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Ask Director Eben Upton About the Raspberry Pi Foundation

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the raise-your-hand dept.

Education 194

When Eben Upton isn't working as an ASIC architect for Broadcom, he is the Director of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. The foundation is a UK registered charity which exists to promote the study of computer science and related topics, especially at school level. Raspberry Pi plans to develop, manufacture and distribute an ultra-low-cost computer, for use in teaching computer programming to children. Their first product is about the size of a credit card, and is designed to plug into a TV or be combined with a touch screen for a low cost tablet. The expected price is $25 for a baseline Model A device, and $35 for a Model B device with integrated 2-port USB Hub, 10/100 Ethernet controller and 128MB of additional RAM. Eben has agreed to answer your questions about what it takes to make an ultra-low-cost computer, running an educational charity, or anything else. The usual Slashdot interview guidelines apply: ask as many questions as you want, but please keep them to one per comment.

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I can haz $25 computerz? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37330066)

That's right - 'tard-speak on slashdot.

i'm a proud, racist member to the Tard Party.

Re:I can haz $25 computerz? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37330320)

That's OK, we get lots of Libertardians in here.

Re:I can haz $25 computerz? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37330652)

Plenty more Leftardists here, though. And just as well. They're so out of touch that we can't stop laughing wondering if they don't live on a parallel universe. And laugh is good.

Re:I can haz $25 computerz? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37330552)

Welcome, fellow Democrat! We D's are the most racist party in America, and we're busily creating a culture of enslavement with our RIAA cronies. Huzzah!

Re:I can haz $25 computerz? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37330728)

Just because you heard it such things from the angry men of reactionary media, it doesn't mean that you are smart/useful for repeating it.

Help from the public (1)

Seven_Six_Two (1045228) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330078)

Would you consider making the device available to the public, and using those purchases to subsidize units destined for low-income students?

Re:Help from the public (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330614)

I'm pretty sure that's the goal. They'll even have a "buy two, give one away" like the OLPC.

Re:Help from the public (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37330636)

Send this! All those previous projects with cheap computing for students / poorer people / third-world failed in that aspect.
Including the buy one donate one ideas.
It could be the concept itself, or it could be little advertising. It could also be something we don't like, that the hardware community really doesn't care as much as they like to say they do.

There are plenty of people who would happily buy a bunch of these little devices for whatever reasons.

I'd want to buy a bunch of the B model and connect them all together to make a little cluster for research.
This is a very cheap board for cluster computing.

If there is a question of any importance, this is it! We don't want to see this project fail like others have.
And to be honest (well, my opinion that is), there isn't anything wrong with getting a little profit from those who are a bit better off.
I'm completely for that kind of profit, especially if it helps others get access to the hardware at a cheaper price.

Re:Help from the public (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37330896)

Once they have the final boards, they'll sell them to anyone, in quantities of one or more. They are still figuring out the shipping, but they plan to ship worldwide from day one.

The role of commercial viability in education (1)

ronocdh (906309) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330102)

Your decision to sell the Raspberry Pi to any interested parties, not just educational institutions, seems to indicate a broad-minded approach to education, favoring transparency and open standards. What percentage of your costs do you expect to cover by selling directly to individual, hacker-type enthusiasts, versus wholesale distribution to educational institutions for inclusion in curricula?

Has GPIO crossed your mind? (0)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330116)

A tiny computer with the ability to also twiddle some pins to control external devices would be a great alternitave to the often closed or restricted expensive ARM micro-controller evaluation boards.

Re:Has GPIO crossed your mind? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37330486)

There will be a couple 3.3V general purpose IOs. The exact number and whether there will be headers or just soldering pads hasn't been decided yet, AFAIK.

but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37330146)

can it run linux?

Re:but (1)

CrazyBusError (530694) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331526)

It's already running Debian.

A $25 cpu is not a $25 computer (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37330150)

A "computer" with no human input device, no human output device and no storage and incompatible with any mainstream OS is hardly worthy of the name "computer." Which is fine until you start marketing it a "$25 computer" in your slashvertisements.

