Oxwivi
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Re: Developing world - A scenario

Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:47 pm

According to the Ethernet over USB Wikipedia article, it's possible on the Linux side of things (maybe R-Pi-friendly distros could do something to set this up easier), but I can't tell how Windows will react to such a connection.

zukero
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Re: Developing world - A scenario

Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:01 pm

In the author's scenario, it seems foolish to believe that the cyber-cafe's windows machines will have PuTTy preinstalled....

Oxwivi
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Re: Developing world - A scenario

Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:58 pm

Quote from zukero on November 3, 2011, 21:01
In the author's scenario, it seems foolish to believe that the cyber-cafe's windows machines will have PuTTy preinstalled....
Portable SSH client are easily available on the internet.

Nexy
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Re: Developing world - A scenario

Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:11 am

Is it possible to hide the booting FAT partition as far as Windows is concerned but still have it work in the RasPi? So when it's put into a USB adapter and put into a Windows PC, Windows doesn't stick a drive letter on it and pop it into My Computer, ready for end user to mess with/destroy it? When you put an Ext2/4/whatever partition on an SD card under XP/7, does Windows show it in My Computer but complain and offer to format it if you try to open it?

Instead of having a USB Flash drive, our remote friends could have two SD cards and a USB reader. Both SD cards partitioned for use in the RasPi, one with a normal distro, the other with a minimal recovery with a large amount of free space.

Hidden FAT,
Ext 2 or aufs+SquashFS on hidden FAT,
FAT32.
When the card is inserting into a Windows PC, only the FAT32 partition shows up, but when booted from RasPi, everything is visible.

To do a full distro update flash/recovery:
Minimal SD is put into the USB adapter,
USB is taken to the cafe and the latest compressed image file is put on the FAT32 partition,
User returns home,
Minimal SD is taken out of USB adapter and plugged into RP,
Normal SD is put into USB adapter which is put into RP,
User boots RP,
The user data from Normal SD is automatically copied over to FAT32 on Minimal SD,
Image is flashed automatically from file on Minimal SD FAT32 onto Normal SD,
User data is automatically copied back from Minimal SD's FAT32 onto Normal SD.

That way if the flashing process goes belly-up, the user's data is still safe (and accessible even from Windows in the cafe if needs be.) The minimal SD never gets reflashed so it's always available to be used to rescue the normal one. If the Windows PC inadvertently mangles the minimal SD, the normal SD can be used to restore it as it won't yet have been flashed and will still hold the user's data. The minimal SD could be configured so that if it's booted with a keyboard plugged in, it provides options (potentially using the delayed start procedure.) If it's booted with an SD card in a reader, it automatically does the above backup/reflash procedure.

As for the issue with dependencies, it may make sense to have compressed archives for the most common applications that contain all the dependencies for whichever distro proves most popular. He will only get one shot at it however it's done.

EDIT: Fixed lists

zukero
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Re: Developing world - A scenario

Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:58 am

Having the bootable SD carry both a *nix only partition (ext234 whatever) with the system on it, and a FAT32 partition is more than possible.
When plugged into a Windows computer, only the FAT32 partition would show up. If there is only *nix partitions, windows offers to format the drive, but doesn't when you have both types (*nix and windows). I have a usb drive with 2 FAT32 partitions, and 7 etx3/4 partitions. Tested on linux, solaris, win XP, win 7 and MacOS X. Never had a problem.
For full distro upgrade, one would need a second bootable drive (like a usb drive), and use it to dump the new distro on the SD card.

Nexy
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Re: Developing world - A scenario

Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:02 pm

Quote from zukero on November 7, 2011, 10:58
Having the bootable SD carry both a *nix only partition (ext234 whatever) with the system on it, and a FAT32 partition is more than possible.
When plugged into a Windows computer, only the FAT32 partition would show up. If there is only *nix partitions, windows offers to format the drive, but doesn't when you have both types (*nix and windows). I have a usb drive with 2 FAT32 partitions, and 7 etx3/4 partitions. Tested on linux, solaris, win XP, win 7 and MacOS X. Never had a problem.

