back to article Tough Banana Pi: a Raspberry Pi for colour-blind diehards

The Raspberry PI Model B+ is the hot new SBC (Single Board Computer) of the moment. The cheap price, low power usage, good support and ease of use make it a very good buy for DIY nerd projects and media front ends. One common complaint is lack of RAM and CPU. Now, however, there are choices for Power users – the Banana PI from …

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FAIL

Trademark Breach?

Isn't called something a Banana Pi when its completely unrelated to the Raspberry Pi dangerously close to "passing off"? Since its some dodgy Chinese outfit I guess we shouldn't be surprised.

Personally I would avoid it just because of that.

Related: Is there such a thing as a plain banana pie? Shouldn't it be Banoffee Pie or Banana Bread? Or possibly Banana wrapped in foil with a flake inside and barbied?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Trademark Breach?

Pi is a maths symbol, hard to trademark that.

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JDX
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Re: Trademark Breach?

Apple is a fruit. Windows are on your house. Focus is something your eyes do.

However I thought Pi is by design an open spec, so other people could build them if they wanted?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pi is a maths symbol (Pendant Alert!)

No, π is a maths symbol, Pi is it's name!

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Stop

Re: Pi is a maths symbol (Pendant Alert!)

No, π is a letter in the Greek alphabet. It just happens to be used in maths.

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Headmaster

Re: Pi is a maths symbol (Pendant Alert!)

No, π is a maths symbol, Pi is it's [it is] name!

If you're going to be a pedant, at least learn the meaning of the apostrophe when used with words like 'it'.

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Re: Trademark Breach?

"Bannana Cream Pi"

But yes, this does look like a trademark incursion.

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Re: Trademark Breach?

I think they are safe with "Banana" but Blueberry, Blackberry, or Apple Pi would have been asking for trouble.

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Re: Trademark Breach?

@AC (Pi a maths symbol, hard to trademark that)

Not necessarily.

When seeking to register trademarks (trade-marks (Can.), trade marks (UK, Aus., NZ)), the basic question is whether the mark is distinctive (a threshold test including being 'not descriptive') in relation to the goods/services* for which that trademark is applied for (and not just distinctive per se).

:.

BICYCLE would be 100% descriptive of bicycles, so 'no go' there.

But ...

BICYCLE would be distinctive for medical services (so we would then move on to whether anybody else was using/had registered it).

[*Strictly speaking, US law distinguishes between trademarks for goods and service marks for services but the substantive differences are not great.]

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Re: Trademark Breach?

Complicating the matter further is the matter of locale. We all know that different jurisdictions have different rules and a trademark applied and granted in one may not be recognized by another. Also raspberrypi.org has a trademark or word mark on "Raspberry Pi so if someone wanted to come along and call their board "Raspberry Piña Colada", "Raspberry Pinot Noir", "Piberry Colada" or, well you get the idea, it would become a rather arduous and expensive slog to take it through the courts especially for a charity foundation. No the best move is to keep the powder dry and hold your fire until they're really stepping on your toes with names like "Red Raspberry Pi", "Black Raspberry Pi" or "Razzleberry Pi" that are clearly capable of causing confusion.

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Re: Pi is a maths symbol (Pendant Alert!)

@Stuart Longland

He never claimed to be a pedant, he claimed to be a pendant.

:)

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Coat

Re: Pi is a maths symbol (Pendant Alert!)

no, TT is the Tourist Trophy - an Isle of Man motorbike race.

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Dodgy piece of code

If you couldn't guarantee it's provenience + authenticity, then it was a dodgy piece of code. This isn't a PI. A PI has robust development with specific goal - education. This is a cheap, generic board piggy backing off the PI brand.

Put my backups on it. Not a chance. Your mileage may vary of course.

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Boffin

All things come to he who waits ....

for the Banana Pro.

"LeMaker finally confirm Pro as the upgraded version of Pi. Pro contains three features to benefit customers: 1, Wi-FI module is integrated on board directly; 2, TF card slot is introduced for the great convenience; 3, GPIO is extended to be compatible with Raspberry Pi B+; and thus it further protects the investment of our customers. "

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Mushroom

"protects the investment of our customers"

Because no documentation, software via Dropbox and gdrive, an OS called Bananian which features a giant trademarked Raspberry logo as the wallpaper, and a link to the competition's website which could only be described as passing off are what customers look for when "investing".

This board wouldn't sell half as much if it weren't for its name and it probably wouldn't get a review here either.

