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Canonical Helps Launch A Snap Store For The Orange Pi Community ( 55

"Developers can distribute their applications packaged as snaps to Orange Pi owners," explains a new blog post from Canonical, bragging that "hackers and tinkerers can install complex IoT and server projects in seconds." An anonymous reader quotes Ubuntu's Insights blog: Orange Pi maker Shenzhen Xunlong Software Co. Ltd is launching an app store in partnership with Canonical to foster an active community of developers and users. Through this app store, developers gain a simple mechanism to share their applications, projects and scripts between themselves and with the wider Orange Pi community...

With snaps developers can distribute their application in a secure, confined package bundled with all its dependencies, so users can install applications that could take half an hour to install in just a few seconds. The Orange Pi App Store uses the whitelabel app store offering from Canonical, which lets them distribute applications to the Orange Pi community under its own brand. The store is a place for developers to share their Orange Pi specific applications. It also benefits from the wealth of applications available in the Ubuntu snap store, also available through the store.

Are there any Slashdot readers who are actually using snaps? Or -- for that matter -- are there any Slashdot readers developing with the Orange Pi?
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Canonical Helps Launch A Snap Store For The Orange Pi Community

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Done many things with the Orange Pis. If you use Armbian or buildroot they are nice devices. Do not use the official OS images, they have serious problems (some are so bad that simply nothing happens when you try to boot).

    • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      This is what leads me to avoid these fly by night boards. They have virtually no support.

  • by codeButcher ( 223668 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @04:50AM (#54071959)

    I recently picked up an Orange Pi Zero due mainly to price and availability, just to tinker with. After some initial struggles I got Armbian running on it and some other basic software - the Java Dev Kit and Tomcat to be specific, although once you have some sort of Linux box (Windows also available) you can obviously set it up in whatever way you like.

    While competing mainly with the Raspberry Pi "ecosystem", the Orange Pi "ecosystem" lacks a lot in terms of support (official and community). Official support is all but nonexisting - needs a lot of googling and trial&error to find the right pin outs, ampere requirements, where to find (working) OS and other packages, etc. etc. etc. (in unambiguous, complete and standard English). In short, not really hitting the mark for a cheap system where a complete noob can learn about computers and programming easily. At least Raspberry has some momentum behind it in that regard.

    Both the Raspberry and Orange Pi user communities have a lot of potential to spew ill-informed "help" by users with more enthusiasm than knowledge - the RPi community being so much larger.

    Can't really comment on the quality of the hardware. My sample size of one, with only anecdotal testing, seems to run along fine - so far. I'm still in two minds if I would continue with the Orange Pi if I wanted to develop some more serious (semi-commercial) IoT device on it.

    • Can't really comment on the quality of the hardware

      I have a few of these (just purchased a couple of OPi-lite) and they seem to be just as good, hardware-wise, as the Raspberry. I also have a few NanoPi Neo's and the same applies to them.

      If either of these two suppliers had software and the support for it, that matched the build quality of their hardware, they would be right up there with the RPi in terms of adoption, popularity and units sold. That is the RPi's only real advantage: its community of volunteers and the ecosystem those volunteers have built

      • I recently purchased a few rpi 3 for myself and a couple friends and before we bought them we looked at the banana/orange pi and odroid they had a little better specs but the rpi community is what sold us.

        I'm glad we chose the rpi because each problem we ran into and there were a couple all it took was quick look on the rpi forum and I was able to find the fix immediately.


    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bluelip ( 123578 )

      There is one Raspberry Pi in my house. It just sits there being lonely. The 13 orange Pi devices, mostly Ones, are having the most fun. The most recent is streaming video and running the Octoprint frontend. The 2e is a take on the road to tinker during down time board.

      There hasn't been a bit of trouble using the Armbian distro. Do keep away, or at least be cautious, of the "Official" images. They were piling heaps of dung when I first looked at the Oranges. Google will have your issues sorted out in a few s

  • by hughbar ( 579555 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @04:57AM (#54071975) Homepage
    To declare interest, I'm a big Raspberry Pi fan and user.

    However, I see this as another attempt to build a walled garden (small wall, admittedly) by creating 'snaps'. I'm not sure how these will differ from Debian packages, for example and Debian packaging is arguably more 'universal'. I currently use Ubuntu Mate on Pi3 and it's pretty good. But, unhappily, I'm now going to start watching Canonical for signs that it wishes to be the Microsoft of Linux.

    For complex, autonomous applications (as opposed to apps, whatever they are, only joking before someone tells me) easier just to supply a complete image, anyway, like some of the media centre offerings.
    • by fisted ( 2295862 )

      Debian packaging is arguably more 'universal'

      Debian packaging is infinitely inferior since snaps ship their dependencies (or so I think anyway). Isn't that great?

      • by Threni ( 635302 )

        Yeah, sometimes you don't want to have to google apt-get, apt, dpkg etc. Sometimes you just want to install a fucking piece of software. That is, copy files from the download folder into some other folder so you can run them. I have no idea why handling dependencies is such a pain in the ass that involves needing to understand several tools. Sometimes the best answer to "it's always been that way" is "well, do it a newer, better way then".

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          "copy files from the download folder into some other folder so you can run them."

          No. You really don't.

          Having said that debian seems to have lost control over what constitutes a suggest, recommend and depend (on purpose) so it's packaging system becomes pretty useless without repackaging. (thanks for that guys)

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Goaway ( 82658 )

            Some of us get to have that every single day on our OS, and the sky has not fallen on us yet. In fact, it works great.

            So yes. Yes, we do really, really want that. We have tried it, it works, it's much nicer, and we want it.

