|The serial terminal in action|
It was also encouraging to see a discussion of the Pi's application in education. How to capture the excitement of a huge bunch of kids when you only have a lunch hour to do it in. I realised at that point that I must have been an unusually geeky teen, having saved up my 30 quid for a second hand ZX81 I needed no such encouragement to get stuck in.
|RiscOS blowing raspberries.|
I brought along two demonstrations to the meeting. The first was a shameless use of the Pi as an appliance, a DarkELEC image. This is an OpenELEC fork that includes all the clients for UK TV-on-demand services such as BBC iPlayer and 4OD. It's an impressive distribution in that it delivers very good performance from the Pi, and a stunning picture on the Electrocomponents meeting room TV. I must have made copies of the SD card for most people in the room.
DarkELEC might seem a frivolous use of the Pi to some, but I think such appliance distributions are important. They mean more Pis will be used rather than lie forgotten on experimenters desks, and they provide a handle to gain the interest of young people in their Pi, making it more than just a geeky toy.
|Yes, that's Internet Explorer 3. Best viewed in...|
Anyway, a few tech details. Bochs is in the Debian repository, so a simple apt-get installed it. I installed Windows 95 from the CD that came with a laptop in the '90s to a 100Mb Bochs hard disk image on my desktop PC and transferred it to the Pi on a USB disk. The Pi has no CD-ROM drive and I didn't fancy trying to extract the ISO file to do the task. I used the X-windows Bochs display library, so the Debian desktop was always present in the background of the Windows 95 session. A much faster result could probably have been achieved had I compiled the SVGAlib package and run it without X, but this was more a demonstration for the laughs than practicality. As I said, "You've seen an open OS on your Pi, now here's a wide-open one!".
So that was it. Another Oxford Raspberry Pi meeting. I look forward to seeing you at the next one.