back to article Pi-lovers? There are two fresh OSes for your tiny computers to gobble

Owners of dimunitive Raspberry Pi computers rejoice! Alpine has emitted version 3.8.0 of its super light Linux distribution, with some special attention given to the latest iteration of the hardware. While it has been possible to get Alpine on the Pi for some time – Raspberry Pi 2 owners have been able to get it working since …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've never used Alpine. I use Arch on my Pis (and odroids) and find it's a good compromise between ease of use and minimalism. I'm not a systemd hater so that's not an issue for me. I don't find it too intrusive.

    I'd be interested to know if anyone uses Alpine and what their experiences are. I used to use Slackware by default but the base install wasn't minimal enough and I found the rolling release a bit too unstable.

    1. Peter Mount

      I use alpine for most of my Docker containers due to it's small footprint - ~5MB for the base. Compare that to the basic Debian or Ubuntu images that ends up a big saving if all you want to run is some small app & none of the cruft.

      I've not used Alpine on a standalone machine, but will be trying this one out, could be a good alternative for my cluster

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Chris Fox

      "OpenRC replacing systemd"

      It shows how bad things have got when any choice of init system other than systemd is described as "replacing systemd". And this is for a distribution that has never supported systemd, does not have it in its repositories, and almost certainly cannot even compile it successfully, given that systemd assumes glibc, whereas Alpine is based on musl.

      Although not mentioned in the article, Alpine's use of musl is a significant detail; it helps avoid bloat and in some cases improves performance (although it could cause difficulties for those wanting to run software that assumes glibc quirks and features). For those concerned about maintaining choice and diversity, and avoiding growing dependence on The Red Hat Monolithic Monopoly, supporting an alternative to glibc could be another 'good thing' to do (along with avoiding pulseaudio, systemd, and gnome).

      Another systemd-free distribution that generally works well on Rpi is voidlinux, a rolling distribution which comes in both glibc and musl flavours, and which uses runit (the init system where start up scripts are usually only a couple of lines long). As usual, the choice of distribution in a given context may be constrained by the available packages.

  3. TRT Silver badge

    PDF viewer...

    If Chromium or one of the other supposedly HTML5 browsers for the PI actually handled PDF rendering in-app rather than relying on plug-ins, I'd be a lot happier. The damned loss of just a single pixel width to scroll bars and frame borders and the like makes it annoyingly difficult to render both SVG and PDF nicely within the same DIV.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: PDF viewer...

      Web browsers don't show BMPs, they do some layout as well...

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: PDF viewer...

        Annoyingly so, but I only use HTML, SVG and PDF in my displays for reasons of efficiency and resolution.

  4. Chairman of the Bored
    Pint

    Thanks for the tip!

    Small, no systemd... A pint, sirs, for a good find?

  5. AegisPrime

    Very nice.

    I just picked up a 3B+ to build a small HTPC for a friend of mine that wanted an easy way to catalogue and play his Blu-ray collection.

    I was fully expecting a bunch of tinkering under the hood to get it working but nope - I just downloaded LibreELEC, plugged in the USB receiver for the remote control I got him and... it just worked.

    Kinda anti-climatic really. I spent more time showing him how to use it than actually setting the thing up.

    1. a pressbutton

      Re: Very nice.

      ... it just worked.

      I know how you feel.

      If you grew up with 6502 assembler and punched tape / cards, chances are you are still filled with a bit of wonder and appreciation when things ... just work.

      1. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ

        Re: Very nice.

        "If you grew up with 6502 assembler and punched tape / cards, chances are you are still filled with a bit of wonder and appreciation when things ... just work."

        I am not quite old enough for punch cards, but old enough for my first job in IT was in a tape room. we got a message on a display to load a particular tape in a particular machine....

        but as for the wonders of modern technology, the yoof have no idea what it was like before you could google something....

        a couple of weeks back, my daughter came back from her holidays, flew into Manchester airport to find the battery in the car flat. It was so flat there was not even enough power to open the door with the central locking and with the immobiliser, push starting the car was just not an option. back in 1979 the procedure would have been after failing to push start it, walk to the nearest un-vandilised phone box and call dad (Saturday, would be lucky to be at home), who would then have to drive half way across the north west of England with a replacement battery, for her to finally get home sometime after midnight.....

        with today's modern technology, she has a button in the car connected to a system with its own battery backup (Vauxhall on star), she presses it, tells the nice lady who answers the call, the car will not start,. The system provides the exact GPS location to the RAC, 30 min later, a bloke from the RAC arrives and replaces the battery. away she goes. A system that just works.....

        the OnStar service is excellent and although it was free for the first year, its well work the anual subscription for peace of mind. if she is eve in an accident, not only does it automatically contact the emergency services, but we also get a call, the system also sent her an text message one Sunday morning to tell her the pressure in one of the tyres was a little low, followed by another to say it was flat and most likely has a puncture.

        it has quite a few functions that the paranoid will be indeed paranoid about, it has a GPS tracking so somewhere there is a hard drive with all the telemetry of every journey she has made (probably) so her car could potentially be used as evidence against her if she was to be caught speeding !! but you have to weigh the good up with the potentially bad...

