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$25 PC Prototype Gets Award At ARM TechCon

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the pcs-have-never-been-so-delicious dept.

Open Source 238

New submitter gbl08ma writes "The Raspberry Pi project, which aims to create a $25 Linux box, won an award for the category 'Best in Show for Hardware Design' at ARM TechCon, even though they haven't yet released any final product (the release will be sometime in late November). Eben Upton demonstrated the capabilities of one of the prototypes that have been built. From advanced graphics at 1080p resolution to simple web browsing and desktop productivity, the small boards with ARM-based processors and PoP SDRAM have proven to be very versatile, fast and durable."

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238 comments

Happy Halloween form the Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37883694)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you ever knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

Re:Happy Halloween form the Golden Girls! (0)

Cito (1725214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37883812)

it's "you're a pal and a confidant" duh

Re:Happy Halloween form the Golden Girls! (0)

thegreatbob (693104) | more than 2 years ago | (#37883876)

How many times will I see this posted, with a basically identical (but from random user) correction posted immediately below it?

Re:Happy Halloween form the Golden Girls! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37883966)

It's the troll that keeps trolling.

Re:Happy Halloween form the Golden Girls! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37884296)

I posted the correct version once and got the same reply.

First to repeat it in this story (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#37883746)

The $25 pi is cool and all, but I'd find it much more interesting with WiFi and a bit more RAM.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

StarWreck (695075) | more than 2 years ago | (#37883752)

Well, just buy the $35 version then

Re:First to repeat it in this story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37883774)

...then add a usb wifi dongle.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (0)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#37883792)

The $35 version only has wired ethernet, and I suppose I should have been specific that I would like at least 512MB of RAM, preferably 2GB, especially when coping with a 700MHz ARM 11 as a processor. I guess I just want a "decent" web browsing capability instead of one that will always feel lame when compared to a normal desktop.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#37883840)

I don't suppose it would be viable as a desktop. I can't imagine it has either the CPU or video performance to play youtube videos for example.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

xiox (66483) | more than 2 years ago | (#37885036)

As mentioned below, it can play 1080P video:
video [youtube.com] .

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

bcmm (768152) | more than 2 years ago | (#37885132)

1080p playback is mentioned in the actual summary. This works by hardware accelleration, btw. If adobe doesn't want to make Flash use it, I'm sure HTML5 Youtube will work.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37883842)

At present, I don't think that anybody is doing 2GB of PoP RAM, even the dual-core-monster-smartphones that cost 10-20 times as much cap out at half to a quarter of that...

ARM's push for the server world will presumably make (relatively) cheap ARM boards with substantial RAM available; but until that happens, treating ARM boards like contemporary desktops just isn't going to work. They are arguably wasteful and expensive in many applications; but the x86s of the world are brutally powerful.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#37883944)

but the x86s of the world are brutally powerful.

I have not one, but two Asus eee nettop machines in the house, sometimes they feel brutal to work with, but never brutally powerful, more like brutal in an obtuse, Neanderthal way. They are impressively small, quiet and power efficient, and the two of them together cost less than the bottom of the line "mini" fruity option.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (4, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884190)

Exactly. What this will be good for is third world applications like information kiosks and schools, basically allowing anyone anywhere to be able to do basics like web browsing, document creation etc and I'm sure being Linux based it won't be long before plenty of educational apps are ported to it.

While most of us in the west probably wouldn't care for surfing on this thing (hell the hand me downs i gave to my nephews were dual core Pentiums with 2Gb of RAM) we have to remember that our own computer revolution started with computers like the VIC 20, which this thing is a supercomputer by comparison. I bet its incredibly miserly when it comes to power consumption as well, which will be a boon in places where power isn't guaranteed 24/7.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37884384)

The original intent of this PC is in the spirit of the VIC 20. It is a little computer for kids to hack around with. The difference between it and the VIC 20 is that it costs so little the adults won't mind if the kids hack around with it.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

Intropy (2009018) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884578)

As to your power comment, the FAQs page on their website claims it runs on 4 AA batteries.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

hamster_nz (656572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884774)

From the blog, power has been confirmed to be micro USB.

So I can run it off all those cellphone charges I have around the place, or that useless USB port on the TV. Yay!

Re:First to repeat it in this story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37883852)

They did not want to make a general purpose computer but focusing on education. Well, for 25$, I can't really complain, they have had many compromises made too.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (2)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 2 years ago | (#37883862)

Yes, but you can plug in a wifi dongle onto the usb port and boom: wifi!

