Can the MSS be built on a Raspberry Pi or can a RPi be used as a client system?
Yes, surely, it can be built as Raspberry Pi is a wonderful platform which is a hacker's dream come true and virtually anything is achievable and on a daily basis new limits are being set.
But when it comes to deciding hardware for the MSS we think it is only possible to create an experimental version on the RPi for the following reasons -
- The Raspberry Pi Hardware becomes obsolete very quickly with new advances and hardware releases, hence no new stable OS supports old boards for long term, thus leaving you with unsupported hardware very soon. Even big distributions struggle to get their new releases working on all Pi variants.
- There is severe lack of availability of all educational software that makes the MSS so useful and there is even less motivation to build the software for something that keeps on changing very rapidly.
- Performance is not as reliable and powerful as one would expect for unpredictable and varying desktop computing loads.
- Setup and maintenance is complicated and requires deep technical know-how of the hardware build, thus making it good only for specialised tasks and requires specialised technicians, thus making it akin to a proprietary product. This is detrimental to the scaling and equitable expansion requirements of solving the educational crisis.
- The Raspberry Pi runs the
entire operating system from a micro-SD card (which is one of the
reasons it’s slow), and the SD card does eventually wear out than most other currently used storage media.
- If large data storage on HDD/SSD is a requirement then, yes it is possible, but with complicated hacks and add-ons which will also result in cost escalations.
- RAM is limited to 1 GB, thus limiting its usage contexts as far as a school's ICT infrastructure is concerned, at least as envisioned by the MSS team.
- Ethernet speeds are limited or require hacks/add-ons to extract the full potential which will prove a bottleneck and also result in cost escalations.
Just to clarify that complications related to the RPi make it very useful as a learning device to learn how hardware and different components of OS such as the kernel and user space function, but not as a ready made product for the end user till someone from the community comes up with a viable OS image that can be deployed on SSD/HDD for everyday use and for the long term.
Hence, though it is an excellent platform for tinkering and for deeply specialised IoT products and applications, it is not yet which can replace production grade server or desktop computing.
* All above information is based on data about the Raspberry Pi available on this article's publishing date.
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Isn't this the same old thin-client technology?
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