If it's supposed to be used by a human, it really needs a keyboard and screen to be included in the price.
If it's supposed to be a server, it doesn't, but it doesn't seem like it's any good at that either.

There may be some weird niche where this is useful, but I cannot see any case where it isn't inferior and overpriced compared to an ordinary netbook.

Re:A $25 cpu is not a $25 computer (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330252)

You do realize that most desktops are sold without a screen right?

Any human interested in this will own a screen and a keyboard already. Any human interested in this will not be scared away by having to run a non-mainstream OS.

Re:A $25 cpu is not a $25 computer (0)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330818)

Any human interested in this will own a screen and a keyboard already. Any human interested in this will not be scared away by having to run a non-mainstream OS.

Any man interested in Helga will own a fat-crevice washcloth and an electric mole-scraper already. Any man interested in Helga will not be scared away by her vestigial penis. We have both described very small sets of people (and possessing items and lacking fears are not really sufficient to produce the desire for the computer/hag so the sets are smaller; I own extra HID and monitors, love Linux, but have no desire for a $25 computer).

Re:A $25 cpu is not a $25 computer (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330820)

This is for mainly education, not just hacking. If the school wants to provide their students with them, they have to account for peripherals.

Re:A $25 cpu is not a $25 computer (1)

Seven_Six_Two (1045228) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330274)

I could be wrong, but it seems this computer is meant for learning programming. A keyboard is not included because there are keyboards for cheap or free all over the place. The computer doesn't have a monitor because it is supposed to be plugged in to a television. It is not incompatible with every mainstream os, it has an ARM processor, and will run Linux. Even if it was meant to replace my desktop, I wouldn't buy a computer that has all of the peripherals included. That would be silly.

Re:A $25 cpu is not a $25 computer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37330476)

What could be better for learning programming than being unable to type in your source code, being unable to view you code after you type it, and being unable to store it on a drive?

If you can afford a television with usable inputs and/or a conversion dongle, you can afford a netbook.
X86 linux is a mainstream OS. ARM linux is not a mainstream OS.
Keyboards may be free or cheap to people who already have computers, but not so much to anyone who would be interested in a $25 inferior good.
If you already have a screen and keyboard, you wouldn't buy this, since it is inferior in all ways to any desktop from 1995 or later.

It's a ridiculous product all around and makes even less sense than a $500 tablet, but from the other direction.

Re:A $25 cpu is not a $25 computer (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330528)

Yeah, who the hell runs Linux on ARM processors...

Re:A $25 cpu is not a $25 computer (1)

Seven_Six_Two (1045228) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330644)

Ooh ooh, I got this one! Android runs on ARM, and iirc Android is based on Linux. Mobile phones are a pretty big market, so "who" is just about everyone that doesn't live in a very poor area.

Re:A $25 cpu is not a $25 computer (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330734)

If you can afford a television with usable inputs and/or a conversion dongle, you can afford a netbook.
And you can still afford to buy this.

ARM linux is not a mainstream OS.
My phone disagrees with you.

Keyboards may be free or cheap to people who already have computers, but not so much to anyone who would be interested in a $25 inferior good.
Those people can buy them at good will.

If you already have a screen and keyboard, you wouldn't buy this, since it is inferior in all ways to any desktop from 1995 or later.
Let's count some ways it is better than this 1995 desktop:
1. HDMI
2. ARM
3. lower power
4. smaller
5. this still works
6. this has general io ports, 3.3v ones another poster claimed

This is a great product and I will be buying one, even though I have a netbook, smartphone, desktop and several smaller handheld devices.

Re:A $25 cpu is not a $25 computer (0)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330790)

what the fuck are you talking about???

I own 2 tv's did not pay a fucking dime for them 0 250 dumbass

and its 2011 fuckwit you can find a keyboard in your grocery store

oh yea this little arm chip which would kick a desktop pc from less than 10 years ago right in the balls only uses what 2 watts of juice?

god your stupid

Re:A $25 cpu is not a $25 computer (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331646)

It doesn't make sense for you. Couple that with your inability see things from any other perspective than your own, and I guess we get comments like yours.