Can't do anything about the memory, but the thing isn't meant to replace our computers for web browsing. These have a much less general use.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#37883934)

Yes, but you can plug in a wifi dongle onto the usb port and boom: wifi!

Can't do anything about the memory, but the thing isn't meant to replace our computers for web browsing. These have a much less general use.

I had an 8-bit machine with a cassette drive, I well remember "less general use" machines, I also know that 95%+ of what my kids do on computers, for school or fun, runs through the web browser.

I suppose if I provided them with lame hardware that is incapable of web browsing, they might be more inclined to learn to program it, but more likely they'll just seek out some other way to get on the web and ignore the lame toy.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (2)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884712)

I think you're still kind of missing the point of the hardware, however. From their about page:

The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a UK registered charity (Registration Number 1129409) which exists to promote the study of computer science and related topics, especially at school level, and to put the fun back into learning computing.

We plan to develop, manufacture and distribute an ultra-low-cost computer, for use in teaching computer programming to children. We expect this computer to have many other applications both in the developed and the developing world.

It's not really intended as a general consumer device, though there will be many general consumers (like me) interested. Their primary interest was bringing them into schools at a price point even poorer schools could afford for teaching computer related subjects (such as software development), and this little device will be more than suitable for this task. It just so happens the specs are good enough for there to be applications outside their initial target. I mean they got Quake 3 Arena running on the thing at a not too bad framerate at 1080p /w 4xAA and all the settings maxed out. I gather as far as web browsing performance goes we can expect something at least similar to higher end mobile phones.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

click2005 (921437) | more than 2 years ago | (#37883866)

The point is they're supposed to be disposable/breakable. Adding that much ram would increase costs and dimensions i'd bet.
You'd probably be better off buying a cheap android tablet.

Either way I these devices will be great for home automation.
Low power enough to sit behind a light switch but powerful enough to handle monitoring
lights, temperatures and a lot more.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (4, Interesting)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 2 years ago | (#37883904)

>Either way I these devices will be great for home automation.
>Low power enough to sit behind a light switch but powerful enough to handle monitoring
>lights, temperatures and a lot more.

A 700 MHz ARM11 SoC with 128 MiB of RAM is two or three orders of magnitude more hardware than you need to do that.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (2)

citizenr (871508) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884186)

>Either way I these devices will be great for home automation.
>Low power enough to sit behind a light switch but powerful enough to handle monitoring
>lights, temperatures and a lot more.

A 700 MHz ARM11 SoC with 128 MiB of RAM is two or three orders of magnitude more hardware than you need to do that.

So is Arduino. Dont forget it will be on same price level as cheapest Arduino while providing tons more functionality.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (2)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884494)

So is Arduino. Dont forget it will be on same price level as cheapest Arduino while providing tons more functionality.

Not really. The Arduino doesn't offer a HDMI video output, but does everything else much better. Turning on a single I/O output on the Arduino is a single, straightforward, line of code, which doesn't require writing a Linux device driver. The Arduino also has ready made shields for everything you could need, and tons of example projects and documentation.

For home automation, and other hobby projects, the Arduino is much better suited.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

citizenr (871508) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884522)

compiling a program easier than

echo -ne "\x01" > /dev/gpio/something

?
you must be special

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884586)

You're going to need a program anyway to do something useful. If you want to use this for home automation, flipping a light switch manually sure beats typing echo -ne "\x01" > /dev/gpio/something

And as soon as you start programming something more complex, it's a lot easier on the Arduino.

What if you want to hook up a HD44780 compatible LCD screen to 14 GPIO pins. Are you going to write the entire LCD driver in shell script.

Or maybe the GPIO is connected to a speaker, and you'd like to get exactly 440 Hertz out of it.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (2)

citizenr (871508) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884662)

You're going to need a program anyway to do something useful. If you want to use this for home automation, flipping a light switch manually sure beats typing echo -ne "\x01" > /dev/gpio/something

program a script that i can edit on a device while i debug it, without compilation on host computer and flashing EVERY SINGLE time i try something

And as soon as you start programming something more complex, it's a lot easier on the Arduino.

no its not, unless you are special

What if you want to hook up a HD44780 compatible LCD screen to 14 GPIO pins. Are you going to write the entire LCD driver in shell script.

http://lcd-linux.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

yep, you are special (man, i love ad hominem)

Or maybe the GPIO is connected to a speaker, and you'd like to get exactly 440 Hertz out of it.

its called hardware timers, confirmed by the devs as present on Rasp PI. Not to mention there is already sound output on the device so you have normal audio output instead of PC speaker equivalent.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884694)

And how much work is it to port that LCD linux driver to the Raspi ? You'll need to muck with the driver to get the GPIOs connected properly, so all of a sudden you're building kernel modules with all the complications this brings.

