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First Steps With the Raspberry Pi

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the free-in-cracker-jacks dept.

Education 241

An anonymous reader writes "The Raspberry Pi received an extraordinary amount of pre-launch coverage. It truly went viral with major news corporations such as the BBC giving extensive coverage. Not without reason, it is groundbreaking to have a small, capable computer retailing at less than the price of a new console game. There have been a number of ventures that have tried to produce a cheap computer such as a laptop and a tablet but which never materialised at these price points. Nothing comes close to the Raspberry Pi in terms of affordability, which is even more important in the current economic climate. Producing a PC capable of running Linux, Quake III-quality games, and 1080p video is worthy of praise." Beyond praise, though, this article details the hooking-up and mucking-about phases, and offers some ideas of what it's useful for.

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241 comments

The point? (1, Flamebait)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#40204795)

With the price of 'smartphones' now, you can get a cheap china-sourced device that is about as small, and has all the communications you need AND even has a built in touchscreen.

Sure it may not have a lot of data i/o devices on board, but it has audio in/out and they have usb, so that is covered too.

Re:The point? (-1, Troll)

TinyLittleMend (2653839) | about 2 years ago | (#40204805)

Nearly four months ago, I noticed that my internet connection was very sluggish. Eventually getting fed up with it, I began to seek out software that would speed up the gigabits in my router. After an hour of searching, I found what at first appeared to be a very promising piece of software. Not only did it claim it would speed up my internet connection, but that it would overclock my power supply, speed up my gigabits, and remove any viruses from my computer! "This is a fantastic opportunity that I simply can't pass up," I thought. I immediately downloaded the software and began the installation, all the while laughing like a small child. I was highly anticipating a future where the speed of my internet connection would leave everyone else's in the dust.

I was horribly, horribly naive. Immediately upon the completion of the software's installation, various messages popped up on my screen about how I needed to buy software to remove a virus that I wasn't aware I had from a software company I'd never once heard of. The strange software also blocked me from doing anything except buying the software it was advertising. Being that I was a computer whiz (I had taken a computer essentials class in high school that taught me how to use Microsoft Office, and was quite adept at accessing my Facebook account), I was immediately able to conclude that the software I'd downloaded was, in fact, a virus, and that it was slowing down my gigabits at an exponential rate. "I can't let this insanity proceed any further," I thought.

As I was often called a computer genius, I was confident at the time that I could get rid of the virus with my own two hands. I tried numerous things: restarting the computer, pressing random keys on the keyboard, throwing the mouse across the room, and even flipping an orange switch on the back of the tower and turning the computer back on. My efforts were all in vain; the virus persisted, and my gigabits were running slower than ever! "This cannot be! What is this!? I've never once seen such a vicious virus in my entire life!" I was dumbfounded that I, a computer genius, was unable to remove the virus using the methods I described. Upon coming to terms with my failure, I decided to take my computer to a PC repair shop for repair.

I drove to a nearby computer repair shop and entered the building with my computer in hand. The inside of the building was quite large, neat, and organized, and the employees all seemed very kind and knowledgeable. They laughed upon hearing my embarrassing story, and told me that they saw this kind of thing on a daily basis. They then accepted the job, and told me that in the worst case, it'd be fixed in three days from now. I left with a smile, and felt confident in my decision to leave the computer repairs to the experts.

A week later, they still hadn't called back. Visibly angry, I tried calling them countless times, but not a single time did they answer the phone. Their negligence and irresponsibility infuriated me, and sent me into a state of insanity that caused me to punch a gigantic hole in the wall. Being that I would require my computer for work soon, I decided to head over to the computer repair shop to find out exactly what the problem was.

Upon entering the building, I was shocked by the state of its interior; it looked as if a tornado had tore through the entire building! Countless broken computers were scattered all about the floor, desks were flipped over, the walls had holes in them, there was a puddle of blood on the floor, and worst of all, I saw that my computer was sitting in the middle of the room laying on its side! Absolutely unforgivable! I soon noticed one of the employees sitting behind one of the tipped over desks (the one that had previously had the cash register on top of it); he was shaking uncontrollably and sobbing. Despite being furious about my computer being tipped over, seeing him in that state still managed to make me less unforgiving. I decided to ask him what happened.

A few moments passed where the entire room was silent and nothing was said. Eventually, he pointed at my computer and said to me, "The virus... it cannot be stopped! Cannot be stopped! Cannot be stopped!" Realizing that he was trying to tell me that they were unable to repair my computer (the task I'd given them), I flew into a blind fury and beat him senseless. Not caring about what would happen to him any longer, I collected my computer, ignored the bodies of the two other employees that had committed suicide, and left the building. After a few moments of pondering about what to do and clearing my head, I theorized that their failure to repair my computer probably simply meant that they were unqualified to do the job, and decided to take my computer to another computer repair shop.

