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patolin
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Re: Why not program on x86 desktop?

Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:59 pm

The raspberry pi bring us back to a simple computing era, where when we code this, we were happy

10 print "hola amigos!"
20 goto 10

Of course, right now, with a little script in python or sh, we can do so many things, keeping it simple. I would love to make a custom mp3 player for my car, or a video player to connect to my old tv.

Keep it simple, and it will keep your smile on
Patricio Reinoso - www.patolin.com

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Braqoon
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Re: Why not program on x86 desktop?

Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:00 pm

For me it's a challenge in a way. I got a six core beast with 16GB RAM and good GFX. I have never understood how stuff properly works in PC and always admired those who has been able to squeeze last juices from C64, ZX spectrum, Amigas and early PCs. R-PI kind of requires you to think what you can or can't and brings those old restrictions to life in a new body. Never been a proper programmer and Python allowed to realize some of my ideas but i hope to understand more with R-PI and by all limitations of the hardware to understand how stuff works.

As a tool for kids or even students ? This is in a way one laptop per child thing, cheaper than any low level PC with monitor.
http://dfourgames.com/

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Sloseph
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Re: Why not program on x86 desktop?

Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:26 pm

I've just ordered my Pi so thought I’d have a browse around the forums to see what people are doing

When I saw this thread I though ill chime in

I've ordered a Pi because after years of using other peoples badly made software and ranting about how I could do better I’m putting my money where my mouth is and giving it a go

The reason Im going for the Pi over using one of my current systems are

1. it’s a clean start

I've messed about with my other machines so much that any guide I try and follow I have to find a work around for something in it

2. It will give me focus

When I turn it on it will be because I want to spend some time sat at home trying to learn, not just booting up the laptop and looking at cat videos on YouTube then thinking hey ill try a bit of programming for 5 minutes

3. no one else is going to suffer while Im using it

quite often when I want to mess about with one of my current machine that means my other half will lose access to that machine until Im done playing around which can be hours

4. I can just walk away

at the moment if Im trying to do something I either have to finish it properly or scrap it, the machine Im working on either has to be in the same state as I picked it up or better, I can't just leave it not working. With the Pi I can try something and if I can't get it working I can just leave it, have a break and try and get my head around it, if Im sleepy ill just leave it until tomorrow, again my other half isn't going to get mad because she can't use her laptop until Im done

5. Size

because of its size the possibilities are endless, one of the first things Im going to do is install XMBC and try and write some stuff for that, once I’ve done that I’ve got myself a nice cheap portable media player that I’ve made something work on, I can pop it round to a friends and say hey look at this

6. Support

if I do get stuck on something by the looks of it Im currently looking at a place to go with lots of helpful people ready to assist, try doing that on a windows forum

Apologies for the world’s longest first post and more than likely the spelling and grammar mistake
“Once you've lost you faith in love and music the end won't be long”

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Re: Why not program on x86 desktop?

Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:15 pm

No apologies needed. Good post!
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Re: Why not program on x86 desktop?

Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:35 pm

I agree nice post, you have put into words what the R-PI is all about.
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Z4XX0N
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Re: Why not program on x86 desktop?

Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:46 am

My first. Long, but I don't care :-)

OK.

I've fallen for the bandwagon. I just bought my eldest son (8) a Raspberry PI.

He's already learning Python on a Ubuntu desktop; he's already working with Lego Mindstorms NXT-G software; so why?

For me, it's all about the bandwagon: the bandwagon is good; the bandwagon is a trend; the bandwagon is momentum. Aside from that, he does alternate between games and coding; and if it was connected to the internet, I'm pretty sure he'd just be vegetating on an online minigame site for hours; so the focus and discipline case is definitely borne out by my experience.

When I was 8 years old in the early 80s, I had a BBC Model B+ (still got it actually; and my Atari VCS 2600 console), and I started to learn Basic with it (and my friend's Acorn, Spectrum, C64 etc...).