        • by fisted ( 2295862 )

          FWIW my comment was tongue-in-cheek.

        • You are a lamer: a dependency managing package manager is infinitely better than a monolithic package/image/container

      • by _merlin ( 160982 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @09:14AM (#54072619) Homepage Journal

        Yeah, so instead of patching your system-wide copy of OpenSSL for the next heartbleed, you get to patch the copy embedded in every snap. Isn't that fantastic?

    • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @06:00AM (#54072091)

      How is it a walled garden any more than apt or rpm. It's open source, it's not limited to one distribution, it's not curated, and the only requirement for a snap is that the developer of a program releases it in snap format.

      Just because it came from canonical doesn't make it instantly bad.

      • by hughbar ( 579555 )
        Yes, you may be right and, in many ways, I hope so. However, even in this case, it's yet another sotfware distribution mechanism (YASDM !), when we have (as you say) apt, rpm etc. and they work pretty well.

        The 'app store' part, whilst terribly modern and trendy makes me feel cynical and suspicious though. Also, the (what I call) the pharmacology, how do all these things mix together, or not?
        • However, even in this case, it's yet another sotfware distribution mechanism (YASDM !), when we have (as you say) apt, rpm etc. and they work pretty well.

          That's like saying Wind power is yet another power generation system when we have coal which works pretty well. The reality is one system is designed to address the shortcomings of another.

          Snap will never replace the fundamental distribution of packages in a system.
          Likewise apt and rpm is a special kind of horrid hell for anyone trying to do anything outside of a sanctioned, compatible and well maintained repository of a system. This in itself introduces delays in shipping software as incompatibilities betw

      • The major apt and rpm providers publish all their source code, and their build environments. Being "Open source" is no guarantee that the developer's tools or the build tools will be available for developers. Such tools are often the "secret sauce" that some providers use to keep the gates closed to their walled gardens. AWS Linux, for example, is doing so quite effectively, even though their Linux is built from RHEL. RHEL _is_ very good about making their full toolkits and build tools accessible to develo

  • What's the point? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gaygirlie ( 1657131 ) <[moc.liamtoh] [ta] [eilrigyag]> on Monday March 20, 2017 @07:00AM (#54072205) Homepage

    The official Orange Pi - images are total fucking crapshoot, being so bad they make even your mum's cameltoe look appealing in comparison! It's not the availability of apps that is the problem, it's the support for the boards and all of their features, including Mali-drivers, or the closed, undocumented WiFi-chips, and so on that is the problem! Xunlong ain't doing shit to help get drivers mainlined in the kernel, they just produce a shitty image that barely boots and then hope the community will do all the hard work for them.

    So, what's the point with these "snaps?" How do they make the situation any better? Oh, they don't? Weeellll...

  • I have two OrangePiLite's, have tried many distros, including the ones on the OrangePi website. The only built in network connection is the wifi, and it works on precisely zero of the distros I tried.

    A distro where the wifi actually works, and where dragged windows don't sporadically vanish would be welcome.

    • it works on precisely zero of the distros I tried

      Yesterday I d/l'd Armbian Jessie (v 5.25). Installed it on a good quality micro-SD card. Connected the board to a good quality power supply and it came up first time and every time since then.

      Almost all the problems with these boards are due to lousy power supplies and the rest seem to be due to crappy SD cards. But I do agree: all the distros seem to be stuck on 2 or 3 year-old software, with little support or interest from the suppliers. If all the wannabe *-Pi manufacturers invested time and effort int

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I started using an Orange Pi Plus 2 for a project I was working on several months ago and have been using it as main computer ever since. In fact, I'm writing this post right now using it :).

    It's not quite as fast as a laptop, but for my purposes (text editing in vim, schematic layout with Kicad, 2D CAD drawing with librecad, controlling a server with ssh, and looking up documentation on the internet with Firefox running Ublock Origin) it works quite well.

    The big advantage of single-board computers like the

  • Does every snap package load only its own libraries increasing ram usage? And then multiple versions of libraries you can't individually update may have flaws and exploits that you have to rely on someone to update the snap package every time one of the components is updated?

  • by MountainLogic ( 92466 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @03:28PM (#54076317) Homepage
    ...Can we please not use Linux and IoT in the same sentence. Linux is a wonderful OS. Most IoT devices are a world apart from what Linux needs to live. Most IoT devices are limited to 8k or 16k. That was not a typo - EIGHT KILOBYTES! Even if these little devices have an ARM M0/3, they do not have a memory manager. Many IoT devices have real time requirements and as blazing fast as Linux may be, it was just not architected to meet hard real requirements. Real world, mass produced product are under such extreme cost and/or battery constraints that pennies matter when selling at Home Depot or Target against $13 alternatives. Real world product have to live with one little processor to run the entire RF stack (BLE, etc) AND run the application, all of this in say 8k. Sure, there are exceptions such as smart phones, but how many millions of people are going to pay $800 for a thermostat (a few nest customers excepted).
    /Rant Mode off
    There is certainly a place for tiny Linux based computers in IoT home projects and as mini PCs and servers, as Orange Pi's home pages suggest. They are an amazing amount of technology for the money, just not scaleable.
  • They're faster than comparable Raspberry Pi units since they don't put all their peripherals through a slow, shared USB 2.0 bus. There's also more variety in the different boards, some of which have working WiFi/BlueTooth and on-board flash memory. There are several tiny versions of the board, too, including a SODIMM one with peripheral board and very tiny versions with ethernet and I/O ports on it.

    There are already two 64-bit boards that actually run in 64-bit, unlike the Raspberry Pi 3.

    Unfortunately, un