Re:A $25 cpu is not a $25 computer (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330358)

yes because no one on the planet has a screen and computers are never ever sold without a monitor

and for fucks sake a keyboard cost 25 cents at the thrift store

just cause your mommy bought a hp at big box that does not define what a computer is

Re:A $25 cpu is not a $25 computer (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330450)

It comes with an HDMI port and a USB port, so it has display and input device capabilities. I'm not sure what your complaint is. Possibly it's because you have no idea what you're talking about, in which case, you're just a fucking retard.

Re:A $25 cpu is not a $25 computer (0)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330704)

Dude, it has HDMI output and USB for input, what more do you want? A case and power supply would be nice if ya ask me but what do I know.

Of course anyone who thinks this thing will ever actually ship at $25 or $35 probably thought the OLPC would ship for $100. Probably still believes in Santa. I'll be shocked if it ships for $2500 for a case lot of 100 raw boards but I'll at least give that a 1 in 3 chance of happening this year since they have alpha hardware actually booting.

Academics always neglect the many expenses involved in retail selling quantity one until they bite em on the butt. Expect quantity one price to be at least double the advertised price and include a hefty P&H to further cover their costs. All in all I wouldn't expect to see a completed unit with case and power supply sitting some person's desk for less than $75US until they are remaindering this model out. And to actually DO interesting things (things that can't be done on any random PC) will need an additional interface board to get at the GPIO/i2c/SPI, etc. pins because they intentionally made them hard to get at because they are raw unbuffered 1.8v signals.

And at that price it isn't worth it. 128MB of RAM with a hefty chunk gobbled up by the GPU doesn't leave much room to run modern applications. And the upsell unit isn't much better. Lose the cellphone mentality that sharply limits RAM because it has to be powered all the time.

In the my objection is bigger. Who is the target audience? Someone who can't get their hands on used Pentium IVs but can cope with taking a bare board and getting a weak PC up and running? People who want to do hardware interfacing/robotics but who can't just hook up a USB interface board to last year's discarded smartphone that still can run circles around this product? You can buy a new production Android based Archos player for $79.99 at K-Mart today that is in this device's ballpark except for the hdmi port. But you get a case, battery, display and a usb port. Don't know it can be jacked into host mode though, bet the right hacker can do it though. Anyway that is but one example.

I mean, sure, cool idea and it makes my nerd propeller spin just thinking about it.... until I start asking just WHAT I'd do after I played around with it for a few days. Something I couldn't do with a PC or old laptop or an off the shelf router running OpenWRT.

Re:A $25 cpu is not a $25 computer (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330826)

people who want embedded systems and dont feel like taking a mortgage out on their house to get some shit closed source compiler on a 80Mhz TI board that cost more than a dual core desktop

Re:A $25 cpu is not a $25 computer (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331436)

even assuming you actually have to buy a power supply, SD card, keyboard and mouse (and you usually can recycle at least some of those), the Pi is vastly less expensive than a netbook. It can be plugged into a TV.

What do you mean by "mainstream OS" ? Windows or MacOS ? 'coz it does run Linux...

rhymes (2)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330184)

Are you the same Eben Upton who co-wrote the excellent Oxford Rhyming Dictionary [amazon.com] ? If so, how'd you like that gig compared to your usual, more techie types of endeavors?

It's not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37330200)

It's really not designed to be made into a touch screen. The stated goal is to rely as much on existing peripherals as possible, i.e. a TV, existing wall-wart, USB keyboard and mouse. There is an HDMI port for 1080p output, but there's also composite video out, which appears to be very important to them, as the device is meant to be used by kids, who probably don't have big flat screen TVs. There may be solder pads for a high speed graphics link which could be used for adding a touch screen, but whether this port will be available or not hasn't been decided yet.

Their forum is full of pie in the sky wishes what could be added and what people want to turn the Raspberry Pi into. Adding a touch screen and building a table is one of those.

Re:It's not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37330394)

...building a tablet...