Memories:
http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q38/ ... l_bbc1.jpg
http://www.dataserve-retro.co.uk/conten ... 0guide.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/e ... enshot.png

That's what it's about.
Our parents never understood computers; even loathed them. We revelled in our secret language of games and coding, and poured over the magazines - there was never any idea of where it was heading, but films like Star Wars, Tron, Blade Runner, War Games, ET, Close Encounters, The Black Hole, Alien, Terminator, Dune, The Last Starfighter, ; series like Battlestar Galactica, Transformers, Airwolf/Streethawk/Knight Rider etc... created a cultural context and a sense of a trend and of momentum.

Now although I started with computers early, my parents never understood or cared about them, and without someone to encourage me and take interest, it faded, and I went in other directions, until many years later, where somehow I ended up getting a fancy electronics degree from a fancy uni (by fluke?!).
During that ordeal, I had programming modules in C and Java, and wished I'd been one of those kids who'd coded (at least some of the time) in their room, instead of messing about with protracker and multimedia stuff. Programming was so dry, tedious, it made me feel physically ill just thinking about it.

Some time later, I started thinking about my son's future, and I started to realise a few things...
1. In the future, there may be a digital divide - not simply between the digitally literate and illiterate; but more significantly, between producers and consumers. Initially with cars - in the 80s, our dads and big brothers could be seen with their heads under bonnets and under cars, doing stuff to them; now, we have to phone up for a man in clean overalls to plug a laptop into the car, and download something.
2. Programming seems to be becoming a pervasive part of so many careers. Initially, I began to notice how every form of science and engineering eventually, and very frequently, leads to programming of some sort to some extent; more and more parts of non-SET careers are beginning to show signs of where programming stuff could seep in. Telecommuting is also a liberating lifestyle that can become a real option for people whose careers are in these kinds of technical areas. Furthermore, with so many careers becoming more "programmery", you begin to wonder whether the boundaries between disciplines become blurred, when you necessarily need a degree in a particular area to work in it, when much of the work involves generic transferable skills like coding, project management, and research/referring to technical docs about anything.
3. A kid can learn so many other things through programming.

So what's this got to do with the Raspberry PI?
There are better ways to do everything that the Raspberry PI does, but what they lack is the Jobsian momentum factor... the RPI is generating a buzz about coding in a way that nothing else has. We can conceivably imagine kids taking RPIs to school and buzzing about them in the same way we did about our little machines 30 years ago.
In the same way that "wasting money" on a space shuttle programme inspired generations of scientists and engineers; this little marketing ploy has the potential to inspire generations of future scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs.

What's even more exciting, is that it's British.
For so long we've looked across to Silicon Valley, when in fact our computing heritage is longer than America's. Poor government caused Britain to lose it's lead in computing to America, and the cultural and economic cost of that is incalculable.

When you look at news stories on the BBC, you'll notice that "normal" news consists of morbidity and out and out trolling; but when you flick to the tech news, everything is upbeat and new.
I think we've had enough of the media penchent for talking down Britain and trying to instill this negative attitude about us being a small, rubbish country; and I think things like this RPI are the sort of healthy, positive stories that we should be supporting... so yes, I'm jumping on the bandwagon - I think the potential benefits over the next 30 years could be fantastic.

If the establishment gets behind it, RPI could be the beginning of a new flourishing of innovation and entrepreneurship in Britain, and it could be just what the doctor ordered amidst the rain and the gloom.

I'd like to see RPIs in every school; just as the BBC Micro was 30 years ago.
I'd like to see GCSE Programming as a core subject (i.e. a language), where kids get exposure to Lego Robots, Assembler, LISP, Python, C, Java, and prepared to be able to work as programmers. It should be as fundamentals as the 3 Rs.

My local primary school has an immense computer room, with brand new (expensive) computers in it - and what do they learn on them? Microsoft Office... what a waste!
They could hire PhD computing students from the local uni as classroom assistants; spend a fraction of the cost all those idle computers on RPIS, and have enough budget left for a few Lego Mindstorms sets, and actually teach the kids something useful and fun.

