Keeping up with the Lazaruses
Ultibo has always included customized builds of the FreePascal compiler and Lazarus IDE, unfortunately at the time we started both of these projects were using subversion (SVN) to manage their version control and the process of creating a fork required jumping through a lot of hoops.
We’ve been keen to upgrade to a more recent version of both FreePascal and Lazarus for a while and last year we heard the news that they were moving both projects to GitLab which would finally allow us to create a proper fork and use the power and flexibility of Git to maintain it.
It took a while for the changeover to happen and it’s also taken quite a bit of work to get everything setup and reapply all of our customizations but we think we’ve got it sorted now so we’ve just released a beta of both the Windows installer and the Linux install script that allows you to install and use the current versions of FreePascal and Lazarus for your Ultibo development.
The beta will last a few weeks and is your chance to provide feedback on anything that doesn’t seem quite right or isn’t working the way you’d expect, download the beta installer for Windows or the install script for Linux to get started trying it out. There’s some more detail provided in our Announcement on the Ultibo forum and if you have questions or run into any issues please post there as well so we can get it resolved.
While it took some work to get here now we finally will be keeping up with the Lazaruses. Of course that’s a word, isn’t it?
Update April 16, 2022
The beta process is now complete and the new version of Ultibo 2.5.001 has been released. We’ve updated the links above to reflect the official versions instead.
Thanks for testing.
Ultibo Core with Raspberry Pi 4 support now available
You might have noticed it took a little while but finally it is here, we’ve just finished uploading all the changes to support Raspberry Pi 4B/400/CM4 in Ultibo and it’s ready for you to explore.
As we’ve mentioned previously not everything is supported yet, drivers for the USB controller are still in the making and of course the change to the VC6 GPU means that some features such as Open GL ES and Open VG are not within our reach without some additional work.
In spite of that just about everything else is usable and there is a ton of stuff to try out and explore while you wait for the rest to be completed.
There’s a much more detailed announcement on the Ultibo forum which includes a few things you’ll want to remember, as usual head over to the download page to get the latest install and start making something incredible.
Get ready for Raspberry Pi 4
It’s been a while in the making but it’s almost time for Ultibo core to add Pi 4 support so you can take advantage of all the new features in the latest Raspberry Pi offering.
We’re currently wrapping up the last few details of testing but in the meantime we’ve updated the Ultibo Demo to include support for Pi 4B/400/CM4 so you can take a peek at how things are going and also let us know if there is anything wrong.
The full release of Ultibo core containing support for Raspberry Pi 4 should only be a matter of days away but if you have a minute to download the demo and confirm that everything works you’ll be helping to ensure that it will be trouble free and ready to start making your own projects.
There’s no need to let us know if everything seems good, if for some reason it doesn’t work for you then it would great if you could post a quick note on the forum to let us know about any problems.
Remember of course that USB support for the Pi 4 is not quite completed yet so you can’t connect USB devices to the standard ports, there is a workaround to get some USB working and we’ll talk more about that shortly. Everything except USB should be working now so if you run into any trouble please let us know.
Head over to the Download page to grab a copy of the latest Ultibo Demo and try it out.
A retro future, without the past
You might have noticed that Ultibo has been used in quite a few retro projects over the past couple of years, that’s probably not surprising really since there is a huge interest worldwide in all things retro including computers and gaming. It also could be a reflection of the Ultibo model which removes many of the restrictions imposed by modern operating systems, in many ways early computers were a lot like bare metal environments because their operating systems (if they even had one) were very minimal and only provided the most basic services.
For many the attraction lies in remembering their youth and a simpler time when it was possible to fully understand the workings of not only the computer but the software that made it operate, something which has long since ceased to be achievable for everything but the microcontroller devices of today.
But while there is a certain nostalgia and fond memories of the past we’re pretty sure not too many would really give up what we have today and go back to the beginnings of technology, after all computers were slow (very slow), phones had cords, you could only watch what the television stations wanted to show you, wireless was something you gathered around to listen to and without the internet we rarely communicated with people outside of our own small patch of the world.
Maybe Ultibo offers a compromise between the two, a sort of retro future without the limitations of the past. Software that provides the features we’ve come to expect but doesn’t include all of the size and complexity we’re so often told is required. Only time will tell if we’re right or wrong, in the meantime it’s just a lot of fun watching where it leads.
We love all the retro projects but not because we want to revisit the past, it’s just really cool to see what people create.
That’s a lot of dog years
They say that every human year is equal to about 7 for a dog, so a 5 year old dog is about the same as a 35 year old person. Now imagine how that ratio applies to computers, especially when it comes to mobile computers like tablets and phones for example, with the seemingly relentless release of new models on a schedule that appears to be getting faster each year you could be forgiven for thinking that a human year might be closer to a century in the world of technology.
When the Raspberry Pi foundation released the latest model a few weeks ago the product brief contained a very interesting little note that proudly proclaims ‘The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ will remain in production until at least January 2023’. At first glance that doesn’t mean much, until you stop for a moment and consider that they are committing to 5 years of continuous production for a device that is essentially a minor upgrade of the model 3B, one that has already been around since February 2016.
There’s much more to producing a board than just the manufacturing, there is the logistics of supplying the components that go on the board. The 2023 commitment means that Raspberry Pi also have to be certain Broadcom will supply the SoC for the duration, that memory supplies will be available as well as peripheral chips such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and LAN, that’s no small undertaking given the speed at which things change in the technology industry.
But there is also a huge plus in this commitment for all of us who seek to use the Raspberry Pi as the basis for creating gadgets, certainty, the confidence that we can design things today and invest time to develop projects knowing that the core component will be available next year, the year after and the year after that for at least the next 5 years.
Many people seem to be waiting, wishing and hoping for the Pi 4 to arrive as soon as possible, while the next release of the Pi will no doubt bring with it exciting new possibilities it will also bring uncertainty and delays while every other part of the Pi ecosystem is updated to support it.
Right now we have 5 uninterrupted Pi years ahead of us so let’s make the most of it, after all if you were a dog it would be almost half your lifetime.