On the Arduino, you just call Lcd.Write( "hello world" ), and use a standard LCD shield. You don't even have to worry about wiring your own connector.

its called hardware timers, confirmed by the devs as present on Rasp PI.

Yeah. Too bad there's no datasheet of this chip. And besides, you're programming on top of Linux, so you're going to have to figure out how to get accurate timing in a user application through the standard means, not by directly setting up a timer interrupt (which is only a few lines of code on the Arduino).

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

citizenr (871508) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884856)

And how much work is it to port that LCD linux driver to the Raspi ?

zero, because its a LINUX driver for LINUX device

You'll need to muck with the driver to get the GPIOs connected properly, so all of a sudden you're building kernel modules with all the complications this brings.

On the Arduino, you just call Lcd.Write( "hello world" ), and use a standard LCD shield. You don't even have to worry about wiring your own connector.

its called hardware timers, confirmed by the devs as present on Rasp PI.

Yeah. Too bad there's no datasheet of this chip. And besides, you're programming on top of Linux, so you're going to have to figure out how to get accurate timing in a user application through the standard means, not by directly setting up a timer interrupt (which is only a few lines of code on the Arduino).

You are hopeless. Somehow you are terrified of a real operating system + real peripherals with all the benefits they bring.
Look at OpenWRT. Rasppi will be like that, but with full OpenGL support.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884904)

zero, because its a LINUX driver for LINUX device

Except it doesn't use the same I/O connections.

Somehow you are terrified of a real operating system + real peripherals with all the benefits they bring.

Not terrified. Just pointing out that's it a lot more work to make simple peripherals work on a powerful SoC like this one. I've written simple Linux drivers for the OMAP, and finding out that the SoC datasheet is 3500 pages can be a bit daunting (and the OMAP actually has a free datasheet, unlike this Broadcom chip). Even though the driver only needs 1 line to do the actual work, it takes another 50 lines to properly hook it into the kernel.

I've also made simple drivers on various microcontrollers, and it's a lot easier, and a lot more fun.

Now, if you're happy using the binary blob GPU driver to play movies from a USB drive, I'm sure this device will be great, but then you could also buy a cheap media player for about the same price.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

hamster_nz (656572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884812)

Sheesh! It is horses for courses...

If you want to use a consumer display, and consumer USB devices then go Raspberry Pi.

If you want to do bitbashing interfaces on an 8bit controller, go Arduino.

If you want to do real stuff, then get yourself a FPGA board :-)

I really like the Papilio One. One minute an Arduino, the next an arcade game from FPGA Arcade

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884838)

Agreed. If you need HDMI output, Ethernet, USB, and not much else, get a Raspberry Pi. It's definitely a cool board to work as a thin media server that you can tuck behind your TV, if you don't mind the raw electronics look and a bit of hacking.

For tinkering with hardware devices where you don't need HDMI, get an Arduino board, or a cheap ARM Cortex eval board with plenty of I/O, open documentation and free tools.

For learning to use a computer, or to do any other kind of serious work or play, get a laptop, smart phone, or a normal PC.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37884580)

So is Arduino. Dont forget it will be on same price level as cheapest Arduino while providing tons more functionality.

Cheapest official Arduino board. To make an fully Arduino compatable board only requires about 8 USD worth of components. Less if you are buying in bulk.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (2)

hamster_nz (656572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37883878)

Um, what. Do you really expect for the price of an Arduino?

I am going to be very happy with one of these and a wireless keyboard and mouse on the TV for those iIMDB moments and another on a monitor as a thin client, maybe a third with a usb disk as a storage server (100Mb wired to my router will be fine for wireless clients...

At $105 for three of them, that is a steal!

Re:First to repeat it in this story (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#37883912)

Um, what. Do you really expect for the price of an Arduino?

I understand (at some levels) the concept of trying to create a computer for less than the cost of a textbook, but I'd much rather pay $45 and get WiFi, or even $55 and get WiFi and Bluetooth (or, gasp, even $75 and get a plastic case and power supply in the deal.) My vision for this thing is to hang it on the back of the living room TV and use it as a computer in the living room... I currently use an eee nettop for this, but something even smaller and less power consuming would be more attractive.