So, until that happens, I've bought into the whole thing, and I'll be doing that at home with my son. I hope that it becomes a nice part of his childhood memories too. :-)

David McCambley
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Re: Why not program on x86 desktop?

Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:51 pm

You can pick up a cheap second hand PC for not much more than a RPi on ebay so cost although important is a secondary issue. I've had PCs for years but never felt the urge to code. The Pi appears to be a movement as much as a platform. There are millions of PCs in the UK, I wonder proportionally how many of them are being used to code? The ethos that the Pi has been developed to encourage us to learn how to code and the associated support network of beginners/users should mean that a large proportion of RPis will be used for coding as opposed to being used as a cheap media player.

jcg
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Re: Why not program on x86 desktop?

Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:35 pm

David McCambley wrote:You can pick up a cheap second hand PC for not much more than a RPi on ebay so cost although important is a secondary issue.
R-Pi: $35
PSU: $20?
KBD: $5

Total: $60-70.

You won't find a machine (it's got to be a laptop to compete in the portability category) with the general-purpose usability of this one at that price. It all comes down to the GPU. For just coding? Yeah, sure, you can get some antique x86 laptop for $40 and write code on it but you won't be able to watch MIT OCW videos or Google Tech Talks on youtube or partake in (and develop) WebGL content. You can do these things with this device. That sets it well apart.

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Re: Why not program on x86 desktop?

Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:35 pm

Sorry I have to disagree with some of the above, with a laptop or even a tablet you are truly portable with an independent (but time limited) power supply and depending on location can access a wireless or 3G connection. If you are out of the house with the pi you need power, a borrowed screen, keyboard, a modem/router or take a supported wifi/3g dongle with you - i know mod my pi are thinking of making a case to turn RPi into a laptop but its not ready yet. Yes you can stick a pi in your pocket but without borrowing or taking peripherals with you its a Frisbee. The topic is 'why not program on a x86 DESKTOP', in my post I ruled cost out as being an issue the reason being you could get a reasonably speccd XP DESKTOP machine for £35-40 with a local pickup. I put forward other arguments for coding with a Pi but your portable argument is sort of moot.

jcg
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Re: Why not program on x86 desktop?

Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:05 pm

David McCambley wrote:Sorry I have to disagree with some of the above, with a laptop or even a tablet you are truly portable with an independent (but time limited) power supply and depending on location can access a wireless or 3G connection. If you are out of the house with the pi you need power, a borrowed screen, keyboard, a modem/router or take a supported wifi/3g dongle with you - i know mod my pi are thinking of making a case to turn RPi into a laptop but its not ready yet. Yes you can stick a pi in your pocket but without borrowing or taking peripherals with you its a Frisbee. The topic is 'why not program on a x86 DESKTOP', in my post I ruled cost out as being an issue the reason being you could get a reasonably speccd XP DESKTOP machine for £35-40 with a local pickup. I put forward other arguments for coding with a Pi but your portable argument is sort of moot.
Ok, even if I grant you that we are talking about desktop machines (although good luck hauling it across town and plugging it into your buddy's TV), with a cheap x86 desktop you are going to be hard pressed to find anything remotely similar in performance to the R-Pi in terms of multimedia capabilities. If you already know all there is about programming and hardware and can hack up a linux bootloader with a toggle switch, then maybe this wouldn't matter to you. If, however, you want to also use the machine learn things, it helps TREMENDOUSLY to be web-enabled in the multimedia sense. Yes, there is plenty of content out there that can be gleaned using elinks in TTY1, but there is a wealth of really important information that is simply inaccessible using antique hardware. And that is where something like the R-Pi wins as an educational tool, in the access it provides to educational content, both practical and pedagogical.

wallacebiy
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Re: Why not program on x86 desktop?

Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:44 pm

I seriously cannot understand the argument here .


The Pi is a cheap , fully functional linux PC , with the innards exposed .


there is no more argument than that. it is what it is .

