fruitoftheloom
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Etcher instruction wrong Issue 81

Wed May 08, 2019 6:27 am

In today's Blog regards Retropie as well as Issue 81:

https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/retro- ... erry-pi-1/


It is stated to format the SD Card and unzip the tarball, originally posted 2 years ago:

https://www.raspberrypi.org/magpi/pi-sd-etcher/

It appears it is a cut and paste job without proof reading, as well as no mention that Balena Etcher also is available for Linux x86.



That is so wrong and even goes against the Official Installation Guide:

https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentati ... /README.md


No wonder many newbies get confused when the Official Magazine get it so wrong.
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lucyhattersley
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Re: Etcher instruction wrong Issue 81

Wed May 08, 2019 7:59 am

I wrote those instructions and went through the process by hand.

I prefer recommending newcomers to Etcher as it's easier to follow than other flashing programs. It's true that you don't need to unzip the image file for Etcher but I prefer to show folks the manual process without them hitting a brick wall with something like dd. And formatting the SD Card is a good skill to learn.

There's a lot of ways to flash an SD Card and no right / wrong way (as long as it works).

The aim for me is to move newcomers towards understanding image files, formatting and flashing. It's the journey not the destination.

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PeterO
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Re: Etcher instruction wrong Issue 81

Wed May 08, 2019 8:04 am

But surely putting superfluous steps in a guide for beginners is a bad idea ? They need the simplest process to get them going. They can learn about file formats etc once they are up and running.
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Re: Etcher instruction wrong Issue 81

Wed May 08, 2019 8:31 am

lucyhattersley wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 7:59 am
I wrote those instructions and went through the process by hand.

I prefer recommending newcomers to Etcher as it's easier to follow than other flashing programs. It's true that you don't need to unzip the image file for Etcher but I prefer to show folks the manual process without them hitting a brick wall with something like dd. And formatting the SD Card is a good skill to learn.

There's a lot of ways to flash an SD Card and no right / wrong way (as long as it works).

The aim for me is to move newcomers towards understanding image files, formatting and flashing. It's the journey not the destination.


Balena Etcher works on x86 Windows 7 and later, x86 Linux as well as x86 MacOS.

There is nothing trivial about using the SD Card Formatter or 7zip beforehand and just muddies the waters, it does not help newbies.

You may as well just recommend PiNN !
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Re: Etcher instruction wrong Issue 81

Wed May 08, 2019 9:09 am

It depends. The fastest route from A -> B to set up a Retro Gaming console is to buy a retro console from a shop and plug it in :-)

So the point for Raspberry Pi is to learn computing skills. And we learn by doing. Hence the steps.

I am open to the conversation. But it isn't a right/wrong dynamic. There's a point to why the tutorial asks folks to unzip the image file despite using Etcher (which has evolved to automate that process).

Zip files hide the content. Just as consoles hide the electronics. The Raspberry Pi enables users to look inside and see what's going on and learn from that. I want newcomers to be exposed to image files; learn how to wipe an SD card and flash an image to the SD card.

The main reason I use Etcher is that it's PC/Mac compatible (as well as Linux, as you rightly mention). It's evolved to automate much of the process but I still want newcomers to learn that. I don't see it as muddying the waters; I see it as exposing them to inner workings.

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Re: Etcher instruction wrong Issue 81

Wed May 08, 2019 9:18 am

STEP-06 Writing the image

Etcher will format the SD card, before writing and verifying the image; this is shown by a progress bar.
Does etcher really format the SD card first ??????

100% pointless, any formatting is immediately overwritten.
It just wears out the card for no reason.

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B.Goode
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Re: Etcher instruction wrong Issue 81

Wed May 08, 2019 9:42 am

lucyhattersley wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 9:09 am
It depends. The fastest route from A -> B to set up a Retro Gaming console is to buy a retro console from a shop and plug it in :-)

So the point for Raspberry Pi is to learn computing skills. And we learn by doing. Hence the steps.

