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Raspberry Pi's Nonchalant Graphics Stack For Linux

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  • #16
    Originally posted by oliver View Post
    Or are you saying, kids should learn how to code, but the really gifted kids, who are really interested aren't allowed to touch the graphics stack to hack it to suit their needs, nor touch the firmware, because ... it's a proprietary world?
    No, that's not what I'm saying. What I - and, I believe, the Foundation - are saying is that, for the price and feature set they're trying to hit, hardware with pure open-source firmware/drivers just doesn't exist. If it did, I am sure they would use it.

    If it takes off, there will be other versions of the hardware in future, similar devices from other manufacturers, and - I have no doubt - at least one attempt by the community to create their own open-source firmware for the original Pi. A pure open-source device may come at some point, but right here & now, just isn't feasible. Does that mean the Foundation should just give up, and not create this device at all? Personally, I don't think it does; there is still a hell of a lot that can be taught without getting into device driver development, and hence there is still a lot of value in shipping the device as it currently stands. If nothing else, it will prove to the world that it can be done, and go a long way towards filling the gaping hole left in UK (and worldwide) computer science teaching by the venerable BBC Micro.

    Right now, the majority of children are growing up in a world where computers are seen as expensive, and as toys or appliances: they do what they were purchased for. Most children haven't heard of Linux or *BSD, and even if they have, installing it on a shared family computer is a risky prospect for someone who is still learning how these things work. There are free development tools for Windows, but again their existence isn't common knowledge amongst children, and IMHO they hide away so many of the low-level details behind GUIs and automatic code completion that they are in some ways harder to use (for absolute beginners) & less suited for teaching than their command-line equivalents. I believe there are also licensing concerns with the free versions, in terms of how you're allowed to distribute any resulting binaries.

    The Pi gives children the chance to have their own computer, with officially supplied development tools and teaching materials, unencumbered by licensing concerns on the development tools themselves. For someone who learnt to program using the built-in BBC Basic on an Acorn Archimedes (a direct descendent of the BBC Micro), using the accompanying printed reference manual, and has watched in horror as computers morphed over the years into toys & appliances (where are the development tools on a fresh Windows install? Where are the reference manuals? Are Apple any better?), this is very much a Good Thing.

    A couple of years ago, my younger brother asked me for advice on learning to program, and - because I knew that all he had access to was the family PC, running Windows - I didn't know how to answer. By the time my own daughter is old enough to ask that question, if she ever does, I hope to have a good answer for her - and not just because her daddy happens to know his stuff.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by elanthis View Post
      HOW DO PEOPLE LEARN TO WORK ON PROPRIETARY GRAPHICS HARDWARE TODAY IF KIDS CANT LEARN TO HACK IT!?!?!?!!??!?!?!?!!!~~~!!!!111`11`1`1`2`

      Oh, right, kids don't fucking do that. They're kids. None of them give two shits about hacking firmware; they're much more interested in learning how to clone Final Fantasy VII because that's actually interesting and firmware hacking is boring crap that developers only end up doing after failing to land a fun job.

      Seriously, "kids' needs" do not include changing how the graphics stack works. They include getting triangles of puppies to render. Which the existing graphics stack is more than capable of doing. They'd be 1000x better served by giving them a better documented and more consistent graphics API (read: not OpenGL) than by letting them alter bits of source code for the stack.

      Might as well ask this kid how much he was screwed over by Microsoft's closed-source approach.

      Seriously, I think FOSS is a great way to go, but "do it for the kiddies" is just idiotic.
      I think your trolling on the wrong forums. msdn is here. Here we do actually try to care about FOSS. If we just want to teach hem to code, then why even bother with linux and OSS. Wait until windows 8 comes out on the arm, let them dabble a bit in visual studio. No need to bother with some 'libre' linux/ubuntu bla bal.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by JackyLau View Post
        Maybe you should consider the A10 SoC from Allwinner tech: http://www.allwinnertech.com/product/a1x.html
        1GHz Cortex-A8
        Mali-400
        High performance VPU which support 1080p@60Hz decoding
        Support double display output
        Price is low to $5

        The SoC is widely used in Chinese tablet which is usually less than $100.
        And the kernel source code is opened.
        I think the mali-400 GPU is not open (yet) but 'lima' is the work being put into it.

