The Book of Shaders by Patricio Gonzalez Vivo & Jen Lowe

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How to run the examples on a Raspberry Pi?

A few years ago, assuming that everybody has a computer with a graphical processing unit was a long shot. Now, most computers have a GPU, but it's still a high bar for a requirement in a workshop or class, for example.

Thanks to the Raspberry Pi Foundation a new type of small and cheap generation of computers (around $35 each) has found its way into classrooms. More importantly for the purposes of this book, the Raspberry Pi comes with a decent Broadcom GPU that can be accessed directly from the console. I made a flexible GLSL live coding tool call glslViewer that runs all the examples in this book. This program also has the ability to update automatically when the user saves a change to their code. What does this mean? You can edit the shader and every time you save it, the shader will be re-compile and render for you.

By making a local copy of the repository of this book (see the above section) and having glslViewer installed, users can run the examples with glslviewer. Also by using the -l flag they can render the example in a corner of the screen while they modify it with any text editor (like nano, pico, vi, vim or emacs). This also works if the user is connected through ssh/sftp.

To install and set this all up on the Raspberry Pi after installing Raspbian, a Debian-based Linux distribution made for Raspberry Pi, and logging in, type the following commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install git-core glslviewer
cd ~
git clone
cd thebookofshaders