Revisiting the Raspberry Pi -- new developments

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Revisiting the Raspberry Pi -- new developments

Jim Callahan
Back in mid-2012 there was some discussion about whether a Raspberry Pi could be used for OSGeo Live. Thanks  to Moore's Law, Broadcom and the Raspberry Pi foundation (and Canonical) there has been some progress in the eight years since the discussion in 2012; so it may be time to revisit the issue.

Hello all,
I've been asked whether OSGeo-Live would run on Raspberry Pi, to be used
as a teaching device. A Raspberry Pi is a $25 credit card size computer. It runs Debian and only has 256 Meg of RAM. http://www.raspberrypi.org
I've CCed the OSGeo-Live email list, as I expect there will be many on
the list with an interest, and probably a few opinions too.
The challenge will be the size of RAM. Up to version 5.0, we ran
OSGeo-Live with 512 Meg of RAM, but with version 5.5 we discovered that
some of the Java applications required more RAM, and we recommend at
least 768 Meg RAM, and preferably 1 Gig.
The problem will be all the java based applications, which are RAM
intensive.

1. RAM -- The Raspberry Pi 4 has  a choice of 2, 4 or 8 GB of RAM
https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/raspberry-pi-4-model-b/ 

2. 64 bit -- Historically, Raspbian OS, the default operating system for the Raspberry PI has been 32 bit. Recently, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced a 64 bit version to be known as "Raspberry Pi OS".

"Raspberry Pi OS (64 bit) beta test version
Quote
Thu May 28, 2020 6:29 am

[b]This is a beta test of the Raspberry Pi OS (64 bit)[/b]

We still recommend the 32 bit operating system for all Pis at this time, although have decided it is now time to begin the move toward a 64bit OS. For the moment this is a 'beta' program, the OS is in heavy flux and its functionality is likely to change significantly over the next few months.

Note, the 64bit OS is only install-able on the Pi 3 and Pi 4 devices"

4. Lubuntu -- OSGeo Live is built on the Lubuntu flavor of Ubuntu. Both Raspberry Pi OS and Ubuntu are downstream of  Debian, so in effect they  are cousins (not direct descendents of each other). Ubuntu Server has been ported to the Raspberry  Pi and Step #5 of installing Ubuntu Server is "selecting a desktop" and fortunately  Lubuntu is one of the choices!

sudo apt install lubuntu-desktop  


5. Disk storage space -- By default, the Raspberry PI 3 and 4 use micro SD cards. SD cards can easily  hold 32 GB and newer standards allow multiple terabytes. In addition, a USB 3 port can be used to add an external drive.

By default, Raspberry Pi boots up and stores all of its programs on a microSD memory card, which has a maximum theoretical bandwidth of 50 MBps on the Raspberry Pi 4 and just 25 MBps on prior models. Using an external SSD as your main storage drive could speed things up significantly, but up until just recently, you couldn't boot the Pi 4 off a USB device. However, new beta-level firmware lets you do just that.

In our real-life tests of a Raspberry Pi 4 with SSD last year we got impressive performance with sequential transfer rates as high as 140 MB / 208 MBps for reading and writing. You can also use a standard USB flash drive, though we found the performance worse than a microSD card on many tasks.


 6. OpenGL -- the Broadcom hardware supports OpenGL,  but it is not implemented on all operating systems.

The GPU bundled with Raspberry Pi 4 is a VideoCore VI capable of OpenGL ES 3.2, a significant step above the VideoCore IV present in Raspberry Pi 3 which could only do OpenGL ES 2.0. Despite the fact that both GPU models belong in Broadcom’s VideoCore family, they have quite significant architectural differences, so we also have two separate OpenGL driver implementations. Unfortunately, as you may have guessed, this also means that driver work on one GPU won’t be directly useful for the other, and that any new feature development that we do for the Raspberry Pi 4 driver stack won’t naturally transport to Raspberry Pi 3.

 Ubuntu 19.10 64bit V3D OpenGL driver for Raspberry Pi 4
Quote
Wed Jan 08, 2020 3:01 pm
Hi, I am using the latest Ubuntu 19.10.1 64bit which contains mesa 19.2 package. How can I activate the latest v3d video driver in my system to get graphic acceleration in 3d games and applications? I tried writing dtoverlay=vc4-fkms-v3d in my /boot/firmware/config.txt, but could not load the lxqt desktop. Black screen only

So, a number of technological factors are converging to make a Raspberry Pi 4 version of OSGeo Live possible either  on Ubuntu Server/Lubuntu desktop 20.04 LTS or if not by the 20.10 version sometime after October 2020.

So, if it might be possible,  would it  be worth anybody's time to do this?
Is there a need or use case for OSGeo  Live on a Raspberry Pi 4?
or would it just be a useless one off stunt requiring immense, but futile  effort?

The 2020 U.S. Census begins release of data in April 2021. So, that might  generate more interest in GIS in the U.S.,  but what  about the  rest of the world? Are there projects or programs where a Raspberry Pi 4 running Lubuntu with OSGeo Live might be useful?

Jim Callahan
CEO & Data Scientist
Callahan Data Science LLC
Orlando, FL







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Re: Revisiting the Raspberry Pi -- new developments

Angelos Tzotsos
Hi,

Thank you for the update, adding OSGeoLive list in CC.

On 6/13/20 1:31 AM, Jim Callahan wrote:
Back in mid-2012 there was some discussion about whether a Raspberry Pi
could be used for OSGeo Live. Thanks  to Moore's Law, Broadcom and the
Raspberry Pi foundation (and Canonical) there has been some progress in the
eight years since the discussion in 2012; so it may be time to revisit the
issue.

