Prof Ramus
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Re: Why I think Raspberry Pi will be an easier Linux

Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:34 am

You may have heard that Linux is difficult. This is often because people have failed to install it.

With most linux’s you download one version for all Intel/AMD x86 machines to run on any PC hardware. That means you have to configure that one copy to work because your hardware is nearly unique among all the hardware, motherboards, that are available. It’s that configuration which is difficult.

There is only one Raspberry Pi and my understanding is that they are going to release versions of linux with the Raspberry Pi name or specifically for the Raspberry Pi.

Correct me if I’m wrong.

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grumpyoldgit
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Re: Why I think Raspberry Pi will be an easier Linux

Fri Feb 10, 2012 8:58 am

Installing Linux takes about an hour. For most of that time you are just looking at the screen or making a cup of coffee. The questions are, on the whole, very simple. The only ones that might be a little taxing to the casual user relate to the partitioning of drives when you are setting up a swap area. Often there is a default setting where it does all that for you as well.

As long as you just want your PC for day to day tasks there will be a program for it in the repository. With a distro like Ubuntu, common applications are installed by default.

The difference is that you are doing an install at all. If people bought empty PCs from Currys and then had to install Windows and all the other Microsoft applications themselves, I am sure Linux would not be considered more of a black art.

More knowledge and experience is only required when you go off piste and start installing software not in the repositories. It is only at that point that you need to delve into the mysteries of the terminal Window.

I have friends locally whose PC was set up by their son, who then went off abroad. They use the computer just like they did when it ran Windows. They are using Firefox as their browser, Thunderbird for email and OpenOffice, all applications they were probably using previously when the PC had Windows on it. I get called in for advice or support it is at the application level. There might be a problem with the backup system or they've lost something in email. I've never needed do anything that was OS specific.

fruitloaf
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Re: Why I think Raspberry Pi will be an easier Linux

Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:11 am

That may have been true in times gone by but Linux installers have improved tremendously. The Ubuntu install process is at least as easy if not easier to do than the Windows one and has multiple options such as running from within Windows without having to do any partitioning.

If you have an empty drive like you will on the Pi then I think you are looking at about 10 clicks to get it up and running.

Nb. Ubuntu won't run on the Pi but other linux distributions are equally easy.

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rurwin
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Re: Why I think Raspberry Pi will be an easier Linux

Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:24 am

I think you've got a point there, GoG; I hadn't considered that nobody installs Windows any more.

The other factor is that Linux only gets complex when it exceeds the capability of Windows. For example all the downloadable software you can get for Windows comes in binary form with a handy installer. The same amount, or more software for Linux is already in the repository (making it easier than Windows, more like an app store) or is as easy to install (download the package and double-click it). That's where Windows stops, but Linux also lets you build software from source. Most of the time that's three simple commands, but yes it is more complex than Windows and sometimes you have to debug it and it gets hairy, and sometimes you have to give up. But consider what you are doing -- you are installing software onto a machine that the author of the software does not support. That's like installing Mac software onto Windows. And it works almost every time.

bbramble
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Re: Why I think Raspberry Pi will be an easier Linux

Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:36 am

Grumpyoldgit said:


Installing Linux takes about an hour.


That depends. We install it in under 15 minutes, but that is a kick-start based PXE automated install.

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grumpyoldgit
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Re: Why I think Raspberry Pi will be an easier Linux

Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:53 am

bbramble said:


Grumpyoldgit said:


Installing Linux takes about an hour.


That depends. We install it in under 15 minutes, but that is a kick-start based PXE automated install.


My youngest PC is over 8 years old. The one I'm currently typing on is an almost 12 years old, PIII 800MHz; hence they are a little on the slow side for some things. It's why I scrubbed Windows in the first place. They were almost at a standstill. Scrubbing the drives and installing Ubuntu makes them zip along by comparison. Lubuntu is even quicker and Puppy just hurtles along, though is a bit limited.

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Gert van Loo
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Re: Why I think Raspberry Pi will be an easier Linux

Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:58 am

First we plan to release complete SD-card images so installing Linux will not be required.

Second we hope there will be images where you do not end up in Linux at all. In fact you will end up in some BASIC (or Python) environment just like in the old Zx-Spectrum days.

The Raspberry-Pi organization does not have time or people to do all the work. We hope that from the 10.000 going out a small group of users will help do that work.

Pirx-Danford
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Re: Why I think Raspberry Pi will be an easier Linux

Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:28 am

Over the last 25 years I went through the very different experiences one could have with OSes.

It started out as easy as can be with the C64=, just click "On" and its there, with a green cursor blinking and beckoning for input.

DOS had a steep learning curve, cause suddenly one needed to set it up, there was a boot record on the harddrive and so many new concepts like setting parameters and loading drivers in the autoexec.bat and the config.sys

On top of that came windows, keeping all the old stuff from DOS and adding new complicated things like autorun.ini, system.ini, win.ini and so on.

Since then its all just cosmetics and autodetection having all the same mechanisms but making them easier to use or even invisible to the user.

But I know Linux, I set up and used SuSE, Debian, Gentoo from stage2, Red Hat and lately exclusively Ubuntu and given my experiences the last year I would say that Mac OS X, Ubuntu and WIndows 7 are nearly identically easily to set up.

Anyway as easy the process itself is - no system as of yet is as straightforward as my old C64= was, On is On and thats that.

But I know the potential Linux has and I believe the RasPi might bring back my past into a newer and better present, so kudos to the OP cause you might be spot on

tufty
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Re: Why I think Raspberry Pi will be an easier Linux

Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:19 am

Gert said:


Second we hope there will be images where you do not end up in Linux at all. In fact you will end up in some BASIC (or Python) environment just like in the old Zx-Spectrum days.



