Al­pha­bet Pi

David Brid­dock me­an­ders through Rasp­berry Pi tech­nol­ogy from A-to-Z THIS WEEK: we look at what gives the Pi its X-fac­tor

Micro Mart - - Contents -

This time around, we find our­selves at the let­ter X

Xubuntu is ideal for low­er­pow­ered com­put­ers and older com­put­ing hard­ware

XBMC

Ev­ery board in the Rasp­berry Pi fam­ily has enough power to de­liver high-qual­ity XMBC video ex­pe­ri­ence. So it’s no sur­prise there are quite a few XBMC-fo­cussed Pi dis­tri­bu­tion im­ages. Here are three pop­u­lar op­tions.

Raspbmc is a mini-foot­print, Pi-op­ti­mised XBMC dis­tri­bu­tion im­age. A free, open source prod­uct, it han­dles 1080p play­back and sup­ports both wired or wi-fi con­nec­tiv­ity. Ad­vanced Raspbmc ser­vices in­clude con­tent shar­ing, au­to­matic soft­ware up­dates, Air­Play or AirTunes sup­port, em­bed­ded Samba and TVHead­end. In­ci­den­tally, Raspbmc’s de­vel­oper is Sam Nazarko, who pre­vi­ously worked on XBMC and 1080p de­cod­ing for the first gen­er­a­tion Ap­ple TV. Nazarko is also the au­thor of a Raspbmc book ( goo.gl/FQLik).

Fans of the Open Em­bed­ded Linux En­ter­tain­ment Cen­tre (OpenELEC) have a new 3.0 re­lease. It’s a small, fast-boot­ing Linux dis­tro that sup­ports the XBMC stan­dard. The OpenELEC team spent con­sid­er­able time en­sur­ing it de­liv­ers a high-qual­ity user ex­pe­ri­ence on the Rasp­berry Pi plat­form. Find out more on the OpenELEC web­site ( goo.gl/8hj4Q6).

Plex is a plat­form in­de­pen­dent home en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem. RasPlex is a rel­a­tively re­cent port of Plex for the Rasp­berry Pi. This is a work-in-progress devel­op­ment, but there are plans to sup­port all Plex chan­nels. Find out more about RasPlex on the web­site rasplex.com.

Xubuntu

Xubuntu ( xubuntu.org) is a com­mu­nity-de­vel­oped open-source op­er­at­ing sys­tem based on the pop­u­lar Ubuntu Linux dis­tri­bu­tion. Free down­load op­tions in­clude the lat­est devel­op­ment re­lease and a long term sup­port (LTS) ver­sion.

Put to­gether with a fast, light­weight Xfce desk­top en­vi­ron­ment, Xubuntu is ideal for lower-pow­ered com­put­ers and older com­put­ing hard­ware. This means it’s a nat­u­rally at­trac­tive dis­tro for Rasp­berry Pi Model A/A+ and B/B+ own­ers. It’s not nec­es­sar­ily ideal for be­gin­ners, though, as the in­stal­la­tion process is rather more in­volved than it is with NOOBS.

Do you own a pow­er­ful quad-core Pi 2 or Pi 3? Then why not in­stall the full clas­sic Ubuntu 14.04 LTS dis­tri­bu­tion im­age. Dis­cover more, in­clud­ing step-by-step in­stal­la­tion in­struc­tions, at wiki.ubuntu.com/ARM/Rasp­ber­ryPi.

Xojo

Xojo is a pro­fes­sional-level devel­op­ment tool that can cre­ate desk­top apps, web apps and con­sole apps. It’s a cross-plat­form prod­uct that can be down­loaded and in­stalled on a wide range of com­put­ing plat­forms, in­clud­ing the Pi 2 or Pi 3 (xojo.com).

In­ter­est­ingly Xojo uses a pro­pri­etary, ob­ject-ori­ented ver­sion of the clas­sic BA­SIC pro­gram­ming lan­guage, which is also called Xojo. De­vel­op­ers pro­to­type ap­pli­ca­tions us­ing vis­ual com­po­nents and drag-and-drop op­er­a­tions to de­sign the web page lay­out or app user in­ter­face. Then the Xojo lan­guage is used to im­ple­ment the de­sired func­tion­al­ity.

Any­one can down­load and try Xojo for free as a trial. How­ever, once that trial pe­riod ends they’ll have to pay an an­nual fee of $49 ( xojo.com/store/in­dex.php).

XDA Fo­rum

The XDA De­vel­oper Fo­rum is a highly ac­tive com­mu­nity that of­fers free ad­vice re­gard­ing all kinds of PCs, mo­bile de­vices, and bare-bones boards. As this fo­rum also has a ded­i­cated Rasp­berry Pi area ( fo­rum.xda-de­vel­op­ers.com/rasp­berry-pi) it’s a use­ful source of in­for­ma­tion for Pi own­ers.

Apart from gen­eral help top­ics, there are sec­tions cov­er­ing Q&As, trou­bleshoot­ing, and in­for­ma­tion about pop­u­lar Rasp­berry Pi ac­ces­sories along with a wide range of devel­op­ment threads cov­er­ing cod­ing lan­guages, hard­ware projects and dis­tri­bu­tion im­ages.

Xojo

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