        1. onefang

          Re: Very nice.

          "it has a GPS tracking so somewhere there is a hard drive with all the telemetry of every journey she has made (probably) so her car could potentially be used as evidence against her if she was to be caught speeding !! but you have to weigh the good up with the potentially bad..."

          If she's well aware of that fact, it might stop her from speeding, which might prevent an accident. I can't see the bad in that at all. Other abuses of telemetry on the other hand...

          1. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ
            Thumb Up

            Re: Very nice.

            "If she's well aware of that fact, it might stop her from speeding"

            to be honest, she is very law abiding, even when she thinks work has over paid her she tells payrol to check it, and on one occasion when they did say it was right, she still knew it wasn't so made them check again..... this is in her first year post grad and was lucky to get a job paying a little over 40k, shes not going to screw that and her future up over something stupid...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Very nice.

          It's a shame Vauxhall are killing it in 2020 :(

          1. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ

            Re: Very nice.

            "It's a shame Vauxhall are killing it in 2020 :("

            I would assume they are going to replace it with something else. or outsource it to google

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Very nice.

          " it has a GPS tracking so somewhere there is a hard drive with all the telemetry of every journey she has made (probably) so her car could potentially be used as evidence against her if she was to be caught speeding !! but you have to weigh the good up with the potentially bad..."

          Let's see... a major privacy breach, and major security vulnerabilities of assorted types, versus having to turn on the phone in your pocket and use it...

          We already know onstar can be used to 'bug' the car it is in, without alerting the driver and passengers. It is also the kind of connected service used to gain complete control of the vehicle systems.

          We also know that geolocation data is relatively easily de-anonymized, if the attempt to maintain privacy was even made, and that such data can also provide target habits and routines, and other data. Look at the fitness tracker breach for more on creative mis-uses of location data.

          On the balance, I'd go with a phone I can turn off, rather than a vehicle embedded device I cannot. Though fuses and wire cutters may fix that problem.

          1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

            Re: Very nice.

            "We also know that geolocation data is relatively easily de-anonymized"

            No kidding! A trace leading to your own door, every day. With no motion during the night...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Raspbian-compatible software

    With Bloat it's nice to have a list of what works well and what doesn't. I like tinkering about with the Rpi I have, managed to make a good media server using nomachine (running on Raspbian).

    1. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ
      Linux

      Re: Raspbian-compatible software

      I use raspberry pis for all sorts of stuff, from my personal email server to a emby front end.

      I spent weeks taking the light version of rasbian, and crafting it into a platform that has no bloat at all and have replaced many of the usual system tools for replacements that have better function or use less resources.

      I use near enough the same setup based on debian for all my penguin needs...

      but this Alpine looks interesting..

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OpenBSD works too

    Just to point out, OpenBSD works on the Raspberry Pi 3 too.

    If you need something that's "ultra secure" remotely, without needing desktop level performance, a RaspPi 3 + OpenBSD is a really good combination.

  8. Lomax

    Devuan

    Let's not forget Devuan:

    "Ready-to-use images can be downloaded for a number of ARM platforms and SOCs, including Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, OrangePi, BananaPi, OLinuXino, Cubieboard, Nokia and Motorola mobile phones, and several Chromebooks, as well as for Virtualbox/QEMU/Vagrant."

    https://devuan.org/os/debian-fork/ascii-stable-announce-060818

    For those who don't know, Devuan is a Debian fork without the systemd dependency.

  9. teknopaul Silver badge

    noob boot

    Not sure i like the idea of a pointy clicky initial boot process. My raspberry pis dont have keyboards or a mice. I do hope they have considered those of us that leave our pies in the attic.

    1. onefang

      Re: noob boot

      There are install systems that let you do so over ssh, no need for local pointy clicky or typey.

    2. Nathanial Wapcaplet

      Re: noob boot

      isn't mould a problem after a few weeks? it might affect the taste somewhat

      1. The Indomitable Gall

        Re: noob boot

        Not if they're MacDonald's apple pies -- those things will survive the nuclear apocalypse.

  10. Nick Pettefar

    Still Waiting For Solaris On The Pi

    Just saying....

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