I repeated that same process about four times before finally giving up. Each time I took it to a PC repair shop, the result was the same: all the employees either went completely insane, or they committed suicide. Not a single person was able to even do so much as damage the virus. I was able to talk some sense into one of the employees that had gone mad and got them to tell me how they were attempting to fix the problem. They told me that they tried everything from reinstalling the operating system to installing another operating system and trying to get rid of the virus on the other one, but absolutely all of it was to no avail. Having seen numerous attempts by professionals to remove the virus end in failure, I managed to delude myself into believing that my first failure was simply a fluke and that I was the only one on the planet qualified to fix the computer. With renewed vigor, I once again took up the frighteningly dangerous task of defeating the evil, nightmarish virus once and for all with my own two hands.

In my attempts to fix the problem, I'd even resorted to buying another computer. However, the virus used its WiFi capabilities to hack into the gigabits of my new computer and infect it. Following each failed attempt, I grew more and more depressed. I had already beaten my wife and children five times in order to relieve some of my stress, but even that (which had become my only pleasure after failing to remove the virus the first time), did nothing for me any longer. That's right: my last remaining pleasure in life had stopped being able to improve my mood, and I had not a single thing left that I cared about. I sank into a bottomless ocean of depression, barricaded myself in my room, and cried myself to sleep for days on end. Overcome with insanity, vengefulness, and despair, there is not a single doubt that if this had continued for much longer, I would have committed suicide.

One day, it suddenly happened: while I was right in the middle of habitually crying myself to sleep in the middle of the day, I heard a thunderous roar outside, followed by the sound of a large number of people screaming. When I peered outside my window to find out what all the commotion was about, the scene before me closely resembled that of a God descending from the heavens themselves! I gazed in awe at the godlike figure that was descending from the heavens, and so did the dozens of individuals that had gathered in my backyard. For a few moments, everyone was speechless. Then, they started shouting predictions about what they thought the figure was. "Is it a bird!?" "Is it a plane!?" But, despite not ever having seen it before, I knew just how inaccurate their predictions were, and began to speak the name of the heroic figure.

However, my sentence was cut off when, like a superhero coming to save the unfortunate victim from the evil villain, MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] flew into my house and began the eradication of the virus. MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] was able to completely eliminate in minutes the exact same virus that over ten PC repair professionals were unable to remove after weeks of strenuous attempts! Wow! Such a thing! I simply couldn't believe that MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] was so miraculously efficient that it was able to destroy the virus in less than 500 milliseconds! MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] totally, completely, and utterly saved me from a lifetime of despair!

My wife's response? "MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] is outstanding! My husband's computer is running faster than ever! MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] came through with flying colours where no one else could! MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] totally cleaned up my husband's system, and increased his speed! I highly, highly recommend that you use MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com]!"

After witnessing just how wonderful MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] is, I insist that you use MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] when you need to fix all the gigabits on your computer! MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] will completely eradicate any viruses on your computer, speed up your internet connection, overclock your gigabits and speed, and give you some peace of mind! MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] is simply outstanding!

But even if you're not having any visible problems with your computer, it's highly likely that you're still in a situation where MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] could help you. MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] will get rid of any viruses or wireless interfaces that are hidden deep within your computer's bootloader. MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] will also speed up your computer to such a degree that it'll be even faster than when you first bought it! You must try MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] for yourself so that you can be overclocking your speed with the rest of us!

MyCleanPC: For a Cleaner, Safer PC. [mycleanpc.com]

Re:The point? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40204817)

A "cheap china-sourced device" smartphone would not do these things for me:

- Media Centre PC.
- MAME box capable of hooking up to my TV.
- Learning tool for programming, networking, and other computing stuffs (that is also incredibly easy to reformat if you balls anything up).
- Have GPIO ports so I can use it for some silly robotics/mechatronics projects.

Re:The point? (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#40204857)

Except for the last point ( thus my statement about external usb ) you can get all the above. HDMI output to your tv, bluetooth keyboards and mice. I am assuming you get an android phone here, and not a chinaOS type.

Now space might be an issue for your 'media' since you are limited to flash cards, but you can always stream from a file server over wifi..

Restoring firmware is pretty trivial too.

Re:The point? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40204907)

Could you actually find me a smartphone with HDMI out (1080p), ability to use USB peripherals, and cost within 3x as much as the RPi?

Space is something I wouldn't bother comparing because I would stream to my RPi as well.

Restoring firmware on the RPi is a matter of formatting the SD card, most phones are quite easily permanently bricked.