I am open to the conversation. But it isn't a right/wrong dynamic. There's a point to why the tutorial asks folks to unzip the image file despite using Etcher (which has evolved to automate that process).

Zip files hide the content. Just as consoles hide the electronics. The Raspberry Pi enables users to look inside and see what's going on and learn from that. I want newcomers to be exposed to image files; learn how to wipe an SD card and flash an image to the SD card.

The main reason I use Etcher is that it's PC/Mac compatible (as well as Linux, as you rightly mention). It's evolved to automate much of the process but I still want newcomers to learn that. I don't see it as muddying the waters; I see it as exposing them to inner workings.


Just to observe that you seem to be heading in a different direction to your colleagues in the Education/Training arm of the Raspberry Pi organisation.

They have gone to some lengths to rewrite their projects and tutorials in terms of the gpiozero Python library that provides a lot of 'scaffolding' for learners and allows the new coder to concentrate only on the important details of the task in hand.

Completely unnecessary of course. Ben Croston's RPi.GPIO library was good enough for many of us. But even that is just a comfort blanket. We are doing learners a disservice by not explaining that control of the gpio pins is accomplished by triggering functions on the /sys/class/gpio devices n the Linux filesystem. Or maybe we should forgo the help of an Operating System and start with 'bare metal' assembler to run executable code directly on the hardware?

No...

The idea of introducing irrelevant/redundant steps and tools because you want Beginners to know how to 'wipe' a micro SD card seems pedagogically unsound.

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Re: Etcher instruction wrong Issue 81

Wed May 08, 2019 9:43 am

jahboater wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 9:18 am
STEP-06 Writing the image

Etcher will format the SD card, before writing and verifying the image; this is shown by a progress bar.
Does etcher really format the SD card first ??????

100% pointless, any formatting is immediately overwritten.
It just wears out the card for no reason.

Whenever I have used Etcher it has erased any previous partitions !
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Re: Etcher instruction wrong Issue 81

Wed May 08, 2019 10:03 am

fruitoftheloom wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 9:43 am
Whenever I have used Etcher it has erased any previous partitions !
Not as a separate operation.

What was on the card before is irrelevant. Each memory bit is set/cleared to what is required, without needing to know what it used to be.

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Re: Etcher instruction wrong Issue 81

Wed May 08, 2019 10:05 am

fruitoftheloom wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 9:43 am
Whenever I have used Etcher it has erased any previous partitions !
The process of writing the image does that, it overwrites the boot sector/partition table.

My question is, does it do that beforehand (format) as a unnecessary separate step?

Edit: thanks Burngate!

I didn't think it would. The doct is wrong.
Far too many people spend ages struggling to format their SD card in just the right way, even downloading the special format program, and then overwrite it all with the image copy!

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Re: Etcher instruction wrong Issue 81

Wed May 08, 2019 10:15 am

jahboater wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 10:05 am
fruitoftheloom wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 9:43 am
Whenever I have used Etcher it has erased any previous partitions !
The process of writing the image does that, it overwrites the boot sector/partition table.

My question is, does it do that beforehand (format) as a unnecessary separate step?

Edit: thanks Burngate!

I didn't think it would. The doct is wrong.
Far too many people spend ages struggling to format their SD card in just the right way, even downloading the special format program, and then overwrite it all with the image copy!

Etcher is also good for writing the Debian x86 RPD .iso to USB Flash Drive !
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Re: Etcher instruction wrong Issue 81

Wed May 08, 2019 10:52 am

jahboater wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 10:05 am
fruitoftheloom wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 9:43 am
Whenever I have used Etcher it has erased any previous partitions !
The process of writing the image does that, it overwrites the boot sector/partition table.

My question is, does it do that beforehand (format) as a unnecessary separate step?

Edit: thanks Burngate!

I didn't think it would. The doct is wrong.
Far too many people spend ages struggling to format their SD card in just the right way, even downloading the special format program, and then overwrite it all with the image copy!
It open source on GitHub .

But yes, the pain of having to help someone on here trying 16 different ways to format an SD card to then use BalenaEtcher to write the image.