Nice one. :)

For full distro upgrade, one would need a second bootable drive (like a usb drive), and use it to dump the new distro on the SD card.

Only SD cards are directly bootable buy RasPi from what I understand. One could however have an SD card in a USB card reader, use one bootable SD card to boot to flash the other. :D Hence my usage of two SD cards and a USB card reader in my suggestion.

manicgeek
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Re: Developing world - A scenario

Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:54 pm

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Nexy
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Re: Developing world - A scenario

Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:46 am

@manicgeek: When the TCO of the device needs to be kept as low as possible, that $3 for the hub might be significant. But yes, that might indeed be a possibility, I'll very likely be using a powered USB hub when I hook my RasPi up one of the several medium-sized flatpanel TVs around the house. Neither I nor presumably you are target demographic for these particular hacks as I'll go out on a limb and assume you're not currently in the third world. Why would we want someone living below the poverty line spend an extra 10% or more on hardware when we could remove the need with a little bit of consideration and scripting?

manicgeek
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Re: Developing world - A scenario

Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:28 pm

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abishur
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Re: Developing world - A scenario

Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:34 pm

@manicgeek, the device still comes with a composite out for video as well. HDMI is not the only option.
Dear forum: Play nice ;-)

Skygod
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Re: Developing world - A scenario

Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:34 pm

In my part of the world, the composite video output is what makes the project exciting.

Just about every household has a TV that they hook up a DVD player via the composite in and very few will have HDMI.

manicgeek
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Re: Developing world - A scenario

Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:54 pm

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liz
Raspberry Pi Foundation Employee & Forum Moderator
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Re: Developing world - A scenario

Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:57 pm

I won't delete your account, because I think your contributions have been interesting and useful and it'd be a shame to lose them. It's password protected, so nobody else can use it. I'm sorry you feel like this; I hope you might come back later if you change your mind.
Director of Communications, Raspberry Pi

Arreladd
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Re: Developing world - A scenario

Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:30 pm

This is not a Flame or a Rant But my own personal Opinion in reply to ManicGeek. No Disrespect is intended.

I read this and I will agree with manicgeek only for a few of the comments that he states. Yes this forum is filled with a bunch of geeks who are already coming up with ideas for the RasPi. But Honestly I cannot figure out why he things that just because something is available for download that others cannot learn from the experience. I have learned Quite a deal just by reading the forums here and some of the ideas would not have even crossed my mind.

From what I have read the whole reason the RasPi was created was to make an inexpensive pc for kids to work on and learn the basics of Information Technology. If a child has never used a computer before how are they to even know where to begin unless someone who has had experience helps them out. Honestly I believe that it is the Curiosity of the Child or person that will attract them to learn more and to use ideas from others and then expand upon them.

A Big Shout Out to All those Forum Members who have Put in Their Time, Energy, and Talent to Give Ideas to Everyone as how to proceed with the RasPi. I for one have several Ideas that I am going to do with the RasPi's that I am going to get and it is Thanks to Forum Members and Staff for giving me a simple Idea but it is going to be up to me to make it fit my purposes

manicgeek
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Re: Developing world - A scenario

Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:24 pm

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manicgeek
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Re: Developing world - A scenario

Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:30 pm

...

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abishur
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Re: Developing world - A scenario

Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:26 am

@manic I think your frustration maybe directed at the fact that you're taking what a forum that's populated by hobbyists and getting upset that we're only talking about our hobbyists ideas. Frankly, this is how it should be. If a kid wants to learn about Linux they should talk on a forum that just for the distro they want to use. If they want to learn about programming they should go to a forum for the programming language of their choice.

