Raspberry Pi with the My sCool Server

Can the MSS be built on a Raspberry Pi or can a RPi be used as a client system?

Yes, surely, the My sCool Server can be built on a Raspberry Pi. It 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.

The MSS 2.0 platform now supports the use of the Raspberry Pi 4B and Raspberry Pi 400 as client nodes.

However, there are a few caveats when trying to use the RPi as a server or any of the older versions of the RPi as a client. Herein are a few that we discovered while trying to work with the RPi versions prior to 4B -
  1. The Raspberry Pi hardware used to become obsolete very quickly with new advances and hardware releases, hence no new stable OS supported old boards for long term, thus leaving one with unsupported hardware very soon. Even big distributions struggle to get their new releases working on all Pi variants.

  2. There was 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.

  3. Performance was not as reliable and powerful as one would expect for unpredictable and varying desktop computing loads.

  4. Setup and maintenance was complicated and required deep technical know-how of the hardware build, thus making it good only for specialised tasks. This was detrimental to the scaling and equitable expansion requirements of solving the the digital divide crisis and its impact on education.

  5. The Raspberry Pi only ran the entire operating system from a micro-SD card (which was one of the reasons for it’s slowness), and the SD card does  wear out more quickly than other currently prevalent storage media.

  6. If large data storage on HDD/SSD is a requirement then it was possible only with complicated hacks and add-ons which will also resulted in cost escalations.

  7. RAM was limited to 1 GB or 2 GB, thus limiting its usage contexts as far as a school's ICT infrastructure and curricular demands are concerned.

  8. Ethernet port speeds were limited or required hacks and/or add-ons to extract the full potential. This proved a bottleneck and also resulted in cost escalations.
To give its due, complications related to the RPi made it very useful as a learning and tinkering device to help learn how hardware and different components of software interact, but was not ready for end user desktop computing till until the release of RPi 4B and community supported Linux operating system images were not available.

* All above information is based on data about the Raspberry Pi available on this article's publishing date.
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