        That said, I'm sure at the time of development, this was maybe not known to them? Otherwise, it may have had something to do with one of the leads having work(ed) for broadcom?

        All in all, once the GPU driver is open-sourced; this CAN be an interesting device.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by JackyLau View Post
          Maybe you should consider the A10 SoC from Allwinner tech: http://www.allwinnertech.com/product/a1x.html
          1GHz Cortex-A8
          Mali-400
          High performance VPU which support 1080p@60Hz decoding
          Support double display output
          Price is low to $5

          The SoC is widely used in Chinese tablet which is usually less than $100.
          And the kernel source code is opened.
          A development board with full documents and source codes is selling: http://www.wits-tech.com/pages/board.jsp

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          • #20
            Originally posted by jltyper View Post
            I had high hopes for this device. By the time these kits are actually released to the general public, its price probably won't even be competitive anymore. chuckula had a few good points..

            This is NOT a "handheld device". You still have to attach it to something that's much more expensive to get useful output from it.
            That's only if your purpose is to plug it into a television. As I've already mentioned, there are more uses than that, some of which do NOT require ANY graphics.

            When all is said and done, used game consoles have more value. Plus they're more fun anyways.
            I absolutely and positively do NOT AGREE AT ALL on this point. Used power sucking pigs are neither fun nor efficient.

            And if Raspberry PI isn't any more open. There's almost no point.
            FOR YOUR EXPECTATIONS.
            RPi, from MY point of view, is much like a hacked broadband router, but with a video out.

            Raspberry PI is on its way to becoming the Duke Nukem Forever of embedded devices.
            DNF is a game. It has no PURPOSE. I don't see how you can compare.

            I see kids working with these inexpensive RPi's for actual interesting and fun purposes. There USED to be this thing called 'imagination'. Kids USED to be inventive -- building machines and electrical devices.

            Automation,
            Robotics,
            Communications,
            etc.

            These are interesting and inventive uses for a nice simple device like this.

            When in school, years ago, I took a robotics course, and the device they distributed was very much like this RPi, but FAR FAR less advanced. And these things costed something like $100 or $150 each (they were loaners, but that would have been the "if you break it, you will pay" price). And you know what we did with these? Compile a little C program to read and control GPIO's hooked up to sensors and motors. That was probably one of the most FUN courses I ever took, and INFINITELY more interesting than playing stupid games.

            You'll note that THIS type of use will NOT require functional graphics.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by droidhacker View Post
              RPi, from MY point of view, is much like a hacked broadband router, but with a video out.
              Originally posted by droidhacker View Post
              That's only if your purpose is to plug it into a television. As I've already mentioned, there are more uses than that, some of which do NOT require ANY graphics.
              Might as well buy a hacked broadband router.

              Originally posted by droidhacker View Post
              DNF is a game. It has no PURPOSE. I don't see how you can compare.
              Just put them together in a sentence, it's that easy really.

              Originally posted by droidhacker View Post
              I see kids working with these inexpensive RPi's for actual interesting and fun purposes. There USED to be this thing called 'imagination'. Kids USED to be inventive -- building machines and electrical devices.
              Let me guess, T.V. and video games are to blame.
              Look on the bright side, at least there won't be anymore inventions like those anymore, if what you say is true.


              Originally posted by droidhacker View Post
              These are interesting and inventive uses for a nice simple device like this.
              The same could be said for my coffee maker.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by XyC0 View Post
                Please stop trolling
                So anyone who agrees with Michael is automatically a troll?

                "So basically the Raspberry Pi graphics situation isn't anything special compared to the other SoC vendors." <-- FROM THE ARTICLE THIS THREAD WAS BASED ON

                Is Michael a troll too then?

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by jltyper View Post
                  So anyone who agrees with Michael is automatically a troll?

                  "So basically the Raspberry Pi graphics situation isn't anything special compared to the other SoC vendors." <-- FROM THE ARTICLE THIS THREAD WAS BASED ON

                  Is Michael a troll too then?
                  I am not even going comment on anything you say, and please refrain from sending me any more private messages with personal insults please.

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