheap and if I learn a bit of c or python that is a good thing for the industry as a whole.
Lets be honest, the people buying the pi are not your average user, they are likely to be people that hang around on bit tech or have more knowledge than your average user
Stewb 28th January 2012, 14:07 Quote
I have no idea why, but I feel like I have a pressing need to get myself one of these. I have never done any programming other than assembly (on an 18 pin PIC) either :|
r3loaded 28th January 2012, 14:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
Computers are a tool for a job, a means to an end. It isn't about points for effort. If you are a linux person and your computer is your spare time project, your hobby, a laboratory experiment - which is what I get the impression it is - then fine, but please don't try to push it on other people, especially kids or the inexperienced, who just want to get the job done. Some people use computers to do work, to make stuff, to achieve things, and that's not the same goal as someone who just wants to noodle about with an experimental OS.
That's perfectly fine if your line of work is something else and you just need the best tools for the job at hand. That is why Linus Torvalds uses a Mac and boots between Windows, OS X and Linux depending on what he needs to accomplish for his day-to-day stuff.

However, if you truly want to learn about programming and the fundamentals of computing, Linux is far and away the best choice. It's the best way to learn about the workings of operating systems, how kernels work and manage hardware at a low level, how the system boots, how computers are architected at the base level etc. Linux is used because it's a) free and b) the source code for practically everything is freely available for you to browse through at your leisure. This board is being made for education as it's cheap and it's far simpler to work with than the complex motherboards that inhabit the typical desktop/laptop.

This board is not meant to address every facet of computing education, but it's a good step forward for an area that is terribly under-represented in the current curriculum. It's all good and well to have everyone build simple Windows apps in VS, but they're still not getting a feel for how computers work on the inside.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
You might say that's useful, but if linux is anything it is terribly inconsistent, and if you've solved one problem on one piece of software, the next time you hit the same problem the fix is likely to be entirely different. I've said it a million times, but while most of the operating system is written by unqualified latvian teenagers in their bedrooms, there will continue to be huge problems with documentation, consistency, standardisation and ultimately ease of use.
Just....wut. So many misconceptions and fallacies there I don't even know where to begin.
j0rd 28th January 2012, 16:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes

Computers are a tool for a job, a means to an end. It isn't about points for effort. If you are a linux person and your computer is your spare time project, your hobby, a laboratory experiment - which is what I get the impression it is - then fine, but please don't try to push it on other people, especially kids or the inexperienced, who just want to get the job done. Some people use computers to do work, to make stuff, to achieve things, and that's not the same goal as someone who just wants to noodle about with an experimental OS.

Im not going to try to push a rational argument with you since many others have tried and failed in this thread already. one thing that did make me laugh though was the part i have quoted. Last time i looked (which is all day, every day) linux is an exelent tool for many jobs. Lets see, the first thing that comes to mind is the internet, the vast, vast majority of services, servers, etc that the vast majority of people use every day on the internet are linux based. this covers everything from online banking to DNS servers to home routers to file servers to web sites of every size and shape, i would put money down that this web site runs on a linux server. All those people who deployed linux for mission critical services, they must be totally deluded, unqualified and just plain dumb. Why they didnt deploy windows is just beyond me <insert large quantities of sarcasm in preceding sentence at your own discretion>

As for not pushing linux onto the inexperienced, Rpi arnt forcing anyone to do anything and the stance you have taken in this thread really does read like your pushing your opinion onto those who are unexpired and dont know any better. If you prefer VS then thats fine, if you make money that way then even better but that doesnt somehow mean you know best for everyone else and then spout your mouth off like you speak gospel. The reason we have both linux and windows and OS X (and etc) is because they all excel in different things, because a windows box is not the ideal solution in every environment and for every job and teaching every kid to code in VS is not going to do the industry as a whole any good.

on a side note, Microsoft have a really poor track record of supporting industry standards, unlike linux and OS X which have vastly superior track records in this area (internet explorer would be one example most here will be familiar with), you should read up on that because it doesnt do you any favors shooting your mouth off about stuff your clearly are not educated enough to speak about.

anyway, im going to add you to my ignore list, not because your opinion differs from mine but because i cant stand arrogance and ignorance. Moral of the story, dont buy an R-Pi BTW
debs3759 28th January 2012, 17:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ignorant
I'm right, do it my way
Quote:
Originally Posted by arrogant
No, I'm right, everyone else is wrong
Quote:
Originally Posted by ignorant
Shut up fool!
Quote:
Originally Posted by arrogant
Who you callin' a fool? Get lost. BTW, I'm right and you're still wrong

And so it goes (on and on). If people disagree on what is good practice, why does it have to go on for so long? Windows is good for some thing, Linux (and other OS) is good for others. Visual Studio is good for one thing (ie developing windows apps). Lots of programming environments (including Linux) are good for developing apps for lots of environments.

