Apr 212014

This is heavily based on this Wiki entry. Go there to read more about the background of toolchains.

As a quick summary for you: we want compilation to be faster than on the Raspberry Pi. MUCH faster.

Set up crosscompiling

Create / use an Ubuntu machine. I use 12.04 LTS.

You can check your Ubuntu version with lsb_release –a

Run the commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linaro-maintainers/toolchain

This will add the linaro toolchain repository.

sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu $(lsb_release -sc) main universe restricted multiverse"

This will add the universe repository and all other available repositories (universe being the one we need additionally).

aptitude update

To get the contents from the repositories. Now install the crosscompiling toolchain:

apt-get install gcc-arm-linux-gnueabi

dpkg -L gcc-arm-linux-gnueabi

This will show the location of the newly installed libraries.

Official note:

Note that this toolchain defaults to ARMv7 with Thumb2. If you want to use it for older processors you have to add “-marm” into CFLAGS.

Apr 212014

First of all, remove xpra and cython if you had them installed:

aptitude purge xpra cython

Update your package lists, as we are going to install a lot of packages:

aptitude update

Prepare required prerequisites

Then follow the instructions on the xpra Wiki for building Ubuntu / Debian style:

apt-get install libx11-dev libxtst-dev libxcomposite-dev libxdamage-dev \ python-all-dev python-gobject-dev python-gtk2-dev

apt-get install xvfb xauth x11-xkb-utils
apt-get install libx264-dev libvpx-dev libswscale-dev libavcodec-dev

The file mentioned in the how-to, vpx.pc should exist:

cat /usr/lib/pkgconfig/vpx.pc

You will need to install and compile Cython from sources, as the version in the Raspbian repository is too old (0.15.1 vs. 0.16 minimum needed).

wget http://www.cython.org/release/Cython-0.20.1.tar.gz
tar -xzf Cython-0.20.1.tar.gz

change into the newly extracted directory. Install cython:

python setup.py install

This will take quite a while. Test that you have the correct cython version:

cython --version

should yield Cython version 0.20.1

Download and extract source

wget https://www.xpra.org/src/xpra-0.12.3.tar.bz2
tar -xjf xpra-0.12.3.tar.bz2

Note: there may be a newer package, check, please.

Change into the extracted directory. We need to apply a patch:

patch < patches/old-libav.patch

Enter xpra/codecs/dec_avcodec/decoder.pyx as the file to patch

Next patch (several files in one go):

patch < patches/old-libav-pixfmtconsts.patch

Simply copy and paste the “Index file” the patcher asks for, for example xpra/codecs/csc_swscale/colorspace_converter.pyx

Next patch (also several files):

patch < patches/old-libav-no0RGB.patch

Act like above (copy & paste file name, without leading / ).

It also contains a useful README, which tells you the next step is:

./setup.py install --home=install

After the compilation is done, you should either (always) set the Pythonpath to include the install subdirectory, like this:

export PYTHONPATH=$PWD/install/lib/python:$PYTHONPATH

or install the “finished” files to the appropriate targets. From the install directory do:

cp bin/* /usr/bin/.
cp -R lib/* /usr/lib/.
cp -R share/* /usr/share/.

xpra will now be the newest version:

xpra –version

xpra v0.12.3

You will still have to set the PYTHONPATH to the new files in /usr/lib/python, though:

The PYTHONPATH environment variable needs to be set:

export PYTHONPATH=/var/lib/python:$PYTHONPATH


Test & Test results

OK, here’s how to set up a test session:

Set up a test server, which has xpra installed (you can install it through the winswitch packages, will get you the newest xpra version on Ubuntu & Debian)

Start X Windows, open LXTerminal, run the following commands.

export PYTHONPATH=/var/lib/python:$PYTHONPATH

Start an xpra session via SSH (can be killed using Ctrl-C, and reconnected to using the same command):

xpra start ssh:maxcs@ –start-child=xterm –encoding=h264

Read the manpage (man xpra) to have a look at some other options

Test results


rgb, png encodings are too high-latency.

jpeg is barely usable, even when resizing the application (for instance Abiword) to not full-screen usage.

webm encoding delivers worse quality, but seems a bit more usable

h264 decoding is NOT done in hardware in the default code (we’ll look into this). Surprisingly it is still the “most fluid to use” one.

I suspect that no decoding in H.264 is taking place, and server side xpra falls back to a different encoder (webm?) Anyways, one can even “watch” videos (a couple of frames each second with heavy artifacts) with this.

For very light administration / checking of remote contents, etc. xpra can be used as is. We will need to enable hardware decoding of h264, though, for it to yield real benefits.

Please note: our interests solely rest in streaming TO the Raspberry Pi, not FROM the Raspberry Pi – we will not test / patch in order to speed up administration of the Pi at this point.


