back to article Raspberry Pi adds PIXEL eye candy to desktop

Fruity low-cost computer the Raspberry Pi is constantly getting enhancements, and the latest is an update to its Raspbian Linux build, which has been given a makeover with a new desktop shell called PIXEL and a version of the Chromium browser. New Raspbian Raspberry Pi desktop. Screengrab courtesy RPi Foundation New PIXEL …

  1. Wiltshire

    Please Mr Pi man, can I have a Pi with USB3?

    That could really clean-up the market in DIY/homebrew NAS

    1. OliP

      +1 for USB 3

      but this is great news to hear.

      just ordered 5th or 6th pi :)

    2. Andrew Oakley

      (Disclaimer: I run Cotswold Raspberry Jam and enjoy an occasional smidge of hospitality from the Foundation)

      I've also long hankered for USB3, also as a dream base for NAS. However I recently gave up and built myself a Intel mini ITX NAS.

      A USB3 controller currently costs quite a lot more than the USB2 controller chip the Pi uses. Furthermore it would require other major changes, for example the SOC would need to support USB3 speeds and the ethernet port is currently managed from the USB2 chip. Now if you had USB3, you could open the possibility of gigabit ethernet, but again, at a price. So you've got both price and a major architecture redesign against you. Both of those weigh heavily against an SBC aimed at children with a budget of thirty quid.

      It could still happen, and it probably will eventually happen. But it would probably come along with a large redesign of the whole product line, and quite possibly with a break in compatibility with the current product line. Doing that is something the Foundation will be loathe to do, because a lot of the value of a Raspberry Pi is the huge community that it has built around it. There are a gazillion howtos and tutorials out there which, for the most part, work with any model of Pi; if the Foundation breaks compatibility then they have to start from scratch again, and we're back in 2011 all over again.

      My investment into self-build Intel ITX NAS means that I've gambled that USB3 Pi won't happen for at least 18 months. No doubt I'll be proven wrong shortly after Christmas.

      1. 's water music
        Joke

        F35 syndrome

        1 USB3 support

        2 VTOL capability

        3 ??

        4 Profit (for Lockheed)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        +1 USB3

        Also why does the cost have to remain the same. I wouldnt be above paying a bit more for USB3 or gigabit ethernet.

        Before all that though id like to see eMMC or mSata.

        SD card storage is dubious at best.

        Ive had many Pis and along with thrm many SD cards. Sometimes they last for ages sometimes they die after a month.

        If I need a long term deployment I need storage that I know I can rely on.

    3. Warm Braw Silver badge

      can I have a Pi with USB3

      The reason the Pi is cheap is that is is a repurposed mobile phone chip. There would be no reason intentionally to design a phone SoC capable of sustained high bandwith I/O because it would need more power than a phone battery could provide for any length of time. It took a long time to get acceptable USB 2.0 performance out of the Pi because the USB implementation was only ever envisaged for the purposes a phone would require.

      So I suspect that you would only ever get USB3 capable of sustaining its peak speed rather than the occasional short burst if the Pi becomes sufficient popular to merit its own unique hardware or by an accidental miracle.

      1. BlartVersenwaldIII
        Headmaster

        > The reason the Pi is cheap is that is is a repurposed mobile phone chip

        [nitpick] I thought I read somewhere it was originally a repurposed chip originally intended for DVRs and other set-top-boxes* - hence the relatively weak CPU (especially in the original single-core incarnations) but pretty powerful GPU and video [en|de]coding capabilities. I think the I/O envisaged for this that wasn't video-related was solely interfacing with the controls (i.e. hardly any bandwidth requirements).

        Personally I would give someone's right arm for a Pi with inbuilt PoE** rather than having to use a rather cumbersome HAT... PoE support seems somewhat thin on the ground in most SBC implementations sadly, and funky ones like the Ventana GW5100 are unobtanium (or very expensive).

        * Cannae find a source sadly

        ** For my patented drbllr.io

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          > [nitpick] I thought I read somewhere it was originally a repurposed chip originally intended for DVRs and other set-top-boxes

          Not quite - it was originally a repurposed chip originally intended as a mobile phone GPU/display/camera accelerator. In those incarnations there was no ARM core (that was in a separate SoC package). The GPU etc is an evolution of what was in the Nokia N8, and the same as in the 808 Pureview. The ARM core (later cores) were a later addition to extend into other markets, explaining many of the architectural limitations of the Pi.

    4. Daleos

      I'd love two Ethernet ports.

      Be great for network testing/monitoring.

      Might even be good enough as a home malware scanner/blocker

      1. BlartVersenwaldIII

        You can get a pretty decent approximation of this using a USB-ethernet adapter, although routing performance isn't stellar and there won't be much additional headroom for IDS and suchlike.

        Blog post on Pi as a router.

        A Jetway SFF running pfsense is my preferred tool for this sort of thing; sadly no ARM support for pfsense on the cards yet.

        Ars did a nice article on various flavours of homebrew routing recently which might be worth a read.

  2. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Icon makeover?

    'Icon makeover' and 'choice of wallpaper' sounds dangerously close to the slippery slope of bloat ...

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: slippery slope of bloat

      Already fell off that cliff. First up, imagine a barely coherent snarling rant at the latest ½bit who covered the handy boot up diagnostics with another useless picture. Next up, soon after LXDE->XFCE, I delete the icons and task bar.

      Icons are inaccessible because there is a terminal emulator on top. The task bar takes space that limits the width/height/font of terminal emulators. Starting a terminal emulator is done by right clicking on a terminal emulator (or a virtual desktop if it is not yet completely covered in terminal emulators.)

      It is almost as if ½bits do not understand that the purpose of a GUI is so you can see all the terminal emulators for a task at the same time, and switch to different virtual desktops when you are doing multiple unrelated tasks.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: slippery slope of bloat

        "imagine a barely coherent snarling rant at the latest ½bit who covered the handy boot up diagnostics with another useless picture."

        That was the first thing that struck me too, considering the primary target audience is kids and the main raison d'etre for the Pi's existence is to encourage learning about computers and in particular, programming them. Actually seeing the boot sequence is more likely to be a talking point and encourage interest in what is going on rather then "oooooh, pretty picture, is the magic box ready yet?"

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