Raspberry PI OS update and 8GB hardware available

Geir Nøklebye

World Builder
Staff member
For those interested in Raspberry PI, you should take note that there is both a new model of the Raspberry PI 4B with 8GB memory available, while the 1GB entry model has been discontinued where 2 GB is now the entry level. I don't think there is an update to the processor even if the latest product image suggest there is.


In support of the 8GB memory model, Raspbian has also been updated and is now branded Raspberry PI OS. In addition to larger memory support, the Linux kernel has been incremented to version 4.19.118, a new version of the firmware, multiple new and changed applications for the Desktop version and a slew of bug fixes. There are more details in the Release Notes.

For new installations system images can be downloaded from their download site, or if you are on macOS, Windows or Ubuntu you can get the Raspberry PI Imager, which is an app that makes it easy to select an operating system version and get it written to an SD card (or USB device).

I have tested the updated Raspberry PI OS with a build of opensim 0.9.2 dev about 5 weeks old (before all the http server changes), and it runs good.

For those wanting to be on the bleeding edge, they also have announced a beta program for the 64-bit version of Raspberry PI OS. Note the ARM libraries needed for opensim have not been compiled for 64-bit yet.
I find it hilarious how they are moving into more memory, been using Odroids for years because their hardware specs were better and now finally the Pi is catching up. Using a Pi in a meaningful impactful way was never really possible with the limited hardware and Odroid was only twice the cost for four times the power.

Hopefully this engages a new race to get more performance for lower cost. I certainly won't complain, been meaning to buy a 2u server case and see how many Odroids or Pis I could fit in there. Separate hardware over virtualization essentially, so if one crashes the rest just soldier on. Hardware has to be up to spec for OpenSim and cheap enough that it is equal to virtualizing bigger hardware and then you gotta subtract cost for switches, power bricks etc. Not economically viable even now, but maybe one day.

Apple is moving to ARM as well, not that I care much for what they do or it really signifying an industry shift, Lenovo been doing this for 3 odd years now, but it is one more in the fold and Intel looks like donkey excrement at the moment anyways what with all the security and performance issues.

Round here AMD really pushing cost down, Intel same performance, twice the cost. I fully admit to fanboy hard over Intel, because AMD use to lack compatibility with some programs I use for work, but mostly in terms of performance, which you could just use the saved cash to get a NUC or bigger chip entirely to make due.

Come to think of it, where the heck is risc currently, is that in any form usable with Linux yet? Have seen some rockchips out there with working systems, but barely any ports. Last I heard there was this whole debate whether 64bit was the new 32bit and tech like AVX and so on should be the future, but who really needs 512bit systems or rather, what applications are run be the common user or enterprise that really gives that a reason to exist.

Future certainly looks interesting, but all over the place also... and I am still on Win7 happy as a pig in lard.

The PI runs OpenSim pretty decent, and with the 8 GB version you should be able to fill a region with 40+ avatars without running out of memory (on the 64-bit version of Raspbian or 64-bit Ubuntu).

The 2GB version is only $35 and beats a 2 GB virtual machine hands down for light to medium loaded regions.

I am currently testing the still in beta, soon to be released, USB/Network boot for the PI 4; both on a USB stick and SSD and it speeds up the system quite a bit, although the impact on OpenSim is smaller as the simulator only access disk for cacheing and logging. But is simplifies the entire setup if you can eliminate the SD card and adds better long term stability. (I bricked a machine in early test, but now all is stable.)

You can visit regions running on a PI at :

grid.xmir.org:8002Dayturn - 2GB PI 4B running single 512x512 var
grid.xmir.org:8002:Abila - 4GB PI 4B running 9 standard 256x256 regions in two instances
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I remember hopping over there a while ago and testing some vehicles. If supplied with the right amount of system resources OpenSim will happily run on a calculator hehe

Hardkernel have a small x86 board now, haven't found a local retailer yet, but might try and see how well that works. The big issue with ARM is lack of ports. Example nginx used to be such an old version you couldn't run some modern reverse proxy and stuff on it needed for OpenSim. Equally curl was ages old missing vital parts. Parity with mainline packages of x86 is what will boost ARM more than anything.
The PI runs the latest Debian Buster and packages (including mono) are pretty much as updated as can be.

There are cases of packages, apps and docker containers only available 64-bit, and 32-bit python runs into all sorts of memory issues, but also that is about to sort itself out with the 64-bit Raspberry OS making good progress, or 64-bit latest Ubuntu already available.

Obviously we could want a faster CPU and a more robust IO system, but these are very capable for running most OpenSim regions (or SL regions) which all on average have very little concurrency and small to medium memory foot print.

My machines are now pretty much on OpenSim 0.9.2 dev minus some 40 commits.
That was, beside memory, the biggest reason I went for Odroids for years, the cpu power was just magnitudes more. The little quad core Odroid I have with unlocked bios could turbo to 2.8ghz on all cores when cooled with liquid CO2. All that still on the same power supply mind you. That's the most power I have gotten out of such small wattage ever. Effectively delivered 11 times the cpu number crunching power than a Pi at the time.

Some providers started offering ARM servers as well, although not competitively priced yet, maybe the push away from Intel more toward cost effective AMD processors eventually extends to that. Lower power consumption while delivering the same number crunching potential is not only good for the environment, it also means, at least for me, my office does not heat up as much.
I power mine over PoE and they each pull 3.5 - 6.5 W from the switch depending on load and if they have SSD connected, which also draws power from the PI. So there is not much of a heat issue. :)

The 4B processor can safely be overclocked to 1.75 GHz on all 4 cores, and more risky to 2.145 GHz.

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