Notes & Further reading

Dependencies of xpra package:

(you can show this using “apt-cache showpkg xpra” on a machine which has the package in the newer version, e.g. Ubuntu AMD64):

0.12.3-1 – python2.7 (0 (null)) python (2 2.7.1-0ubuntu2) python (3 2.8) libavcodec53 (18 4:0.8-1~) libavcodec-extra-53 (2 4:0.8-1~) libavutil51 (18 4:0.8-1~) libavutil-extra-51 (2 4:0.8-1~) libc6 (2 2.14) libgtk2.0-0 (2 2.24.0) libswscale2 (18 4:0.8-1~) libswscale-extra-2 (2 4:0.8-1~) libvpx1 (2 1.0.0) libx11-6 (0 (null)) libx264-120 (0 (null)) libxcomposite1 (2 1:0.3-1) libxdamage1 (2 1:1.1) libxext6 (0 (null)) libxfixes3 (0 (null)) libxrandr2 (2 4.3) libxtst6 (0 (null)) python-gtk2 (0 (null)) x11-xserver-utils (0 (null)) xvfb (0 (null)) python-gtkglext1 (0 (null)) python-opengl (0 (null)) python-numpy (0 (null)) python-imaging (0 (null)) python-appindicator (0 (null)) openssh-server (0 (null)) python-pyopencl (0 (null)) pulseaudio (0 (null)) pulseaudio-utils (0 (null)) python-dbus (0 (null)) gstreamer0.10-plugins-base (0 (null)) gstreamer0.10-plugins-good (0 (null)) gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly (0 (null)) python-gst0.10 (0 (null)) openssh-client (0 (null)) ssh-askpass (0 (null)) python-numeric (0 (null)) python-lz4 (0 (null)) keyboard-configuration (0 (null)) xpra:i386 (0 (null))


Optional: install checkinstall, to create a package which you can easily remove or re-deploy to other computers:

aptitude install checkinstall




error: implicit declaration of function ‘avcodec_free_frame’

you need to apply the patch patches/old-libav.patch

error: ‘AV_PIX_FMT_YUV420P’ undeclared

you need to apply the patch patches/old-libav-pixfmtconsts.patch

error: ‘PIX_FMT_0RGB’ undeclared

you need to apply the patch patches/old-libav-no0RGB.patch

The other patches were NOT needed in my experimental compilation.


ImportError: No module named xpra.platform

Once you try to execute xpra (from LXTerminal preferably), you may get this message. The PYTHONPATH environment variable needs to be set:

export PYTHONPATH=/var/lib/python:$PYTHONPATH

Aug 212013

Aka how to view YouTube videos on your Raspberry Pi from Midori or Chromium!


We have pulled together some software magic and are proud to announce an easy installation procedure for PiVid, the YouTube / HTML5 Video / VeeHD Raspberry Pi video enabler:


Open a shell – for instance LXTerminal, if you are working on the Raspberry Pi desktop, it can be opened by double-clicking the LXTerminal icon – and enter the following commands:

Step I: Please add our Repository

sudo wget -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/repository.pi3g.com.list http://repository.pi3g.com/sources.list
sudo wget -O - http://repository.pi3g.com/pubkey | sudo apt-key add -
sudo aptitude update

This will:

  • set up our repository as an additional package source on your Raspberry Pi (your main sources.list will not be modified in any way)
  • get our public key
  • fetch the available packages from our repository server

Step II: Install PiVid

sudo aptitude install pivid

This will:

  • install PiVid and dependencies (other packages which PiVid requires to work)

Please press “Enter” when asked whether you want to continue, and once again “Enter” during the installation process of the youtube-dl package, when asked to.

Step III: Activate PiVid

service pivid start

This will:

  • start the pivid service (it talks to your browser and to omxplayer to play your video)

If you want to stop the pivid service, simply use “service pivid stop” – this will save a small amount of computing resources.

Step IV: Install PiVid in your browser

Install PiVid in Midori:

To use the userscript in Midori (Raspbians default browser), you have to activate the “User addons” extension. Start Midori. Open the preferences dialog (Menu>Preferences), select the Extensions tab and tick “User addons”. (“User addons” is the very last entry, use the scroll bar to find it). Click “Close”.

Then simply open the script ( file:///usr/share/pivid/replace.user.js ) in your browser (copy & paste the link into your URL bar, and press enter) and click “Install user script” when asked.



Install PiVid in Chromium:

To install pivid in Chromium, please open a shell in the X desktop environment (e.g. LXTerminal), and start Chromium like this:

# chromium --enable-easy-off-store-extension-install /usr/share/pivid/replace.user.js


Please click “Continue”, and then click “Add” on the “Confirm New Extension” dialogue:


Chrome will confirm, that the extension has been added.