Re:The point? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#40204947)

Just do some shopping out on the china wholesale sites for what you want, there are plenty of them out there. Some are stupid expensive, others are reasonable.

I had forgot to include small tablets as well, while they are bigger than a PI they also give one more local display ability, which for some projects might be an advantage... 70 bucks for a 7 or 8 in tablet with HDMI and usb host ports is not out of the question. I fully admit that battery life will suck, but an external PS takes care of that problem.

I have not priced USB data acquisition modules lately, but id have to figure they are in line with what modules for the PI ( or similar ) would run.

Not saying its impossible, i have never heard of anyone bricking a phone restoring stock firmware, only '3rd party' ROMs..

The reason i feel this stuff is a valid option is i have used a palm T/X with a host port adapter just for this .. was inexpensive ( used ) and while not as universal as android it was more than programmable.

Re:The point? (4, Interesting)

Belial6 (794905) | about 2 years ago | (#40205219)

Not fair to even include battery life in the equation as the PI has no battery, so it has 0 battery life. Better to count the Android devices battery as a built in UPS.

Re:The point? (4, Interesting)

Hadlock (143607) | about 2 years ago | (#40205619)

1080p output on $99, 4" cell phones is only a few years away. If not new, then through the used/craigslist channels. It's too bad the OLPC project didn't invest more heavily in cell phones.
 
This 4th of july I'll be launching an old blackberry curve a couple hundred feet in the air using fireworks simply because it's worth more to me as a disposable video camera than anything else. In 2008 that phone cost $250 with contract.
 
Honestly these near-daily advertisements for sub-cellphone hardware on slashdot are getting tiring.

Re:The point? (2)

niftydude (1745144) | about 2 years ago | (#40205455)

Except for the last point ( thus my statement about external usb ) you can get all the above. ...

Now space might be an issue for your 'media' since you are limited to flash cards, but you can always stream from a file server over wifi..

Actually, people have hacked together usb host mode drivers for the USB chips in the samsung galaxy s and galaxy s ii phones (and probably others), so there now exists the potential to plug in usb hubs, usb drives etc. into the smartphone, solving the space for media issue, and also the gpio port issue, if you buy a usb to gpio interface adapter.

Re:The point? (0)

Cornwallis (1188489) | about 2 years ago | (#40204821)

Not only that but you can actually GET a smartphone.

Re:The point? (0)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#40204871)

Not saying its the answer for everything, but when i can get what the PI does + so much more for about the same or a little higher.. it seems silly in most cases go to the route of the PI.

And having cellphone data isn't to sneeze at if you want to do some remote control stuff too far for wifi to reach.

Re:The point? (0)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40205127)

about the same or a little higher

Once you figure in the $360 per year price of a mobile data subscription, how is that only "a little higher"?

Different markets (5, Interesting)

Namarrgon (105036) | about 2 years ago | (#40204943)

Agreed - if you want a Pi that also has camera, GPS, wi-fi, 3G radio, mic, speaker, LED light, touchscreen, keyboard, battery, and a case, I've bought Android phones as cheap as $29 off-contract. They make fantastic do-anything devices, from remote cameras to GPS trackers, and all you have to do is download an app off the Market. There are also Android SoCs in a USB/HDMI stick for excellent prices.

But if you want a hobbyist device with USB, GPIO & ethernet that you can build a project around, the Pi is a great device to play with. Pre-built phones may be more capable, but they're also less flexible in many ways.

Re:Different markets (3, Interesting)

bunratty (545641) | about 2 years ago | (#40204981)

For hobbiest devices we have Arduino on the low end and PandaBoard on the high end. Where does Raspberry Pi fit into the hobbiest space? I suppose I can understand why someone would choose Raspberry Pi over PandaBoard -- the price is over $100 less! Why would I want to build my latest project with a Raspberry Pi instead of Arduino?

Re:Different markets (4, Insightful)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 2 years ago | (#40205089)

For hobbiest devices we have Arduino on the low end and PandaBoard on the high end. Where does Raspberry Pi fit into the hobbiest space? I suppose I can understand why someone would choose Raspberry Pi over PandaBoard -- the price is over $100 less! Why would I want to build my latest project with a Raspberry Pi instead of Arduino?

I'm thinking of 1080p video out for my next project, how's that work on Arduinos?

Re:Different markets (1, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | about 2 years ago | (#40205119)

No need to be rude -- I'm only asking what's the draw for Raspberry Pi. So it's the video? That's the point -- it's a cheap system with decent video capabilities? Help me out here. The APC [apc.io] is coming out next month and it has higher specs, but only 720p video and it's $49.

