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C'est la Z

A Quick Pinebook Pro update

Since posting about my new Pinebook Pro I've gotten a few questions as it pertains to teaching CS so I thought I'd give a quick update.

In terms of software here's what I've actually gotten working:

  • libreoffice (comes preinstalled)
  • C/C++ toolchain (manjaro package install)
  • Java (manjaro package install)
  • Emacs (built from scratch and manjaro install)
  • NetLogo (had to customize the startup script as per the NetLogo FAQ)
  • Racket (had to compile from source)

I've also heard the VSCode works with no issues.

It's also manjaro which is a little different from Ubuntu which is probably more well known. I installed a program named yay for package management which also gave me access to the community packages (like extra repos for Ubuntu).

The biggest difference I've had between Manjaro and Ubuntu is with Ubuntu I'd search for packages with apt-cache search package and install with apt-get install package while with yay it's yay -Ss package then yay -S package. It's a little more nuanced but it isn't harder, just different.

The other difference is that the Pinebook is set up with Manjaro running KDE plasma which is a different interface but all common windowing interfaces are fairly similar.

A final point I want to mention is that the Pinebook Pro price of $200 represents the cost of the unit. The Pine64 people don't make any money on this. It's about getting the units out there and building a community. First, this means that you won't be able to go online and order class sets of these (at least I don't think you'd be able to do so) and that if a device such as this were made by a tradional vendor it would cost at least a bit more so that they could make a hopefully fair profit.

That said, this is a very functional Linux laptop for around $200. It proves what you can do and After a few days use I highly recommend it.


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