Please note: after every reboot, you need to start the pivid service, as described above. Open LXTerminal, and (as user pi), enter:

service pivid start

You can close LXTerminal after starting the service, if you want. If the service pivid is already running, it will tell you so – you don’t need to worry about entering it twice by accident.

Starting PiVid will open a web server on your Raspberry Pi’s port 3000. This will be accessible on your local network – and can be used to control video playback (of external URLs) on the Raspberry. This is by design, and we plan to release more documentation about this soon.



Navigate to a YouTube video (for example: Xcylin, shooting with a frickin’ laser). First, the browsers will display “Flash Player missing”, but after some seconds, the web site should reload, and display the PiVid play button, as seen above for Chromium.

Simply click this button, and the video should launch in a short while. This will be indicated by a “pause” button:


If you want to see the video again, please reload the page – PiVid currently can’t identify when the video has stopped playing.  The pause button currently has no function, but you can use omxplayer keyboard control (see below).


VeeHD is an alternative video hosting platform / community, sporting an interesting selection of movies, documentaries, etc.

PiVid supports playback on VeeHD. You may need to log in as a VeeHD user for some videos to work, and some videos are hosted on very slow servers – where streaming is impossible with PiVid. Please download the video and play it with omxplayer instead.

Usage: Search with the VeeHD search, and click on the video you would like to see. PiVid will show you the play button after a short while:


Omxplayer keyboard control

Space or p = Pause / Resume
– / + = Decrease / Increase Volume
q = Quit


Problem handling

YouTube play button not showing

If the PiVid play button does not show up on a YouTube video, instead of the warning about an incompatible browser, please try to simply reload the page – it should show up now.

Restarting the service

If you run into any unexpected problems using the software, try restarting the pivid service:

service pivid restart

If this does not help, try restarting your Raspberry, and starting the service after that. If still stuck, comment below. (Use “pivid” instead of “service pivid start” to see some advanced debugging output).


Please note, that update-rc.d can’t be used right now to install the service as autostart on boot – we are investigating the cause and will release an update soon. (pivid service will start, but without video playback.) Please use the manual starting method ( service pivid start ) in the meantime – thank you!


PiVid works as a server (written in the uber-cool Node.JS), which will display an IFRAME in your browser. Through a user script, the browser can submit the URL needed to retrieve and play the video. Once you click on the “play” button, PiVid will invoke some software incantations (sprinkle the equivalent of magic fairy dust – we’re building on the shoulders of giants – you guys know who you are :-) – and voilà – the video location will be passed to omxplayer, the trusty workhorse of Raspberry Pi video playback!

You can, of course, fork us on GitHUB.

By the way – we have also packaged a newer version of Node.JS to go along with PiVid on our repository – package name is “nodejs”. Stay tuned for more about this.

The idea for PiVid was taken from a very similar client-server approach, which was coded in Python, but seems to be abandoned now. Thank you for the inspiration!


Aug 032013

LibreOffice ist mittlerweile frei als Paket für Raspbian verfügbar. Die Installation geht wie bei jedem anderen Paket auch, ganz einfach so:

sudo aptitude update
sudo aptitude upgrade
sudo aptitude dist-upgrade
sudo aptitude install libreoffice

unter der Konsole (bspw. unter LXTerminal).

Man sollte sich einiges an Zeit mitnehmen, da der Prozess länger dauert (> 100 MB download, > 300 MB im installierten Zustand).

Anschließend kann man unter X-Windows die LibreOffice Suite aus dem Start-Menü unter dem Punkt “Office” ganz einfach starten. LibreOffice Writer, LibreOffice Calc, und die anderen Programme sind wie gewohnt bedienbar.

Raspberry Pi LibreOffice Edition

Wir haben eine besondere LibreOffice Edition für den Raspberry Pi entwickelt: auf dem Gehäuse des Raspberries befindet sich das LibreOffice Logo. Für jedes verkaufte LibreOffice Edition Kit spenden wir für Dich 5 € an die Document Foundation, die gemeinnützige Organisation hinter LibreOffice.

In unseren LibreOffice Edition Raspberry Pis ist LibreOffice bereits vorinstalliert – so kannst Du gleich loslegen.

Klicke bitte auf das Bild um in den Shop zu gelangen:


Aug 022013

This is a work still in progress with unsatisfactory results (image quality, delay, very low frame rate), but here’s for the brave-hearted and those who are researching into the same direction:

Set up Windows streaming host

This can be a multi-monitor machine. Your left-most monitor will be streamed.

I generally use FullHD resolution for testing.