Malware Transmission Prevention? (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330302)

Are you worried about malware being written to target these just like some variants target USB thumb drives [informationweek.com] or mobile phones? It seems to me that if you sold millions of these to grade schools and then the kids took them home and plugged them into their home computer, the unwary student might inadvertently be the typhoid Mary of a pandemic or spreading stuff to their home computer where their parents sensitive data is stored. Are there any plans to develop tools to or methodologies to prevent such a thing from happening? It just seems that there's a small chance botnet writers, malware authors or maybe even an especially talented student could take advantage of this even if the payload isn't for the architecture or operating system on the Raspberry Pi.

Re:Malware Transmission Prevention? (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330490)

That malware does not target USB drives. It spreads via them, it targets windows machines.

Re:Malware Transmission Prevention? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37331156)

You must have missed something, you don't plug these into a computer, they ARE the computer. You plug a keyboard/mouse and monitor into them. The only access they will have is being on the same network as the home computer.

Re:Malware Transmission Prevention? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37331182)

You must have missed something, you don't plug these into a computer, they ARE the computer. You plug a keyboard/mouse and monitor into them. The only access they will have is being on the same network as the home computer.

So how do you flash them again? How do you "get linux on them"?

Re:Malware Transmission Prevention? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331292)

The same way you get Linux on any device. Put a bootable image on removable storage media, or boot it over the network.

Re:Malware Transmission Prevention? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331344)

So how do you flash them again? How do you "get linux on them"?

From the FAQ:

We will be selling SD cards with the distros preloaded.

Thankfully Debian is not BSD, and has plenty of GPL so you can't "sell" Debian without providing a free download link and free sources etc... On the other hand, to voluntarily support the project, I'd be willing to purchase a SD card at a reasonable donation-ish price... Or, if they would stick my name on a donors page, or sell me an honorary gold plated SD card on a thank you plaque, I'd willingly drop $100 or so.

I know a guy with an alpha preview test board. I've seen the screenshots. Pretty cool. Not vapor at all.

I haven't installed Debian off a cd / dvd / other removable media in many years, I netboot to install. The model B has an ethernet port, so assuming it PXE boots, or you can stick a PXE booter on a SD card, that would make a fine second option.

To answer the original weird question that seems to assume the device is a USB peripheral instead of being a USB host:

Is there power over USB? No. Raspberry Pi is a USB host, not a USB device, and you can’t draw power from the uplink port of a hub.

This would imply to connect to a desktop or whatever you need one of those weird active USB to USB "psuedonetwork" cables. Personally I'd just stick a bluetooth adapter in the USB hole on each machine and be done with it, but to each their own...

Public availability. (0)

Mercury (13121) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330314)

Will the general public be able to buy the units? A lot of interesting low cost hardware has come about (like the OLPC), but it's been rare that people off the street have been able to buy them.

Even if there is a very explicit lack of support, it would be nice to just be able to buy them without having to be a school or having an order for 5000 of them.

Re:Public availability. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37330418)

They are going to sell the boards to any one who wishes to buy them (as indicated on their site and the emails I have send before). Sales are expected once they complete to scale down of the Alpha boards (End of November - indicated by their site).

Can't wait to get my hands on one of those... :D

Re:Public availability. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37331364)

Same here, I know a couple dozen of software/hardware engineers that are drooling over the hardware and price point.

I know I will be getting at least 3 or 4 to augment some Arduino boards doing environmental monitoring in my home, Arduino is fun but the lack of a multitasking operating system is starting to be a real limiter in what i am doing, really was thinking about going Cortex-M3 board with a RTOS but those are $50 and up for 100Mhz and 64Kb ram.

Re:Public availability. (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331420)

I'm with you - really, these little suckers could open up a potential solar system of possibilities. A form factor small enough to have an entire computer mounted into a 2.5" external hard drive case complete with SSD drive, USB & Ethernet plugs with a mobile power appetite and a price tag around $35 or $40? Where do I sign?

