back to article Review: Beagleboard Beaglebone Black

It's nice to see that the broader community of Arduino, Raspberry Pi and Beagleboard Beaglebone users is a friendly and seemingly mature one. Each of these board computers has its own adherents, but few of them seem to feel the need to engage in the kind of hair-pulling and name-calling that defined the Windows versus Mac spat …

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  1. Pypes
    Thumb Up

    92 GPIO Pins?

    Shut up and take my money.

    This is my single biggest complaint about the Pi. If I can get this thing running EMC2 I'll be in motion control heaven.

  2. James Hughes 1

    Cost.

    The pricing of the BB is quite interesting. As far as I can tell, they must be selling very close to cost price given the high component count. I do wonder how sustainable the current pricing is for a non-charity organisation. But, that said, nice bit of kit. Video is a bit of a let down compared to the Raspi, but other features make up for that for those who need them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cost.

      au contraire - The Raspberry Pi is most likely a re-branded Japanese product. This means profit for the Japanese and peanuts for the makers of the Raspberry Pi.

      The Beagleboard is probably more powerful in all aspects including video. Furthermore the documentation for the Beagleboard is in plain easy to understand English whereas the documentation for the Raspberry Pi most likely is a translation from Japanese. With all translations some things get lost and then understanding the device becomes a nightmare.

      1. Tufty Squirrel
        WTF?

        Re: Cost.

        > The Raspberry Pi is most likely a re-branded Japanese product

        Is it cobblers. It was designed in the UK by guys working for Broadcom. The problem with the Pi's documentation isn't to do with translation, it's to do with getting Broadcom (and the various IP vendors) to release it.

        As for video performance, I'm almost certain the videocore blows the SGX out of the water /generally/ in terms of processing power. It certainly does in terms of H.264 (and certain other codec) decoding, as the SGX has no specific video decode hardware.

        It's often better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you an idiot, than to open it, and prove it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Cost.

          I agree with you completely - It's often better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you an idiot, than to open it, and prove it.

          If you think children will learn anything from tinkering with a Raspberry Pi you want to visit a mental health institute. They would be better off learning using a Windows PC and the vast variety of software it brings. This route would be more beneficial and economical since schools already have donated PCs.

          As for learning basic electronics a Microchip PIC and a breadboard would be ideally suited. The microcontroler and breadboard can be bought for under 10 pounds from maplins. A variety of circuits can be constructed to understand the basics.

          Do you really think children are capable of understanding SPI and USB protocols. If the Raspberry Pi is so great why don’t you try and convince the developer community instead of children.

          If the Government wants future children to be experts in Copy & Paste they should follow your advice, if not then they have the option of Microchip PICs and Windows PCs.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Go home, you're drunk. Re: Cost.

            Look, you already comprehensively documented your ignorance with your first post. I know you'd love to disown your opener and change the topic, but you're just digging yourself in deeper.

          2. Recantha

            Re: Cost.

            You're definitely trolling - you're so mis-informed and you've put so little effort into finding out what you're talking about. There are loads of kids all over the World who are learning with the Raspberry Pi. Whether this is because the Pi is being used for programming or tinkering, or just because it's a cheap way of getting a computer into the classroom, kids are benefiting. They've sold over a million of them, the community is huge and the possibilities are extraordinary. It'll be interesting to see if the Beaglebone Black can slot into this community and add to the possibilities or just become a competitor.

          3. James Hughes 1

            Re: Cost. @km123

            I know I shouldn't get drawn in, but hey ho.

            I suggest that you do a bit of Googling Mr km123. That will find you a huge number of projects that children are already learning from on the Raspberry Pi. Some of it is truly brilliant stuff. You'll also find many developers writing stuff for the device; baremetal, Linux, RISCOS etc. People are using it as a pure SW platform and they are interfacing HW to it. Loads of stuff.

            You need to get out of what ever mental health centre (you started it)/cave you are currently in and actually look around you. This stuff is happening now! With 1.5M Raspberry out there, there is a HELL of a lot of education going on.