  • Install a Direct Show Screen Capture Filter for Windows. We used the direct show filter provided with “Screen Capturer Recorder” by Roger D Pack. Roger also includes an audio direct show capturer. And all free of charge – a real bargain 😉
  • Maybe a reboot is necessary here
  • Install latest version of ffmpeg from Zeranoe. Opt for the static builds (probably 64 bit if you are running a modern Windows 64 bit OS on a modern computer)
  • extract the download to a safe location
  • Open PowerShell, and navigate to the location

List the available screen filter devices:

This and all following shell commands are to be issued in the PowerShell. 

.\ffmpeg -list_devices true -f dshow -i dummy

This will show you the available input devices to capture from. My list looks like this, for instance:

 DirectShow video devices
  "Integrated Webcam"
 DirectShow audio devices
  "Microphone (2- High Definition Audio Device)"

Start the stream:

.\ffmpeg -f dshow -i video="screen-capture-recorder" -vcodec libx264 -vprofile baseline -preset ultrafast -tune zerolatency  -pix_fmt yuv420p -b:v 400k -r 30  -threads 4  -fflags nobuffer -f rtp rtp://

I used PowerShell to start this, thus the .\ is needed in front of an application in the current folder.

  • libx264 is used as video codec, rather than mpeg4 (for superior quality – the Raspi is capable of H264 hardware decoding)
  • baseline profile needs to be used together with –pix_fmt yuv420p – this basically reduces the encoding to a simple subset of the full standard. Leaving out these two options led to the streaming not working, but you may be able to figure out something – please comment!
  • -preset ultrafast and –tune zerolatency both accelerate the video output. I have a latency of about 1 – 2 sec. in our lab here
  • -b:v 400k sets the target bitrate (as variable)
  • -r 30 this sets the framerate to 30
  • -threads 4 – give more threads to ffmpeg
  • -fflags nobuffer – should decrease latency even further. Not sure if it does, though.
  • -f rtp – specifies the output format. Here we use rtp, and stream it directly to the raspberry – which has the IP on our network. You can choose whatever you like for the port, by an odd coincidence we chose 1234. Aliens?!?

Hit “Enter” and ffmpeg will start streaming. It will show you handy statistics – current frame number, framerate, quality, total size, total time, current bitrate, duplicated capture-frames, dropped capture-frames (i.e. the capturing rate does not align with the streaming rate). Do not worry too much about those for now.

Please note that you need some horsepower for capturing, encoding and streaming in real-time.

Set up Raspberry Pi

omxplayer can’t handle RTP streams directly – thus, we resort to GStreamer.

GStreamer 1.0 includes special support for the Raspberry Pi’s Broadcom SoC’s VideoCore IV hardware video functions (also known as OpenMax). Unfortunately, the Raspbian maintainers do not want to include it (yet), in order not to diverge too far from the official Debian repositories.

Luckily for you, though, someone has precompiled the binaries and set up a repository. See this thread for more background information, or simply follow my instructions:

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

This will open nano to edit your package repository list. Please add the following line into this file:

deb http://vontaene.de/raspbian-updates/ . main

After saving the file (Ctrl + O, Ctrl + X), run the following commands:

sudo aptitude update
sudo aptitude install libgstreamer1.0-0-dbg gstreamer1.0-tools libgstreamer-plugins-base1.0-0 gstreamer1.0-plugins-good gstreamer1.0-plugins-bad-dbg gstreamer1.0-omx gstreamer1.0-alsa

This will install the necessary gstreamer1.0 & components.

Start the stream receiver & decoder chain:

gst-launch-1.0 -v udpsrc port=1234 caps='application/x-rtp,payload=(int)96,encoding-name=(string)H264' ! queue ! rtph264depay ! h264parse ! omxh264dec ! autovideosink sync=True

This can be done as user pi. Please note, that this may not be the perfect command to achieve playback, but it is a good starting point – as it works!

Gstreamer sets up “pipelines”, in which data is passed on in transformed state from step to step. While it seems to be quite a bit at the first look, it is very logical in itself, once you have figured it out.

  • we specify a UDP source (udpsrc), the port, and “caps”
  • Without the RTP caps, playback is not possible. Apparently they are not provided along with the stream? Thus, we have to specify the caps manually.
  • In the caps we specify some information for the pipeline
  • queue may be omitted, I am not sure what it does
  • rtph264depay – depayload h264 data from rtp stream
  • h264parse – parse h264 data
  • omxh264dec – decode the data with BroadCom OpenMAX hardware acceleration
  • autovideosink – put the result on the display
  • sync=True – I am not sure whether this does anything, or whether it is in the right place and form. It was an attempt to fix the gst_base_sink_is_too_late problems (but it did NOT fix them).


slow screen updates

These are very likely caused by a slow screen capture refresh rate, this may be better with a different screen capturer.

