Programming + chip + GUI


granted technically I’ve yet to start programming but I’m needing to know a few things. is Python included with onboard OS? if not can I Custom Build my own os for the Chip? how much ROM is afforded to the CHIP OS? and last question. where can I get an image (ISO or otherwise) of what is stock on the chip? thanks :slight_smile:


CHIP runs a version of the Debian Linux distribution so most everything you read about the “Linux” operating system will be true for CHIP. If CHIP doesn’t come pre-loaded with Python, it can be quickly installed using the “apt-get” command. CHIP has no Read Only Memory (ROM) … it only has RAM and flash memory. The flash memory size is 4GBytes which is usually ample for most users. CHIP comes pre-installed with an image but newer images can be downloaded from here:

And there are instructions there too. I wouldn’t be too worried about what comes “pre-installed” on CHIP. Since it provides a Linux OS, it is better (opinion) that it come with just a minimal core of goodies and then we can install new apps and libraries as needed. The package management system is excellent and there are GUI tools to allow us to surf and install as many free packages as we might ever need.

See free book on CHIP at


hehe well then, I thought it actually had a different strategy for the OS. still Flash memory “should” be enough. hopefully. I’m planning a python based Roguelike so should be enough. I hope.

Debian is good though I might try Slackware. I’m thinking text/simple graphics. aka the OLD school Roguelikes. the biggest question is though. are the images mountable and not just needing to be flashed to the CHIP?


You might want to search on this forum for “rogue” there appears to be a number of ports/implementations/projects of that game on CHIP. To the best of my knowledge, you can’t just “get” a Linux distribution and hope to run it on CHIP. Most Linux distributions contain hardware drivers for a specific CPU and architecture. CHIP runs an ARM CPU and has its own hardware environment. As such, the Linux running on CHIP has been customized for the CHIP environment. A “generic” distribution of Linux assumes an Intel processor and a PC (BIOS) hardware layer. It is best not to think of CHIP as being like a “PC”. An Intel based PC environment is itself an architecture story and that story is not the same as CHIP. As such, there is not really a concept of “mounting” an image to run on CHIP.


oh I perfectly well know the differences between the distros and architectures and I’m certain that their would be loads of differences. shouldn’t mean I can’t look at the source code. granted, thats mostly being done off to the side of the kernel.

what I was meaning though about mounting isn’t so much on the CHIP. I want to see what 1 of the Flash images has on it. and for that I hopefully should be able to grab an image of what will be Flashed to the CHIP. :smiley:

that being said, I’m wanting something brand new in terms of a Roguelike. something more odd and different to be honest. so gonna make it. maybe post it here. or somewhere else. but as it stands anyways I want to change GUI interfaces, and loads more. so it’s going to have to be a work from Ground up. fun part? I’m a gamer who uses windows constantly.


Yes, most Linuxes come with Python anymore. I personally have used the standard “IDLE” Python IDE on the PocketCHIP. I use the Marshmallow Pocket Home mod on mine. It was easy to add IDLE as an icon on the home screen. It almost works. If you want to change anything in the default settings you can’t use the UI because the limited screen space does not allow you to get to the buttons and the default accelerators ([esc], [enter], …) we’re not applied. Other than the settings UI its fully functional and quite usable. If you are running a CHIP on some other type of display (composite, VGA, HDMI) it will probably work fine.

I used pyGTK for UI components. I don’t remember if I had to install it or not. But everything that is available on Debian 8 can be installed in the usual fashion (apt-get install). The documentation section of the debian web site is probably a good place to begin if not familiar with it. FYI: Synaptic & Aptitude have issues with PocketCHIP’s limited screen.


I’m personally going to be doing this completely with just the bare CHIP. still good. granted this is going to be a learning experience. I’ve Not programmed in ~20 years.


About mounting the image instead of flashing it: It’s not as straightforward as I’d like. But there’s a reason to it: CHIPs have a NAND memory for persistent storage. That is, this memory does not have a Flash Translation Layer, and is not seen as an emulated disk by Linux – It’s what’s known as a Memory Technology Device. Thus, the image is not in your usual ext2/ext3/ext4 filesystem or anything like it, but uses a radically different concept called UBIFS.