So what kind of project do you need a cheap system and 1080p video for? I'm really only asking because I'm curious. What sort of project is it?

Re:Different markets (3, Interesting)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 2 years ago | (#40205177)

Alarm clock - plays a night sky, maybe with very quiet crickets, and progressively turns up the audio/visual stimulation as time to get up approaches.

Stick a Pi into a spare port on a TV... for the deluxe model, the Pi could also switch the TV on and off.

Please, make one for me and save me the trouble... guys like this can probably source the video content:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7r8NE4osAYA [youtube.com]

Re:Different markets (4, Insightful)

sirsnork (530512) | about 2 years ago | (#40205179)

For a lot of people it will be about the community. You know the Pi will have a huge community that will offer a lot of additional options.

Re:Different markets (3, Informative)

ChipMonk (711367) | about 2 years ago | (#40205185)

I would like to build a custom-soldered board with LED's. I know that I may do something wrong, and overload the GPIO pins on the Pi. Who knows, I might hack up something on the display to go with it, although 1080p might be a bit beyond my needs. ;-)

So, you ask "what kind of project do you need a cheap system and 1080p video for?" Believe me, if I fry the hardware, I'll be glad it's built cheap. I'd rather fry a Pi than an Arduino. That's the whole point of the Raspberry Pi: a system that won't set back an experimenter (or a kid's parents) big money if somebody's voltage calculations were wrong.

As someone below points out, it also makes better sense for schools: for a student taking an electronics course, having parents pay a $35 deposit on an RPi (refunded at the end of the year) makes for a lower entry barrier than a >$150 deposit on (name your other device).

Re:Different markets (5, Interesting)

Belial6 (794905) | about 2 years ago | (#40205253)

I have been playing with Arduinos very recently. The places that the PI will fit in is where you need to plug into a standard monitor. A TV will be the most common for this. It will also be better than Arduino in places that need keyboard or mouse input. The Arduino seems like it will be better suited to to projects that need IO. Given that the PI runs a full Linux OS and clearly supports host mode for USB, it seems to me that hanging Arduino Nano's at $13 off of the PI's usb port will likely become a very popular solution. Use the PI as a UI system that handles the non-time critical heavy lifting while Arduino's slave out to autonomously run their particular tasks without the need for the PI to even be powered on.

Re:Different markets (3, Interesting)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#40205413)

I want a Pi for a video front end, like Apple TV or a Roku box, maybe play some lite mame/console games. Its the video aspects of the thing that really piques my interest. The plan is to use them to roll out my own video network to my friends and family by popping one of these bad boys onto a spare HDMI input on their TV.

Re:Different markets (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#40205097)

Why would I want to build my latest project with a Raspberry Pi instead of Arduino?

It's very near the same price and has vastly more RAM and processing power, not to mention I/O.

Re:Different markets (2)

Belial6 (794905) | about 2 years ago | (#40205275)

I can buy Arduinos for $13. That is nearly half the price of a PI. Of course for many, $25 is very nearly $13.

Re:Different markets (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#40205331)

How full-featured is that Arduino? Last I checked a decent unit was more like $17 which is a lot closer to $25.

Re:Different markets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40205485)

Arduinos and Raspis don't compare. The only thing they'd really have in common from a utility perspective is the GPIO's.

Otherwise a pi is lightweight linux machine on a card. Capable of being a media center, learning to program web and desktop applications using whatever language, libraries or frameworks you choose, IO for regular PC peripherals (usb, hdmi, sd slot), etc. What you won't be doing with it, is running photoshop, playing higher end video games, etc.

An Arduino is a learning and prototyping platform for Atmel's AVR microcontrollers. They're nothing like PC's, and the Raspi is not really like an Arduino.

The two just don't compare well.

Re:Different markets (1)

Thavilden (1613435) | about 2 years ago | (#40205623)

I consider Arduino a microcontroller and would use it for robotics, cheesy DSP and other real-time tasks. Raspberry Pi on the other hand runs Linux and should be good for general computing type tasks which the Arduino isn't capable of. I wouldn't say either is really better, but I think you could definitely write a longer feature list for Raspberry Pi.

Re:Different markets (5, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 2 years ago | (#40205311)

Do you want Networking?
http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9026 [sparkfun.com] It is more expensive than a Pi.
Wifi? Bluetooth? Well USB dongles can add that to the Pi.
Want to do your development on the board without a PC? A Pi with a Keyboard and Monitor will do that.
Want to play Audio? Here is a kit for you.
http://www.adafruit.com/products/94 [adafruit.com]
Want to develop using Python, Ruby, Basic, Smalltalk, Lua, Perl, Lisp Scheme, Erlang, or Haskell? If it is an interpreted language then it may just be a compile away for the Pi.
There are all sorts of options the pi opens up.
The Arduino is great because of the broad support and community. It is early days with the Pi still but the idea of using Smalltalk for an embedded device interests me a lot.