On Windows 8, with a pretty powerful Core i7 machine, I get possible fps 15.41 (negotiated for 30 fps). This is using Roger’s / betterlogic’s screen-capture-recorder. Roger claims this is due to Aero.

See more about it here  and here (also provides a list of available other directshow screen capture filters).


Gstreamer shows massive H.264 artifacts – Matthias Bock has opened an issue for this, and some further hints.

This seems to be related to the bitrate set in FFMPEG – if I lower it to ~ 400 k, the artifacts become less distorted, and image quality is quite OK. Also, use a variable bitrate instead of a constant one.


This may be related to the Pi’s fake hardware clock (?). It also appears when running gstreamer with a simple test image setup:

gst-launch-1.0 videotestsrc ! autovideosink

gstbasesink.c(2683): gst_base_sink_is_too_late (): /GstPipeline:pipeline0/GstAutoVideoSink:autovideosink0/GstEglGlesSink:autovideosink0-actual-sink-eglgles:
There may be a timestamping problem, or this computer is too slow.


The command above will display a test video image.


I have not tried sound yet. Sound shoud be input into ffmpeg using the following arguments:

-i audio="virtual-audio-capturer":video="screen-capture-recorder"

This directly from Roger’s GitHUB documentation.


  • try to use gstreamer on Windows for streaming?
  • Adjust Parameters for betterlogic/Roger’s direct show capturer
    • apparently it hits the ceiling at 15 fps with Aero on
  • Use a different direct show capturer
  • Tune quality for ffmpeg stream

Background info

  • H.264 is MPEG-4 Part 10 or = MPEG-4 AVC – and is the more modern and data-efficient codec format (“advanced video coding”);
  • whereas MPEG-4 Part 2 = MPEG-4 Visual is based on the older image compression standards used in MPEG-2, and also implemented in DivX, Xvid, etc.
  • you can also use .\ffplay –i udp://:1234 to test the streaming output on the local machine. The video quality IS NOT TO BE USED AS A REFERENCE. It just shows, that it “works”. Change the target IP accordingly (“localhost” instead of the Raspi’s IP will do, I believe.)


Jul 232013


We have released dfreerdp (FreeRDP for the DirectFB backend) as a package for the Raspberry Pi. Please go to our new blog post to get it!


RDP is a convenient way to connect to Windows and also other operating systems with RDP host software, e.g. Linux. RDP transmits display information more efficiently than VLC, as it sees the structure of the screen and it’s elements. It also allows to transmit audio information both ways – playback and recording, share printers, drives, and more. As it is an extensible protocol, efficient video / multimedia playback can be implemented – and has been implemented, albeit apparently only in Windows Media Player.

The Raspberry Pi is a low-power device, with Full-HD (and audio) capable HDMI output.

FreeRDP is a mighty utility to connect to RDP servers, and utilize many of their possibilities. It even supports the video extensions for RDP (in RDP lingo: video redirection virtual channel extension) with ffmpeg. Don’t get your hope up too high right now, though: while theoretically feasible in software, it still would have to be written for both the Raspberry AND the host (it is not a “plug & forget” solution, but the software run on the server has to support it specifically).

The current state: A marriage made in heaven?

Not quite. FreeRDP is easily installed, and used from an X session. But it is … agonizingly slow. Audio playback is in a bad state.

The problem: X adds a very high overhead to any application, but even more so a graphics intensive, such as FreeRDP. Even super-charging the Raspberry Pi with overclocking, Class 10 SD cards, a beefy power supply, etc. will NOT solve this problem! An RDP client compiled specifically for Wayland might, but this is still some way off.


FreeRDP can be compiled to draw to the Direct Frame Buffer. This eliminates all of the overhead, which X would add. This is perfect for people really trying to use the Raspberry as Windows / RDP thin client. It will work in FullHD resolution (over the local network), with sufficient performance (and 16 bit color depth).

Kudos are in order to the Tao of Mac blog, which had the idea, and the instructions to get me up and running. You rock!

We will release a hardware & software package RDP client, based on the Raspberry, really soon now. If you’re interested, hit me up in the comments.

Step-by step instructions

With all that out of the way, let’s jump into the instructions!


We suggest to use a Class 10 SD card, with ample space for the installation & build of the packages (8 GB Class 10 seems sensible). Install the newest Raspbian image, set up your locale and keyboard layout, aptitude update and aptitude upgrade.

Install the necessary packages:

aptitude install build-essential git-core cmake libssl-dev libx11-dev libxext-dev libxinerama-dev libxcursor-dev libxdamage-dev libxv-dev libxkbfile-dev libasound2-dev libcups2-dev libxml2 libxml2-dev libxrandr-dev libgstreamer0.10-dev libgstreamer-plugins-base0.10-dev libavutil-dev libavcodec-dev libcunit1-dev libdirectfb-dev xmlto doxygen libxtst-dev

This should take quite a while.