            Nothing wrong with Microchip PIC, or Windows PC's but with that last line you have really promoted your ignorance of what it's all about (which ever device you choose - BBB or Raspi or whatever)

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Cost.

            PIC? oh come on, the AMTEL is much nicer. Good open source toolset and you don't have to use Arduino if you don't want to. PICs were good in the 1990s.

            1. Suricou Raven

              Re: Cost.

              Appropriate tech. All things have their place.

              I once made a nixie-tube-display steampunk-styled electronic dice. A PIC was the perfect chip for that: No supporting components, dirt cheap, and the application only needed eleven IO pins*. Processing needs were minimal. Didn't even need more than eight-bit arithmetic. Anything more than a PIC would just have been overkill.

              I used two PICs in my high-voltage experiment rig. One in the control panel reads the control settings and outputs four-byte packets on the UART (head/control/check/end) twice a second. At the other end of a fiber-optic link (for safety - four-kilovolt rig, with inductance spikes of at least 20kv), a second PIC reads these packets, checks the check character and outputs the appropriate levels to the relay drivers. Again, a PIC is all it needs - and in this case, a PIC is ideal because they are also electronically resilient, quite happy to keep working when the connected devices puts noise like a small EMP device. We've crashed cameras with the pulse from that thing - would you trust a pi or beagleboard when the nearby discharge power cable carries megamp-level surges? Better still, a PIC has a watchdog timer function.

              *Two four-bit BCD digits, two for the d6/12/20/100 selection, one for the 'roll' button.

          5. TheRealRoland

            Re: Cost. @km123

            Eadon, is that you? ;-)

            1. James Hughes 1

              Re: Cost. @km123 @TheRealRoland

              Cannot be Eadon - the BBB and Raspi run Linux, not Windows.

          6. Nordrick Framelhammer

            Re: Cost.

            KM123

            I agree with you completely - It's often better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you an idiot, than to open it, and prove it.

            And yet you continue to not only make yourself look like an idiot, you manage to broadcats it very loudly indeed.

            KM123

            If you think children will learn anything from tinkering with a Raspberry Pi you want to visit a mental health institute.

            Clearly you have a severe case of rectocranial inversion or you would know that there are a large number of project being make by kids for the Pi. Try google. You might find something that way.

            KM123

            They would be better off learning using a Windows PC and the vast variety of software it brings. This route would be more beneficial and economical since schools already have donated PCs.

            Ah, yes, the PC. You mean that platform that is slowly sinking into the mire of dead computer platrforms alongside such luminaires as Kaypro, Dragon and Amstrad, to name but a few. Please note that there are more operating systems out there besides Windows and this will help schoolkids learn that the computer world is not a single OS world.

            KM123

            As for learning basic electronics a Microchip PIC and a breadboard would be ideally suited. The microcontroler and breadboard can be bought for under 10 pounds from maplins. A variety of circuits can be constructed to understand the basics.

            And then once they have gone past those very simple items? What then?

            KM123

            Do you really think children are capable of understanding SPI and USB protocols. If the Raspberry Pi is so great why don’t you try and convince the developer community instead of children.

            Not at first, But they can learn, and the Pi is a great, affordable platform for them to learn on. and the advantage of the Pi and it's prioce is that it one does get broken, it does not cost half the schools IT bidget to get a replacement and it also0 means the school doesn't have tyo go cap in hand, begging for a replacement computer.

            1. cyberdemon Silver badge
              Devil

              Re: Cost.

              Actually Mr. Framelhammer, a child could quite happily understand SPI. :)

              Master wiggles both clock and data (Master Out Slave In) in sync,

              Slave wiggles data (Master In Slave Out) in sync with master's clock.

              That's it. Simple.

              USB on the other hand is one of those design-by-committee standards that only a <a href="http://www.fourwalledcubicle.com/LUFA.php">genius</a> understands completely, but the rest of us, including children, can quite happily take a well-written library like LUFA to make any USB device we like.

              I certainly wouldn't like to have km123 as a teacher - he'd be one of those horrendous old IT teachers who has the class learning how to make a form in Microsoft Excess 97 (despite it being 2013), when we'd all rather be writing games in python.