This is a great place for talking about how to use the r-pi itself as a piece of hardware, but that's a hobbyist thing. From what I've heard the point of the foundation is more to get children into the software side of life, it's just an added bonus that they can get exposure to hardware. Even still, a step by step instructional the level of projects we're discussing are pretty advanced to point that any novice reading them would still have to do a lot of research and learning to do it themselves.

I may be mistaking you for someone else (and if so, my apologies), but haven't you asked to have your account deleted before? Like at the very beginning? I think you'd have a lot more fun on the forums if you just relaxed and joined the hobbyist mindset. The r-pi will be a great little device for teaching kids, but that aspect will not be found on a random forum or even this one. It will be spearheaded by the r-pi team themselves, and teachers who come by and see all the amazing things that can accomplished with it! The best thing you can do to meet the goal you desire is to join in the discussion ;)
Dear forum: Play nice ;-)

manicgeek
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Re: Developing world - A scenario

Wed Nov 09, 2011 2:54 am

...

manicgeek
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Re: Developing world - A scenario

Wed Nov 09, 2011 3:08 am

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abishur
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Re: Developing world - A scenario

Wed Nov 09, 2011 3:46 am

See that's what we call a bad example :P

I got into computers because I saw an expert working step by step on computers. I saw all that advanced stuff he was doing and thought that's cool I should learn about that.

At that point my dad actually did tell me that computers were a dead end job and I wasn't allowed to do anything with them until I was in high school at which point I was lucky enough to have a school which taught a hardware class.

Even now, reading about all these awesome ideas has encouraged me to go out to my local library and read about circuit design because I want to learn about all these cool things so I can do them myself.

But I do agree with you that this site isn't where people can ask about every single last thing to do with computers, and like I said, that's not what this place should be. The r-pi forum nor any forum can be big enough to cover each and every last thing. We can't handle all the questions about fedora and debian and python and c# and basic and so forth and so on. But what this forum is good for is discussing specific applications about using the r-pi, which is exactly what is happening here. This is also, as it so happens, what exists on other forums. You have a bunch of people telling what they did, and then people asking for help to do it, in the process you inevitably learn about the system or program or what have you that you're working on.

It's just the way forums work ;)
Dear forum: Play nice ;-)

Nexy
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Re: Developing world - A scenario

Wed Nov 09, 2011 4:34 am

@manic: Perhaps I'm missing your point. Are you suggesting that we as a community should intentionally leave out sensible functionality so that children of unknown technical ability can experiment with them, break the installed distro, and then have no method of recovery? So that it'll help them learn? That we not only drop them into the deep end, we do so with a "sink or swim" attitude that leaves them stuffed if they need assistance but don't have another computer?

I appreciate you seem to be making a more general point than solely addressing the opening post and it's subsequent responses, perhaps a more philosophical point, but you did it in a thread looking to make downloading and updating the installed software easier for people with very little money. I'm struggling to get why you think that making things easier is inherently bad or your assuming that everyone who buys a Raspberry Pi will benefit from being forced to figure it out on their own, which is what I've (possibly incorrectly) taken from your posts.

I don't speak for the foundation but on their About Us page:
The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a UK registered charity (Registration Number 1129409) which exists to promote the study of computer science and related topics, especially at school level, and to put the fun back into learning computing.

We plan to develop, manufacture and distribute an ultra-low-cost computer, for use in teaching computer programming to children. We expect this computer to have many other applications both in the developed and the developing world.

Expecting kids to either spend money they don't have on non-essential hardware or figure out the finer points of dependencies and package management systems just so they can learn to use SQL databases seems counter-productive to me. Providing a powerful and easy-to-use set of tools for learning that can grow with the user seems a better plan to me. Making them resilient and easy to fix seems common sense to me.

Obviously I'm not Liz or Eben, I am but a geeky hobbiest drawn in by a post on Reddit who will probably end up using my RasPi to address very minor first world problems. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate the stated goals of the project or don't have anything to offer in assistance. (Which is not to say I will be any help, but I certainly will try to be.)