Download the FreeRDP package (use a sensible location, we will be compiling there later. If in doubt, a sub-folder in your home folder is OK):

wget https://github.com/FreeRDP/FreeRDP/archive/1.0.2.tar.gz

You might also consider checking out the 1.0.3 pre-release version. It might turn stable in a couple of months.

Set up the build environment – this is analoguous to ./configure seen in many other compilations:


A couple of hints for this:

  • You might want to adjust the –DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX to something more suitable – if you compile as root, it will install the application and the libraries into the folder /root/freerdp otherwise.
    A good choice could be /usr – this way the binaries and libraries will be in the normal search path.
  • turning off FFMPEG means turning off virtual video extension. As discussed before, this is of limited use anyway, right now. But some experimenting might be interesting. FreeRDP also is built modularized on top of FFMPEG, so exchanging that for an omxplayer-like code thingy SHOULD be feasible.
  • Xinerama – is an X extension which allows X applications to span two or more displays a one large virtual display.

Check for the output of this command. It will tell you about skipped options and missed packages. It should find DirectFB amongst others (Found DirectFB: /usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf/libdirectfb.so).

  • pulseaudio: this is a sound server, and another layer on ALSA. It is network capable. Users report varying mileage with pulseaudio and good playback quality. We have tested without the pulseaudio package, future tests will show whether there is an advantage in using it.
  • pcsc – this is for smart card support, most likely you will not need it
  • CUnit – a lightweight system for writing, administering and running unit tests in C – most likely you will not need this, either.

Compile the DirectFB RDP client:

cd client/DirectFB/

sudo make install

#for sound support
cd ../../channels/drdynvc
sudo make install
cd ../rdpsnd
sudo make install

This is all – but this will take quite a while (some hours).

Set up some configuration files

Edit your /etc/udev/rules.d/99-input.rules to be:

SUBSYSTEM=="input", GROUP="input", MODE="0660"
KERNEL=="tty[0-9]*", GROUP="root", MODE="0666"
KERNEL=="mice", MODE="0666"
KERNEL=="fb0", OWNER="root", MODE="0660"

The first line should aready be in the file, add the other three lines.

Optional, but recommended: Edit your /boot/config.txt to contain the following settings:

# for other stuff


This will

  • set your resolution as fixed [framebuffer_width, framebuffer_height] – be sure to adjust to your needs!
  • set bit depth to 16 – as we will connect to the RDP server using this depth for better performance.
  • ignore anything the monitor will tell the Raspberry – it might lead to blurry edges, otherwise [hdmi_ignore_edid=0xa5000080]
  • overclock the raspberry just a little [arm_freq=800]
  • disable the overscan – remove the black area around the display output on modern LCD monitors [disable_overscan=1]
  • set up the HDMI output to be a real HDMI output and carry audio – this will fix “no sound output” problems [hdmi_drive=2] don’t use this if you connect your Raspberry via DVI or VGA to the monitor

Edit /etc/fb.modes and add a new mode:

# Added as per taoofmac instructions
mode "1920x1080-24p"
   geometry 1920 1080 1920 1080 32
   timings 13468 148 638 36 4 44 5

You will have to adjust this if you use a different resolution than FullHD. The original article at Tao of Mac has some more resolution examples for you.

Create a new file /etc/directfbrc with the following contents:

# for the moment, we need DirectFB's own cursor sprite




If you specified –DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX to be /usr, you should be able to use FreeRDP DirectFB client without any path prefix, else just prepend your path:

dfreerdp -u "user name" -p secret_password_here -f -g 1920x1080 -x l -z --disable-full-window-drag  --gdi hw --plugin rdpsnd --data alsa --  host:port

Be sure to adjust this command:

  • “user name” should be your user name. If it contains a space, you should keep the quotation marks, else you can loose them.
  • secret_password_here should be your password, obviosly.
  • -g specifies the geometry. Adjust, as necessary.
  • -x = experience (l for LAN), will enable different bells and whistles. You might want to modify that, or use a more finegrained control of which features to enable, and which to disable
  • -z enable compression (useful)
  • –gdi hw – I’m not sure whether this is really necessary
  • –plugin rdpsnd –data alsa —  – this will enable remote sound output on the Raspberry. Drdynvc is said to have better quality, but I could not get it to work unfortunately. And, yes, the trailing double dashes are part of this option.
  • server:port – can be specified as domain or IP adress. The :port can be omitted, if you are connecting to the default RDP port (3389)

If you want sound output on the remote machine, use the –o switch.