Re:The point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40205011)

The price might be the point. Even a second hand smart phone will run well over $150 (or a 2-3 year contract), the Raspberry Pi only costs about $25. Even if you have to purchase a monitor, keyboard and network cable to go with it, it's still much much less expensive than a standard smart phone once you factor in the contract costs. The Pi probably isn't going to get a lot of heavy practical usage, but it's ideal for hobbyists and people who want a small general purpose home server or low-end PC.

Re:The point? (0)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#40205447)

What on earth are you talking about? The cheapest smartphones out there are at least $200... unless you get a 2 year contract. There isn't a device on earth that competes with the PI on price... and that's the problem. They need to raise the price and then use that money to improve distribution. You can't buy one now because the price is so low, they can't keep up with demand.

GNAA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40204813)

Are you gay? Are you a nigger? If you answered "yes" to both of these questions, then GNAA might be exactly what you're looking for!

Yay! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40205291)

Good, wholesome, old-fashioned Slashdot trolling. I love it!

Still don't get the point (2, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | about 2 years ago | (#40204831)

The Raspberry Pi's creators, the Raspberry Pi Foundation, want to spark children's interest in computer programming and encourage students to apply for computing degrees.

Why not install Python on whatever computer is already around the house? Or Scratch? Or have them write JavaScript in the browsers they already use? I think that would be a more effective way to introduce them to computer programming.

Re:Still don't get the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40204859)

Because impoverished children in impoverished countries don't always have a gaming desktop rig already hooked up in their homes.

Re:Still don't get the point (1, Interesting)

bunratty (545641) | about 2 years ago | (#40204881)

Uh, but they have a spare keyboard, mouse, and monitor to hook up to a Raspberry Pi? I think OLAP did it better by offering an all-in-one package that has everything needed built in. OLAP even went so far as to consider houses without electricity by building in a crank to generate power! I still don't get the point of Raspberry Pi.

Re:Still don't get the point (1, Informative)

bunratty (545641) | about 2 years ago | (#40204891)

s/OLAP/OLPC/g

Re:Still don't get the point (1, Offtopic)

bunratty (545641) | about 2 years ago | (#40204965)

I guess it's easier for fanbois to mod me down rather than finally explain what the point of it is. Is the point for fanbois to love it and hate people who don't also love it? Ugh! Count me out!

Re:Still don't get the point (1)

darguskelen (1081705) | about 2 years ago | (#40205135)

Raspberry Pi + Bluetooth dongle + a little bit of bluetooth dev programming.

All of a sudden I have an easily flashable, copy-ready device to deploy to do bluetooth monitoring on a large scale for ~$50 ea.

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/11/23/2023223/malls-track-shoppers-cell-phones-on-black-friday [slashdot.org]

Not saying it's a good idea or even legal, but that'd be something to consider. Quick setup and deployment of a network of devices. Since the hardware is the same minus the MAC addresses, makes it VERY easy to pop the same image into multiple devices with a script to update the MAC on boot.

Re:Still don't get the point (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 2 years ago | (#40205101)

OLPC targeted Africa/India/Brazil, etc. Pi is targeting Bristol/Sussex/North Hertfordshire... no shortages of electricity, or even old cast-off computer junk like keyboards and monitors.

Re:Still don't get the point (1)

bunratty (545641) | about 2 years ago | (#40205203)

But don't they have computers they can run software on? Their children can be exposed to computer programming today, with no need to order another computer.

Re:Still don't get the point (4, Insightful)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 2 years ago | (#40205245)

When I was growing up, I had access to labs full of TRS-80 computers, for a couple of hours a week. One summer, I had access to an HP something or other with a nice 320x240 graphic display for a couple of hours a day for a few weeks.

When I got my own computer, I had access during every hour of free time I cared to spend with it for several years.

It's the difference between exposure and immersion. Lance Armstrong probably wouldn't have developed into as strong a cyclist as he is if he could only ride for one hour once a week during school.

Re:Still don't get the point (4, Insightful)

Ford Prefect (8777) | about 2 years ago | (#40205433)

Absolutely this. The point of the Pi isn't that computers are inaccessible to these children, it's that they can have one each to play around with at their own speed.

While most of the devices will probably just collect dust, there'll be some kids who'll go crazy with the things. Break the OS? Really quick to reimage the SD card. Break the device? Cheap enough to get a new one. Its theirs to play with, and theirs to break.