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Anonymous Coward

not “plug compatible” in software terms

"Unfortunately, the RPi and Banana Pi are not “plug compatible” in software terms."

So the software's not compatible, the hardware's not compatible, and all they have in common is

3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169

What would motivate anyone to buy one of these rather than (say) a BeagleThing or similar? BeagleBone Black is only around a tenner more expensive than this Chinese knockoff of indeterminate quality and indeterminate future?

Just askin', like. Readers need to know.

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Joke

Re: not “plug compatible” in software terms

Ah - so your'e confirming that it's not Intel x86 then.

BTW - How many Intel engineers it takes to shear a sheep in a vacuum? Enquiring minds need to know.

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Re: not “plug compatible” in software terms

What would motivate anyone to buy one of these rather than (say) a BeagleThing or similar

In theory - Beagle same as PI is a 100MBit Ethernet. So if you are looking at 1G which is essential for a decent thin client this will do (if you can find a trusted source of software).

In practice, 100Mbit is more than sufficient for backup as well as most controller apps. 100Mbit is in excess of 25GB/hour effective backup speeds which is more than sufficient for an SME. Pi's problem for these is not its speed which is lamentable - it is on par with a 2003 Crusoe I have lying around. It is the power on the USB.

In any case, if you are looking at SATA, GigE (and potentially - legacy inerfaces like VGA) the correct board is the CubieBoard (model 2 or 4). This looks like a bootleg clone of a Cubie by the way with some very dubious software thrown in.

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Re: not “plug compatible” in software terms

Re:- "In theory - Beagle same as PI is a 100MBit Ethernet. So if you are looking at 1G which is essential for a decent thin client this will do (if you can find a trusted source of software)."

The Beaglebone Black already has an O/S & desktop on board when you get it, so no need to download anything if you don't want to.

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Re: not “plug compatible” in software terms

@Spoonsinger.

Again - Beaglebone is _ONLY_ 100MBit. The only SBCs available in quantity with decent "generic" Linux support that are 1G are the various Allwinner clones.

100MBit t in this day and age is not enough for a decent thin client. The difference between 100Mbit and 1GBIt for any of X, VNC or RDP is staggering. 1G is perfectly usable desktop. Not much worse than the real thing for most day-to-day use. 100Mbit... err.. not really...

Similarly, the difference between accessing $HOME (for local applications) over 1G is quite significant. In this day and age there are way too many idiotic apps which constantly scribble over a SQLite backend (example - the whole mozilla family). That is lock, read, write, unlock, reading and updating metadata every time. As a result where 100MBit was more than sufficient for a accessing a home directory 10 years ago, it distinctly sucks today.

So while the beaglebone is a tolerable desktop when taken on its own it sucks royally as a thin client.

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Re: not “plug compatible” in software terms

Good point on the 100mBit thingy - although people these days are spoiled - I remember bla, bla, bla. Anyway I was just going for the 'If you can find a trusted source of software' bit.

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1GHz SD RAM?

does the Banana Pi include RAM? is that just the speed and you need to popurchase the RAM seperately (I did not see a RAM socket)

the capacity should be more useful than the speed, or did the author mean 1GB?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 1GHz SD RAM?

ARM SOCs usually have memory built-in.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 1GHz SD RAM?

"ARM SOCs usually have memory built-in."

Bit of a generalisation there, I'd have said.

You'd probably have been safer to say systems based on ARM SoCs typically don't come with socketed RAM. Or just say nothing.

As I understand it from the literature, Raspberry Pies to date have had an SoC with external RAM, soldered in (piggybacking with the SoC to save space).

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Does 'ARM Holdings based GPU' mean Mali?

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Yes, a Mali 400 GPU. It's Allwinner A20 based just like Cubietruck and Cubieboard 2 or the Olinuxino Boards.

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Interesting little board. I really wanted to use a rpi for a tiny streaming NAS, but without a SATA port it's not doable, and since the pi keeps it's network socket on the USB bus, external USB disks aren't a great solution if you want to get decent speed.

I wonder when we'll see a Raspberry Pi 2... I vaguely recall them mentioning that they wanted to do one a while back.

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Couldn't you do iSCSI?

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Me, I'm rather partial to the Olimex variants (the "Olinuxinos") - much the same hardware (Allwiner chips), but at least there's a legit store, download links, and some github sources (oh, and some on-board LiPo battery support including charging)...