What about keyboard layout?

It will work exactly as you see your keyboard input on the Raspberry console itself. Even the Windows key should work. If your layout does not work on the Raspberry console, consider setting it up using raspi-config

Will this work over WLAN?

Sure it will. Just adjust your WiFi dongle for optimum throughput and latency (yes, literally change its position, tilt, etc. until you find the best performance spot!)

We recommend you the following packes for graphical / console adjustment of Wireless settings:

aptitude install wicd wicd-gtk wicd-curses

Will Skype work?

Not tested yet – enlighten us Smile This will need microphone redirection, too.

Will forwarding of devices work?

Not tested yet – inform us about usb printers, thumb drives, etc.

How can I test sound output on the Raspberry?

aplay /usr/share/scratch/Media/Sounds/Vocals/Singer2.wav -v -V mono

Will performance over WAN networks be OK?

Yes, pretty much – sound output will suffer (a lot), but the GUI will still be quite usable. You might want to adjust the flags to disable some eye candy.

Why do the browsers “stutter” during scrolling?

In my understanding: Unfortunately browsers need a very high degree of control over their screen outputs, and thus they render it themselves, instead of letting Windows do it – RDP sees browser output as image, which is retransmitted when scrolling. Playing with image compression options might alleviate this problem a bit.

Will accessing Linux hosts over RDP work?

Not out of the box – you will need to install an X to RDP conversion software.

In a very quick and rough test, a connection set up by the Scarygliders X11 RDP O Matic as a server backend did not work reliably enough (it was installed on a Pentium IV Linux server). It might do so with some tuning.

Or another backend / solution might do the trick. Looking forward to your input Smile


Known problems

  • Flash (isn’t it always on some list?) – will deliver horrible audio performance, native players (Foobar2000) will be OK, though.
  • Video playback – don’t even dream of playing YouTube videos over an RDP connection … the time is not ready yet, the software not written. Care to join a noble cause?
  • WLAN performance will depend on WLAN throughput and latency. The orientation of your dongle – especially nano dongles – will be very important. It can be tuned to a decent performance state, though.
  • I can’t get the new / style switches to work with FreeRDP, fallback to the legacy – switches for now.
  • Sound output: only rdpsnd works, –plugin drdynvc –data tsmf:audio:alsa:plughw:0,0 — will not work – maybe this is a configuration issue, though and some other parameters need to be passed. Drdynvc is said to have better quality. The issue might be with servers with no sound card drivers installed. I did not find an easy solution to this, and I am looking forward to your suggestions.
  • Connection to Linux RDP server compiled with X11 RDP O Matic is not stable for me.

References & further reading

Jul 232013


Auf dem Raspberry Pi befindet sich “von Werk aus” kein grafischer Netzwerk-Manager. Es ist also die Kommandozeile gefragt, was manchmal unbequem, lästig oder mit Fehlern verbunden sein kann.

Wir stellen in diesem Artikel daher kurz vor, wie man unter Raspbian mit Wicd einen grafischen Netzwerk-Manager aktiviert.


Öffnen Sie LXTerminal und installieren Sie die benötigten Pakete:

sudo aptitude update
sudo aptitude install wicd wicd-gtk wicd-curses


Nach Neustart von X erscheint in Ihrer Notification Area rechts unten ein neues Icon. Durch Klick auf dieses Icon können Sie sowohl LAN, als auch WLAN Netzwerke mit einer Vielzahl von Möglichkeiten verwalten.


Durch Rechtsklick auf das Icon, und Auswahl von “Connection Info” kann man seine aktuelle IP Adresse herausfinden:


Alternativ kann Wicd auch aus dem Menü gestartet werden:


Wicd zeigt die verfügbaren Funknetzwerke an:


Durck Klick auf “Connect” kann man sich zu einem Netzwerk verbinden. Falls es eine Passwort-Eingabe erfordert, weist Wicd den Nutzer darauf hin, und öffnet den “Properties” Dialog.

Für die meisten Netzwerke wird es hier nur erforderlich sein, den Preshared Key einzugeben. Wählen Sie aus dem Menü “WPA 1/2 (Passphrase)”, und geben Sie Ihren Preshared key ein.


Nach Klick auf OK drücken Sie erneut “Connect” um sich mit dem Funknetzwerk zu verbinden. Der Erfolg wird in der Statuszeile unten angezeigt:


WLAN Konfiguration unter der Konsole

Mit Wicd kann man die Funknetzwerkeinstellungen auch unter der Konsole – ohne X Session – verwalten. Geben Sie dazu einfach ein:

sudo wicd-curses


wicd-curses wird mit der Tastatur bedient. Das Menü unten zeigt die möglichen Eingaben an.