I have an opinion, but I won't try to force it on anyone. I will offer alternative ideas when I have them, but that is all they are. MY ideas and opinions, expressed in a way that might help another person to make their own choices. Telling people they are wrong just because their opinion differs from yours does not make your opinion right. Telling them WHY you THINK they are wrong is far less arrogant and/or ignorant! Providing information is far more valuable than spouting opinions without any factual data to back those opinions up.

This was a thread to discuss a small and cheap, ultra-hackable piece of hardware. Not to discuss what OS and what programming environment is better than all the others!

If you don't like someone's opinions/ideas, don't carry the argument over several pages. Not arguing with them is the best way to stop the argument, it doesn't matter which party is right. Maybe both parties are right, just in different situations.
Nexxo 29th January 2012, 11:50 Quote
Am I the only one who, at the thought of a capable computer the size of a credit card for £35,--, wants to squeal like a little pony with delight?

While people are bickering over the rather academical point of what OS it should support, I'm just thinking of the multitude of possibilities. Yes, XMBC and NAS feature in that, but if this simplistic application sells units then who cares?

As for what OS it should support: I'd see serious licensing cost implications if it supported Windows. Best stick with freeware if the objective is to provide a cheap, accessible educational tool.
SexyHyde 29th January 2012, 12:41 Quote
Seriously delighted about the prospect of getting my hands on one of these. A brilliant idea that will help the British computing industry I am sure.

On the windows linux front. I am a pc gamer so have windows 7. I use a virtual linux install for almost all other stuff. My dad has ubuntu on one of his laptops and uses it fine even though he is a total newb. Linux today is an incredible beast; free, excellent functionality, easy to use (software install was the main issue In linux history, but has been pretty much solved) and for most people it would be fine, but, their machines already have windows preinstalled. I have NOT used the command line in linux for years and even when I did use it, I used it because I wanted to learn the low level way of doing it. Am I reading right that ultimately that is what this rpi is for? And linux is quite widespread but you would not know it, I only realised today I had more things running linux than the two windows PCs.

Phil thank got you weren't the US president in the 60s. I can see the speech now.
"we ain't going the moon, its too hard, its just a rock, and you can see it from here on a clear night. If you want to see more of it, get a telescope. It's also too expensive, technology will be cheaper in the future! Why do it now when you can do it tomorrow!" Phil the whole point of doing things the hard way over the easy way
SexyHyde 29th January 2012, 12:50 Quote
Is doing it the hard way is the way you learn and understand which makes you better at creating new things and inspiring new easier ways to do things. If you learn the easy way to do things you don't fully get to grasp how things are working you don't look for new ways to do things you just get overtaken a few years later by the guy that learned the hard way and now is better than you because he has a fuller understanding.

Sent from Bittech Android app
Player-x 29th January 2012, 14:22 Quote
Man this could be used as the ultimate controller for water cooling and/or fan control.

This board, teamed up with something like a velleman kit, like one of the "USB interface card modules", like the VM110N or VM140 or VM167

I would like to have 24V steering for a Laing D5 pump, most watercoolers use them at 12V ware they work proper, but they really shine at 24V, but then you cant get steering for the pump.

http://tweakers.net/ext/f/C0jfFQyIEoif6qteU9voZQvd/full.png

VM140 spec:

8 analogue 10 bit resolution inputs: 0…5 or 10VDC / 20k ohms
8 analogue 8 bit resolution outputs: 0…5V or 10VDC / 47 ohms
8 digital inputs: open collector compatible (connection to GND=0) with on-board LED indication
8 digital open collector outputs (max. 50V/100mA) with on-board LED indication
one 10 bit PWM output: 0 to 100% open collector output (max 100mA / 40V) with on-board LED indication
USB port: USB 1.1 & 2.0 compatible

Now these Velleman boards have all the things you need, analogue input for temp censor's, digital for level indicator, in my case 8 digital output's for making a stepping pump control.

Next to that, the PI got a video output, so you hang a screen on it to monitor your system, next to that it got a audio out to give you a warning if something is out of bound.

