Consider supporting Ubuntu with BrickPi3

Ubuntu images for Raspberry Pi are available. I am running Ubuntu 18.04 and ROS Melodic on an old Pi 2, and it works fine. Having the same OS on the Pi and the PC where I develop makes for a streamlined and more efficient development environment.

I am now trying to use/port the BrickPi software and Wiring Pi on Ubuntu.

Consider the possibility to support Ubuntu, perhaps on Pi3 and Pi4, in the future.

Using Ubuntu complicates our support quite a bit - which is why we haven’t gone that way till now.

It might be coming to the GoPiGo though, and we’ll see from there if we want to expand it.

Pardon me for chiming in here but (IMHO), messing with Ubuntu is not necessarily a good use of Dexter’s limited resources.

  • Raspbian is still the de facto, (and de jure!), standard for the 'Pi. AFAIAC, if you want to mess with other distros on the 'Pi, go right ahead. Me? I’d rather keep things simple with a tried-and-true distro that’s designed for the Raspberry Pi by the people who know it best.

  • The folks at Dexter have plenty of fish to fry already and (again IMHO), they have enough on their plate without the headache of supporting a totally different distro.

What say ye?

One potential advantage of supporting Ubuntu is that the later RPis are 64 bit, but Raspian is only 32 bit. I think you can squeeze more performance out of a RPi 3 or 4 with the 64 bit RPi Ubuntu.

By how much? Would it make sense for Dexter to support an entirely different distro for some nebulous performance increase?

Now, don’t get me wrong - I think experimenting with other distro’s on the GoPiGo is a great idea - that’s what the 'bot is there for - experiment away and share your successes AND failures so we all learn! Both @cyclicalobsessive and I, (along with many others), do this all the time. (Experimenting, that is, not “respinning distro’s” for the GoPiGo - that’s a horse of an entirely different hue!)

Sometimes there’s Fame and Glory, other times there’s Humiliating Defeat, but there is always the opportunity to learn. And that’s the joy - seeing an experiment FINALLY work out and seeing your 'bot “go where no 'bot has gone before” :wink: Especially after half The Known Universe tells you “it can’t be done!” or “On a 'Pi? Who are YOU kidding?!” The joy of thumbing your nose at all the nay-sayers and telling them “Read 'em and weep!” knows no bounds.

All I’m saying is that - though it’s an excellent idea, and I’d love to see what you can accomplish with that - expecting the folks at Dexter to do the work for you isn’t fair. They already have enough on their plates as it is.

BTW, do you know you can download the Raspbian for Robots code extensions for Raspbian? I know it’s available as a downloadable and installable kit of code. It may also be available in source-code form from GitHub, (they have a LOT of stuff there), and you may be able to cross-compile for Ubuntu.

I don’t know if you will be able to “apt-get” install it as a .deb, you can try and measure the amount of smoke that issues. :wink:

If you do manage to get it compiled-and-working on Ubuntu-for-Raspberry-Pi, I bet they’d love a pull request!

Go try it and let us know what happens. Seriously! I’m curious.

Jim “JR”