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SmartiePi - First Computer for 4-5 Year Old

Last update:  05 March 2021
Original 18 February 2021

ANOTHER project in VERY EARLY Stages, this page will be a mess as I stumble thru this ...

Goal here is a build an educational, 'First Computer' for our grandchild.  Age range will be 4-10ish, with a vision of a complete system - keyboard, monitor/sound, mouse/trackpad and an operating environment that will introduce personal computing while working through educational software/apps.  Basically a step up from good old CutiePi.  More to come as this idea develops.


Feb 2021:   New Project:  Will start with a Raspberry Pi (3+) with GCompris loaded up.  See what we have


- Raspberry Pi OS *or* DietPi
- gcompris-qt


- RPi 3+
- 32g SD
- Small Monitor

Activity Log

(Flaky $hit Highlighted - Fixed Stuff

March 2021:  Pushing on!  Prototype looked pretty good! 
  • Tested GCompris on a RPi4 running RaspOS - it worked GREAT!  A LOT better than RPi 3+
    • Even background music via HDMI
    • The question will be whether an RPi 4 will live in CutiePi world without burning up
      ... Pi-EzConnect HAT sits right on top of  HAT, room for fan?
      ... We'll have to open the window shutters and door on the Lego Cottage Case, that's for sure

  • Prototype:  Added a keyboard and monitor to CutiePi V3, installed desktop (WM) and GCompris
    • Here's what worked
      • Software:  Dietpi (w/ Shairport-Sync & LXQT Desktop) + GCompris and CutiePi_V3 (gpio & pygame)
      • Hardware: RPi 3+, CutiePi GPIO Buttons/Lights, Logitech k400 keyboard/trackpad and HDMI monitor
    • Stuff to research/work on
      • No background Music - not sure if it was GCompris or PulseAudio not getting along with ALSA
      • SLUGGISH!  Too much for RPI3+?  or something with DietPi/LXQT
February 2021:  Initial attempts
  • Minor update ... currently exploring adding lightweight desktop and gcompris to CutiePi.  IF everything gets along together - dietpi, shairport-sync, my CutiePi script and desktop with gcompris.  May work well, simply add monitor and bluetooth keyboard/trackpad to CutiePi !!!!  Some notes ...
    • Installed lxqt desktop on cuitepi - getting a little crowded in there!
    • libpulse-mainloop-glib0 was not in dietpi software library ...
      Find name via "apt-cache search libpulse-mainloop"
      Package installed OK via "apt-get install libpulse-mainloop-glib0"
    • Sound issues!!  Pulse seems to work, but gcompris doesn't play any sounds
    • <more to come>
  • Attempt#2:  Installed RaspOS to be safe - 1st time using Raspberry Pi Imager from AUR (Nice!)
    • Download via ... RPi is Beta
    • Copied and 'Installed' to new gcompris directory (or it will end up installing under Downloads)
    • Hmmm ... says: 
      gcompris-qt: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory
      • I'd guess Pulse Audio!  Installed Pulse Audio Emulation (apulse-0.1.12-2 to be specific)
      • Nope!  It was PulseAudio Client libraries (glib support) - Package that needed to be installed was called libpulse-mainloop-glib0-12.2-4+deb10u1+rp3 - imagine that!
    • Wow!  Gcompris looks amazing!  I may simple connect a Monitor & Keyboard/Trackpad to CutiePi to see how everything gets along! 
    • <maybe more to come>
  • Attempt#1:  GCompris install on top of my goto operating environment - Dietpi w/ MATE
    Bad Idea!  GCCompris is a QT-Based world that is not in package form - installed via scripts