Raspberry Pi Zero

[2020/12]

What other computer system consumes no more than 1 watt of power and costs $~10?

Though not its intended purpose, RPI0 is way too slow as a desktop computer. RPI0 is fast enough to run GUI, but then most complex programs will run tortuously slow. Some programs ran faster on 25Mhz 80486. A few programs do run fast enough, similar programs don't. Lack of L1 cache is what mainly cripples RPI0 apparently.

ARM once had a reputation for being sleek and efficient. But ARM tossed some junk into RPI0's ARM:

/proc/cpuinfo:
processor   : 0
model name  : ARMv6-compatible processor rev 7 (v6l)
BogoMIPS    : 797.66
Features    : half thumb fastmult vfp edsp java tls 
                                           ^^^^ JUNK

alternative operating-systems

[2021/04,2022/01]

This is a list of alternatives, perhaps worth considering, but stopping short of any recommendations.

Void Linux

Void Linux offers installers specific to RPI1...RPI4, and is not infected with systemd virus.

Gentoo

Gentoo begins as minimal OS, but problem for RPI will be its slowness compiling all that source code in Gentoo ports.

NetBSD

NetBSD 10 has almost all RPI device-drivers.

FreeBSD

FreeBSD 13 has some device-drivers, but lacks wireless. FreeBSD has elevated RPI to 'Tier 1' status (meaning complete support).

Haiku (BeOS clone)

Haiku is worth watching, its developers have begun porting to RPI. (More about BeOS/Haiku.)


benchmarks

Speed of compiling GNU Emacs

[2021/05]

Not equal comparisons. Variously compiled Emacs versions 24..27 (Mac Mini G4 limited to Emacs-24). Emacs usually was compiled in temp RAM on systems having sufficient ample memory.

  ~40 sec          PC Intel Goldmont+ J5005 SoC, 2.8Ghz, 4 cores (make -j4)
  ~80 sec          PC Intel Core 2 Duo, 2.2Ghz, 2 cores (make -j2)
 ~105 sec  unfair  PC Intel Goldmont+ J5005 SoC, 2.8Ghz, 4 cores (make -j1)
 ~115 sec          PC AMD64X2 2.2Ghz, 2 cores (make -j2)
 ~194 sec          Raspberry Pi 3B+, 1.4Ghz ARMv8, 4 cores (make -j4, running in 32-bit ARMv7 mode, compiled on temp RAM)
 ~213 sec          Raspberry Pi 3B+, 1.4Ghz ARMv8, 4 cores (make -j4, running in 32-bit ARMv7 mode, compiled on SDCARD)
 ~390 sec          Mac Mini PowerPC G4 7450 1.33Ghz (make -j1, compiled on mechanical disk-drive)
 ~423 sec  unfair  Raspberry Pi 3B+, 1.4Ghz ARMv8, 4 cores (make -j1, running in 32-bit ARMv7 mode, compiled on temp RAM)
 ~470 sec  unfair  Mac Mini PowerPC G4 7450 1.33Ghz (make -j1, compiled on USB1 memory)
 2613 sec          Raspberry Pi Zero W, 1Ghz 32-bit ARMv6, 1 core (make -j1)

predictions

[2021/05]

RPI Foundation will become (or already is) a major manufacturer of computers. Buying a Raspberry Pi is the easiest way to get a UNIX system that has all necessary device drivers. Whenever RPI Foundation begins making RPI notebooks, predict RPIs will be sold in physical stores across America and elsewhere (like Commodores were).