              It's teachers like that who are the reason why Britain has fallen so far behind in computer science in recent years.

          7. Christopher Rogers
            Trollface

            Re: Cost.

            Well said. I saw this and thought of you:

            http://www.maplin.co.uk/flexible-jumper-wires-2013

            Now you can go and pull your wire to your hearts content.

        2. Dabooka Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Cost.

          Eadon?

          Is that you?

          1. Benchops

            Re: Cost.

            OMG! It's the ANTI-EADON

      2. blcollier

        Re: Cost @ km123

        Au contraire yourself, mate. I've never read a bigger pile of crap or any other comment that's as poor as yours. I couldn't downvote you hard enough

        FWIW, the Pi was designed in Britain and is now also manufactured in Britain.

      3. James Hughes 1

        Re: Cost. @km123

        Quite amazing. The Pi has been out for over a year, with a multitude of posts all over the web about it, who designed it and where it's made, and yet you still didn't know its a UK product! Do you live in a cave?

        That said, although the chip was designed in the UK, its actually manufactured in the Far East. Like almost all other chips. Although in one aspect your are right, it makes peanuts for the makers. But that is by intention, to keep the price down.

      4. Jay_x386

        Re: Cost.

        @km123

        I can only hope you are trolling...... although the 'au contraire', better describes you >> tool or fool.

        Japanese ?? WTF .... have a down vote

      5. N000dles
        Facepalm

        Re: Cost.

        @km123..... Can you please send me your Paypal address. I want to send you £50 so you can buy me a bag of whatever it is you have been smoking. It will save me an airfare to Amsterdam cause it must be better than anything they have over there.....

      6. Day
        WTF?

        Re: Cost.

        > au contraire - The Raspberry Pi is most likely a re-branded Japanese product.

        Why on earth would you comment when you know literally nothing about the topic? What persuaded you to do that?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Cost.

          I have got better things to do than continue this stupid flame war. Not only are the idiots living on Mars they also failed to read the post I replied to. Maybe they need to GOOGLE the average skill level of Graduates leaving their most prestigious universities such as MIT. For most of them programming PIC in C and simple circuits would be a challenge. The Atmel is little more powerful but also a little bit more difficult. The PIC 16 is the hobbyists entry level choice with approx 35 assembly instructions. The PIC 18 being more powerful.

          Instead of positing ill informed information, GOGGLING who makes Atmel chips would be time better spent.

          1. cyberdemon Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: Cost.

            Enlighten us km123. Who does make Atmel chips? My goggles are broken after trying to read your post from Mars.

      7. Don Jefe

        Re: Cost.

        I think km123 is butthurt because the article suggested that the open hardware community didn't have the same level of immaturity found in other communities and has taken it upon himself to correct the author on this point.

      8. Nordrick Framelhammer

        Re: Cost.

        Check your facts before openign your gob! The Pi was designed in the UK and is made in the Sony factory in Wales and I doubt there is very much profit in it at all for Sony.

        As for performance, you are possibly right, although I am not sure about the video.

        I am using my old Model B version 1 Pi as an XBMC device and it has not problems with playing full screen HD 1080p. Not too sure if the video output on the BB can handle that.

        But from what I can see the BB is missing as few things that i want, such as running RISC-OS.

        As for your blather about the documentation, since it was desgined in the UKL I doubt very much that "the documentation for the Raspberry Pi most likely is a translation from Japanese." so will will not suffer "With all translations some things get lost and then understanding the device becomes a nightmare" unless you mean therer are things that are lost when trasnlating from English to English.

  3. Tufty Squirrel

    And you missed...

    Documentation - The Sitara chip has copious and usable documentation. The Broadcom unit on the Pi doesn't. The SGX530 has a technical reference manual. Broadcom's videocore doesn't, at least not outside of Broadcom.

    Power - The beaglebone is far more flexible in terms of powering. PSU "issues" are one of the major issues with the Pi.