So i wonder, if the water cooling/modding community this gone pick up as a other option to expensive dedicated controllers, that still dose not do what you want.
Nexxo 29th January 2012, 18:35 Quote
Hang a screen onto it and run Conky, GKrellM or Screenlets, which are like Samurize for Linux. ;)
Player-x 29th January 2012, 19:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Hang a screen onto it and run Conky, GKrellM or Screenlets, which are like Samurize for Linux. ;)
Is that a reaction on my post?

If yes, i just wonder how that's gone work, as i would not be interested in monitoring the Raspberry, but the Windows machine's and its cooling system it would control.
Nexxo 29th January 2012, 19:35 Quote
Sure, but you can monitor the external temperature, RPM and flow sensors that are hooked up to the Raspberry. I also know that Samurize can query and display performance data from other (networked) machines. Perhaps Conky et al. can do the same.
Player-x 29th January 2012, 19:43 Quote
System info data over the network, from a Win machine? if so cool that would be the first part :D

Still to bad i know f... all about programing, other then what i done on my old MSX, frack i am getting old
steveo_mcg 29th January 2012, 21:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Am I the only one who, at the thought of a capable computer the size of a credit card for £35,--, wants to squeal like a little pony with delight?

While people are bickering over the rather academical point of what OS it should support, I'm just thinking of the multitude of possibilities. Yes, XMBC and NAS feature in that, but if this simplistic application sells units then who cares?

As for what OS it should support: I'd see serious licensing cost implications if it supported Windows. Best stick with freeware if the objective is to provide a cheap, accessible educational tool.

I've been looking forward to the release of this since it was mentioned in passing on another thread, I'm sure I made some similar exited noise when i first saw it.

If it takes off in eduction the way the developers are hoping MS will be falling over themselves to licence it cheap and support the chip. Like all good drug dealers they like to catch their users early, thus probably killing the project as it has to up spec to support windows... See the original (now dead) netbook and the remains of the OLPC project.
Grimloon 30th January 2012, 14:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Am I the only one who, at the thought of a capable computer the size of a credit card for £35,--, wants to squeal like a little pony with delight?

While people are bickering over the rather academical point of what OS it should support, I'm just thinking of the multitude of possibilities. Yes, XMBC and NAS feature in that, but if this simplistic application sells units then who cares?

As for what OS it should support: I'd see serious licensing cost implications if it supported Windows. Best stick with freeware if the objective is to provide a cheap, accessible educational tool.

Nope, very much a case of *EEEEEEEEEEEEE!!* while bouncing up and down on the chair like an excited child for me.

Way too many possible uses already mentioned for me to add any more but basically I think it's a brilliant idea. Cheap, credit card sized computer? Too cool and/or cute NOT to buy one!
BLC 30th January 2012, 18:14 Quote
This is what happens when I don't read bit tech in a while; I miss brilliant articles like this!

As for the arguments around the operating system it uses, the IDE, etc, I think some people are missing the point.

The original aim of this system is that it's used as an educational tool. Beside the high profile people such as David Braben or Ebon Upton, the foundation is also staffed (is that the right word for a charitable foundation...? supported?) by people from universities. It was noticed that many students applying for Computer Science degrees lacked even a very basic understanding of rudimentary programming - some had never even seen code before. And bear in mind I'm talking about proper computer science courses, not "Business" or "IT" - courses designed to teach you the fundamentals of how computers operate, right down to the level of explaining how binary arithmetic is performed by the system of logical gates (and other gubbins) that comprises a modern microprocessor. When they looked at the reasons why this might be, and why this seems to be a recent trend, one of the things they noticed was that - unlike the Acorns or Speccys of old - modern computers are not simple beasts. They are extremely complex, expensive, and, for the average home user, very easy to screw up. Unlike the fabled bedroom coders of old, people are afraid of tinkering and experimenting - or letting their children do so - because they don't want to risk breaking an expensive piece of equipment and potentially having to pay lots of money to repair it. The worst you could do with one of those old machines was crash it and have to switch it off and on again; didn't need tech support or PC World to flick a switch back & fore.

These things are so cheap that parents of children interested in computers can easily obtain them, even on those on lower incomes. The peripherals needed are dirt cheap: a basic USB keyboard and mouse can be picked up very cheaply, and you don't even need a monitor, thanks to the composite video port - any old TV lying round can become a computer. The idea with the first batch of units is to get the nerds interested, build a community and get some solid software/distros out there. There's no way they can hope to write easy-to-use OS distributions or port the software themselves. But that's where us nerds come in: porting software, building distros, bundling the simple-to-use programs, finding the kid-friendly stuff, etc. Eventually the foundation plans to start selling SD cards pre-loaded with OS distributions on there; there has been discussion on the rPi forums around creating distros that are locked down really tight and really can't be screwed up. It might not interest someone like me (or your average bit-tech reader), but it would be of interest to the parent of a curious youngster: no matter what they do with it or how much they tinker, it can't be screwed up - all you have to do is power it off and on again. But it's going to take community support to get to that point, and I can't see a better way of doing that than getting the excitable, enthusiastic nerds (like me) on board.