And, speaking to the foundation's goals, it would be a likely solution for my kids to have computers in their bedrooms, especially if it could be done without wires.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884090)

hang around maybe models C and D will do just that, for now A and B seem perfectly reasonable. besides dump javabloat and a machine with 256 megs does decent around the web anyway ... I do it every day

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884164)

hang around maybe models C and D will do just that, for now A and B seem perfectly reasonable. besides dump javabloat and a machine with 256 megs does decent around the web anyway ... I do it every day

I have an iPad (not a wallet vote on my part, actually "won" it in a drawing I didn't even know I had entered), and I must say that it sucks not having flash work, especially for things that the kids use like spellingcity.com. I also have a PS3 and will not go into depth about the ways that web browsing sucks on it, even under (the now verboten) Linux. I have also used a PandaBoard as a "desktop" for a little while, I assume the Raspberry Pi will "feel" very similar - amazingly good, for what it is, but still lacking.

I totally intend to order a model B, and maybe get a few more of them if it works out as a replacement for any of my existing machines around the house.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884140)

Pay about $100 more, and you can even get a screen!

I think you are rather missing the point, which is that these are absolute dead cheap, low power devices that can do quite a lot. If you need bluetooth, Wifi, and the rest, get a cheap internet tablet (some exist ion the 100-200 dollar range). The point of these are dead-cheap, low power applications, while still having a full-on computer. I can't even think of any real applications I would use it for, but just because I can't doesn't mean a lot of Linux hackers can't. And producing cheap stuff like this is always good. Otherwise, you end up with the feature-but-price creep so common in nearly all consumer electronics areas. Digital cameras are the best example I can think of. We could produce cheap, but very good quality, 5-6 MP cameras, which is good enough for most people. We don't, because companies would rather phase out older tech so they can keep prices at $90+ minimum (camera phones contributed too, but that is a more recent phenomenon). Netbooks helped change this in the laptop realm, hopefully this will help even more (and more in the desktop are).

Do you think anyone here is fooled? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37883952)

2Gb to surf the net?
Do you think anyone here is so technically incompetent they're fooled by salesmans patter?

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

dameron (307970) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884020)

First world computing is becoming disposable. Third world computing is becoming affordable, yet you're bitching that the process isn't exactly matching up to your needs.

How many people that need a $25 computer will be worried that it feels "lame when compared to a normal desktop"?

Answer: nobody.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884134)

How many people that need a $25 computer will be worried...

How many people that "need" a $25 computer will be able to afford a monitor and keyboard, or electricity to drive it all?

Filling the "wants" of the people who can actually afford it is what marketing is about, otherwise you've got a noble product that nobody buys (i.e. a big waste of time and effort.)

I think the Pi will fill enough "wants" to not be a waste of time, I also think if they push just a little bit up-market, they can get a much larger volume, which should help with the production costs of the entire product line. The foundation appears to know what they are doing and don't need my 2 cents (or, rather, pence), but that's what /. is good for: spouting off opinions for no particular reason.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884208)

The original OLPC sported a clockwork generator, as do emergency radios. If this prototype doesn't have that facility, then (a) it should, and (b) it's the fault of people who pestered OLPC to ditch the generator for mains power.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884364)

I still have a problem with the notion of people who don't have internet access "needing" a computer. If you don't have mains power, then, odds are, you don't have internet access either.

I made good use of computers before there was a useful internet, but I was in a distinct minority. The "general population" didn't care much about computers until the late '90s, even if they were forced to use them for work, and I can respect their disregard of the technology, it didn't to anything relevant for them, until it got connected.

Now, I can see how just about anybody, anywhere on the planet, can benefit from computer+internet access, as a library / teaching tool. Raspberry Pi seems to be catering to that distinct minority who can benefit from computer without internet access, and more power to them, but I feel like that minority is around 1 to 2 percent of the general population, and most people in the developed world who are in that minority will already have computer equipment stacked fairly high in the house (I know I spent my life savings of $700 for a 4MHz 8-bit machine with 16K of RAM).

Re:First to repeat it in this story (3, Insightful)

tp1024 (2409684) | more than 2 years ago | (#37885074)

1 or 2 percent of the general population is a market of 70 to 140 million people ....

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884270)

yes that 4$ TV 25 cent keyboard and mouse will really break the bank compared to the 25$ computer dumbass

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884230)

How many people that need a $25 computer will be worried that it feels "lame when compared to a normal desktop"?