Hello all,
I've been asked whether OSGeo-Live would run on Raspberry Pi, to be used
as a teaching device. A Raspberry Pi is a $25 credit card size computer.
It runs Debian and only has 256 Meg of RAM. http://www.raspberrypi.org
I've CCed the OSGeo-Live email list, as I expect there will be many on
the list with an interest, and probably a few opinions too.
The challenge will be the size of RAM. Up to version 5.0, we ran
OSGeo-Live with 512 Meg of RAM, but with version 5.5 we discovered that
some of the Java applications required more RAM, and we recommend at
least 768 Meg RAM, and preferably 1 Gig.
The problem will be all the java based applications, which are RAM
intensive.

1. RAM -- The Raspberry Pi 4 has  a choice of 2, 4 or 8 GB of RAM
https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/raspberry-pi-4-model-b/

2. 64 bit -- Historically, Raspbian OS, the default operating system for
the Raspberry PI has been 32 bit. Recently, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has
announced a 64 bit version to be known as "Raspberry Pi OS".

"Raspberry Pi OS (64 bit) beta test version
Quote
Thu May 28, 2020 6:29 am

[b]This is a beta test of the Raspberry Pi OS (64 bit)[/b]

We still recommend the 32 bit operating system for all Pis at this time,
although have decided it is now time to begin the move toward a 64bit OS.
For the moment this is a 'beta' program, the OS is in heavy flux and its
functionality is likely to change significantly over the next few months.

Note, the 64bit OS is only install-able on the Pi 3 and Pi 4 devices"
https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=275370

4. Lubuntu -- OSGeo Live is built on the Lubuntu flavor of Ubuntu. Both
Raspberry Pi OS and Ubuntu are downstream of  Debian, so in effect they
are cousins (not direct descendents of each other). Ubuntu Server has been
ported to the Raspberry  Pi and Step #5 of installing Ubuntu Server is
"selecting a desktop" and fortunately  Lubuntu is one of the choices!

sudo apt install lubuntu-desktop

https://ubuntu.com/tutorials/how-to-install-ubuntu-on-your-raspberry-pi#5-install-a-desktop


5. Disk storage space -- By default, the Raspberry PI 3 and 4 use micro SD
cards. SD cards can easily  hold 32 GB and newer standards allow multiple
terabytes. In addition, a USB 3 port can be used to add an external drive.

By default, Raspberry Pi boots up and stores all of its programs on a
microSD memory card, which has a maximum theoretical bandwidth of 50 MBps
on the Raspberry Pi 4 and just 25 MBps on prior models. Using an external
SSD as your main storage drive could speed things up significantly, but up
until just recently, you couldn't boot the Pi 4 off a USB device. However,
new beta-level firmware lets you do just that.

In our real-life tests of a Raspberry Pi 4 with SSD last year we got
impressive performance with sequential transfer rates as high as 140 MB /
208 MBps for reading and writing. You can also use a standard USB flash
drive, though we found the performance worse than a microSD card on many
tasks.

https://www.tomshardware.com/how-to/boot-raspberry-pi-4-usb

 6. OpenGL -- the Broadcom hardware supports OpenGL,  but it is not
implemented on all operating systems.

The GPU bundled with Raspberry Pi 4 is a VideoCore VI capable of OpenGL ES
3.2, a significant step above the VideoCore IV present in Raspberry Pi 3
which could only do OpenGL ES 2.0. Despite the fact that both GPU models
belong in Broadcom’s VideoCore family, they have quite significant
architectural differences, so we also have two separate OpenGL driver
implementations. Unfortunately, as you may have guessed, this also means
that driver work on one GPU won’t be directly useful for the other, and
that any new feature development that we do for the Raspberry Pi 4 driver
stack won’t naturally transport to Raspberry Pi 3.
https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/vc4-and-v3d-opengl-drivers-for-raspberry-pi-an-update/


 Ubuntu 19.10 64bit V3D OpenGL driver for Raspberry Pi 4
Quote
Wed Jan 08, 2020 3:01 pm
Hi, I am using the latest Ubuntu 19.10.1 64bit which contains mesa 19.2
package. How can I activate the latest v3d video driver in my system to get
graphic acceleration in 3d games and applications? I tried writing
dtoverlay=vc4-fkms-v3d in my /boot/firmware/config.txt, but could not load
the lxqt desktop. Black screen only
https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=261426

So, a number of technological factors are converging to make a Raspberry Pi
4 version of OSGeo Live possible either  on Ubuntu Server/Lubuntu desktop
20.04 LTS or if not by the 20.10 version sometime after October 2020.

So, if it might be possible,  would it  be worth anybody's time to do this?
Is there a need or use case for OSGeo  Live on a Raspberry Pi 4?
or would it just be a useless one off stunt requiring immense, but futile
effort?

The 2020 U.S. Census begins release of data in April 2021. So, that might
generate more interest in GIS in the U.S.,  but what  about the  rest of
the world? Are there projects or programs where a Raspberry Pi 4 running
Lubuntu with OSGeo Live might be useful?

Jim Callahan
CEO & Data Scientist
Callahan Data Science LLC
Orlando, FL


_______________________________________________
Discuss mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss


-- 
Angelos Tzotsos, PhD
President
Open Source Geospatial Foundation
http://users.ntua.gr/tzotsos

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Discuss mailing list
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