Besides... The reliance on Microsoft software is part of the problem with the way that "IT" has been taught; it creates a reliance on a single vendor, a barrier to entry, and only teaches you a limited skill set. It doesn't teach you how computers work, why they work or how to make them work for you. I, or my employer, might pay for licenses for Win7, VisualStudio, SQL Server, etc, which is great for me, and really helps me in my career, but your average parent won't pay all that money so that their young children can play around with it.

With the aims that the foundation has, officially supporting anything other than free and open-source software is missing the point by a country mile.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Am I the only one who, at the thought of a capable computer the size of a credit card for £35,--, wants to squeal like a little pony with delight?

No, I've been squealing with delight at the prospect of this machine ever since I saw that first BBC clip, back in the middle of last year (the one with David Braben, where the prototype unit was basically a USB stick - for obvious reasons of connectivity, that form factor was dropped). It's even more than just a "capable computer", the GPU they have is utterly incredible: full hardware accelerated 1080p video for £23?! Not many years ago, you'd have needed a powerhouse to decode even 720p h.264. They're still waiting to find out when the first batch of 10,000 will arrive from China, but unless there's some news soon I think I might literally explode.
Zurechial 30th January 2012, 18:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Sure, but you can monitor the external temperature, RPM and flow sensors that are hooked up to the Raspberry. I also know that Samurize can query and display performance data from other (networked) machines. Perhaps Conky et al. can do the same.

Conky can display just about any kind of information you want because it can interact directly with command-line applications and pipes.
Code:
${color #bbeeff}${alignr}${execi 120 ~/Scripts/pingtest.sh 192.168.1.2}$color

That line, for instance, colours and formats the output of a script I wrote to ping an address supplied in an argument and present the results directly onto a conky panel:
http://forums.bit-tech.net/picture.php?albumid=660&pictureid=25021

So yes, Conky + Raspbery Pi + Custom Scripts/Apps could make a fantastic combination for hardware monitoring indeed. :D

I'm hoping to get my hands on a few of them through the institution I work/research at to use in some projects of my own.
I'd also like to use one as an intermediate server at home to handle LAMP, NetBIOS, dynamic DNS and other low-power activities, while being able to send a WakeOnLan boot signal to my full-fat Ubuntu server via scripts to do things like weekly backups and so on.
That way I can run an incredibly power-efficient home server and only boot the more power-hungry machine when needed. :)
Risky 31st January 2012, 11:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Player-x
Man this could be used as the ultimate controller for water cooling and/or fan control.

This board, teamed up with something like a velleman kit, like one of the "USB interface card modules", like the VM110N or VM140 or VM167

I would like to have 24V steering for a Laing D5 pump, most watercoolers use them at 12V ware they work proper, but they really shine at 24V, but then you cant get steering for the pump.

http://tweakers.net/ext/f/C0jfFQyIEoif6qteU9voZQvd/full.png

VM140 spec:

8 analogue 10 bit resolution inputs: 0…5 or 10VDC / 20k ohms
8 analogue 8 bit resolution outputs: 0…5V or 10VDC / 47 ohms
8 digital inputs: open collector compatible (connection to GND=0) with on-board LED indication
8 digital open collector outputs (max. 50V/100mA) with on-board LED indication
one 10 bit PWM output: 0 to 100% open collector output (max 100mA / 40V) with on-board LED indication
USB port: USB 1.1 & 2.0 compatible

Now these Velleman boards have all the things you need, analogue input for temp censor's, digital for level indicator, in my case 8 digital output's for making a stepping pump control.

Next to that, the PI got a video output, so you hang a screen on it to monitor your system, next to that it got a audio out to give you a warning if something is out of bound.

So i wonder, if the water cooling/modding community this gone pick up as a other option to expensive dedicated controllers, that still dose not do what you want.

It is possible to get a 12V/24V stepup psu. I have one for one of my pumps and did hack it a bit to replace the stepped voltage switch with a Pot http://www.wizdforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=597 but it should be possible to build/miodify one to control it directly.
[USRF]Obiwan 1st February 2012, 12:50 Quote
Not to bring back a old cow, but.... can it play Crysis?

:D
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