The Raspberry-Pi organization does not have time or people to do all the work. We hope that from the 10.000 going out a small group of users will help do that work.


This is where I think the foundation has fallen down slightly.  With the overload of hype surrounding XBMC and so on, it's looking ever less likely that anyone doing stuff that's useful to the Foundation's goals will get one of the first batch.  I'm personally convinced I won't get one until around June, and possibly later.

IMO, and I don't think I'm alone in thinking this, populating (at least some of) the other 75 beta boards and selling them discreetly (even at a price correspondingly higher to cover assembly costs) to a targetted audience of motivated developers and educators (you know who they are - the developers at least are here) would have been a bloody good move.

Still, not my decision, it's too late now anyway, etc etc.

Simon

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Re: Why I think Raspberry Pi will be an easier Linux

Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:54 am

tufty said:


Gert said:


Second we hope there will be images where you do not end up in Linux at all. In fact you will end up in some BASIC (or Python) environment just like in the old Zx-Spectrum days.



The Raspberry-Pi organization does not have time or people to do all the work. We hope that from the 10.000 going out a small group of users will help do that work.


This is where I think the foundation has fallen down slightly.  With the overload of hype surrounding XBMC and so on, it's looking ever less likely that anyone doing stuff that's useful to the Foundation's goals will get one of the first batch.  I'm personally convinced I won't get one until around June, and possibly later.

IMO, and I don't think I'm alone in thinking this, populating (at least some of) the other 75 beta boards and selling them discreetly (even at a price correspondingly higher to cover assembly costs) to a targetted audience of motivated developers and educators (you know who they are - the developers at least are here) would have been a bloody good move.

Still, not my decision, it's too late now anyway, etc etc.

Simon


Don't worry - I expect people who need Pi's for the Foundations goals will get them. We know who you are! Cheaper to supply out of the initial or second 10k than fix up the remaining beta's I would think.
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EdwinJ85
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Re: Why I think Raspberry Pi will be an easier Linux

Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:25 pm

Well, my plan is to set up XMBC on my first machine and turn it into a media server. I can then blog about this and get non techies interested in it.

When production ramps up enough for me to be able to get a second (assuming I even get in the first batch, seems unlikely) I'll do a linux install. I had Ubuntu on a laptop a few years back before the hard drive died, it was pretty usable even for a scrub like me. The problem is a GUI isn't the best way to learn, C++ console applications are the way forward! I have made one or two.

It will be nice to get away from the .net net framework. Managed C++ has all the difficulty of regular C++ but is not cross format compatible and you can't compile it for non windows machines very easily. What IDE would you guys recommend for linux?

I'd stick with python learning but I really hate not using {} for defining the body of my statements, it's very visual basic like to me. I think the only managed language I will touch on linux with be Javascript. It will be nice to get to grips with Konqueror as well.

PS: I am a newb, so if anything I say sounds incorrect, it probably is!
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mgmt_idiot
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Re: Why I think Raspberry Pi will be an easier Linux

Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:43 pm

Gert said:


First we plan to release complete SD-card images so installing Linux will not be required.


Will there be a method of doing the install if that's better for my purposes? i.e. similar to the process:


Download the iso
Verify the shasum or md5sum
Burn the install media
Run the install routines

i.e. I get to decide what goes on the HDD (or SDcard in this instance). I don't download a copy of a HDD image for my x86 linux installs.

In particular, since there will be a Fedora image (very attractive), I'll be wanting to follow the NSA setup guidance just like I currently do for my CentOS installs. (NSA = No Such Agency).

P.S. That list has bulletpoints when I edit it in the wordpress editor, but they're not displayed.

TheEponymousBob
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Re: Why I think Raspberry Pi will be an easier Linux

Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:31 pm

Gert said:


Second we hope there will be images where you do not end up in Linux at all. In fact you will end up in some BASIC (or Python) environment just like in the old Zx-Spectrum days.



This.  I'll be honest: while it may be considered blasphemy around here, I do not like using Linux in a desktop environment.  In all the years I've been using it (my first install was Slackware from an ungodly number of 3.5" floppies in the mid-'90s, and I continue to use it periodically on virtual machines), I don't think I've ever managed to install it on a physical machine without some piece of hardware causing problems.  I also find that the open and highly customisable nature of it can be a double-edged sword, as I've found it extremely hit-and-miss in terms of putting together a consistent set of tools that let me just get on with what I'm doing, rather than messing around with configuration.

But this is exactly where RPi has the chance to effectively negate these criticisms for their primary goal, while still offering the freedom of Linux for those who enjoy that.  The homogeneity of hardware is obvious, in terms of having only two basic models, and foundation-approved peripherals.  The consistency of software will need some work, but so long as the foundation works with the community to produce some sort of "canonical" range of tools and interfaces (and so long as the community is prepared to accept that the foundation has control over what is and isn't considered canonical), there's no reason students need even know that it's running on Linux before they're ready for it.


The Raspberry-Pi organization does not have time or people to do all the work. We hope that from the 10.000 going out a small group of users will help do that work.


If I'm lucky enough to bag one, and if the foundation can give a clear description of the sort of things they need, you can certainly count me willing/keen/gagging to help.

Jaseman
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Re: Why I think Raspberry Pi will be an easier Linux

Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:29 pm

You obviously haven't tried to install VMWare Player under Kubuntu recently.

I can assure you this is far from easy!  In fact on day two, I still haven't managed to find out why it reports a compiling error, or exactly whether there is a compatibility issue with the newer Kernel.

You don't get that problem on Windows.  You get a completely different problem if you are on Windows 7 because of the network translation between host and client.

If you want to know why so many people are still on Windows XP - it's things like this.

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