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back to article Who ate all the Pis?

10/11/2012 I want a Raspberry Pi. I must have a Raspberry Pi. My home PC is drab. My Mac Mini is dusty. My iPad, which in my case I have not got, is a fatuous slab of plastic. Let me see the glimmer of the surface-mounted LED, and smell the green, green circuit board of 'Made in China'. But a Raspberry Pi is an example of that …

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Re: vi...

My usual strategy with vi was to hit the 'esc' key if I couldn't remember what state I had left an edit in or if I had hit a number of keys before noticing that I wasn't in insert mode. The best vi error came about when I set up up linux box at work to provide a DNS server for our team to access some customer IPs that had changed.

After a weeks holiday, I came back to find it not working. A collegue had 'just edited the hosts file with some new entries' and the system hung when booting. After booting with a CD and mounting the system disk, it turned out that the host file was about 2M in size. It contained several hundred copies of the original. When inetd tried to load, it read the hosts file and fell over with lack of memory (it was quite an old version of Mandrake). Rather than use the usual ':wq' to exit, my collegue had used some fancy set of control keys which, although they wrote the file out and quit, also managed to replicate the entire buffer several hundred times.

vi became a lot easier to use with the easy cut and paste in PuTTY. I admit to the crime of copying the buffer, pasting it into Windows Notepad, editing and pasting the result back.

Phil.

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Unhappy

Re: vi...

I used Vi .... once.

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Re: vi...

or Esc ZZ (if you want to save and exit) or Esc :q! (if you wish to quit and disregard any changes)

The Esc exits insert mode (if any), the : (colon) gets you to the "ex" command line, where (in VIM) you can type 'help'

Sorry to be so yawn-worthy

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Silver badge

Curously...

Having just returned from Christmas in Hungary, where coincidently I gave a friend's son a R-Pi for Christmas, I can confirm the air traffic control, and whole airport organisation is running smoothly and efficiently. So the cleaner's son must have finished the project already.

More than can be said for those w*nkers Easyjet and Luton airport in general who caused me to miss my flight out in December.

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Thumb Up

And my Pi?

RISC OS - obscurity for its own sake?

To be honest, I wasn't that interested in a Pi for Wheezy as I'm already a Linux user with plenty of kit around. But RISC OS, given the age and condition of my existing Risc PCs, was too good to pass up! Sling Sunfish on there to share prior backups from Miyuki and Madoka and we are there!

And RISC OS at 1080p... wow!

Nice article, VS, but...

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Happy

RISC OS too

I thought I'd be using mine to play with Linux, but after I put RISC OS on an old 2GB SD card I had lying around, its been in the slot ever since. As Chika says RISC OS does look really nice on a good HD monitor via HDMI, and it's fast due use of the on board video acceleration. Next up is finding something interesting to do with the GP I/O - it's just like having a Beeb again!

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Linux

The vi thing

I know vi isn't the most instantly intuitive tool out there, not surprising given its heritage. I think the thing that throws most folks inititally is the separate insert and command modes.

I usually make the point that it's the one editor you're likely guaranteed to have available to you. So it pays to spend a few minutes working out a bare minimum of commands (insert, delete, save, exit without save). And if you stick with it, the vi command set is remarkably powerful, more so if you get the hang of regular expressions.

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Re: The vi thing

Vi is much faster and less clunky than any other editor I know once you have learned how to use it, which is why I use it daily for handling email. Driving a car also requires training for very good reasons.

Besides which for those who don't want to learn vi, wherever you can ssh you can also sftp which means you can edit files locally using whichever editor takes your fancy and manage the remote filesystem and its configuration simply by mounting it in sftp mode as if it were a drag n droppable network drive using WinSCP or Nautilus or whatever file browser with sftp support you prefer.

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Re: The vi thing

"I usually make the point that it's the one editor you're likely guaranteed to have available to you. "

10 years ago I might have agreed with you, but nano/pico has been (IIRC) has been ubiquitous for at least that long, and it's fair to regard it as the basic editor which will always be available.

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Pirate

Re: The vi thing

True, vi is almost universally available on *nix boxes, but then...so was EDLIN on MSDOS boxes... :)

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Stop

Re: The vi thing

blinkin eck I had completely forgotten edlin!