    USB - The Ti chip does not, as far as I'm aware, use the same undocumented, buggy, USB host IP the Broadcom one does. Even with the recent fixes, simply using a USB keyboard and mouse on the Pi will eat around 10% of your CPU. ADD USB networking or anything more meaty, and you don't have many cycles left.

    So you get slightly lower HDMI resolution, but everything else is made of win.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: And you missed...

      I think your USB figures are a little off. Most USB issues are now fixed, and there are plenty of cycles left when using keyboard and ethernet (which goes over the USB). Quick test shows that whilst rsyncing a big file to the Raspi, whilst running top via a ssh session and typing away on the keyboard, CPU demand was between 50% and 75%. Not too bad.

      Documentation. The CPU on the Pi is an Armv6 - plenty of docs for that. All the GPIO and peripherals attached to the ARM are documented (not great documentation, but it's there). The GPU is closed source, but the API's to use it via OpenMAX, OpenGLES, OpenVG and EGL are fully documented.

      I think that the power issues are greatly exaggerated - if your power supply cannot supply the required power, either because you have the wrong ampage supply, or your supply is cheap and nasty and doesn't do what it says on the tin, or your USB cable is terrible, then is that a problem with the Raspi, or your power supply/cable?

      Will be interesting to see how the future pans out.

      1. Tufty Squirrel

        Re: And you missed...

        Ah, you may be right re: USB, I believe Gordon's done great work there. I've not tried the latest firmware or kernels, I tend to spend my time in the bare metal world.

        However, the documentation is *definitely* lamentable if you're not relying on Linux to deal with all that "hardware" stuff. Unless you happen to have datasheets available for the USB controller, SDIO controller, full explanation of how the GPU interacts with the CPU, etc, in which case a good deal of people would be very happy to hear from you.

        Yeah, yeah, the (linux) code is the documentation, you say, but that doesn't cut it when you're coding to the metal. Especially when the code in question (a shining example being the USB host code drop from Synopsys) is shot full of bugs and implemented in what appears to be the least efficient way possible.

      2. Tufty Squirrel

        Re: And you missed...

        WRT the power issue, I criticised the decision to go micro-USB with power on the Pi when it was announced, and I stand by that criticism. It was an understandable decision, but a bad one, even ignoring the poor quality of most micro-usb "power supplies" out there.

        1. Number6

          Re: And you missed...

          even ignoring the poor quality of most micro-usb "power supplies" out there.

          I just used a supply with an A socket on it[*], and my own choice of USB lead with an A plug on one end and a micro USB plug on the other. That makes the quality as good as if it had used a mini USB or a standard USB B, or a couple of wires.

          [*] When it wasn't just plugged into a port on my main PC.

      3. Daniel Palmer
        Mushroom

        Re: And you missed... @James Hughes 1

        Don't you get tired of constantly apologising for the Raspberry Pi? Are you at least getting paid by the foundation for your services?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And you missed... @James Hughes 1

          Paid by Broadcom, innit

    2. Jay_x386

      Re: And you missed... @Tufty Squirrel

      got to say, I've not had any power issues on the Pi.

    3. Andrew Tyler 1

      Re: And you missed...

      Worked on a fairly involved project using a Raspberry Pi this last year, and the lack of documentation was a continual sticking point. There was enough info and code around to get by in the end, but that's really no substitute for a proper datasheet and manuals like TI have (and Broadcom presumably have locked away somewhere). I imagine they had their reasons, but trying to make an open platform on top of an MCU with double secret documentation isn't the best start.

  4. Matt 116

    Damn, I may now have to buy both to tinker with.

  5. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    OO, rounded corners!

    1. Dave_Muk

      Means it'll fit in an Altoids tin

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Typo report

    Author : you have "Headless coding using the Cloud8 web IDE" under a pic where a Cloud 9 logo can be seen.

    :)

    Thanks for an interesting read anyway.

  7. Pete 2 Silver badge

    The Pi's best feature

    was its price. It established a market for small computers as components for home users and really can be thought of as the "Mark 1" for anything more capable than an Arduino-level device.