Mit Pfeiltaste nach rechts wird der aktuell ausgewählte Eintrag bearbeitet. Hier kann man die IP Einstellungen, die DNS Einstellungen und den Preshared Key eingeben. Außerdem kann festgelegt werden, dass eine Verbindung zu diesem Netzwerk automatisch hergestellt werden soll. Mit F10 bestätigt man die Einstellungen. Anschließend kann man Q drücken, um wicd-curses zu verlassen.

Weiterführende Informationen & Quellen

Jul 032013

That’s what we all want to see – a functioning, lightning-fast modern browser on the Raspberry Pi.

Some resources I collected on the web look pretty promising.

XWayland server

The XWayland server has already been demoed, although not released to the broad public yet. We have seen Midori (or Chromium?) and LibreOffice running on top of it. Pretty smoothly, it seems.

This SHOULD be available soon and support all “classical” X software.

The future: Webkit

The company Igalia, amongst many others, is working to allow WebKitGTK+ run on a Wayland backend.

WebKit is the base of the most modern browsers (even Opera started to use it, AFAIK. One notable exception of course is Microsoft with it’s Trident engine. I bet we will grow old to see it arrive on the Raspberry, though).

Epiphany, the default web browser of GNOME, is based on WebKit. Chromium is also based on WebKit.

Igalia has a blog, in which these two entries seem the most interesting to me:

Briefly, this post outlines why it would be a good thing to have the Core IV GPU of the Raspberry do the heavy lifting of layer-composition, instead of the CPU (which could focus on JavaScript, for instance …)

The post explains some background, has a YouTube demo video of Epiphany running under Wayland (showing off some 3D effects) and goes on to outline the current state of the work. “GTK3 is already providing a Wayland backend, WebKitGTK+ needs to use GTK3 only”.

Most notably, full screen video playback (GStreamer) and plugins may be problematic. We all can / should live without Flash by now, which will probably never get ported to GTK3. Adobe’s phasing Flash out, too. HTML5 is the way to go!

As GNOME is betting huge on Wayland, and Epiphany is its flagship browser, it is only a matter of time until Webkit-based browsers (Midori, Chromium, …) WILL be available for the Raspberry Pi.

More Information

is one of the few good collections of the current state of Wayland support. Not everything applies to the Raspberry of course, but we can “feel, see and touch the future” here. GTK+ support seems to be complete – which is quite promising for many applications. It also lists the all-important browsers. Apparently Chromium removed Wayland support?? It was added back in in a fork / patch it seems, this is already one year old.

On the Wayland mailing list it was shared, that Midori has finished preliminary support for Wayland. This is news as of the end of April 2013, and will probably take some time to come to the Raspi. Will midori be the first browser we use with Wayland?

Webkit-clutter seems to be another possible approach to Weston. (Clutter is apparently another application toolkit, an alternative to GTK+). As we all know Collabora is the company behind the Weston/Wayland software on the Pi, we may expect something from this, too. Here’s some more background info on Clutter & Webkit.


This video shows a comparison of several browsers available on the Pi. Netsurf does not run JavaScript, this is where the huge performance gains when rendering arise from. Chromium was apparently no easy task to compile for a Raspberry, but it works now – albeit quite slow. We’re not taking it for granted Winking smile


Gomoto’s Browser

This is an interesting light-weight WebKit-based browser. Supporting JavaScript, CSS, etc – yet the code is so short you can easily read it, modify it, and recompile it. In fact I have experimented with it tonight.

Read the following thread to obtain more information

Or go directly to Google Code Homepage of “minimal-web-browser”. Download the browser package or the source.

Installation instructions:

  • wget the omxgtk package
  • aptitude install xterm
  • dpkg –i omxgtk_0.1_rc3_armhf.deb
  • wget the web package
  • dpkg –I web_1.0-6_rc3_armhf.deb

now you can start the browser from an X session with “web”.

This browser CAN ALSO SUPPORT YOUTUBE PLAYBACK! You need to create a shell script to support this, and install youtube-dl. The author also added Radio playback.

Guenter Kreidl has built a Minimal Kiosk Browser on the base of Gomoto’s browser. Look at this Raspberry Pi forum thread to find out more. It looks quite promising, incorporating some interesting features (have a look at the README he attached to a post).

FireFox OS for Raspberry Pi

A guy called Philipp Wagner has released a FireFox-based software stack for the Raspberry Pi, which operates without using the X server! It is a mixture of Linux and OpenGL which he runs on top of.

Apparently, right now, there is no input support for mouse / keyboard, but this could be great for digital signage-class systems.

If you like his work, you can get him something nice from his Amazon wishlist Winking smile

I’ll be testing the performance of the FireFox OS after I post this, and will report back in the comments.

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