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Re: The vi thing

10 years ago I might have agreed with you, but nano/pico has been (IIRC) has been ubiquitous for at least that long, and it's fair to regard it as the basic editor which will always be available

I can only translate this as meaning "I only ever use Linux". If you got any further than that you would realise just how wide of the mark this is.

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Re: The vi thing

Actually Edlin was ditched from DOS 6.x...

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Boffin

Re: The vi thing

@Pirate Dave "so was EDLIN on MSDOS boxes..."

<pedant "mode=strictish">

Yup, and eventually it got supplemented with EDIT, a full-screen editor as opposed to the line-mode EDLIN. Equally, vi is a full-screen character mode interface for ex, the line editor that came before it, which helps to explain some of the more err, quirky, corners of vi. So your reference isn't quite on the mark - har har, have at ye, matey!

</pedant >

Bear in mind these editors appeared before the world of GUIs, and in some cases before terminals with cursor keys, and some things make more sense. Doesn't make them obsolete, necessarily; surely one of the lessons we learn as *nix admins is you use whatever tool does the job best for you. Nano, Pico, Kate etc. are excellent tools, but give me an AIX image that I've had to take to a minimal maintenance shell 'cos some daft bugger's fubar'd the OS without a backup, and I'm bloody glad I can navigate vi!

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Holmes

Re: The vi thing

"I only ever use Linux".

This being a thread about editors for *nix systems and all.

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Re: The vi thing

"I only ever use Linux".

This being a thread about editors for *nix systems and all.

Precisely. It isn't installed as standard on any on the principal BSDs, Solaris, AIX etc etc. POSIX mandates the presence of precisely one full screen text editor. It's called vi, not nano.

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Re: The vi thing

10 years ago I might have agreed with you, but nano/pico has been (IIRC) has been ubiquitous for at least that long

They're hardly ubiquitous. I just checked some of our Unixish systems for confirmation (I'll use nano/pico only under extreme protest), and the AIX, HP-UX, and SuSE boxes I checked have neither installed. The Solaris box had pico only. My Cygwin installation on my Windows system doesn't have nano or pico either.

Sure, they're available for all those platforms (and indeed I was a little surprised that the SuSE system didn't already have them installed, given the way sysadmins often install packages with wild abandon on Linux distributions). But it's clear that not everyone who administers a Unix-like system feels the need to put nano or pico on it. So I'd say vi's advantage in this area remains.

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Windows

Re: The vi thing

Actually Edlin was ditched from DOS 6.x...

DOS 6 contained the rather easier-to-use full-screen editor imaginatively named "edit", but it still had edlin for the truly masochistic.

In fact, Windows 8 still has both (though it will grump at you for wanting to run 16-bit applications).

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I'm considering t obuild one into a model car

The GPIO ports might be fast enough to generate the signals for the servos, it's trivial to connect a webcam to it, as well as a WLAN dongle.

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Takes all sorts

For me, all of the projects described above would be the most ghastly torture. I'd be complaining to the human rights people if anyone even threatened to force me to try doing any one of them.

Then again, I did actually read the Stern Review just for kicks, trying to work out what he was fiddling. Something that would no doubt strike most here as deeply unenjoyable.

Thank goodness we've got this division of labour stuff, eh?

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Re: Takes all sorts

And the Mysteriously Downvoted Post of the Week Award goes to Tim Worstal!

Apparently at least one reader doesn't agree with the sentiment that it takes all types, and feels that anyone who doesn't want to learn about Haskell and monads is some sort of filthy reprobate. Me, I'm just as glad; I find it useful from time to time to dismiss an idea by waving my hand and saying "well, you know, with monads...".

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Unhappy

I like the PI ethos....

i.e. build something which is base line and sell it for peanuts using early 80's production practices. Persuade the world that allowing 'da youth' to learn programming is where it is at. Then provide a platform where ready made o/s's have already been developed and compiled. Therefore 'da youth' is actually just doing the same ICT crap they were doing on mainstream O/S's anyway, (but with more hassle). Makes me sick, but hey it's British, so always worth promoting.

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WTF?

Re: I like the PI ethos....

