Raspberry Pi Fedora Remix FAQ
From Open Source@Seneca
What is the Raspberry Pi Fedora Remix?
The Raspberry Pi Fedora Remix is a software distribution based upon the Fedora ARM secondary architecture project, which in turn is a part of the Fedora Project. It includes some software which cannot be included in Fedora because it is not licensed under any of the licenses approved by the Open Source Initiative.
The Remix was produced by the Seneca Centre for Development of Open Technology in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
How big is the Remix?
The Raspberry Pi Fedora Remix 14 is about 1.6GB, so it fits comfortably on a 2GB SD card with a few hundred MB available, though you may want a larger card to leave more room for extra programs or for data. There is a lot of software available for the Remix that isn't in the initial card image -- you can add and remove software to get exactly the combination you want.
The compressed image is a little under 600 MB - about the size of a CD.
What's in the Remix?
The Remix package set was selected to provide a good selection of packages for both graphical and non-graphical operation, while providing a manageable download size and installing onto a 2GB SD card. Here are some highlights of the applications included in RPFR14:
- Desktop GUI environments
- GUI applications
- Gedit with syntax highlighting and plugins (terminal, python console, file manager, etc)
- Graphical file manager
- Tools to add/remove and update software
- System administration tools
- Command-line applications
- Yum to add/remove and update software
- Utilities such as wget, curl, units
- System administration tools
- Scripting languages
- basic (brandy)
- System services
- sshd - remote access
- cron - scheduled tasks
- cups - printing
Other software can be easily added or removed using the graphical (gnome-packagekit) or command-line (yum) tools.
Why is the Remix slow?
The GUI in particular is slow, because the 2D graphics (the X Window System) are not yet connected to the 3D graphics processing unit on the SOC.
General tips for performance:
- Work with only one app at a time. Viewing the Raspberry Pi's output on a large, high-definition display invites running many applications at once, but the Raspberry Pi does not have a lot of memory.
- Consider adding swap space -- though the jury is still out on the value of swapping to an SD card.
- Use apps that have the same look and feel. It's more likely that these programs will use the same graphical toolkit (for example, GTK3 or Qt4), reducing the amount of memory used for shared libraries.
- Try alternate apps that provide similar functionality - See Raspberry Pi Fedora Remix 14 - Suggested Packages.
Where's the app for ...?
There are 16,000 software packages in the repositories, so it's probably there -- see the notes on adding and removing software.
If you don't find what you need, it might be hiding under a different name (search diligently, and ask the community!), or it might not work on ARM systems (yet), or it might not be packaged for Fedora. (You could consider packaging it for Fedora, or asking the community to package it for you.)
Where are the C and C++ compilers, development tools, and libraries?
They take about 600M of space, so they aren't included in the initial image (although perl, python, ruby, bash, and basic (brandy) are included). This command will install the entire basic development environment:
yum groupinstall "Development Tools" "Development Libraries"
What does the term "Fedora Remix" mean?
The term Fedora Remix has a special meaning within the Fedora Project: it denotes a custom distribution of packages from the Fedora Project, optionally including packages which cannot be included in the main Fedora distribution because of licensing or other issues. In the case of the Raspberry Pi Fedora Remix, the proprietary software provided by the Raspberry Pi Foundation and the SOC vendor Broadcom cannot be included directly in Fedora.
In a practical sense, the Fedora Remix accesses software package repositories from the Fedora ARM project as well as a set of repositories specific to the Raspberry Pi, which are manged by Seneca. The Remix images are built from these repositories, and they are also accessed by yum for package update/installation/removal.
A Fedora Remix may use the Secondary Mark, a trademark for identifying remixes. We have obtained permission to modify the colour of the lozenge in the Secondary Mark to match the maroon colour in the Raspberry Pi logo.
What version of Fedora provided the packages for the Raspberry Pi Fedora Remix?
Each Raspberry Pi Fedora Remix is numbered to match the corresponding Fedora release. Thus, the Raspberry Pi Fedora Remix 14 contains packages from Fedora 14.
What are the Future Plans for the Raspberry Pi Fedora Remix?
The future of the Remix is closely tied to the plans of the Fedora ARM project. By the release of Fedora 20 in November 2013, the ARM architecture will hopefully be promoted to Primary Architecture status, meaning that the ARM release will be done in lock-step with the x86 PC release.
A group of students in the Seneca SBR600 class has worked to polish the Remix for the F17/F18 releases. This work is being carried forward by the Fedora-ARM research group at Seneca. The RPFR17 test images are currently available, with a final release expected in October 2012. A further-optimized RPFR18 release is planned for December 2012.
The number of packages in the Raspberry Pi-specific repositories is expected to diminish over time -- by the time that Fedora 19 is released (May 2012), the Raspberry Pi repositories should hopefully contain mot much more than the VideoCore libraries and headers. (If these were ever to become licensed these under an OSI-approved license then the need for a Remix will be eliminated, and the Raspberry Pi could be directly supported as a Fedora target).
Can I Remix the Remix?
Sure! That's part of the beauty of Open Source.
(Just be sure you respect all of the license terms applicable to the various packages, such as making the source code available, as well as the Secondary Mark requirements).
The Remix doesn't configure swap space. How can I add it?
See the notes on adding swap.
How do I access the sample source code for the Raspberry Pi and build the multimedia demo programs?
Where can I get the latest compose script for the Raspberry Pi?
Latest compose script compose script
How/where can I get help with the Remix?
See Getting Help.
How can I get involved?
Getting involved in the Fedora ARM project
We'd love to have your help! See http://join.fedoraproject.org and the mailing lists and IRC channels listed under Raspberry_Pi_Fedora_Remix#Getting_Help Getting Help.
There is one area that stands out as needing particular attention: making the multimedia capabilities of the Raspberry Pi accessible through standard interfaces, particularly:
- GPU access via X11 (accelerated X)
- OpenGL via glx
If you are an audio/X/GL developer and can help out in these area, please jump in! We need to expose the Raspberry Pi's hardware capabilities via standard interfaces as early in the Raspberry Pi ecosystem growth cycle as possible to avoid excessive forking of projects to create versions locked to the (current) Raspberry Pi implementation -- which is not scalable in the long run.