Re:Still don't get the point (-1, Troll)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#40205169)

yea cause it takes a fucking gaming rig to run python you dumb fuck

Re:Still don't get the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40205461)

python is sloooow compared to native binaries, especially starting up..even on gaming rigs.

Re:Still don't get the point (2)

stairmaster (2652939) | about 2 years ago | (#40205065)

You're thinking on the wrong scale. Consider a school district - you could equip an entire computer classroom for less than $1,000. That's where the Raspberry Pi starts to make sense.

Being out of stock for weeks on end (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40205143)

But how can we be sure that the Raspberry Pi be manufactured on that sort of scale? Or are we instead likely to run into shortages that parallel those of a newly launched video game console?

Re:Being out of stock for weeks on end (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 2 years ago | (#40205295)

First run was certainly oversubscribed - hope the demand stays high and it evolves a big support community like BeagleBoard. Hopefully in a few years Broadcom will come out with the next gen chip that will enable closer to Core2 performance at a sub $50 price point - and the Pi community will make it a more painless upgrade than Beagle to Panda...

Still don't get the closeness. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40205309)

That's because there's more to computing than software. Think the early days of computers when one was knowledgeable with hardware and software. Decades of layers have removed that experience for most. There's still some who understand what it's all about like robotic and embedded systems programmers.

A more important question... (1)

GuyRiley (836754) | about 2 years ago | (#40204841)

As a resident of the USA, how can I get one of these things? Everything I've seen up to this point just talks about how to order one if you're in the UK. Are there no other options apart from paying to have one shipped internationally?

Re:A more important question... (2)

sirsnork (530512) | about 2 years ago | (#40204869)

Both suppliers are worldwide. Simply order one... although that will involve a waiting list at this point

Re:A more important question... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40204883)

A real American would want Apple Pi.

Re:A more important question... (3, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#40204915)

"As a resident of the USA, how can I get one of these things?"

Wait a month and get a Via APC [tomshardware.com] instead.

For $14 more than the Pi, you get twice as much RAM, a better operating system (a flavor of Android 2.3), a better CPU, 2GB of on board flash for your OS (and of course it has the obligatory MicroSD slot as well), plus standard VGA and HDMI out, 4 USB ports, 10/100 Ethernet, and standard audio in/out jacks.

The video probably isn't quite as good as the Pi (it maxes at 720p), but who is going to be doing sophisticated video with these devices anyway, at this stage? It's a hobbyist board.

Re:A more important question... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#40204987)

Vehement agreemsg. The RAM is really the compelling part. I'd like to know if I will need a scan converter or if it will do composite out on the VGA port, though. I actually need composite for my application.

Re:A more important question... (5, Insightful)

SiggyTheViking (890997) | about 2 years ago | (#40205039)

A flavor of Android 2.3 is better then Debian???

Re:A more important question... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#40205141)

It will run Debian almost immediately. Betcha a dollar.

Re:A more important question... (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#40205705)

Possibly, but it'll be slow as hell unless it includes drivers for the GPU which, very often, if it runs Android to start then Xorg compatible drivers will be nigh upon impossible to actually get.

Re:A more important question... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 2 years ago | (#40205325)

For somethings yes. You will have an instant base of apps including games. Things like Pandora, Rdio, Spotify, and so on.
For somethings no. No Apache, no perl, no emacs, no vim, and so on.
I till all depend on what you want to use it for.

Re:A more important question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40205373)

All those run on android, in a chroot for the least.

Re:A more important question... (5, Informative)

humanrev (2606607) | about 2 years ago | (#40205191)

The video probably isn't quite as good as the Pi (it maxes at 720p), but who is going to be doing sophisticated video with these devices anyway, at this stage? It's a hobbyist board.

A lot of people are buying the Pi to run XBMC. Since it can support 1080p flawlessly and the Via APC cannot, well... for many people the choice is obvious.

With any luck, the (relatively) open nature of the Pi and increasing size of the community will make it a more interesting option than competing boards, which is the reason why the Arduinos are still very popular despite being outclassed hardware-wise by other boards.

Re:A more important question... (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#40205739)

"A lot of people are buying the Pi to run XBMC. Since it can support 1080p flawlessly and the Via APC cannot, well... for many people the choice is obvious."

That's true and for that specific use, it may be fine. But from the reviews I have seen so far, just about any video processing other than playback is out of the question.

Re:A more important question... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40205449)

Let's see, VIA announced they have "made" this board, so we'll see it in, what... five years... on eBay?
I've gone looking for some of that way-cool VIA hardware in the past. As near as I can tell, for the consumer, VIA only manufactures product announcements.

