Anyone running an X-client on Pi?

I'm just starting to investigate how to set up a Raspberry Pi (should I
buy one).
I read that running the GUI on the Pi is slow because the X system is not
optimised for the graphics chip and uses the main processor instead.
From my ancient knowledge of X you should have two components - the X-
Client (which is the program doing the work) and the X-Server (which is
the system hosting the graphical display).
So the Pi seems ideal to run as an X-Client with an X-Server on a Windows
or Linux (or whatever) system with much greater graphics capability.
This avoids the need for the Pi to do any graphics processing (unless, of
course, you are using the Pi as a media player attached to a TV).
So - are people running this configuration?
It seems a good option for e.g. a headless audio streamer.
I haven't been able to find a discussion in this NG.
Cheers
Dave R
Reply to
David.WE.Roberts
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Purely for testing, I once ran PuTTY/Xming on the Windows PC talking across Ethernet to a RPi, and it worked. Mentioned briefly here:
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Software:
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Cheers, David
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David 
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Reply to
David Taylor
This is what happens all the time when you ssh into pi using ssh -X, no Problem at all. There are two potential factors which will make this slow:
The rather slow remote-x11 protocoll and the rather slow network connection.
So depending on what you want to Do you might be better off using xrdp instead.
Regards
Sven
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Reply to
Sven Geggus
This is mentioned in the recent announcement of Pidora (RedHat's Fedora distro ported to the RPi). They specifically say that, as the X-server port doesn't (yet) use the GPU, any complex graphics might be best handled by running RPI headless and using X11forwarding so your local Xserver handles the display. Pidora explicitly supports configuring an install for headless operation: I'm uncertain whether this is part of the standard Raspbian version of Debian, though there is published information on how to modify the standard SD card image so your first RPi boot can be headless:
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I run mine this way without problems, but then again all my other computers run Linux anyway. If your main computer runs Windows you can use Putty,
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as your SSH link and VcXsrv,
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as your local Xserver.
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martin@   | Martin Gregorie 
gregorie. | Essex, UK 
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Reply to
Martin Gregorie
You only need those instructions if you don't have a DHCP server on your network, or if it's broken so that it neither inserts leaseholder hostnames into the local DNS nor gives you any other way of finding out which machine on the local net is on which IP address. A stock Raspbian setup already has sshd running (it'll register the hostname "raspberrypi" by default) -- I've set up all of my images via ssh to the Pi.
And yes, ssh -X will work without any problems - not that I've done so very often, but like you I'm already running Linux everywhere so running X applications on the Pi doesn't give me any great advantages.
R
Reply to
Roger Bell_West
I run the r-pi with a cheap hdmi display of 1680x1024, and use it to have more screen real estate for documentation etc. I use ssh -X/-Y and rdesktop out of it, and it works very well. The X server is not the problem, it is a lot slower to run browsers etc on the r-pi.
This setup Just Worked, not much more setup than plugging it in.
Of course, it works in reverse as well. The browser on the r-pi is slow as molasses, and I haven't attempted video, but everything else is sort of ok.
-- mrr
Reply to
Morten Reistad
This really depends on the client. My sad old Alpha/VMS boxes are much peppier with a remote display than they are with a local display. I've not done any testing to see if that's the case for the Pi, but my non-overclocked Pi generally seems to perform in a similar league as my old Alpha/VMS boxes.
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roger ivie 
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Reply to
Roger Ivie
the raspberry pi makes a better X server than it does a client unless you're running very lightweight client aqpplications.
it hasn't got much graphics power, but the CPU is even worse.
yeah, it'd do that task ok.
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Reply to
Jasen Betts
Where 'lightweight' means "applications which display a fairly static image"?
I'm considering an application which would at most use a display to show the application status, which would not change at all frequently, and possibly show the time. I've been wondering whether to use a small graphical display or just stick with, say, a 20 character x 4 line LCD display. The latter would be very in its CPU requirements.
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martin@   | Martin Gregorie 
gregorie. | Essex, UK 
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Reply to
Martin Gregorie
I've got a 20x4 LCD running on my pi. It's pretty trivial to set up: it attaches straight to the GPIO pins, with only one pot/resistor required to set the contrast. Lots of driver code is available for various languages, so that's not too challenging either. And as you suggest, it uses essentially zero CPU. The standard HD44780-based ones are not massively flexible, though. They only have a nearly-basic-ASCII character set, so no unicode support, and only a handful of redefinable characters. But if you want a status display, possibly with a clock, they're ideal.
Tom
Reply to
Tom Nicholls
Let me summarise, once again how the PI stacks up.
I run a 1680x1024 hdmi display from the pi, using X. It took absolutly no configuration at all beyond plugging it in. The pi is actually powered by the display, which contains an USB hub. It is held up by two rubber bands. I have plugged in keyboard, mouse, the PI, and an USB disk that the pi exports as NFS.
I use it to run rdesktop out to other clients, ssh -X, and some local, lightweight processes, like xterms, emacs sessions, pdf viewers and similar stuff. Even abiword, gnumeric etc works Just Fine. LibreOffice and the midori browser also works, but have performance issues when run on the pi. Also video viewers are a little too heavy for the pi, although they work, they keep dropping frames and have iffy sound.
When I run them remotely, via ssh -X or via rdesktop there are absolutely no issues with performance, beyond a very, very slight network delay. I write this posting using rdesktop on the pi, with the trn running on an x86 laptop (4xi5, pretty fast iron). And remote (via rdesktop) video is interesting.
I have tried making some software locally, and the process is perfectly viable for smaller compiles (less than 50k loc or thereabouts).
It helps a lot to have a _fast_ sd card, 10X or even faster. And to have a dedicated ethernet connection. The wifi dongles add delay.
I also have a browser on the 4xi5 x86 beside the "xterm", it works like a charm.
-- mrr
Reply to
Morten Reistad
Beauty and the Beast:
- I've driven a 20x4 display from a BS-2 STAMP, so have some idea of how easy they are to drive, and of their capabilities. I like them even if they're a bit ugly.
- OTOH I have a Squeezebox Touch, which uses a display that's near as dammit the same as 4.2" 5:3 aspect ratio satnavs use. Its very pretty. Has anybody found a source for these displays and documentation for interfacing. HDMI would be nice but I won't be holding my breath!
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martin@   | Martin Gregorie 
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Reply to
Martin Gregorie
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Not written this up yet, but:
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Gordon
Reply to
Gordon Henderson
Very interesting indeed. Thanks. Bookmarked for future reference.
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martin@   | Martin Gregorie 
gregorie. | Essex, UK 
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Reply to
Martin Gregorie
lightweight: apps that don't do much computation, or use too much ram.
text editor on small files, yes, spice simulation, or large complex spreadsheets probably not.
the graphics are plenty fast enough for ordinary desktop apps.
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?? 100% natural
Reply to
Jasen Betts
In X terms things are different, the server is on the machine with the monitor and the client is on the other one. Yep the other way around.
It plays mp4 videos just fine. So its graphics capabilities are not exactly blunt.
True. It works well as a MPD machine.
Reply to
Gordon
I do it with mine sometimes... running xming / putty etc on the PC.
There is a fairly easy to follow guide here:
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Cheers, 

