[Live-demo] Teaching Spatial Programming - Raspberry Pi

Oliver Tonnhofer olt at omniscale.de
Thu May 31 23:28:00 PDT 2012

On 31.05.2012, at 23:12, Cameron Shorter wrote:
> The challenge will be the size of RAM. Up to version 5.0, we ran OSGeo-Live with 512 Meg of RAM, but with version 5.5 we discovered that some of the Java applications required more RAM, and we recommend at least 768 Meg RAM, and preferably 1 Gig.
> The problem will be all the java based applications, which are RAM intensive.

This thing is also really slow – they compare the power to an 300MHz Pentium II. The GPU is quite powerful, it can decode HD video and supports OpenGL ES, but using it to check a webmail account feels sluggish when you are used to faster hardware.

> You could potentially run OSGeo-Live, without invoking the java based applications and there are a C based applications for most, if not all the tasks you would likely to be teaching.
> You could test this be running OSGeo-Live in a Virtual Machine, and limiting the size of the RAM in the Virtual Machine to 256 Meg of RAM.
> You can see approximate RAM usage, and core language for many of our applications in the following spreadsheet:
> https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Al9zh8DjmU_RdGIzd0VLLTBpQVJuNVlHMlBWSDhKLXc#gid=13

As others have already said, the Raspberry Pi uses a different hardware architecture, so it won't run the Live DVD without recompilation. The architecture is called armel on Debian and you can search for available binary packages:

There are packages for Mapserver, GEOS, GDAL/OGR, PostGIS, QGIS, ...

> OSGeo-Live is based upon Xubuntu (which is a small version of Ubuntu), and I note from the faq that Ubuntu is not supported by Ubuntu. That might be a problem.

Ubuntu does only target more recent ARM CPUs (think x368, x468, Pentium…). 

> What you may need to do is start with a Debian Squeeze distribution, then execute the OSGeo-Live build process, probably with a few tweaks, to build a custom OSGeo-Live. In this process, you might also only select applications which will run within the 256 Meg limit.

That should work at least for all projects that use official packages and have these packages also available on Ubuntu. Mapserver should work for example.


Oliver Tonnhofer    | Omniscale GmbH & Co KG    | http://omniscale.de
http://mapproxy.org | https://bitbucket.org/olt | @oltonn

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