Re:A more important question... (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#40205697)

a better operating system (a flavor of Android 2.3)

Android? Better than Debian/Fedora/Ubuntu/etc?

You're either a fanboy, a Google employee, or utterly unfamiliar with how limiting and inflexible the Android platform is.

5 Reasons Why You Should Never Buy Replica wholes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40204893)

oakley sunglass Wholesale [discountsalejerseys.com] The fact cannot be denied that replica or knockoff products are available everywhere. From Denim jeans to Coach wallets to the Versace handbag and those superb Ray Ban sunglasses- one can find a similar looking pair for throwaway prices. There is always someone out there who tries to copy the original branded stuff, and some do so quite successfully. So whats wrong in purchasing fakes at comparatively cheaper prices? Arent you getting the brand name to flaunt? Well, my friend, there are problems aplenty, some which can be quite detrimental to your health and budget. In accessories, lets consider designer sunglasses- how the original stuff is discount oakley sunglasses [discountsalejerseys.com] much better than the replica. The following 5 reasons will thoroughly convince you to buy only authentic sunglasses: 1. Extremely poor quality Of course one doesnt expect the quality of replica sunglasses to be anywhere near the original wholesale cheap jerseys [discountsalejerseys.com] branded stuff. But the thing is, these sunglasses are so poor in quality that they can cause immense damage

SoC datasheet? (2)

PingXao (153057) | about 2 years ago | (#40204911)

Is the Broadcom datasheet freely available for the SoC? In my experience, Broadcom is evil when it comes to forking over the exact specs and interfacing requirements for its chips. If there's no datasheet for the SoC, then my enthusiasm for tinkering with one of these is basically nil. Still a neat little gadget, I suppose.

Re:SoC datasheet? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40205015)

there u go
http://www.element14.com/community/docs/DOC-43016/l/broadcom-datasheet-for-bcm2835-soc-used-in-raspberry-pi

Re:SoC datasheet? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 2 years ago | (#40205057)

Your experience probably doesn't include the Pi, then. Broadcom has been pretty decent with the Pi developers.

Re:SoC datasheet? (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | about 2 years ago | (#40205239)

But the GPU is still very closed, right? I want to have a look at the graphic driver blob as soon as I get mine.

Re:SoC datasheet? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 2 years ago | (#40205259)

Check the Pi site blogs, I'm not interested in diving that deep, but I've skimmed a few blog posts that talk about better than usual access to the GPU details - not Nirvana, but at least there's a community organizing the scraps that are available.

Cloud computing? (4, Insightful)

cpicon92 (1157705) | about 2 years ago | (#40204917)

Make your own secure file repository, joining the cloud computing revolution?

Last I checked, that's called a file server. Not the "cloud computing revolution."

The Real First Step (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40204939)

The first step with the Raspberry Pi is to be able to get one...

Re:The Real First Step (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 2 years ago | (#40205067)

I ordered on "launch day" - just got my tracking number. At one point I thought I'd have one by the end of 2011, it's June 2012 and still not here yet.

Re:The Real First Step (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40205209)

that's because the product is an effing scam and seems to be pushed by Slashtardvisments on this site

Re:The Real First Step (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 2 years ago | (#40205303)

I don't feel scammed... this is pretty typical early release delay - could have gone faster, almost never does.

Re:The Real First Step (2)

Ford Prefect (8777) | about 2 years ago | (#40205301)

I ordered on the same launch day - and had a Raspberry Pi arrive in the US in early May. And the following day had a second Raspberry Pi arrive. Oops. [hylobatidae.org]

(Wracked with guilt, I donated the second one to the Raspbian [raspbian.org] project, which is a nifty recompilation of Debian to take full advantage of the Pi's FPU. On floating-point-heavy stuff, there are quite dramatic improvements...)

Move along (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40204963)

Nothing about the Raspberry Pi is even remotely revolutionary, fantastic, or noteworthy: as an EE, I've laid out PCBs for single-board computers that have far better specifications and cost only slightly more, all without getting bulk-order discounts on components or on PCB manufacturing.

Re:Move along (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 2 years ago | (#40205315)

But your SBCs don't have a development community forming around them - the hype and hoopla is exactly what is noteworthy. Just like the Arduino community, couldn't make me yawn any wider, but it's important because help is there for people who need it.

wtf? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40204997)

ANOTHER raspberry pi article?

wtf, slashtard?

Real Time Clock Question (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40205083)

This is another review of the Raspberry Pi that mentions the lack of a real time clock. Some even say that this cannot replace a standard computer, DVR, web server, etc. without one. However, real time clocks don't seem that useful. Looking at the Wikipedia article, they don't seem do list any real benefits other than offloading the time functions from the main CPU, alarms (which I'm still not sure what those are) and keeping track of time when the computer is off. So, how do those functions really affect its appropriateness as a computer replacement, DVR, etc.?

