Release RoPieee 2022.02

When I started RoPieee I never could have predicted that it would become so widely used. I had a simple idea: build a piece of software that enables non-geeks to use a Raspberry Pi as a Roon endpoint.

Over the years RoPieee became rather populair. I added stuff, refactored stuff, fine tuned stuff, and repeated all that several times. But some things are so fundamental that you can’t change them easily.

One of those things that started to work against me (up until a certain point) is the fact that RoPieee, running on Linux, uses a Linux distribution (ArchLinux specifically) as its base OS. The clear advantage of that is that I didn’t need to create this base OS (which is a huge task) myself. But there are disadvantages too: I needed to deal with engineering decisions being made that didn’t suit me particularly well. And it required me to set up this big ‘shadow infrastructure’ to create a stable OS release as ArchLinux is a so-called rolling release.

But the thing that caused me the biggest challenge was the fact that ArchLinux is a typical standard package-based distribution: software is deployed in a package and an update can contain several packages. Which makes an update a complex matter: there’s a ton of stuff that can go wrong.

So last summer I made the decision to start from scratch and this time literally: create a Linux OS from nothing, without using a distribution as a base. That turned out to be a huge task (bigger than I originally anticipated) but after the summer I had something which already looked very promising: RoPieee being an appliance, only containing the absolute bare minimum and highly optimized for its single task: running Roon Bridge.

But I still needed to figure out what to do with updates. And I wanted something better than what I had. So I started experimenting with an image-based approach: an update is nothing more than an image that is being streamed to a disk. So it either succeeds or fails, nothing in between. Add to this a so-called ‘active/passive’ partition setup and you have a state-of-the-art update mechanism: the update is being installed on the passive partition and when the system reboots it boots from this updated partition. The system gets corrupted? No worries, it can still boot the previous version on the passive partition. And it does this all automagically. Joy!

“Thanks for all this nerd stuff, but what does it bring me as a user?”

The same old rock-solid performance and easy setup. I’m pretty sure that most users won’t even notice the difference. And a platform that makes maintenance easier and thus gives me more time to spend on features and improvements.

So without further ado… here’s RoPieee’s first release of this year: 2022.02!

Functionality-wise it brings the same, but there are a few small changes that you might notice:

  • You need to reflash: you cannot upgrade from existing RoPieee installs

  • There are separate images for the Pi 3 and Pi 4 families

  • support for the 2 family is gone

  • support for the Zero W 2

  • You cannot upgrade to XL: starting with this release XL is provided as a separate image.

  • This release is RoPieee-only: the separate provided XL image is still based on the previous version (but that will change soon).

  • The ‘enable SSH’ option is gone

Finally, I want to give a big shout-out to all (patient) beta testers and @Nathan_Wilkes who rewrote the excellent RoPieee Beginners Guide.

So download the new version from here and enjoy the music as always!

Warm regards,

Harry

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Hi Harry, is this the Stable version of NG? What about those running currently NG? Should we upgrade from NG to this release from scratch?

Yes it is. No need to start from scratch, just switch to the stable channel and you’re fine.

OK, just to be clear, this Stable release marks the end of the NG Beta, right? Meaning no more NG Beta Versions will be released. Thanks again for all your hard work, @spockfish

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All three devices switched to Stable and all three are showing 2022.01 (398) and there is no available update yet. Maybe you haven’t pushed the update to 2022.02 for those running 2022.01 (398) ?

Update: Never mind, update showed up right after I posted. I did the update to 2022.02 (8) and all is good with all three devices :wink:

Great work!! Thank you for your efforts.

One question: I have been thinking about going to XL, if I do that now, will I need to re-flash again once XL migrates to the the new version?

Yeah that will be required.

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Flashed, installed, and up and running without a hitch, with display and FLIRC remote. Thanks Harry!

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OK, thanks. Will test out the regular version for now then.

So staying on the beta channel for will be running the same code as the current 2022.02 or will there be a catch up coming in the beta channel shortly?

Great work as always too Harry.

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Excellent work! Was exciting to see this announced and be part of the progression. Welcome to release. Cheers to you on all the hard work and interaction with the community. Time to donate again.

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@spockfish Hi Harry, I’m currently running 2022.01 (395), if I switch to the stable branch will it eventually update?

Thank you for making RoPieee and for your constant effort to improve it. Putting together a fully custom OS is a monumental effort. My sincere congratulations! Donation sent. I hope your receive many more.

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I swapped to stable on one of mine about an hour or 2 ago and still no indication of an update

Re-flashed to rPi3B+ and all went very well. Nice work, donation made!

One Rpi up and running, had an issue at first where the display would glitch out after a minute or so, then the unit would lock up. I think it might have been my power supply? I swapped it out it seems to be running fine now.

Second unit is flashing as we speak.

Donation sent, also.

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Once flashed, I had to go into Roon and Enable the devices again. I don’t remember having to do that before, but my memory isn’t always great with things like this, as it isn’t a big deal either way.

Long overdue Donation sent, thanks you very much for all the efforts :wink: :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: :beers:

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Congratulations and much respect! Great accomplishment, building your own distro!

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Ack, just realized after some struggling that my second RPi is an Rpi 2B…guess no update for that one.

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Just made a donation @spockfish

Thank you for all the hard work. Really impressed with the speed with which you work and your dedication. There are a lot of components in my chain that I depend on, but you make Ropieee just work.

I encourage anyone else who loves their Ropieee to make a donation. Think what it’s worth in your chain, and give Harry a quick PayPal!

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