What would you propose to do with it? Firefox and OpenOffice won't run. The Ubuntu LiveCD won't even run on 512MB (I found out by trial and error).

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

dameron (307970) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884336)

This is the kind of shit that makes me regret signing into Slashdot.

>What would you propose to do with it? Firefox and OpenOffice won't run. The Ubuntu LiveCD won't even run on 512MB (I found out by trial and error).

We could build a thin client to remotely access your exaggerated expectations?

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

klingens (147173) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884362)

Firefox will run fine on 128MB and has some RAM left over. I tried it on a PII 233 laptop with that amount of RAM. It was godawful slow rendering and forget any Javascript but RAM usage was ok. This however is a much faster CPU. There are Linux distros with browsers that start with 16MB machines so 128MB is a lot to work with.
Just don't look at bloated general purpose distros like Ubuntu which need a 3D accelerator to start properly.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

hamster_nz (656572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884886)

Well, The iPad I am attempting to typing on has only 512MB, so I guess a Raspberry Pi will be good for nothing... ... but email, usable web browsers, nifty games, watching video, simple productivity apps....

All it takes is a little faith.

I'm also been running Linux 2.6 + busybox on a 100MHz soft processor on a FPGA with 32MB, so it can be done.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

tbird81 (946205) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884084)

The $35 version only has wired ethernet, and I suppose I should have been specific that I would like at least 512MB of RAM, preferably 2GB, especially when coping with a 700MHz ARM 11 as a processor. I guess I just want a "decent" web browsing capability instead of one that will always feel lame when compared to a normal desktop.

So WiFi, 2GB RAM, how about built-in monitor and keyboard? And of course a trackpad and some spare USB ports on the side. It should have a built in OS, and a long-life battery as part of it too.

If only someone made such a device.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884148)

The $35 version only has wired ethernet, and I suppose I should have been specific that I would like at least 512MB of RAM, preferably 2GB, especially when coping with a 700MHz ARM 11 as a processor. I guess I just want a "decent" web browsing capability instead of one that will always feel lame when compared to a normal desktop.

So WiFi, 2GB RAM, how about built-in monitor and keyboard? And of course a trackpad and some spare USB ports on the side. It should have a built in OS, and a long-life battery as part of it too.

If only someone made such a device.

And, you forgot, sold it for $25... I think you can actually get those on eBay, 3 year old notebooks are going cheap.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884248)

Used notebooks actually hold their value fairly well. Anything that will work for websurfing (including youtube) is a couple hundred bucks, not $25. For $25 you will get a "for parts, not working" laptop that has already been scavenged for parts once or twice.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (2)

evilviper (135110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884242)

I guess I just want a "decent" web browsing capability instead

Then why bother with this thing at all? A refurb Pentium4 PC goes for $50 shipped. This thing only makes sense if you need a super-small form factor, and even then, rooting and flashing an older Android smartphone seems like a better option to me.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884374)

The form factor (and power factor) are both extremely attractive - I'm currently using Asus eee nettops for the purpose, and they're good, but the Pi, with a little more juice, could be better.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (2)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884514)

Your 4 year old P4 will pretty soon cost more than the small ARM board in power, assuming you actually turn it on.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (3, Insightful)

tp1024 (2409684) | more than 2 years ago | (#37885112)

Or if you feel that a 100W system simply has too much of an impact on your electricity bill.

If you want to keep it running for an average of 10 hours a day, it will consume 365 kWh per year. Even in the USA that's $36.50 per year. In places were people don't waste energy like they own the world - devastatingly poor countries like Germany - you're talking upwards of $100 per year.

The Raspberry is using 1W at full power.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37885288)

The Raspberry is using 1W at full power.

and 41W if you include the monitor.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

Narishma (822073) | more than 2 years ago | (#37883824)

128 MB of RAM should be enough for anybody.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (0)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884346)

http://www.dealextreme.com/p/super-mini-bluetooth-2-0-adapter-dongle-vista-compatible-11866?=r.20144190 [dealextreme.com] USB Bluetooth $1.80
http://www.dealextreme.com/p/ultra-mini-nano-usb-2-0-802-11n-150mbps-wifi-wlan-wireless-network-adapter-48166?=r.20144190 [dealextreme.com] USB Wifi N $8.99
http://www.dealextreme.com/p/mini-handheld-rechargeable-56-key-wireless-bluetooth-keyboard-w-touchpad-black-73249?=r.20144190 [dealextreme.com] bluetooth keyboard and mouse $33.80
http://www.dealextreme.com/p/7-ports-powered-usb-hub-678?=r.20144190 [dealextreme.com] A/C Powered USB hub so you can use all of these and more (like external hard drives) $15.90