And I don't really grasp the point you are making in the post directly above this one either. Neither the Dockstar or the iomega iconnect include composite (or HDMI, VGA or component) out. Sure, you could plug in a USB VGA adapter but good luck getting it working without it or without already knowing what you're doing and having another computer on hand. If someone didn't already have a computer to use to look up the basics, even with some OpenWRT or whatever preloaded on the Dockstar, they're screwed. They are useful devices to be sure, but they're at the opposite end of things. Also if you brick them, you're possibly going to be trying to fix them over JTAG. Talk about tough love, sheesh. :P Don't get me wrong, I'd love one of each and I'd play with them and hack them into the odd blend of hardware I already have, but having one of those and nothing else would not have helped me learn IT skills as a kid. They might improve the skills I have now but there's stuff I needed to know before then. I needed a fair amount of hand holding initially to teach me the basics before I developed the skills to teach myself the more specialised bits and pieces.

And for the record, I got into computers from playing games, then basic programming (literally), then applying those skills to problems I had. While not particularly glamorous and certainly far less impressive than some of the other posters here, I made a couple of programs to control a dialup router that I used to connect to the internet. I did this not because there wasn't another interface to control the router but because I thought I could make one that better suited my needs and offered improvements. Without the groundwork having already been laid by the people who made the router, I'd have had no ability to do anything at all. While we all seem to have ideas about what the RasPi should have and should be able to do, to presume that limits others' incentives to improve things seems wrong to me. The drive to improve things is fundamental to us all and however easy we make things, others are still going to want to improve that. Most kids will happily try to fix stuff that isn't broke, I know I did and I'm probably all the better for it.

I've learnt from breaking stuff and having to fix it, I've learnt more from wanting to make things better. If my only tool to do either was broken and I didn't have the prerequisites to fix it and nor could I get said prerequisites, well then I'd have just been stuffed. :P Please excuse the slightly(!) rambling post, I blame the hour.

Edited: to correct at least some of the typos and grammatical flubs.

manicgeek
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Re: Developing world - A scenario

Wed Nov 09, 2011 10:19 am

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abishur
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Re: Developing world - A scenario

Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:47 pm

[original post deleted]

@manic, my apologies for what this post originally said. Your attitude and actions got me pretty hot under the collar. Suffice to say that we have a bit of an ideological disagreement on the way forums in general work or maybe it's a disagreement on how they do work vs how they should work.

The long and short of my point is that I think people won't come to a forum period until their interest is piqued so limiting a forum to teaching theory is, in my opinion, a needless limitation. As a person whose received from the ground up teaching in Linux through forums like these I see this place as a really helpful and nice community even if disagreements do sometimes escalate ;)
Dear forum: Play nice ;-)

obarthelemy
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Re: Developing world - A scenario

Wed Nov 09, 2011 2:04 pm

The way I learn stuff:
1- get something that works
2- dismantle / break / disassemble it
3- put it back together (well, not always ^^)
4- make it better
5- come up with something new from scratch.

My point is, basics and theory are fine and all. But, if to get into playing with MySQL ('coz playing with SQL is sooo much fun ^^), I've got to find out how to install a kernel, compile MySQL, choose amongst a gazillion of text editors (and choose EMACS by flipping a coin), and find out the doc I have is for another MySQL version that not quite compatible, I'm gonna give up and walk off pissed. Or commit suicide, but that would only be for the EMACS case.
We can't assume most Pi customers want to get into the platform's innards. Most will want to learn very specific things, as painlessly as possible: they want to see very quick results in line with their goals. I think the key to success is to manage expectations, maybe even give the expected results for free, at least early on, then go back and see how the results were achieved, tweak a bit...
The "try and ask from scratch" method only works for very motivated and resilient individuals. I know, when it gets to the "ask" part, I mostly can't even work out the right question to ask.

Nexy
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Re: Developing world - A scenario

Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:01 am

Ah, "If it ain't broke, fix it 'til it is!" is definitely a classic.

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