Re:Public availability. (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331378)

Latest I heard of it, anyone can buy units, in any quantity (starting at 1). There will be a "buy one give one" program, as well as a slightly pricier unit with a built-in donation (same specs)

Power Supply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37330372)

The requirement for an external power supply seems unfortunate given the small form factor of the computer. When so many devices can draw power from a USB port (and yes, I do acknowledge that these are USB peripherals whereas the Raspberry Pi is a USB host), the need for another cable on such a small device is probably going to be an inconvenience. I'm sure that this is a topic that generated some interesting engineering discussions during product development. Can you share with us what other alternatives may have been considered and the pros and cons of them, and how you ultimately concluded that an external power supply is necessary? 1W at 5V is 200mA, which is certainly a plausible amount of current to draw from a USB cable. It could even make sense for the Raspberry Pi to be a USB device and host a telnet server. Was this use case considered?

Re:Power Supply (1)

Mr.Radar (764753) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330936)

Due to the design of the on-board power regulator it needs to at least 6 volts of input to generate 5 volts for the built-in USB host ports (most of the rest of the board runs off a separate 3.3v regulator). This is one of the most-requested features on their message board so they're looking into whether it would be possible to bypass the 5 volt regulator if the board is supplied with 5 volts in the first place but there are no promises and for now the official power specs are still 6 volts minimum (20 volts max).

programming (1)

waddgodd (34934) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330404)

Is the device going to have a built-in interpreted language ala BASIC, perl, or java, or is the device going to have a full compilation suite?

Re:programming (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330498)

With max. RAM of about 256mb and probably a pretty low amount of storage, I'm guessing if you want to build apps for it, you would use a full-blown Debian install and cross-compile for ARM.

Re:programming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37330610)

Actually that's not entirely true. From what I've read there will be compilers for C, Java, and Python included in the default installation, that compile for ARM.

One of the purposes of Rasp Pi is teaching programming to school kids; why would they NOT have compilers for the device they're using?

Re:programming (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330780)

256mb is more than enough to run a Debian install with something like LXDE, a decent text editor and a toolchain. Except for Firefox, my laptop is using less than 200mb with multiple applications open.

As for storage, 4GB is more than enough for anything you want except for full blown games and videos (which this won't support anyway).

Re:programming (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331078)

videos (which this won't support anyway).

Supposedly has native H.264 decoding or hw acceleration or whatever.

Re:programming (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37331126)

Actually it's been confirmed.

Also, a recent demo had them running Quake 3 @1080p30 fairly stable at 4xAA, so light gaming (mostly emulation) is possible.

Re:programming (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330816)

That's low, that is only twice the amount of storage that Von Neumann estimated the higher human brain to have.... Grmbl (1 billion bits, or 128 MB)

Re:programming (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331188)

Let me know how that native compile of a 2.6 kernel in your brain goes...

Re:programming (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330852)

Not really. I have done native compiles on a Strong ARM with 64MB of ram and running X. Not a lot of fun mind you but it did work just fine.

Re:programming (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331366)

The BBC Model A shipped with 16K of RAM and BASIC on ROM. I have an MP3 player in my pocket that has 8 meg of RAM and a Lua interpreter. Hardware requirements are absolutely not an obstacle to providing a programming environment out of the box.

Re:programming (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331360)

nothing at all built in, everything (including the bootstrap) loaded at boot from the SD card.
there will be pre-made SD images with an OS and programming environment available for free from Raspberry Pi, and preloaded SD cards at not much more than cost; Linux and Python (exact flavors TBA) at the start. Other OSes/variants/languages are welcome.

More enbedded features? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37330478)

Love the concept, and will probably buy at least a couple of the model B.

I was wondering if you plan to have future models with more embedded features (like Bluetooth, WiFi, and GPS)? I know this would raise the cost, but with smartphones including all those things, I wouldn't think that it would be too expensive.

Great work, can't wait to pick mine up.

Re:More enbedded features? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330558)

Frankly, the only thing I'd like is to bump the RAM up to 512mb. I have about 20 computers in the organization I work for that are public use, and you get up to that amount of RAM and they should run Open/LibreOffice okay, and then I just buy the the HDMI/DVI patch and toss the eight year old Dells we're using.

Re:More enbedded features? (1)

compnut125 (1171587) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330814)

What about doing terminal services (either LTSP or RDS)? Easier to manage, plus I'd be worried about the write workload of a full desktop OS on the SD card.

Re:More enbedded features? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37330676)

Talking about models, does he have a daughter named Kate?

