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Raspberry Pi 3B

Jim Carter, 2018-02-06

For computers I have two roles for audio-video playback, and one for light duty code development display, basically a thin client for my desktop. For these machines I want low power and easy maintenance, meaning that I want to use my existing distro, OpenSuSE, and existing system administration tools.

The Raspberry Pi seemed to be an ideal choice for these roles: unbeatable price, low power, and a lot of users who are getting good use from them, not only students learning programming and hardware integration, but for precisely the thin client and audio-video performance roles that I'm looking for. And OpenSuSE has exploded into supporting ARM processors; it has a normal distro repository for aarch64 (64bit ARM) including RPi-specific support packages, among other hardware.

However, it seemed that everything that was normal and simple on an Intel processor and motherboard, such as plugging in a USB hub, turned into a week or more of frustration. Although I got one of the playback nodes performing music reliably for a while, the other goals were not met, and when the music stopped, so did the Raspberry Pi's place on my net.

I'm fairly sure that there is no fault in the RPi hardware, and specifically, one of the drivers, probably graphics, is to blame. Likely in a year or two I can take the RPi's out of storage and I'll find that they perform much better. But until then they are relegated to the cold palace.

Update in 2020-01-30: The graphics issue is no longer seen, while vigorously testing a variety of web browsers. I'm returning one of the RPi's to the desktop role, under the name Holly.


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