Raspberry Pi Foundation co-founder Jack Lang dies aged 76

Jack Lang (right)
(Image credit: Raspberry Pi)

Update 5/7/2024 02:10 PDT

We have updated this story with a message from Raspberry Pi Foundation co-founder Pete Lomas. 

Updated Story

A news post on the Emmanuel College, Cambridge website brings the sad news that Jack Lang, one of the original co-founders of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, passed away on April 23 after a long illness.

Born in January 1948, Lang matriculated into Emmanuel College in 1966. Lang was a well-known serial entrepreneur and business angel in Cambridge. For Raspberry Pi fans, he is perhaps best known as one of the original co-founders of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the educational charity linked to the popular single-board computer. 

Raspberry Pi Foundation Founders

  • Eben Upton
  • Rob Mullins
  • Jack Lang
  • Alan Mycroft
  • David Braben
  • Pete Lomas

Lang was also a trustee and chairman of the board for the Raspberry Pi Foundation. He also became a non-executive director and chairman of the board for Raspberry Pi LTD, the trading arm of Raspberry Pi which oversees the development of the single board computers.

We reached out to Raspberry PI CEO, Eben Upton for comment.
"It's very sad news. Jack (Lang) was an old friend, and had been a central part of the Cambridge tech entrepreneurship scene, having played an instrumental role in the development of the software for the BBC Micro, since long before I arrived in 1996."

Raspberry Pi Foundation co-founder Pete Lomas has written this touching dedication to Lang.
"Jack was a rare breed.  I recall after the early discussions about the creation of a charitable foundation, he just gifted all the legal work to get it done. He was also visionary, even before the prototype Raspberry Pi left my 'drawing board' he was asking what our plans should be for reaching our target audience in other countries. Today the Raspberry Pi Foundation's mission is truly global with Foundation teams in six countries and partnerships with non-profit organisations in another 40 countries.  I hope, although we still have a way to go, that Jack finally saw that his 2010 vision is now a solid sustainable and growing reality."

A fun part of Raspberry Pi history saw Lang store some of the original batch of Raspberry Pi boards in his garage before a select few were sent off for EM testing and certification.

Lang's life saw his love for computer science lead him to a range of roles. He founded the TopExpress consultancy with Professor Shon Ffowcs-Williams, and as Upton mentioned, Lang (during his time at TopExpress) designed software for the BBC Micro, a computer that later influenced the Raspberry Pi.

I personally met Lang in 2014 while working with the Raspberry Pi Foundation's Picademy teacher training course. Lang was well respected and ever-present during those early Picademy sessions.

Lang authored 'The High Tech Entrepreneur's Handbook' and taught Business Studies, Entrepreneurship, and E-commerce for the University of Cambridge Computer Science Laboratory.

Lang's Raspberry Pi legacy, from those early days with a garage full of Raspberry Pis to the 61 million units today, is enabling young people to learn computing and digital skills. 

The Emmanuel College news post sums Lang up rather well. "Jack was one of the most significant figures in computing education in the UK."

Les Pounder

Les Pounder is an associate editor at Tom's Hardware. He is a creative technologist and for seven years has created projects to educate and inspire minds both young and old. He has worked with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to write and deliver their teacher training program "Picademy".