All the other things it can/cannot do are secondary to that .
It's a cheap, fully functional, linux PC . That's the whole point .

My eldest son (6) has access to a macmini , unrestricted . My daughter (10) has her own netbook . the 3 yr old and the 18month old make shit of the macmini on a regular basis .


The pi is about giving them a glimpse under the hood , giving them a better understanding of computing . It's not going to be an expensive endeavour , no more than a few pints in the local or a pair of jeans or half a meal out . And there's going to be lots of " this is shit " from them . But they'll learn from it all .


I really can't see why anyone would criticise an obviously good , simple, idea .

" lets build and sell a really cheap linux PC, and let people do whatever the **** they want to do with it "


I can't see any downside in that .


Excuse the French please , I've had a few ...

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Re: Why not program on x86 desktop?

Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:51 pm

The real difference between using a raspi, and a home PC, is that on a home PC, if they f**k up they might destroy your tax forms, and family photo's, and all the other "important stuff" you might have on there. On a Raspberry PI, if they completely destroy the whole software setup, its just a re-burning of the SD-card (or popping in another one) and you can go again. So there is no threshold to experiment, as no real damage can be done! And that makes all the difference, that and a common software and hardware base for all students, so they can share knowledge.

MadCow42
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Re: Why not program on x86 desktop?

Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:55 am

mahjongg wrote:The real difference between using a raspi, and a home PC, is that on a home PC, if they f**k up they might destroy your tax forms, and family photo's, and all the other "important stuff" you might have on there. On a Raspberry PI, if they completely destroy the whole software setup, its just a re-burning of the SD-card (or popping in another one) and you can go again. So there is no threshold to experiment, as no real damage can be done! And that makes all the difference, that and a common software and hardware base for all students, so they can share knowledge.
I agree, but I think the real magic is in the GPIOs. Those simple 26 pins are a bridge between the digital world and the real world. How simple they are to use make them an AMAZING opportunity to excite kids about the potential of programming and electronics in a way that pure programming can't. Interfacing with the physical world is so much more tangible and exciting, and can be done in a few lines of code.

As an example, I've been trying to get my son interested in programming, but anything short of a full-fledged arcade game isn't enough to get his interest - and obviously that's not where one can start. BUT, being able to move things with a motor, or even just blink some lights is exciting enough to get his interest.

My $0.02, YMMV.
Kevin.

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Re: Why not program on x86 desktop?

Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:02 am

I totally agree, interfacing to the real world is what sparks interest, especially if robotics get involved.

jamesh
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Re: Why not program on x86 desktop?

Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:25 am

mahjongg wrote:I totally agree, interfacing to the real world is what sparks interest, especially if robotics get involved.
Never interested me - I was more of a graphics person.
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Wolfram23
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Re: Why not program on x86 desktop?

Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:23 pm

Well I just put in an order for an RPi on Monday, so I've got a little wait ahead of me.

At home I've got a desktop - water cooled (custom, not a Corsair unit) i5 750 at 4ghz, a pair of 5850s with 20% OCs and aftermarket cooling, I've got 2 SSDs, RAID 0 HDDs, blah blah blah. It's meant for gaming and entertainment.

Any time I try to sit down and code on it, I get distracted or bored. Why? No motivation. What am I going to do with my code? I can find pretty much everything (software-wise) I need or want already. At best, I could try to make a game, but even that is a pointless excersize beyond practice.

The RPi is something else entirely. The whole reason I bought it is, as a long term goal, to make a Carputer. The only other decent options in this regard are things like those m-ITX Intel Atom based PCs that cost $150 or more. For $35, I get everything I really need to get started. I'll eventually have to fork out for a touch screen ($140), and everything else is either free, home made, or cheap (like USB cords and plugs). So, the investment is minimal.

As far as buying one to learn coding, specifically? I don't know. Not my goal. I do want to learn coding, but that isn't why I bought the Pi. I bought it because I have a use for something like this. A lot of people do. Some people want a headless media center (I'll probably dip into that as well), and they will learn some coding along the way I'm sure. Others want to make robots, or gaming consoles, or whatever else. There's a miriad of uses for this device that exceed what you can do with many desktops. This early in development, though, means a couple of things. One: chances are you'll have to learn some coding. Two: there's a lot of interest and support. So it's a great environment for learning.