They are pretty cheap. I don't know about the wifi chip but most of them are really cheap and work out of the box on Linux. If you buy the whole set it's $60.50, and with the $25 price tag that's $85.50 for a Linux media center if you cared to try it.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884390)

All valid points, and thanks for the shopping list I may well use it, but, on the other hand, I can also acknowledge the validity of the lazy point of view that each of those mix and match parts has the potential to be a giant time sink and/or waste of money and effort. Especially when playing with wireless tech, things don't always work as well as they might in your particular installation. If a system of wireless components is pre-tested and demonstrated to work... there's value in that.

Re:First to repeat it in this story (0)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884702)

Wow, why does this post have so many comments when it hasn't even been moderated? Oh wait, it's the first comment (ignoring the -1 Golden Girls lyrics [wonderful show, by the way] posted by an AC just above you). Never mind. Move along.

Seriously though, can something be done about the prevalence of posting in the first comment with a score >= 2? It buries high quality posts at the bottom, unmoderated and largely unseen. Would randomly reordering the top-level comments be so terrible?

Broadcom and Open Source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37883806)

Re:Broadcom and Open Source? (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37883880)

At present, it looks comparatively similar to the situation on the BCM devices that show up in routers: There is a general purpose CPU, with well known and GCC supported instructions, and a way to get Linux up and going; but the further you get from 'boot a kernel image and chat with it on TTY0' the more likely it is that the feature is NDA or supported by a giant blob.

Re:Broadcom and Open Source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37884246)

The GPU will be powered by a binary blob, no source available The ARM will be open for anything, it boots a binary image from the SD card call kernel.img. This information is from their forums.

Thank you Sun Microsystems and Macromedia! (1)

thegreatbob (693104) | more than 2 years ago | (#37883846)

For making the internet nearly unusable for many (most?) people, even with reasonably modern computers...(I'm watching you Adobe...) Anyone want to argue against the notion that Java and Flash aren't the most optimized platforms for anything? Will be ordering 10+ of these things. Hopefully if enough are purchased, they will have the resources to develop an improved product line. So long as it doesn't become the 'Yugo' of the computing industry. Actually, I think there is a real need for a 'Yugo' in this market. Referring to its price point, not the quality.

Language/Framework Knowledge Is Important (1, Insightful)

PerlPunk (548551) | more than 2 years ago | (#37883894)

Well, the author of the article is a true geek, because his take on reality is not completely based in it (though I agree with most everything else he writes): From the article: "Do Java programmers make more money than .NET programmers? Anyone describing themselves as either a Java programmer or .NET programmer has already lost, because a) they’re a programmer (you’re not, see above) and b) they’re making themselves non-hireable for most programming jobs. In the real world, picking up a new language takes a few weeks of effort and after 6 to 12 months nobody will ever notice you haven’t been doing that one for your entire career." I disagree. Not only is "how many years have you worked in (C|JAVA|Perl|Python|etc)" the first question you get asked, but the questions aren't merely about which language but particular frameworks that happen to employ whatever language it is they are asking about. And I turn down .NET jobs. What language you know matters nowadays because languages and the frameworks built on them have become exceedingly complex. For example, one recruiter recently asked me if I have any architectural experience. I had the certs (SCEA), and I had the experience, but the recruiter came back to me and told me the client didn't see any Struts or Spring experience on my resume. Now, that's not architecture, but that's what the client (not recruiter, mind you) thinks architecture is all about. And still, aside from client misconceptions about what something like "software architecture" is, I wouldn't for example try to attempt to say I know Ruby on Rails when I've done my 6 - 12 hour crash course in Ruby any more than I would suggest anyone to say he knows J2EE after he has done his 6 - 12 hour crash course in Java (even if he is a hot-shot C/C++ programmer). These frameworks are complex. If you don't have real experience with them, you are going to fall flat on your face if you are being called in to troubleshoot someone else's implementation that used any of these frameworks.

Re:Language/Framework Knowledge Is Important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37884030)

what the fuck?

Re:Language/Framework Knowledge Is Important (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884062)

Funny, at my current job they knew I had never programmed for Nios, ATMega or PIC before they hired me, and I have done projects in all 3 in the last year. The four companies before that all basically asked me what I thought was the best solution to their problem and we went with that.

