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Update: Downloading From banana-pi.org 2017-11-24


Upon further inspection, it seems not all of the downloads at banana-pi.org are broken. I still want to use my bpi, so this morning I went back to the downloads page to see if they had fixed the problem but not bothered to reply to my email. Turns out I was able to ge Mobius and Raspbian, but many of the other downloads are still broken. Maybe they don't care. Anyways, in the meantime I have a few OS's I can try out on it.

Downloading From banana-pi.org 2017-11-16


A while back I got a Raspberry Pi. In general I was disappointed because it is frequently referred to as a $25 computer when in reality it simply is not. The above linked article may have some clippings from the rpi FAQ but clearly forgets to mention that in order to actually USE your rpi you will also need:

  • A monitor or television with HDMI/RCA input
  • A USB capable keyboard
  • A USB mouse
  • A 12V/2A power adapter
  • A MicroSD (or maybe SD) card
  • A case (unless you really want to have a bare circuit board on your desk)

In addition to these it is important to note that if you have anything less than a 12V2A power cord, you are likely to run in to boot problems and/or the inability to power even the smallest of USB peripherals such as wifi adpater or even flash drive. The moment you go looking for any kind of support to explain why you're having problems you'll very likely be instructed to go buy another power adapter. You'll also want to buy extra [Micro]SD cards for your pi, because it is bound to fry one. Especially if you have a model stupid enough to have the SD card hanging half off the board Yeah, that'll last a long time. In short, by the time you are turning your rpi on, don't be surprised if you have spent closer to $100.

Having said all that, I bought me a Banana Pi M1. It is kind of like a Raspberry Pi, except I liked the sound of two main improvements. It has a SATA connector and it has gigabit ethernet. I tried using it as a home server for a while and in fact was able to use it as a samba share, asterisk box, backup (rsync) machine, DNS/DHCP/NTP server, qbittorrent-nox client, and probably a couple other things I am forgetting. It worked pretty well but eventually I found it getting slow when streaming video from it, so I switched it out for an old HP SFF desktop.

I was hoping that if I wasn't going to use it as a server, maybe I could use it as a desktop. For this I would want to have xorg for a GUI desktop environment. I found banana-pi.org which has some downloads, including Lubuntu which sounded like it might have promising performance [if anything would]. I'd prefer Xubuntu, but that wasn't immediately downloadable. So I tried the link for Lubuntu, which points to a Google Drive account, and I got this:

bpi_m1_dl1 Sign in man.

Well that is kind of irritating. It seems a little stupid to me that one would have to literally provide credentials to download something that is clearly meant to be freely downloadable, but I logged in anyways. Unfortunately, I was immediately greeted with this:

bpi_m1_dl2 You need permission dude.

Well that is even more irritating. I clicked on the "request Access" button and was told that the request was sent and that I'd be notified if I was granted permissions to the file. Unfortunately, I was also immediately emailed by Google telling me this:

bpi_m1_dl3 Who you talkin' 'bout Willis?

When I first encountered the problem I actually emailed their support and got a reply like a day later telling me that no account was necessary. Since then I have re-emailed them to explain the problem in full (including screenshots) but have yet to receive a reply (and it has only been three days). I also had three other people confirm that they also can not download from banana-pi.org's Google Drive using various operating systems and browsers. Now, I wouldn't be surprised if their use of a .tk domain was related to the problem, but why they wouldn't want to fix it right away is beyond me. :-(

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