ScienceTeacher
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Re: Why not program on x86 desktop?

Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:18 pm

In my humble opinion, I think the dispute is equal to the question: 'Why would I buy a bicycle, when my family has a Fiesta?'.
There could be many answers to that question, a few could be:
- Maybe you or the car are not qualified to drive in a safe way - if you intend to drive offroad.
- If you are still a learner, it means that you are LEARNING, not mastering.
- A bicycle is less expensive if something goes wrong.
- As the bicycle has a limited speed, you have the time to learn something about traffic in general on the way.
- The bicycle is yours, not your brother's. (so you probably care more about it than your brother does)
- It is certainly a bigger achievement to go cross country on a bike than in a 4WD, and it's nice to have something to be proud of.
- You can go on a trip with all your friends who also have bikes.
- By taking shortcuts in places where only a bike can go, you get a deeper knowledge of your area.

Hope the parallel to computing is obvious. :D


Written on my (soundless) Raspberry Pi

wallacebiy
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Re: Why not program on x86 desktop?

Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:33 pm

ScienceTeacher wrote:In my humble opinion, I think the dispute is equal to the question: 'Why would I buy a bicycle, when my family has a Fiesta?'.
There could be many answers to that question, a few could be:
- Maybe you or the car are not qualified to drive in a safe way - if you intend to drive offroad.
- If you are still a learner, it means that you are LEARNING, not mastering.
- A bicycle is less expensive if something goes wrong.
- As the bicycle has a limited speed, you have the time to learn something about traffic in general on the way.
- The bicycle is yours, not your brother's. (so you probably care more about it than your brother does)
- It is certainly a bigger achievement to go cross country on a bike than in a 4WD, and it's nice to have something to be proud of.
- You can go on a trip with all your friends who also have bikes.
- By taking shortcuts in places where only a bike can go, you get a deeper knowledge of your area.

Hope the parallel to computing is obvious. :D


Written on my (soundless) Raspberry Pi



Spot on analogy !!!

Warlaan
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Re: Why not program on x86 desktop?

Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:41 pm

I'd like to add a few points to the discussion:
1. Setting up a Virtual machine so you don't need to buy a RPi? Seriously, who does that? That's like making your living room water proof so you don't need to buy a bath tub.
2. It has been mentioned before, but to me it's the most important advantage of the RPi: If something goes wrong the whole configuration is on that one SD card and can be reflashed. That's the main reason why I ordered mine - so I can safely improve my Linux experience - and I happen to be an adult who is alredy working as a programmer.
3. One thing that has not been mentioned yet but I think is quite important nonetheless: everyone is excited about the RPi because noone expects anything from a computer that small and cheap. Even though for a beginner there's not much of a difference between programming on the RPi or a large pc, the feeling of challenge and accomplishment caused by the look of that tiny, naked RPi will be a big motivation, as I think can be seen in many other posts in this forum.

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r4049zt
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Re: Why not program on x86 desktop?

Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:43 pm

I noticed in the early 1990's that the x86 desktop hid too much from view to really dabble and find out how it works. Tasks which worked on a beeb with a few kB of RAM now took up a few MB. Twenty years on it still takes a minute to boot, still churns though unexplained checks at inconvenient times, and might get virus problems. Power consumption and transistors per cpu have gone up, a lot, but end user experience is much the same as Windows95. Why not have a spare toy computer on which things can be tested to destruction without the hassle of losing the $100 licensed operating system and having to spend every night of the week getting it back to how it had been? Surely that can be at least as useful as learning to program the lazy way with 10's of MB of memory in use for every menial task and proprietary systems with built in obsolecense and updates creep guaranteed to break your system within a few years? A well written program which does not depend on unknown api's is probably a lot more use than one which is locked to 2012 contemporary software which might well get taken away.