It would be better to have the formatting instructions targeted towards formatting a FAT SD card or USB drive for transfering files to a computer etc

As for zip/compressed files, that more a Linux thing now, you don't really notice it on windows unless it's warez.
Nice to know, but perhaps a more practical reasons to use it. Other than as a container, which isn't needed so much with online drives or large capacity portable let media.


Personally, for Windows/Mac I would keep it si.ple.for beginners.
Then also add a more advanced Pi Raspbian version where you have to get your hand a bit more involved.

Each to their own, but my kids know the simple method of writing images :-)

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Re: Etcher instruction wrong Issue 81

Wed May 08, 2019 12:05 pm

lucyhattersley wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 7:59 am
… formatting the SD Card is a good skill to learn.
Absolutely agree there. The SD Association card formatter does some important checks on the structure of the card. Even in quick format mode, it can often detect counterfeit SD cards that typically have a lower than stated capacity. Etcher's verification process might catch counterfeit cards too, but better to know that before you spend time imaging the card.

I don't always do it myself, but when I worked for one of the larger Raspberry Pi resellers here we always formatted and re-imaged all the cards before sending them out. I don't remember getting any returns in the whole time I worked there.
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Re: Etcher instruction wrong Issue 81

Wed May 08, 2019 5:36 pm

I just remembered something that was more worrying.

later on, it says
...Now click Programs and Turn Windows features on or off. Scroll down to find SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support and click the + expand icon to reveal its options. Place a check in the box marked SMB 1.0/CIFS Client. Click OK. This will enable Samba client support on your Windows 10 PC so it can access the Raspberry Pi.
..
Now why? It an old standard turned off by Microsoft for a reason. It is only there as a temporary basis for people that must use it.
It shouldn't be recommended.

Though iirc, SAMBA share was just there for a RetroPie Pi image and Windows10 didn't need altering last time I did it, (many months back now)?

It would have been better, to teach the beginners how to use a newer SAMBA version.


Still, I think it is redundant as the RetroPie website implies to, to use it mentions nothing about installing or having to enable disabled, for security, SMB 1.0.

You just type the IP or //RETROPIE in the address bar.


--
It's got people talking and I'm sure it's had some people install and try a gaming setup and hopefully even build one :-)

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Re: Etcher instruction wrong Issue 81

Wed May 08, 2019 5:57 pm

bensimmo wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 5:36 pm
I just remembered something that was more worrying.

later on, it says
...Now click Programs and Turn Windows features on or off. Scroll down to find SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support and click the + expand icon to reveal its options. Place a check in the box marked SMB 1.0/CIFS Client. Click OK. This will enable Samba client support on your Windows 10 PC so it can access the Raspberry Pi.
..
Now why? It an old standard turned off by Microsoft for a reason. It is only there as a temporary basis for people that must use it.
It shouldn't be recommended.

Though iirc, SAMBA share was just there for a RetroPie Pi image and Windows10 didn't need altering last time I did it, (many months back now)?

It would have been better, to teach the beginners how to use a newer SAMBA version.


Still, I think it is redundant as the RetroPie website implies to, to use it mentions nothing about installing or having to enable disabled, for security, SMB 1.0.

You just type the IP or //RETROPIE in the address bar.


--
It's got people talking and I'm sure it's had some people install and try a gaming setup and hopefully even build one :-)

Even Retropies tutorial is out of date, Pixel Desktop ?

Anyway this is not the first time that the MagPi Mag has just re-hashed.

It is such a shame that what should of been a good piece of editorial, has caused debate.
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Re: Etcher instruction wrong Issue 81

Wed May 08, 2019 6:08 pm

I think it still calls it Pixel in the setup menu and it's not been changed (probably nobody has cared enough to make a change request)

I might just download a new build, I see it's still at 4.4 which was the Stretch release.
It's over a year now. There must be a refresh due sometime, if not just to stop the big update when first installed.