This is an enabling technology.... (3, Interesting)

hamster_nz (656572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37883924)

This is going to enable so many nifty things.... Why by $400 thin clients when you can get on of these? Why replace you tv with an Internet enabled on when you can add one of these?

At $25, it may enable families in the developing world to own their own computer, or be the difference between internet access in schools or not.

I really hope this allows FOSS to release itself from winter hardware, and bring some hardware deversity into play, a true powerful, low cost, open platform.

Internet kiosks will be able to be put in unsecured enviornments and public areas... After all, it is only at most going to cost $25 if it gets trashed...

I say BRING IT ON!!!

Re:This is an enabling technology.... (0)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 2 years ago | (#37883986)

Well except that it doesn't have enough power to play back 1080p videos, and likely it can't even do 720p either, let alone video overlays etc. It really wouldn't be appropriate as an internet tv type box, not in that configuration, but I would be surprised if they couldn't make a $35-$40 box that couldn't.

Re:This is an enabling technology.... (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884058)

Well except that it doesn't have enough power to play back 1080p videos, and likely it can't even do 720p either

Uh, that'll explain the various articles about how how it's capable of playing 1080p video (via the GPU).

Re:This is an enabling technology.... (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884120)

yea 1080P seems to be this magical unreachable number that we have been doing for years, or even decades in the workstation market (which this thing would stomp a powermac avid system) 1080 is magical, 1080 requires a fuckton of power, 1080 is impossible ... except the crappy little set top boxes using pretty much the same thing for a high price at walmart ...

Re:This is an enabling technology.... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37884278)

It doe 1080p just fine. The SoC on the RaspbetrryPi is the same one that powers the Roku2. The RPI supplies a hardware accelerated OpenMax implementation. It will even come with licenses for the codecs.

Re:This is an enabling technology.... (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884746)

If you follow the link (I know, I know), you'll see their party trick at their trade stall was playing Avatar at 1080p.

Re:This is an enabling technology.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37884854)

Well except that it doesn't have enough power to play back 1080p videos, and likely it can't even do 720p either

Unless they're lying about it, this video shows it playing back a full 1080P video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgR74Kp6Ws4

Re:This is an enabling technology.... (1)

EdZ (755139) | more than 2 years ago | (#37885054)

Well except that it doesn't have enough power to play back 1080p videos

Nope, it really can. High Profile Level 4.1 h.264, which is very impressive for a SOC.

Re:This is an enabling technology.... (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884442)

At $25, it may enable families in the developing world to own their own computer, or be the difference between internet access in schools or not.

Only if the already have an HDMI monitor plus cable, keyboard, mouse, and a power supply. It probably also needs a case for durability.

It's probably easier and cheaper to get a netbook for $200, or a used PC.

Re:This is an enabling technology.... (2)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884502)

And when it comes down to it, the Raspberry Pi was not designed to target the developing world, but students. The goal is to replace the BBC Micro and other easily accessible PCs with something cheap enough for the student to buy (or purchased in quantity with minor outlay.)

If governments or charities in developing nations wish to supply these, they will undoubtedly be made aware of the peripheral requirements. Of course, when the PC costs a mere $25, the entire landscape changes regardless.

Re:This is an enabling technology.... (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884622)

The same applies to students. Do you know students that have an HDMI TV, a keyboard and mouse, and internet access, but who don't already own a PC, laptop, or smartphone ?

The fact that few students are interested in programming is not because of a lack of hardware. It's because they just don't care. When the BBC Micro came out, it was pure magic to be able to type something, and have a red triangle show up on your TV.

Nowadays, kids grow up playing Angry Birds, and a red triangle is not going to impress them anymore. That time is gone.

Re:This is an enabling technology.... (1)

hamster_nz (656572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884740)

Its design concept was for teens/preteens

"Dad! Can I use the keyboard and mouse that you use on you laptop when you are at work?, Mum, do you mind if I play with MY computer rather than watching TV after school?"

(mum and dad think: it is only $25 (less than a game), and at least he isn't mucking around on the 'real' computer...)

I can see it working. Working really well.

And I want a cheap ARM box too!

Re:This is an enabling technology.... (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884778)

Except that teens/preteens want to use the computer to chat with their friends, update their facebook status, and play games, and they don't want to do that on the living room floor in front of the big screen TV, where there little brother can see what they're typing. And this thing is not going to be powerful enough to run a normal web browser.

In real life, Dad is just going to say: "I'm going to buy a new laptop for myself, you can have my old one".