John. 
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Reply to
John Rumm
[...]
Hello, Here, the procedure works on the link with Raspbian fine. Now I would still need the same for OpenELEC or RasBMC, but how do I get there installed a ssh server? Many greetings.
Reply to
Ante Auber
Off the top of my head:
OpenElec seems to have sshd installed and active by default, so if its configured to get its IP from DHCP (the RPi default for Raspbian) it should just work. Otherwise you might need to assign a static IP.
RasBMC is based on Debian, so its likely that everything written so far about headless operation will apply to it as well as Raspbian. The current Raspbian release has sshd enabled by default, while with earlier versions you needed to edit the SD card to enable it before your first boot. RasBMC could go either way: ask its helpdesk about that.
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martin@   | Martin Gregorie 
gregorie. | Essex, UK 
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Reply to
Martin Gregorie
Good to see a Raspberry Pi newsgroup, but it will still concentrate the old farts instead of attracting the kids I am afraid! ;-)
Bach to the topic:
I usually use my Pies from a Windows PC running Xming. Most of the time I am learning new things, so having a reasonable fast Web-Browser on the PC right next to the Pi's window is more of a necessity than a commodity. Web browsing on the Pi is a pain ** *** ***.
I changed the lifghtdm.config to support XDMCP which I consider save enough in my LAN behind the firewall. For me this works MUCH better and faster than any xrdp or VNC option that I tried so far.
When using my externally hosted Pi I use X11 forwarding with ssh.
Only when experimenting with GPIO I really sit in front of a screen that is connected directly to the Pi to check the program's and the LED's status at once.
Regarding future extension of Raspian that will introduce GPU support for Wayland I expect that this will bring no benefit to classic X11 applications. See the thread "Accelerated X driver testing" on raspberypi.org and the links there in. I hope that a browser, an emacs, a terminal and a GUI framework with python binding will be available as native Wayland clients to support the educational goals the Pi was intended for.
BTW: I tried to motivate my 13 year old daughter to play with the Pi, but she is used to Ubuntu and Windows on quite slow netbooks, atoms and celerons which are all WAY faster than the Pi. And she decided to have a real computer: it is now an 1.6 GHz Atom with Lubuntu.
ciao Georg
Reply to
Georg Bisseling

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