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Re: Etcher instruction wrong Issue 81

Wed May 08, 2019 6:31 pm

Perhaps the bigger problem with Etcher is that it now seems very unreliable under Windows 10. I had to flash two µSD cards this morning for my employer's Raspberry Pi-based Memory Loss Music Player project. In both cases it failed with The writer process ended unexpectedly.

I had to resort to Win32 Disk Imager.
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Re: Etcher instruction wrong Issue 81

Wed May 08, 2019 6:40 pm

scruss wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 6:31 pm
Perhaps the bigger problem with Etcher is that it now seems very unreliable under Windows 10. I had to flash two µSD cards this morning for my employer's Raspberry Pi-based Memory Loss Music Player project. In both cases it failed with The writer process ended unexpectedly.

I had to resort to Win32 Disk Imager.

I never have had issues with Etcher in x86-64 Windows 10 Professional fully updated.
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Re: Etcher instruction wrong Issue 81

Wed May 08, 2019 6:42 pm

bensimmo wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 6:08 pm
I think it still calls it Pixel in the setup menu and it's not been changed (probably nobody has cared enough to make a change request)

I might just download a new build, I see it's still at 4.4 which was the Stretch release.
It's over a year now. There must be a refresh due sometime, if not just to stop the big update when first installed.

There is a Beta version of Retropie:

http://files.retropie.org.uk/images/weekly/
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Re: Etcher instruction wrong Issue 81

Wed May 08, 2019 9:45 pm

fruitoftheloom wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 6:40 pm
I never have had issues with Etcher in x86-64 Windows 10 Professional fully updated.
Well, I'm glad for you, because Balena Etcher 1.5.33 on Windows 10 Professional (version 1809, build 17763.475: as up to date as this Dell thinks possible) won't install and gives that error message with two different card readers and two different images, either zipped or unzipped.

It could be one of a couple of issues open on Balena's github.
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Re: Etcher instruction wrong Issue 81

Thu May 09, 2019 12:07 am

lucyhattersley wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 9:09 am
So the point for Raspberry Pi is to learn computing skills. And we learn by doing. Hence the steps.
And yet, "While it is possible to install RetroPie from the desktop interface, it’s far easier to format a microSD card and copy a new RetroPie image to the blank card".

I think it ought to be one or the other; doing it the easy way with no fluff, or teaching people important skills and no skipping steps.

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Re: Etcher instruction wrong Issue 81

Thu May 09, 2019 12:40 am

Let's use the bicycle analogy.

When first learning to ride a bike, you very likely will use training wheels.
As you get more confident and understand the bike better, you eventually move on and learn to ride the bike -without- the training wheels.

In the event a child skips using training wheels and just dives into the deep end, chances are they will fall off a lot, get hurt and not want to ride the bike ever again because it's 'too hard'


So in my own opinion, people should learn to flash the image to a card first, then later on once they're familiar and curious about it, learn how the process works.
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Re: Etcher instruction wrong Issue 81

Thu May 09, 2019 9:05 am

Imperf3kt wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 12:40 am
So in my own opinion, people should learn to flash the image to a card first, then later on once they're familiar and curious about it, learn how the process works.
I'd tend to agree, but with reservations. People's minds work differently.

I never used training wheels - just got on and tried riding. Fell off a few times before I got the hang of it, but by 13 or so I was riding no-hands, doing hand-stands on the saddle, ...
It wasn't until much later that I learned about gyroscopes, and why a bike stays upright.

On the other hand, when my sister was learning to fly, they wouldn't let her take off until she understood what the aerolons did

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Re: Etcher instruction wrong Issue 81

Thu May 09, 2019 9:14 am

Burngate wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 9:05 am
On the other hand, when my sister was learning to fly, they wouldn't let her take off until she understood what the aerolons did
And I hope your parents made sure you knew how the brakes worked on your bike before letting you out on it ... Same thing....

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Re: Etcher instruction wrong Issue 81

Thu May 09, 2019 9:40 am

I looked at the history of BalenaEtcher and there was a bug fix concerning gzip in the latest version, so directly burning img.gz files did perhaps not work well in earlier versions.
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