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Re: Gnuradio 3.8 on a Raspberry pi 4 B?

From: Marcus Müller
Subject: Re: Gnuradio 3.8 on a Raspberry pi 4 B?
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 2021 18:08:45 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:91.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/91.2.0

Hi Jean-Michel,

don't apologize for sharing your technically shaped view on things. I, too, would look at an RPi4 as embedded device! But that is because my use ways of thinking are much more in terms of "do GUI-ish stuff on a PC/laptop, number crunching on a PC/workstation/server, and only exactly what needs to be done there on an embedded platform". I can see how if you want to write letters or browse the web, a low/medium-end smartphone-powered computer works for you. And, sure enough, low/medium-rate signal processing, why not; if I need things to demodulate something in the kHz range and display something simple, OK, why not wayland/Mutter, X11/XFCE or whatever.

Regarding suboptimality: yep, Raspbian is a 32bit ARM debian-derivative distro "same binary for all RPi generations", and they literally build-on-target, and although the very few people behind it very critical for establishing the RPi as "the" Linux SBC, they've not really received any official support from the Pi foundation; do with that info what you will. The Raspbian person I've had contact was super nice, and he helped me understand how GNU Radio works under these situations. He was happy to hear how VOLK worked. Nice guy.

Raspberry Pi OS is a more directly derived debian (currently, based on Debian 11), and as far as I know it uses sensible architectural settings for the RPi4. That means you should be able to "apt install gnuradio" and run "volk_profile" right there. I don't have an RPi4, so can't test. Last time I checked (that's already a while back) they still haven't put together an officially sanctioned QEMU aarch64 target with enough device tree to emulate a headless RPi.

I honestly think that unless you're doing something *very* specific chances are, you'll never have to use a self-built GNU Radio on a RPi these days; and I've been asking people not to build on target forever, not the least to save them the pain.

Best regards,

On 29.05.20 17:07, jean-michel.friedt@femto-st.fr wrote:
apologies to the list then, I was not aware of the use of RPi as
desktop computer, and have always been obsessed with optimization
of resources for embedded systems. Most probably for a desktop use,
a sub-optimal binary distribution such as Raspbian is best suited indeed,
as we find daily on our personal computers.


JM Friedt, FEMTO-ST Time & Frequency/SENSeOR, 26 rue de l'Epitaphe,
25000 Besancon, France

May 29, 2020 4:56 PM, "Glen Langston" <glen.i.langston@gmail.com> wrote:

Thanks for your explanation.

ssh-ing in as root did work fine.

I find that the rtl_ programs do work, like rtl_fm.

I also understand your approach to embedded real-time applications.

This probably works particularly well for the PlutoSDR.

My goal is for student use, where they are particularly graphical
user interface aware.

Best regards


On May 29, 2020, at 1:57 AM, jean-michel.friedt@femto-st.fr wrote:

It is indeed my belief that there is no point in running a graphical user
interface on an embedded system, much less a windowing system. If an embedded
board is supposed to interact with a user, a Qt5 or SDL dedicated interface
will be much lighter and efficient than a X-Window server and a window manager

This is the reason for providing the examples at the end of the tutorial
where a Non GUI flowgraph is generated, the resulting Python script sent to
the embedded board and running there, possibly streaming the output (in my
example 0-MQ) to a client. In the case of gr-acars, I just fetch periodically
the log-file from the RPi4 to the host computer for analysis.

Nevertheless if you want to go in the windowing system direction, Buildroot
seems to provide Xorg support:

make menuconfig
Target packages -> Graphic libraries and applications -> X.org X Window System

I have never used nor tested, so I have no idea how much space/how long it takes
to compile.

There is no binary package management system with buildroot: the whole point, 
makes is different from OpenEmbedded/Yocto, is to generate a custom minimal
image with only the needed tools and not compile all possible binary packages
(the disk size difference being about 10-fold, with about 8 GB needed for
buildroot when my attempt at completing the OpenEmbedded system ended at about
80 GB and many unnecessary binary packages).

The default network configuration is to fetch the IP address from a DHCP server.
Otherwise add an etc/network/interfaces entry in the output/target directory
of buildroot with the static IP configuration, and
to re-generate sdcard.img including this configuration file. Similarly if the
usr/share/uhd/images binary files are needed: copy in output/target and make.


JM Friedt, FEMTO-ST Time & Frequency/SENSeOR, 26 rue de l'Epitaphe,
25000 Besancon, France

May 29, 2020 3:33 AM, "Glen Langston" <glen.i.langston@gmail.com> wrote:


Thanks for your help.

I’ve written the image to an SDCARD and the PI4 boots to
the command line prompt. The password is accepted and
I’ve looked around.

Gnuradio seems to be installed, but not the xwindow system.

How do you use gnuradio-companion etc?

I could not find “xstartup” or some such program.



On May 24, 2020, at 3:59 PM, jean-michel.friedt@femto-st.fr wrote:

I have uploaded http://jmfriedt.org/sdcard.img
my Buildroot image generated for RPi4 that I have been
using daily for the last 2 months, so pretty sure it is
working. Actually it is 1.1 GB because of lapack needed
for gnss-sdr but GNU Radio 3.8/Python3 will only require
about 500 MB.
Gwenhael Goavec-Merou ported all GNU Radio related software/libraries
to Buildroot: the missing parts for gnss-sdr are found at
https://github.com/oscimp/PlutoSDR in the for_next branch.

root passwd=root, no user account, USRP FPGA images to be added
in usr/share/uhd/images manually if libuhd is needed. Tested with
RTL-SDR DVB-T dongle, PlutoSDR (gr-iio) and B210.


JM Friedt, FEMTO-ST Time & Frequency/SENSeOR, 26 rue de l'Epitaphe,
25000 Besancon, France

May 24, 2020 9:51 PM, "Glen I Langston" <glen.i.langston@gmail.com> wrote:


I’ve been a great proponent of gnuradio, but I’m finding in
increasing difficult to do anything new, as installation of 3.8 is
essentially impossible for most people.

I’ve written and built my own python modules and C++ blocks.

However, despite months of trying now, I can not get 3.8 to install
on a raspberry pi.

Has anyone achieved 3.8 on a raspberry pi?

If so can you please save the entire OS, gzip compressed and put it
online somewhere. It will probably be about 3 GB compressed.



Note that there are many many (too many) different guides on line

1) apt-get

2) pybombs

3) git clone then build

each one fails in a different way.

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