I partially agree, but tell me more of these "early 80s production practices" of which you speak.

I don't know any early 80s computers that were surfacemount 4-layer boards.

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Re: I like the PI ethos....

Sorry but that's b*ll*cks. It just shows that you *think* you know what a computer is.

The future for this type of gear is embedded and the PC as such will mostly disappear. The skills that kids (and others) learn will be used pretty much anywhere, but It wont look like what you are used to.

...AAAND with devices like that around, the future for personal tech can be democratised by anyone who wants to - thus helping avoid the proabably imminent threat of corporatisation of both the Internet and of personal computing that we have (mostly) enjoyed over the last 30yrs - like Apple and even Google would like.

BTW one of the best Pi things I saw demo-wise was simply the thing running rasbian with the XFCE desktop in Maplin - that's the High St you know (well ok Lakeside Retail park in my case). I wonder how many complete outsiders marvelled at that!

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Oh, goody, other Pi users are here .....

I'm building a (totally overkill if fully populated, but you can never have too much I/O) I/O expansion board for my Pi; using eight GPIO lines as a bi-directional data bus, 6 as an address bus and two as read and write strobes respectively.

The big question is: Should I dedicate a digital output port to controlling the analogue multiplexer; or should I just control it directly from address lines A1-A4 (A0 is needed to select LSB / MSB) with A5 selecting between the analogue and digital inputs? It will mean having only 32 8-bit digital input ports available .....

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Re: The vi thing

Trouble with the vi UI? I don't believe it! What could be simpler?

--

Disclaimer - These opiini^H^H damn! ^H^H ^Q ^[ .... :w :q :wq :wq! ^d exit X Q ^C ^? :quitbye CtrlAltDel ~~q :~q logout save/quit :!QUIT ^[zz ^[ZZZZZZ ^H man vi ^@ ^L ^[c ^# ^E ^X ^I ^T ? help helpquit ^D man quit ^C ^c ?Quit ?q CtrlShftDel "Hey, what does this button d..."

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Re: The vi thing

Snigger.

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ssh

Yes, you can set one up with ssh. For some reason, possibly related to the extremely low purchase price, the LCD telly I hooked mine up to refused to recognise any signal from the pi until the X desktop was showing. Got the IP address off the router config and ssh'ed in no problem. Reboot and the TV screen sprang into life. With a bit of the desktop missing around the edge. Did I mention that it was cheap?

-A.

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Silver badge

Re: ssh

That will be your overscan setting in your config.txt. Whichever way it's set, is wrong. It's counter-intuitive anyway. Just change it, and it probably will work.

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Happy

Re: ssh @caption veg

IIRC, there was a recognised problem with the HDMI config in some combinations. Especially cheapo Chinese TVs... Can't say I've seen a problem with feeding my BenQ monitor. Once I remembered to plug the other end of the HDMI cable in, that is :-)

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Trollface

Project manager

The project manager, meanwhile - and this is a man who is known to have struggled for some minutes to find the main menu in the new FireFox - has written a Python program that interrogates his diary in Google Calendar and switches on the central heating in his holiday cottage in Wales so that everything is nice and toasty when he arrives for the weekend.

So, the typical Reg reader, then?

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Lunix vi

Sadly the lunix crowd decided that vi wasn't good enough and made changes. Why change a standard? But them that is the joy of linux I suppose, just to confuse everyone. First things I do when having to log into a linux box is unalias -a and then remove al the hideous colouring. Unfortunately they have chosen Debian for the Pi - have you seen what the Debians have done to Apache?

Open Solaris for Pi anyone?

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FAIL

Solaris on Pi

OpenSolaris is mostly a bunch of Open Source wrappers around proprietary binary blobs. It will build under GCC, but not on any architecture besides 80x86.

RISC OS (which is available for the Raspberry Pi) isn't very open either (though early versions were written in ARM assembler and BBC BASIC and may well have been hackable by a sufficiently-skilled programmer), but at least it's sufficiently well-documented for anybody to be able to write a drop-in Open Source replacement in theory -- and good enough for nobody to have felt the need to bother in practice.

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The life of Pi

I have written a version of Conways game of life and, of course, called it the life of pi.

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