Your thoughts on the future of Raspberry Pi as a LE platforrm

  • In 2022 it has been difficult if not impossible to buy a Raspberry Pi 4 (or even 3) at RRP. My supplier is showing a lead time of 30/10/2023

    Most of the reasons are well-known - global chip shortage, etc. Some reasons are less-well known or speculative. But they point to a turbulent company and uncertain future as far as hobbyist customers are concerned.

    All good things must come to an end, perhaps Pi4 is the final Raspberry Pi platform with large Kodi userbase. If a Raspberry Pi 5 launches in this enviroment, and it is impossible to buy, I cannot imagine developers wasting time to support it when the future is so uncertain.

    What are your thoughts on the future of Raspberry Pi as a Kodi/LibreElec platform?

  • Remember what the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s aims and aspirations were from the outset, availability and affordability of computing for all. Clearly that objective has changed somewhat and that coupled with the proliferation of alternative single board computers from other manufacturers you may well not see an RPI5. I imagine they will concentrate more on project building from an educational perspective and producing boards accordingly. Items like kits and the Pico. Remember the introduction of the original RPI had unintended consequences in that the demand from industry outstripped the demand from the education sector.

  • A lot of new SBCs are being relesed to the market recently. Most of them are much more powerful than RPI (in terms of hardware). But none of them have the popularity and software support that RPI has. You can buy yourself a much more powerful arm sbc, but in the end it might suffer performance/compatibility problems because of the lack of support. The new brands try to benefit from the scarcity of RPI boards due to chip shortage and release their own versions of similar hardware to the market lately. I am seeing a lot of new SBC reviews on youtube. Most of them are praised but only because they can run linux/android well (which can only be downloaded from their own websites) and open a youtube video in 1080p. Now don't get me wrong, i am relatively old, and seeing a 50 usd device do all these things is still amazing to me, however, without dedicated developer support, you wouldn't want to put your bets on those relatively more powerful devices just because they have more juice than RPI has. Third party developer support is everything. This is the kind of power that can turn a brick into a relatively powerful computer. SBC market is getting more and more saturated recently. I don't know if that is a good thing or bad. Debatable.

  • *THE* thing that differentiaes RPi in the ARM/SBC world is the software ecosystem around the boards. Users (of all kinds) can achieve more with average hardware that is excellently supported, than with excellent hardware that is averagely supported. As a general rule, no other SoC manufacturer 'gets' this, and while some SBC vendors do an okay job with better than average support, it's only better than average and not the A1++ support in the RPi ecosystem. The x86_64 world has similar levels of support, but generally with a higher price tag.

    NB: RPi Trading (the for-profit bit that raises funds to the non-profit Foundation) openly recognises that their primary audience these days is more interested in industrial use than education or the hobbyist sector, although things like Home Automation (and Kodi) are still strong; but nowhere near the percentage they were a few years ago. So RPi4 is already more industry friendly than previous generations and I would expect RPi5 to continue that trend. There is still a strong desire to hit the $35 price-point (or the principles behind it) but it's just not possible in the current screwed-up supply-chain post-covid ukraine-war world.

    Despite the current short-supply.. I would expect RPi boards to continue being the best supported devices in our line-up.

  • You can forget about 35 bucks :) Global economy wil only get worse. Even China is collapsing. We haven't seen the worst of it yet. But it is coming. Prices will continue to rise in 2023. Countries like USA and UK have strong currencies so they probably will feel it less but developing countries like my own "Turkey" are already receiving big blows. Now, even a couple dollars mean a whole lotta money for poor countries like ours. The currency gap is getting larger and larger. Here is our currency graph for the last couple years:

  • Countries like USA and UK have strong currencies so they probably will feel it less but developing countries like my own "Turkey" are already receiving big blows.

    Ahh, being in the US haven't considered this. But noticing a lot more posts on r/homelab on reddit about the prices of Raspberry Pi 4 and whether it is worth using for homelabs. I primarily just use it as a media device w/ LE on it, and use my x86_64 box for everything else -- but I guess people like to use them for "server" things which perplexes me.

    Can a Pi be used to run a NAS? Sure, but why? Buy an LSI PCI card and you have 8 PCIe lanes, one for each SATA device, maximum bandwidth to saturate the SATA link.

    IIRC, USB 3 on a Pi 4 is shared or constrained, so you don't get the full bandwidth -- could be wrong. I know the internal Wi-Fi is constrained by the SDIO bus. All things done to hit a price point and is honestly adequate for most basic users. So the whole NAS thing with Pi's really baffles me.

    I guess the rambling point I was making is they are excellent devices for LE. Compact, fanless, does the job, really perfect in my book.

  • The majority of users always go looking for something cheap, and they encounter a ton of friendly and easy to follow online articles about building a (historically, given current pricing) cheap RPi based NAS vs. buying some expensive pre-built NAS box .. so that's what they do.

    I personally value the million man-hours of evolution and development that Synology have in their latest box vs. me with a NAS-oriented or NAS-specific distro and an arguably above average knowledge of hardware. I also value not needing to think about it much too; so I'm firmly in the "if you want a NAS box, get a NAS box" camp :)

  • After trying for a few weeks to build anything useful off the amlogic-based AndroidTV boxes all I can say is avoid them like the plague.

    The only decent experience I had was a Chinese SBC manufacturer called Khadas, who have some fairly well supported products (avoid the vim1 though!)

    The Rpi4 has probably the best mainline linux support you'll find anywhere. I have high hopes for the new Rockchip flagship, but Rockchip are still very behind on getting things into good shape. "real" hardware decoder support for the older line of their CPU's only really landed in 6.1 RC1 and as for encoders? well they have JPEG encoding working.. that's about it.

    If you want to run a NAS you could look at Odroid boxes, they do have advantages in coming with an M2 slot and a SATA port. But honestly for a NAS just do what chewitt said, and buy one. Or if you hate yourself buy a 4U chassis off of ebay, spend thousands on hard drives and learn how to use gluster, ceph, proxmox, or if you're truly diabolical truenas or something similar. Then be prepared to kick yourself when you lose all your data. Big, steep learning curve there.

  • Honestly, I'd just reiterate that pre-built/dedicated NAS's (NASI?) are the way to go.

    I've owned a Synology DS416slim for years now (and now packed with 4x1TB SSD's) and I've had absolutely no trouble at all with it.