Re:More enbedded features? (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331314)

I Iove the hardware idea, and side with the desire for a "Model C" with 512-1024MB of RAM and wifi..

Open Sourced Schematics and Layout? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37330516)

Are you going to open source the schematics and layout for the hardware design?
If so, will they be provided in formats that are easy to use with low cost and / or free software tools such as Eagle, KiCad, or gEDA?

Re:Open Sourced Schematics and Layout? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37331062)

They're using a proprietary Broadcom SoC (which you probably couldn't purchase in quantities of less than 10,000) which requires specialty soldering equipment for the package-on-package RAM chip so circuit board schematics wouldn't be very useful to the general public.

Raspberry Pi is an exciting project. (0)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330532)

After it gets off the ground, have you given thought to incorporating other common peripherals into the design such as Blu-Ray, surround sound or Windows 7?

Re:Raspberry Pi is an exciting project. (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330720)

I am fascinated by the idea of Windows 7 as a peripheral, perhaps you could explain your idea in further detail?

Re:Raspberry Pi is an exciting project. (1)

bjohnso5 (1476817) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331272)

whooooosh?

Re:Raspberry Pi is an exciting project. (1)

compnut125 (1171587) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330914)

I'm not sure if you're trolling or not, but this is ARM so it can't run Win7, it has surround sound through the HDMI port, and you could probably add a USB bluray drive and use the h.264 decoding in the GPU to make that work.

I do a great deal of computing work (0)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330674)

And I think it's wonderful that somebody has come up with a low-cost, low-profile system new programmers can cut their teeth on. But given my background, I also know it's a bad idea to mix sugary fruit with silicon.

That said, are you concerned that the name of the project will lead to gastronomic problems with its users, or are you encouraged by the relatively trouble-free history of Apple Computers in this regard?

Re:I do a great deal of computing work (1)

Seven_Six_Two (1045228) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330888)

I believe it's familiarity, not carbohydrate content that does all of the selling. Most people have windows in their dwellings, and they are viewed in sharp relief to the stark walls that surround them. Seeing "Windows" on a computer makes people think that there is something good, and not so scary inside the beige buttoned box. And hell, doesn't everyone enjoy crunching in to a fresh juicy apple? Except lunatics and those with incorrect opinions, of course! The downfall of Linux has always been the choice of using a penguin as a mascot. Who's ever met a penguin? If I did meet one, would it bite me? How big is it, and how many steaks can I get from one? All this confusion!

App Store (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37330738)

Are you considering having some sort of repository where users can share applications or programs for the board ? A kind of open source 'app store' were people can share there software they have created for the Pi ?

There's much of press about the "credit card" size (0)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330762)

...of these computers. I was wondering, does this provide an opportunity to also educate students about personal finance and responsible borrowing, perhaps with an ebook that comes preloaded on the computer?

How... (2, Interesting)

steelfood (895457) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330802)

...is competence in programming, much less actual computational science, better serverd by possessing a computer as opposed to promoting a strong foundation in fundamental mathematics?

(Yes, this is a loaded question, because there's a general concensus that possessing and using technology does not result in better education, much less an education in something as complex as the technology itself.)

Re:How... (1)

Seven_Six_Two (1045228) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331108)

There are aspects of programming that can be learned without delving in to more complicated subjects like algorithmic analysis. Basic ideas like logical operations, control structures, and modelling an idea in to code. You won't be a *good* programmer if you don't understand university maths, but everyone has to start somewhere.

Re:How... (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331298)

+1 for this question.

I think that reducing the base courses in early education to concentrate on reading and writing skills, along with basic math skills with general history is key. Once you have that base, you can learn anything else. I do feel that giving inquisitive kids more opportunity to explore, and concentrate on the core works better in the long run. Being able to communicate is first priority, critical thinking second.. I think this would be great for once kids reach the 10yo+ mark... I don't think kids are as well served with technology as more than a tool at a much younger age.

There are exceptions to everything, this is why having the option is nice, but handing every kid a laptop or tablet is a bad idea in general.

I think I've heard this song before (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330810)

plans to develop, manufacture and distribute an ultra-low-cost computer, for use in teaching computer programming to children.

