The Raspberry Pi project is a very interesting initiative that is landing just in time to speed up Qt 5 development. The little inexpensive open board serves as an ideal hardware platform for developers willing to get involved in the new big Qt iteration. If you are developing Qt itself or products and apps based on Qt then you should pay attention to this. In fact, any Qt developer interested in technology will have fun with this ultimate setup.
Linux friendly, supported GPU & OpenGL ES, all for $25 – $35
What makes the Raspberry Pi so amazing is not just the $25-$35 price point that almost any developer can afford. There are three features in this Broadcom chipset that are invisible to the eye… until Qt 5 comes into play: Linux friendly hardware, supported GPU and OpenGL ES libraries – out of the box. Keep in mind that the Raspberry Pi is a relatively constrained hardware. Anything performing here is very likely to perform in all kinds of mobile & embedded devices, leave alone regular netbooks, tablets, laptops, PCs… I’m still digesting the fact that all this visual beauty in the monitor comes from that little humble naked board!
A small group of ICS and Nokia engineers have started working on a minimal bootstrap to bring fully functional Qt 5 to life inclusive of Qt Creator integration. We are getting the priceless support of the Raspberry Foundation and Broadcom, working on drivers and providing early versions of the board. The first results were shared a month ago through simple videos, some casual docs, a BoF in Qt Developer Days Munich and demos available in the Qt and ICS booths at that event. During November more progress has been done and we are (almost) ready to show the results in Qt Dev days San Francisco, next week.
You want one. Read this.
Our main goal is to provide an image for an SDK to boot the Raspberry Pi, plus a Qt Creator plugin to connect your SDK with the board. Once these foundations are in place, and once the Raspberry Pi is publicly available, anybody will be able to get Qt 5 running out of the box (if you happen to have a box for the board, that is). Also anybody will be able to join the effort, fine tuning Qt, the thin stack connecting it to the hardware and the Qt Creator integration. We are also thinking of having a way to showcase the apps being ported to or created for Qt 5 with this setup. I’m so sure that the effort put by adventurous developers in this direction will pay off!
In fact we are so sure that we have convinced Nokia to fund 400 boards to be distributed among the right 400 developers that will squeeze them with Qt 5. The Raspberry Foundation is happy to prioritize these shipments in exchange for beta testing spirit and early feedback. Do you want to be one among 400? Be fast! We will select those with a good Qt 5 idea and a convincing background that anybody can check.
Try it yourself at Qt Dev Days San Francisco, next week
If you are attending Qt Dev Days in San Francisco you will have a chance to meet us and get your hands on the board and the project. We will have a BoF in the Qt Contributors Day on the 29th (free access, contact me if you are interested). We will also be available for demos and questions in a dedicated booth in the exhibition, the Qt demo zone and the ICS stand. In fact ICS is planning to distribute 50 Raspberry Pi vouchers at the event, as part of this initiative. Check out at their booth.
After Dev Days we will start seriously with community collaboration. Stay tuned!