    As happens with Mk1's something better soon comes along. Not always cheaper unless cost has been a factor, but with a more usable design, more capable hardware and occasionally even better documentation. That we now have a whole slew of computer components is largely down to the Pi - and a jolly good thing it was, too. However whether you choose it, this offering as a Mk2, or any of the others - it's worth remembering that without these innovatory products we'd still be paying $200 a shout at 1-off prices for tiddly little computers to run our home projects.

  8. Norman Hartnell

    Not sure why BBB went with JS and the Pi with Python. It makes sense with lower-powered chips to get as close to the metal as possible.

    1. Richard 81

      Ease of use; close to the metal usually means close to impenetrable.

      At least with Python a lot of the libraries are written in C and are heavily optimised.

    2. JLV

      close to the metal

      Depends if you are targeting experimentation or performance/mem footprint and whether you are coming from an embedded background.

      If you're comfortable _without_ a compiler then it's nice to cycle very quickly through coding & testing.

      But, yes, js and py on this type of computer are unexpected bonuses to me. Though nothing in the article tells us you can't fall back to K&R ;-)

  9. Spoonsinger

    Well,

    can I get this now, or do I have to wait 'X' number of months? (where 'X' is down to any number of producer/re-seller excuses as to why I can't have the thing I paid for).

    1. Synonymous Howard

      Re: Well,

      Yes you can get it right now in the UK (>1000 in stock) for a princely sum of £37.18 inc vat and delivery from...

      http://uk.farnell.com/jsp/search/productdetail.jsp?SKU=2291620

      I got mine last month and its rather lovely and you just plug it in and it boots straight up in to Linux with a graphical display .. it has that instant satisfaction that the Pi does not necessarily have (and I have 4 Pi's 8-)

      1. Spoonsinger

        Re: @Synonymous Howard - instant satisfaction......

        Cheers for the link, was next day delivery, and is awesome!!!!. (well not awesome as such, but actually really nicely thought out for the price). Trouble is I want another one to play with as this is going to be a low powered mail server.

    2. thesykes

      Re: Well,

      Quick check on Maplins website shows a "Pi starter kit" in stock at the 10 nearest shops to where I live... presume that means they're easy to get hold of. Hmm.....

  10. Ian Johnston Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Education? Education? Education?

    It's a bit odd to say that the Pi's origins lie in education. In fact its origins lie in a bunch of well-meaning techies without a clue about education, which is why it has been a complete flop there, one or two stunts aside. Anyone seen the cased education version we were promised for last autumn, by the way?

    All the interesting Pi stuff - and there is a lot - is happening in the maker community, not in schools.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Education? Education? Education?

      Educations isn't the same as schools. Those 'well meaning techies without a clue about education' are from the University of Cambridge’s Computer Laboratory. So not the real world maybe but not clueless. It was aimed at undergraduates as I understand and has dramatically exceeded their expectations.

      Personally Eben's story about victimizing undergraduates by forcing them to learn functional programming languages still makes me chuckle with nostalgia.

    2. James Hughes 1

      Re: Education? Education? Education?

      @Ian Johnston.

      Can you provide evidence for the complete flop you are claiming? As far as I know, the educational side is still ramping up, but even so far has made notable progress. Like anything in education, these things take time and with the Google donation coming on line there is going to be a lot of education going on.

      As for the clueless part, the Foundation employs a ex-teacher (left his post to join the Foundation) who, from my chats with him, is good at what he does and is by no means clueless.

    3. Number6

      Re: Education? Education? Education?

      Education != School. Much useful education takes place away from the classroom, where children are free to experiment and do what they want and not be constrained by the National Curriculum or SATs. The main point is that it's cheap enough to be considered 'a component' and breaking one is not a financial catastrophe in the same way that breaking a £500 PC might be. It's easier to get to GPIO than on a big PC too, embedded programming is different to a pure software application because things happen to real hardware outside the PC.

  11. Gus
    Unhappy

    Pi Power Supplies

    The only issue I had setting up the pi was using a USB cable which was too thin. When I activated the Ethernet port to download software it did not work because of the voltage drop along the cable. I think it should definitely have a separate power input.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pi Power Supplies

      Confused. You used a cheap crappy cable, and are blaming that on the power system, which works fine if you use a decent not crappy cable?