Re:This is an enabling technology.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37884892)

[quote]
  And this thing is not going to be powerful enough to run a normal web browser.
[/quote]

Except, it is. And has been demonstrated doing much more than mere web-browsing.

Re:This is an enabling technology.... (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884930)

My firefox is now running at 512MB, plus another 200MB for the flash player pluging, and this device only has 128MB (256MB for the $35 version). You may be able to run a web browser, but you won't be enjoying life very much.

Re:This is an enabling technology.... (1)

hamster_nz (656572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884980)

Strange, for my remote access to client networks at work I use a VM running XP with 256MB RAM, running in VirtualBox on a cast of 1GB PC running Windows 7.

Internet Explorer on that works perfectly well then managing SANs.

I think this will work just fine...

Re:This is an enabling technology.... (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37885034)

XP is pretty light weight, which is reasonable for an OS that's a decade old. Of course, the Pi doesn't support Windows, so try installing a reasonably modern Linux distribution in 256MB (including video RAM), with Firefox + Flash, and some other applications, and using a USB thumb drive for root/swap.

Re:This is an enabling technology.... (1)

hamster_nz (656572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884952)

Hey, if only 0.1% of the worlds population have the geek instinct, and would want to play with one of these, and 60% of the world is too rich or too poor to want one, then this product could be enabling 2,800,000 geeks to follow their dreams.

I wish them every success, I hope that you will too.

Security (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884028)

But do they offer UEFI?

;)

oblig. (3, Funny)

mevets (322601) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884128)

Imagine a beowulf cluster of these....

If you taped them all to the back of a monitor, you could pretend you bought an imac. cooool.

Re:oblig. (1)

Drinking Bleach (975757) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884260)

Buy three and suddenly you have more RAM than an iMac.

Re:oblig. (1)

carou (88501) | more than 2 years ago | (#37885048)

Buy thirty-three and suddenly you have more RAM than an iMac.

FTFY.

There's a name for that already (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37884498)

A cluster of Raspberries is called a "Bramble"

Sheesh!

Keep up, can't you?

Re:There's a name for that already (2)

bjorniac (836863) | more than 2 years ago | (#37885252)

Well, a cluster of raspberry pies is called a local parish council fundraiser.

I hope they get some better coverage... (1)

Corse32 (682019) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884676)

Sounds like an interesting project from what I can tell, but the posted article is... Not great.

What happened to learning about computers? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37884818)

This mini-PC is cool and what not, but after watching the video I wonder what the heck ever happened to using a computer for something other than Facebook, Twitter, and RSS feeds from gamespot.com.

This world is based on computers in one way or another. If we are going to teach another generation of kids about new technology, let's not just talk to them about Facebook and Twitter. Let's teach them the fundamentals of what makes those things possible. I'm sure you can find a cheap(er) way to do that, even if this "PC" is "25" "dollars".

Hasn't it got through yet? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37884866)

5 topics covering the Raspberry Pi on Slashdot, one even a QA with Eben Upton and the mass of slashdotters decry it because it has no relevance to THEM. I know that RTFA, or even doing a bit of background reading on the Raspberry Pi website [raspberrypi.org] is an article of faith amongst the more blinkered slashdotters but a little intelligence isn't a lot to ask for, is it?

Just pop over there and find:

Its for Education
Its to encourage youngsters to explore computing and programming without interfering with the family PC
Its cheap so its almost pocket money pricing
Most TVs from the past 5 years support HDMI
Most TVs from the past 10 years have either SCART or composite video/audio in.
It has worldwide application, not just the "third world"; not everyone is on the Slashdot median income.
The current worry is that the initial manufacturing run, and probably its follow up won't be able to cope with demand.

For a technical lot, some Slashdotters seem to be woefully ignorant about SoC and PoP technology. Suffice to say, 256Mb is the largest available RAM that comes in under the price points. 512Mb is currently stratospheric. Its not like adding some DIMM, you know. Oh well, the more idiots that don't buy Pi, the more there is for the rest of us! :-)

Open Hardware? (2)

wanzeo (1800058) | more than 2 years ago | (#37884992)

At one time I seem to remember reading that the they were going to release it under an open-hardware license similar to what Arduino does. But I can't seem to find anything about it now. Was that a marketing ploy or a figment of my imagination?

Re:Open Hardware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37885016)

Dunno.

But good luck sourcing the components (eg the SoC) at a meaningful price! Oh, and have fun trying to solder the thing to a stripboard!

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