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And interestingly enough, the A20-Olinuxino-lime is down to £27.96 on Ebay inc. delivery - new! Thanks for the tip! It looks like ARM SBC's with SATA onboard are finally coming home to roost towards the £20 mark. I've been waiting for this for a while.

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Colourblind

Is the complaints about it being "for the colourblind" followed by a complaint about the "green" background (when it's clearly yellow in the screenshots) some sort of attempt at irony?

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Re: Colourblind

Looks a banana-ish Mustard Colour. Not green

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Re: Colourblind

It's the colour of an unripe banana that's been stored badly in a supermarket warehouse.

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Re: Colourblind

Clearly an example of improved engine green.

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Thumb Up

Re: Colourblind

Reminds me of the days when I still ran legacy software.

Got so fed up with the regular BSODs that I changed the colours to yellow text on vomit green. Made me feel slightly less sick.

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Re: Colourblind

Upvote for the first Stroudley reference on The Reg

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Boffin

Re: Colourblind

Besides color vision deficiencies, which affect some 8% of males, the appreciation of a colour is highly influenced by the surrounding colours. Here the Banana PI background goes astray. Near the triangle the (R,G,B) values are (210,210,0) - i.e. yellow. The brightness decreases in concentric circles without change in chromacity to (152,153,0).

The lack of colour (chromacity) contrast makes it hard to judge the colour.

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Black Helicopters

Prescient Minecraft User?

I met a Minecraft user called BananaPi a couple of months ago. I wonder if she had insider knowledge?

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Re: Prescient Minecraft User?

"I met a Minecraft user called BananaPi a couple of months ago. I wonder if she had insider knowledge?"

I wonder if she was a she.

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It is a copycat...?

There is a problem with this board (if not many). It is not Raspberry Pi compatible; this is confirmed by the article. It also does not use the same CPU chip as the RPi so any software that needs the firmware of the RPi will not work, not to miss that the code for the RPi firmware is not available

The Raspberry Pi Foundation is opposed to this board, pointing out their trademark rules (http://www.raspberrypi.org/trademark-rules/). As the law stands they have to defend their trademark

Not only that, there are threads on the RPi forum that start with "I can't get XXX working" and end with "I am using a Banana Pi, does this make a difference?". That seems to annoy the regular posters who offer a lot of help. This demonstrates that it is easy to confuse or associate the two. Why didn't they use a different name?

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Benchmarks?

I get that the extra CPU grunt is being used to decode things, but for NAS type work, surely the key issue is I/O? If the SATA port is also on the USB2 bus, then you're going to have the exact problem as the Raspi...

Fortunately a google away puts the combined disk-to-network speed at ~55-60 MB/s read/write, easily out pacing the Raspi's 3-8 MB/s over its shared USB2 bus.

Source (one of many)

Looks like a much more appealing proposition when put in this light...

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Re: Benchmarks?

These are using a completely different SoC than the Raspberry Pi; it has the SATA interface as an integrated peripheral of the SoC, hence the difference in speed.

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Re: Benchmarks?

I orderd one last week as a low power l2tpd server and ill probably chuck arch Linux on it and have it dlna or daap server while I'm at it.

the raspberry pi's sub host is such a limiting feature of the platform.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Looking at the board picture and seeing that Allwinner A20 in the middle, plus reading the spec leads me to conclude that this is not a Raspberry Pi imitation (except in name). It's a Cubieboard 2 imitation. Since working with the Cubieboards has many of the same issues (small, fragmented user community, hard to find software, etc.) there is some consistency between those two The reviewer might give a Cubieboard 2 a spin to compare to the Banana Pi.

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Clarification

The Banana Pi can run the following operating systems:

Raspbian

Android

Lubuntu

Scratch

Fedora

ArchLinux

OpenSuse

Bananian

from http://www.bananapi.com.au/software-download/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: download page => malware?

I followed the link for downloading OpenSuse, and on the 2nd click (still on the lemaker site, on a page filled with GoogleDrive, DropBox, etc links) I got a malware warning from Avast.

Could obviously be false positive, but I can't remember the last time I saw a malware warning anywhere.

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Re: Clarification

For what values of 'run'. For example how many enable hardware acceleration?

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Re: Clarification

With any of the available distros, one important fact is that they are all GNU/Linux distros, despite all the ARM SoC mess.

You might find these kernels interesting. The desktop option supports CedarX video decoding. Not sure about Maili/Lima though.

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"Gigabit Ethernet is also a very welcome edition"

Edition?

Surely you mean Addition?

English FAIL.

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