      1. Tufty Squirrel

        Re: Pi Power Supplies

        The issue with micro-usb is twofold.

        The first is the shift from switchmode regs on the alpha boards to linear regs on the production ones. They use more power than is necessary to get the job done.

        The second is that the market is flooded with crappy chinese USB cables, and USB "PSUs" which are, in fact, chargers. Charges my phone, right, must be good enough to power the Pi? Wrong. 500mA USB supplies abound, 2A ones don't. Especially not ones that actually put out what they say they put out. Added to the fact that the power coming in is often marginal in terms of voltage levels and regulation quality, it's a recipe for, if not total disaster, at least a lot of confusion. And there's been a lot of confusion.

        The alpha boards, on the other hand, took anything from 9 to 16v DC (from memory), which leaves a lot of voltage headroom, and it's hard to find super-low-power DC bricks in that kind of voltage range.

        Like I said before, the decision was understandable, if a little naive in terms of performance expectations of real world chargers and cables, but it was still (IMO) a bad decision. And yes, when a "marginal" cable can pull the whole power system down, that's a problem with power design.

        As for edjerkayshun, the Pi's been a runaway success. Perhaps it hasn't made massive inroads into the classroom, but it's raised awareness of the problem, shown that something *can* and *should* be done, it's shown teachers that they have the power to do something, even if it's not directly Pi-related.

        Yeah, the majority of Pis have been sold either to the clueless tinkerers brigade, the vast majority of whom are underusing it in their "hacks" in the same way they would underuse an arduino, and a lot of the rest oversold to those with expectations way above what $35 buys you. But even that's a win. Because it's shown there is a market for affordable "dev boards", from the teensy 3 (cortex-M) all the way up to things with multicore Cortex-A SoCs.

    2. Glen Turner 666

      Re: Pi Power Supplies

      The Pi does have a separate power input (as well as the Micro USB), see pins 2,4,6 on connector P1, they take a regulated 5VDC at 1200mA.

  12. JaitcH
    Happy

    WHAT WE NEED is one of those unbeatable EL REG Comparison charts

    The RPi, is a bit of a compromise, not backwards compatible physically, amateurish mechanical design (components piggy-backing, paucity of mounting holes, off-matrix pin layouts). Our company even bought a couple with a view to using them in a school product.

    Now comes TI, a classic name in integrated circuits, with their new BeagleBone Black with 2Gbyte of on-board storage pre-loaded with Linux. AND it comes with a USB cable!

    Raspberry Pi has an ARM11 core, strange, no other small board competitor does.

    Then there are ODROID-U2 and ODROID-X2 from Samsung with a powerful Quad-core Exynos 4412. The U2 is an ultra-compact offering, smaller than the Raspberry Pi. Armed with 2GB of RAM, 100Mbps Ethernet, 2 x USB 2.0 connections,an audio codec with headphone and microphone jacks. For video there is a micro HDMI connection is supplied and for storage, options of micro SD and even eMMC. Android 4.X and Ubuntu 12.10 will be compatible out of the box (it even comes with an enclosure). $20 pricier than the TI.

    For our school-targeted projects we are using PicAXE networked with a BeagleBone Black.

    Accessory board pricing should be a consideration. IMO RPi add-ons are high priced.

    BUT WE NEED one of those El Reg comparison charts to sort the wheat from the chaff.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: WHAT WE NEED is one of those unbeatable EL REG Comparison charts

      Just a few questions - what do you mean by piggy backing components? Do you mean the RAM on the CPU? Why is that an amaturish choice ? It's used a lot in mobile phones which is anything but amateur.

      What's wrong with Armv6? And why is it strange?

      The Foundation, when the boards was designed (couple of years or more ago so BBB and ODROID are much newer) had very little choice with regard to SoC's, so the 2835 was a decent enough chip at the time - still is if you take the video and 3D capabilities in to account.

