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Raspberry Pi

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March 4, 2012 12:09:37 AM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raspberry_Pi

http://www.raspberrypi.org/

http://arst.ch/sq4

The minute I can order one... :D 

This is so exciting, I can't wait to get my paws on one, then put it in some crazy small form factor and have it as my personal portable computer!

I propose we all get one so that when I have problems with it, you all can fix it for me.

Or that we make a mesh network so I can tap into your massively fast and unlimited internet.

But seriously, I'm awaiting the release of the Raspberry Pi outside the UK. If you see/get it and have something interesting to say post it here.

I'm honestly hoping for a resident Raspberry Pi club to form :p 

More about : raspberry

March 4, 2012 12:28:21 AM

I tried to snag one at release, but they sold out in minutes. I'll have to be more on-the-ball next batch :D 
March 4, 2012 12:45:55 AM

I really want to pre-order some once they start shipping internationally. I can see about a dozen applications for Raspberry Pi.

Heck, I might buy a whole fleet of them for my family so that they don't end up with viruses on their Windows PCs.
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March 4, 2012 1:43:22 AM

It's a very nice piece of kit for not a lot of money. I plan on grabbing one once things cool down a little and playing with it. Many of the people around me at work are interested in this thing as well, esp. since we've been doing a lot of work with linux running on ARMv7 architecture chips recently.
March 4, 2012 2:10:41 AM

If you don't mind me asking, what have you been doing at work with ARM processors?
March 5, 2012 7:57:09 AM

Imagine making a rendering farm out of these.
March 5, 2012 11:55:58 AM

Imagine being tied to a binary blob for graphics on a semi open source HW design that can't even use a standard boot loader.
March 5, 2012 5:18:57 PM

audiovoodoo said:
Imagine being tied to a binary blob for graphics on a semi open source HW design that can't even use a standard boot loader.


While I'm also not pleased about this, A) For $35, I can get over it, and B) It's mostly the fault of Broadcom, and not that of the RasPi foundation. The reason they went with the Broadcom chip was because Eben works for Broadcom, so they got a deal on them. I'm sure they would have preferred an alternative, but they did what they needed to do in order to keep the price down.

EDIT: Also, you can make the binary point to a standard bootloader, IIRC.
March 6, 2012 12:22:12 AM

But how much can you do with $35?

Definately not fab your own chips.

If enough people buy one, drivers will be made.
March 6, 2012 9:27:24 AM

I've made this point in other places but I'll make it here so people understand my position.

1. It's designed to get kids into programming. Here in the UK we have rooms full of computers controlled on outsourced management contracts doing absolutely nothing. The biggest issues getting kids to program are:

a. The outsource companies don't install anything other than a SW stack agreed by management that thinks computers begin and end with a copy of office.

b. The teaching staff do not have programming skills (there are notable exceptions I'll admit) and frequently IT is seen as secretarial / office skills.

2. They went with a HDMI interface, no case and no VGA. Most monitors out there are VGA, all the ones at the college I worked at were VGA with no HDMI. So schools need to buy adapters, external powered hubs and cases. Composite out is an option but anyone who used TV's as monitors back in the 80's will tell you it's a great way to screw your eyes up.

3. The I/O pins need the gertboard to really be accessible. Failing that you're using USB bridge solutions which all cost money.

4. Boot loader requires boot strapping through the GPU. We covered this in the last Pi thread. It's never going to be as easy to use as IDE/SATA in terms of teaching boot.

5. Cost. £35 in the UK for retail. Add on a USB powered hub, KB, Mouse, case,memory card and adapter for VGA monitor (see point 1). We can conservatively put that at £50 plus the availability of a display which we will assume they have. You can buy Linux tablets with wireless, touch display and USB connectivity for £100. These could also double up as ebook readers.

6. Competition. Obvious first contender is Audino which already has a good solid adoption and lots of interface kits. Mindstorms is also popular, while more expensive it's easy to get kids excited about controlling robotic arms and building machines without requirements for any form of tooling. From a health and safety perspective schools love this.