Wayne W
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Re: Why not program on x86 desktop?

Sun Aug 05, 2012 12:34 am

DexOS wrote:
The difference was we used languages like basic, mixed with asm on bare metal machines.
The only way to fix it, is go back to its roots.
Once they have lean't to program, HLL are fine, the low stuff is still in there blood.
Now you may not be in this group of people, but thats what the R-PI is for.
I could not agree with this more. I still reckon those early days produced the best programmers we have ever had.

Many are still in the game, and kept employed even though often not formally educated in the art. But learnt on the job after cutting their teeth as bedroom coders.

There's a ton of development work out there in the embedded system industries that would suit these types of low level experts moreso than the types uni's produce these days.

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Re: Why not program on x86 desktop?

Sun Aug 05, 2012 4:39 pm

We need to teach the importance of making things work better.
Desktop OS's for example boot so slow and are big and complected,
My hobby OS will run on a 486 PC, it boots fast it includes the normal things, like cli, gui, full tcp/ip stack, network and sound card drivers
yet its only 50k in size :shock:
To turn it into a simple web server you just need too change two settings.
It can boot from floppy, usb, cd, harddrive or dos.
Here's some videos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYJx2zZK7c8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdXhuZ0s ... el&list=UL
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-XXCSxl ... el&list=UL

Every new desktop OS ver should be 50% smaller than the last ver.
Batteries not included, Some assembly required.

Wayne W
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Re: Why not program on x86 desktop?

Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:50 pm

DexOS wrote:We need to teach the importance of making things work better.
Desktop OS's for example boot so slow and are big and complected,
My hobby OS will run on a 486 PC, it boots fast it includes the normal things, like cli, gui, full tcp/ip
I have run your OS in Virtualbox. I also tried the "MikeOS" booting from a USB stick a while ago. That literally booted to it's prompt in less than a second on my old Dell D420 Netbook.

If you could boot your OS on a RPI to an enviroment which provided a few old school languages/emulators etc it would be even cooler!

True most modern socially acceptable OS's seem to be bloated, and that includes Linux generally. Actually the most responsive Linux I have used on the RPI has been the seemingly non recognised Puppy Linux port. That was always pretty responsive on Intel based hardware too as it runs in RAM.

My RPI has been used by me mostly remotely via SSH from a windows PC.

I'm hoping uQLx the linux Sinclair QL emulator will make an appearance on the RPI Shortly, I know it's being ported, alas I'm terrible at C so thats been left to others. I really loved the Basic on that machine. I did like dabbling in 68000 when I used one as my main computer too.

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Jim JKla
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Re: Why not program on x86 desktop?

Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:04 pm

Why use an internal combustion engine?

Horses don't catch fire.

Well not very often. :D
Noob is not derogatory the noob is just the lower end of the noob--geek spectrum being a noob is just your first step towards being an uber-geek ;)

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Re: Why not program on x86 desktop?

Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:54 pm

I remember the ZX81, and at some point saying "just break the program ...", with a horrified look, my mum exclaimed something, and luckily for me the keyboard did have the word break written on it and so it became funny in hindsight. But taking this to the £200 pound netbook of today, and the data that could be lost if experimental code is run. £25 is cheap for a little experimental coding system. It's about £40 really after all the extras you need get bought.

I think the interesting possibilities are not from programming on an x86 desktop, but from people programming on Pi, using techniques which can then make the program be easily available on the desktops, and netbooks. Often the best coding ideas come from groups of people, and having them all stare at the same screen, and argue over keyboard control, can be counter productive. I bet a good editor, with file share over a network, with function level locking (of edits), and a time reversion control, could be effectively used by teams of kids.

If someone's laptop contains there work and bread winning future, a Pi is a simple option.

Cheers Jacko
Pi[NFA]=B256R0USB CL4SD8GB Raspbian Stock.
Pi[Work]=A+256 CL4SD8GB Raspbian Stock.
My favourite constant 1.65056745028

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