      The ODROID-U2 is $90. Nearly 3x the price of the Raspi - is that a fair comparison?

      1. Daniel Palmer

        Re: WHAT WE NEED is one of those unbeatable EL REG Comparison charts

        >The Foundation, when the boards was designed (couple of years or more ago

        So basically they took too long about it and got stuck with an out of date part. Chinese companies manage to knock out working products based on the latest parts really quickly so there's no excuse unless they want "made in Britain" to mean "out of date before release".

        >so BBB and ODROID are much newer)

        The predecessors of the beaglebone black and the current ODROID came out before the Pi didn't they? Is there anything about the Pi you won't try to excuse? I remember you making up some bollocks to try to excuse the "open source drivers" they released. It just makes you look like a shill and a chump.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WHAT WE NEED is one of those unbeatable EL REG Comparison charts

      PicAxe is not vastly easier then programming in C. The Atmel compilers are freely available I am not sure if Microchip has made its tool-set freely available now.

  13. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Arduino is about open hardware

      Open hardware/software is based on open licensing. Lawyers help draft open licences. Not all lawyers are parasites. Not all IP lawyers are parasites. Try growing up.

  14. Old Used Programmer Silver badge

    Perhaps the article author (and some of those commenting) would like to add the Cubieboard into the comparison mix. CPU basically equal to the BBB. Other specs very similar. However, it adds a SATA II port and comes with a USB-to-barrel connector power cable and a SATA cable with power connector.

    I had a chance to show one to Eben Upton (he hadn't seen one) and he made a comment wondering why none of the other Allwinner A10 boards failed to expose the SATA port, since it's a chip feature.

    1. Tufty Squirrel

      Mainly because pretty much all the other A10 boards out there are using the Allwinner reference designs, and those don't expose the SATA either. When you're making peanuts on boards like this, and it really is a dog-eat-dog world, there ain't much time for designing and debugging new boards. Hats off to the Cubie guys for doing it.

      Another one to watch is Olimex. They're about to release - the betas are all sold out - their A20 board, which is basically their original A10 design with the A20 plugged in (not the A10S board, the A10S doesn't have SATA). They also have an A10S board, which is pretty nifty if you don't need SATA or the grunt of the A20. Olimex are cool guys, too.

  15. Herby

    Both BeagleBoard and Raspberry Pi do ONE thing VERY well

    (among other things!). They encourage genetic diversity by deviating from the X86 platform. The X86 platform (now used by PeeCees and Macs and a bunch of Linux server boxen) is so inbred that we don't know all its foibles, and with every generation, it gets worse.

    Thankfully these ARM chips and their systems are good because they are different (in a VERY good way).

    Oh, and yes, they are big-endian processors, which is better for all involved (as I don the flame proof suit).

  16. Wil Palen
    Happy

    ordering now..

    After all the problems I had with the crappy USB host driver (crashes, even when only using ethernet), the BCM2835's half-assed USB hardware host implementation needing software handling of microframe interrupts, eating away at the already limited CPU power, and the low quality of the on-board audio DAC (effectively 10 bits, with regular clicks every second or so) I gave up on the RaspPi for my purposes.

    I was already eyeballing the BeagleBone, but was held back by its price. Now this one comes along, I couldn't be happier!

  17. bacon7331

    I think that the BBB is a good buy for its price. The only thing I miss is wifi capabilty, which can be easily resolved using a USB dongle. Anyway, there is a and upcoming BeagleBone community at the BeagleFu forums with interesting projects and questions. I'm a member over there, so thought I'd spread the word.

  18. Silverburn

    Quads

    Interestingly, this is now my preferred option for a remote target tracking processor on a quad, instead of the Pi.

    1. because of the dedicated 5V in, which is an easy wire in job to the BEC. Running USB convertors adds weight and complexity, and then you probably still need to run a BEC anyway if you running greater than 4S. Also means the bridges/capes will not brown out the processor either.

    2. The extra CPU cycles will be useful, and the H264 is not required.

    Only downside is the lack of 3G/LTE bridges/capes (that I can see)

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