I think I just got a jolt of deja vu for some reason.

Re:I think I've heard this song before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37331482)

So, to turn this into a question: Comparisons between your project and the OLPC project are inevitable. Given the differences between your computer and the XO laptop, you're clearly aiming at a different market and/or educational segment. Can you compare/contrast (in your view) the goals of the two projects?

Will there be a beefier model? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330884)

I'd also like an even wimpier model. Say, RS-232 instead of HDMI, and no GPU. If I could save three bucks and some power it would make sense in some applications. But I mostly want a more powerful model to also be available. I am really excited about the $35 model as it is, but I'd very much like something with more RAM, and possibly SATA.

These are way too expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37330922)

You can buy a tablet for $85-$100, which is probably less than the cost of the monitor. Get some keyboards and you have a much better platform at a lower cost.

Might there be a kit? (1)

queazocotal (915608) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330934)

It's rather hard to source parts in some cases, and a kit with all the major semis might be interesting to those of us who would like to take the raspberry pi, and make it smaller, or bring out a different set of peripherals.
The design risk if it was possible to take the pi, and edit the PCB design, to eliminate connectors, or add connectors is attractive, even though the cost of a several-off PCB isn't.

It would make it a tool for the education of electronic designers that aren't quite up to sourcing and designing a full linux system yet.

SDIO, SPI, I2C? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330964)

Any plans or exposing some pads or even pins for Digital IO, SPI, and or I2C? Maybe even a few A2Ds? Such a device would be very handy for embedded systems. Things like weather stations, robotics, data logging and so on. Could be very handy in any science class room.

Re:SDIO, SPI, I2C? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331118)

Any plans or exposing some pads or even pins for Digital IO, SPI, and or I2C? Maybe even a few A2Ds? Such a device would be very handy for embedded systems. Things like weather stations, robotics, data logging and so on. Could be very handy in any science class room.

IO ports are where its at... This would make an ideal embedded dev platform.

Write my control loop simulation in GNU Octave on the desktop, run the same control loop file for real on the little embedded box.

Re:SDIO, SPI, I2C? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331476)

A realtime Linux would also be nice to add into the mix. Some A2Ds would also be nice to add but you can do that with SPI.

Re:SDIO, SPI, I2C? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37331216)

GPIO, SPI and I2C will all be there. No on-board analog IOs.

Re:SDIO, SPI, I2C? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331374)

GPIO, SPI and I2C will all be there. No on-board analog IOs.

Fess up, AC, I'm pretty sure one of you ACs is Eben. Just register for a /. account like every other technowizard has done over the past fifteen years. That way I can "/. friend you" and your posts won't go into unviewed "AC hell".

Open Hardware (2)

Jodka (520060) | more than 3 years ago | (#37330996)

You have stated in your FAQ [raspberrypi.org] :

"We haven’t made a decision on open hardware yet. "

What is your reasoning process here; Specifically as a charitable non-profit, what would be your motives for not making it an open design?

Re:Open Hardware (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331448)

Good question! Non-open hardware would be a deal breaker for me. The obvious competitors to this device, the Arduino and the Beagle Board are both open. Refusing to open the hardware for this device would just be shooting yourself in the foot.

Can You Extrapolate on Your Teaching Strategy? (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331008)

I see that you plan on using C and Python for teaching languages [elinux.org] . I recognize that I am of an older generation but grasping C in its entirety or even little endian versus big endian was something that didn't fully come around until college for me. What are your strategies for teaching even younger targets with something like C (Python, however is probably easier)? Are you developing a rigid teaching course line or just happy to have the community put anything out? Furthermore, what is the point of putting all these other languages on your wiki like Processing or Lua? Could you or someone on your staff give a brief explanation for each of these links or are they here just to inspire someone to write a tutorial for -- I don't know -- harvesting data with the Raspberry Pi and displaying it in Processing on another computer? Or do you intend the processing application to compile to ARMv6 on the device and run on the device for a UI output? I know ARMv6 is supposed to be a leaner architecture but I'm not at all familiar with the Broadcom BCM2835 that you've shown on your alpha boards [raspberrypi.org] . All my searches for it just link back to your site.