As I've said before it's a cunning little device. I can see it working well for home hobby developers but for schools I just don't think it's going to be the grail that the Pi foundation seem to believe it will be. Maybe the situation in other countries is different but I just can't see this running in the UK education channel. I have three teachers in my family, two of them as heads. My housemate works in music technology and music therapy. None of these folks can see any use for it in their environments, sadly they all seem more likely to get given iPads and Blackberries.

March 6, 2012 9:40:51 AM

Pyroflea said:
While I'm also not pleased about this, A) For $35, I can get over it, and B) It's mostly the fault of Broadcom, and not that of the RasPi foundation. The reason they went with the Broadcom chip was because Eben works for Broadcom, so they got a deal on them. I'm sure they would have preferred an alternative, but they did what they needed to do in order to keep the price down.

EDIT: Also, you can make the binary point to a standard bootloader, IIRC.


So who's fault is it then? Eben works for them and wants open source. He's a graphics chip designer, if anybody was well placed to make the case to them it would be him. Still no drivers and from what I read not great documentation. We've seen Broadcom driver posts here on numerous occasions, they are not open source friendly so they seem like a strange bedfellow for an open HW project.

March 6, 2012 9:44:08 AM

I think there is a version coming with a case. I couldn't see myself getting one without it even if I did buy one of these. It's not very practical to carry exposed circuits in your pocket.
March 6, 2012 10:59:41 AM

I'm with you Audio. It's a great little toy for the likes of us, but I just don't get all the hype about it getting kids into programming. They've most of them got computers already so could easily get into programming if they were interested. Just produce a Linux distro on a USB stick (an x64 version of the one in the Pi if you like) and there's no need for the additional hardware.

But it will be a great device for those already into this sort of thing
March 6, 2012 11:24:54 AM

Well I guess you can't stop us users doing whatever we want to do with our devices.

Not even Apple.

March 6, 2012 12:48:11 PM

Hell no! I don't want to stop people having fun or experimenting!!!

It's just that having watched so much money get wasted when I worked in education I can see the train wreck this thing could produce. Sell it as a hobby tool that dedicated geek teachers might like to deploy in certain environments and that others will use to express their inner geek and it would be golden.
March 6, 2012 10:04:05 PM

I should have mentioned that I don't really see the point of the charity itself (and haven't from the get go, for many of the reasons your specified), but just thought this would be a neat toy to hack around with.
March 6, 2012 10:21:59 PM

Gving technology to people doesn't really help them most of the time.

Case in point: Department of Education laptops.
March 6, 2012 10:36:44 PM

Just watching the news earlier and it looks like life rafts might have been a better investment for students down your side of the planet.

You and Raynod are the other side of Oz aren't you?
March 6, 2012 10:42:36 PM

I live on top of a high plateau and Reynod is many kilometres away :) .
March 6, 2012 10:52:26 PM

Always best to keep him at a safe distance ;-)
March 6, 2012 11:48:01 PM

Would love to sink a few dollars in the next batch to test in a variety of embedded applications.

I've recently been attached to a project controlling a number of systems of a 6x6 with this:

http://www.embeddedarm.com/products/board-detail.php?pr...

We haven't gotten much done yet, but we have a display going, running Debian. We have wrote a few bits of code to take in a number of sensors around the engine (3.9L 4BT Cummins), but have yet to tie it all together. I'm wondering if this Raspberry Pi would be of any use as it sorta fills the same role. We would have to reinvent the wheel, but its enough cheaper to justify the time in development, I think. Not my call though. :??: 

For personal use, I'm thinking of getting two for now if only because I know I'll destroy at least one. :D 
March 7, 2012 2:34:47 AM

amdfangirl said:
If you don't mind me asking, what have you been doing at work with ARM processors?

Previously we had embedded controllers that were PPC and ran VxWorks but we decided to try out some ARM goodness and, while we were at it, Linux as well (I may have had a hand in that decision :) )
March 7, 2012 3:09:05 AM

bmouring said:
...while we were at it, Linux as well (I may have had a hand in that decision :) )


You? Noo! :D 
March 7, 2012 3:41:04 AM

bmouring said:
Linux as well (I may or may not have dabbled in mind control ;) )


Fixed.
March 7, 2012 3:54:10 AM

Also Audiovoodoo, just curious, what was that 100 quid Linux tablet you mentioned?
March 7, 2012 10:58:08 AM
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