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    There are other issues, as well:

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      I’m at FOSDEM, and today saw a few stands with the PineBook laptop and the Rock64 SBC, including Pine64’s own stand. They have no binary blob firmware and open source bootloader. I have yet to try the hardware myself but it looks like a nice alternative that at least in part addresses the issues in this post.

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        I’m curious to know more about blob free Rock64. My own experience showed distributions built with blobs were the only ones with decent graphics acceleration. Maybe some progress has been made since I wrote up my experience in June 2018 and I should look again.

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          I’m curious to know more about blob free Rock64

          Looks like this, and most(?) Pine products use the Mali GPU. There’s no Mesa support for this yet, but a big patchset for adding initial (but non-functional) supprot for Mali GPUs hit the Mesa mailing list last week:


          ARM GPU support on Linux is slowly getting better.. The most promising is Etnaviv (reverse engineered Vivante GPU driver), and Librem5 will use this GPU. But most companies still seem to favor the proprietary blob approach.

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        From the article:

        There are other affordable alternatives out there where developers have given more consideration to those issues.

        As someone who is not that versed in the Pi-like ecosystem, ut would be nice to know what these alternatives are.

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            Anything with Rockchip’s 64-bit (RK33xx) SoCs like the Pine64 ROCK64 (or the bigger RockPro64, which is much closer to being a Real Computer™) is excellent.

            For Allwinner, there’s also a lot of community support, but Allwinner doesn’t offer anything relatively high performance (like the RK3399) and doesn’t contribute to FOSS projects officially.

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              I retired my last rpi (2B) for an Odroid C2. No regrets so far, and I think the eMMC is a big factor for the increased performance.

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              Regarding the hardware, what makes me hopeful is that the people behind Rasperry Pi are members of the RISC V foundation.

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                Isn’t RISC V a competitor to ARM more or less? There don’t seem to be any complaints about ARM in the article. It’s the non-ARM cores that are problematic.

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                  Isn’t RISC V a competitor to ARM more or less?

                  Well it’s a competitor, with the selling point that it’s had an open-source ISA, which seems to counter the point that “The real brain of the Pi is not open source”.

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                    “The real brain” refers to the GPU and its binary bloms, which would remain a problem even if the CPU’s ISA were switched from ARM to RISC-V.

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                      Not necessarily. There are GPUs that have open source support for 3D acceleration.

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                        What is their relationship to the RISC-V ISA?

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                What personally irks me about it is that the ethernet and wifi are connected via the USB bus and thus all kinda just suck more than they should, performance-wise.

                Also the SD card interface always sucks. Finding good SD cards is some sort of black art. But that’s hardly a problem unique to the Pi.

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                  well the pi was initially meant for education, and not performance.

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                    Yes, but we’ve now had 3ish generations of Pi’s, each with more and more powerful CPU’s. So it’s hard to argue that performance isn’t important, and each CPU has been more and more hamstrung by the crappy I/O it’s tied to.

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                      I just got a Pi 3 kit. The manual and OS still say that with descriptions of what people can learn with included software. The NOOBS install also makes it pretty idiot-proof. Your claim is still true.

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                    This article finally explained a lot of problems I’ve had with mine. I need a 3A power adapter. I wish they’d just supply one with the Raspberry Pi.

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                      i completely stopped using the raspberry pi because of the power demands, was great when i could use a power bank to power my projects.