Wifi/Bluetooth (1)

jonsmirl (114798) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331026)

I'd find a version with a combo wifi/bluetooth chip much more useful than the Ethernet version. You could plug it into a spare HDMI port (HDMI provides power) on the TV and you're done. No wire needed. Wifi hooks to the network, Bluetooth connects keyboard/mouse. You have to consider the probability of having Ethernet wired to wherever the TV is located.

HDMI CEC (3, Interesting)

jonsmirl (114798) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331048)

Is the HDMI CEC wire hooked up with a driver transistor? Hooking up that wire will let the PI control all of the HDMI devices. People are already doing this with the Beagleboard so there is software available.

Where will it be available? (1)

tp1024 (2409684) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331194)

In alphabetical order: Afrika, America, Asia, Australia, Europe? (Antarctica deliberately omitted.) Which parts of those (wherever the distinction is meaningful): North, South, East, West, Central?

parallel computing (1)

jtollefson (1675120) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331210)

Since the price point on these are so low, what's the feasibility of doing mass grid computing on these machines?

Re:parallel computing (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331512)

Since the price point on these are so low, what's the feasibility of doing mass grid computing on these machines?

First of all "price point" is marketing speak. I think you mean "price".

For educational purposes it'll work. I've seen screenshots of early alpha boards booting plain jane Debian. I set up a grid of surplus P75s (basically free) about a decade ago with Debian and learned a whole heck of a lot about parallel processing and grid administration and how it all works in general. I intend to buy about 4 to 10 of these boards upon release to basically nostalgically relive my misbegotten youth. Also I like the idea of a Beowulf cluster that fits in a kids lunchbox.

For actual production, I think you'll find that much like my P75 experiment a decade ago, a surplus desktop in the $100 class will probably wildly outproduce a large cluster of these devices.

Introduction to programming (3, Interesting)

simonloach (974712) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331240)

The raspberry pi is meant to introduce programming concepts to school-level children.

My question is: How are you planning on doing this from a UI perspective? The BBC micro (as far as I can tell, a little before my time) simply dropped the user into a BASIC prompt and left the rest to their imagination. This seems like a pretty fundamental design question for the raspberry pi, but I haven't been able to find a clear answer yet.

Home Server (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37331270)

Have you considered the possibilities of this as a cheap, low power, always on server, providing home users (with broadband) with the sort of facilities they'd normally have to rely on a commercially operated server for? I'm thinking things like email, VoIP, etc.

Java development? (1)

eparker05 (1738842) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331286)

Since the primary OS will be Debian based we can assume support for C, C++, Python, Perl, and Bash scripting. But I have heard that you would need to get Oracle involved if you wanted a Java SE JDK since the RPi is Arm based. Can you comment on whether or not this is true and, if so, have you or are you in the process of obtaining the ability to develop Java on this platform?

Re:Java development? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331594)

But I have heard that you would need to get Oracle involved if you wanted a Java SE JDK since the RPi is Arm based.

I heard openjdk "just works" on ARM since 2008 in a quickie google search. Heard otherwise?

For educational purposes I think giving kids Java is going to terrify them slightly worse than Intercal (which is available in Debian) or forcing them to read the Cthulhu mythos, so I'm not entirely certain its a good idea to try it. As HPL said "don't call up what ye can't put down" and all that.

What magical formula do you intend to use (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331316)

to make people RTFW (iki) ?

How about Squeak. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331536)

http://squeak.org/ [squeak.org] from what I have heard is a great learning language. Would be a nice option to support.

VGA? (1)

ajo_arctus (1215290) | more than 3 years ago | (#37331546)

I think it's an incredible project, and I'll certainly buy one for my son when they come out. I'm just wondering though if not having VGA is a bit of an oversight and I'd be interested to know why you made that tradeoff. I agree composite is great for places where old TVs are common, and HDMI is great for those of us who just want it as a novelty, it's just I can't help but feel that the people who could benefit most from this would most likely get one of these along with a free or very low cost second-hand monitor, which would almost certainly be VGA only.

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