Connect to NTP before writing mtime (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40205159)

alarms (which I'm still not sure what those are)

Ability to wake up at a scheduled time is important for a DVR, which needs to be able to wake up and record video at a scheduled time.

keeping track of time when the computer is off

That's the big one. Otherwise, you're going to have to be able to connect to an NTP server before you write to any file so that you can know what the last modification time is going to be.

Re:Real Time Clock Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40205187)

interrupts, yea you could count cycles and base time off of that, but every innterupt, thousands a min would quickly toss your clock off by hours ... there is a reason every computer has had one since the early 80's

Re:Real Time Clock Question (3, Interesting)

Ford Prefect (8777) | about 2 years ago | (#40205463)

The uptime on mine is over a week and it's still showing the correct time. Actually, an especially correct time - I haven't got round to changing it from BST to PDT.

(My internal body-clock still runs on British Time, unfortunately.)

Re:Real Time Clock Question (2)

ChipMonk (711367) | about 2 years ago | (#40205229)

Given the near-omnipresence of time services (via cell tower signals, GPS, or pool.ntp.org), obtaining time as part of the system boot is trivial. The simple reason the Raspberry Pi has no RTC, is that the chip and battery would have doubled both the PCB size, and the price.

Re:Real Time Clock Question (2)

ThePeices (635180) | about 2 years ago | (#40205593)

" The simple reason the Raspberry Pi has no RTC, is that the chip and battery would have doubled both the PCB size, and the price"

Doubled the PCB size? really?

A CR2032 lithium coin battery, a tiny 8 pin IC and a 32KHz watch crystal is hardly the size of a credit card.

And the price? In quantity, a couple of dollars for the lot.

Re:Real Time Clock Question (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40205429)

Not having a battery backed RTC on board is a bit of a pita, but can be worked around if network connected, or you can add your own RTC over i2c.

On my panda board (has an RTC but no battery backup, and no pins brought out to wire up a battery to the RTC) that runs unbound recursive DNS among other things, it needs reasonably close time to trust signed DNS zones. So, I have a script in the initrd that sets the clock to the last mount time or last write time of the rootfs (whichever is newer; weird that last mount time often wins, haven't spent time to figure out what is up). This is mainly to make the time reasonable for things like mount and fschk. I run Deb Wheezy on it, but I've seen that the Ubuntu pre-built images, for panda started including a hack like this too, at some point after the first image I looked at-- ubuntu's only uses last mount time, though (which appears would have been sufficient for just mount and fsck-- I didn't know what to expect when I set this up, though, and was hoping to not need the second hack to get unbound to run).

Then it runs (second hack) an initscript really early, just after network comes up, it sets time using ntpdate using google's dns to resolve a few hosts from ntp.orgs pool, since using last mount/last write time is usually still not close enough to actual time to get unbound to trust signed zones. Then, unbound starts up normally in its normal place in the boot sequence. with proper name resolution, ntpd starts, as normal.

Other time sensitive stuff starts late enough that there is already good time available. So, if your DNS isn't running on your Pi (or you are not using DNS sec), you will only need to use the initrd last mount time hack, and ntpd will be able to resolve its peer names, and everything will work as normal.

Ugly? Yes. Works? Yes.

Was going to go with something like the chronodot (or home made equivalent) over i2c, but the above worked out, so good enough. But, if you want non-net attached, you can always add an RTC yourself.

Sorry, doesn't really answer your question, but hopefully some help.

I would like to just buy one (0)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#40205165)

Thanks to everyone and their mother hyping this thing up as the biggest revolution in computers since the PC people like me who have actual real uses for the damn things are now forced to buy other similar picoITX embedded systems. While other offerings may not be as fast, have as much memory, or hit that price target, I can get them, get my task done, and move the fuck on.

The longer PI takes, the less I care

Re:I would like to just buy one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40205261)

+1

Re:I would like to just buy one (1)

ThePeices (635180) | about 2 years ago | (#40205605)

" people like me who have actual real uses for the damn things are now forced to buy other similar picoITX embedded systems."

That word 'forced'.

I dont think it means what you think it means.

stop copying Apple with these awful food names! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40205299)

Try getting some fucking originality you damn losers. Linux is successful and it has a fucking made-up name. If I hear one more bullshit ass pastry fucking name for a kind of software I'm going to puke.

Re:stop copying Apple with these awful food names! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40205517)

agreed. open source software names are really fucking stupid.

Re:stop copying Apple with these awful food names! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40205599)

Jelly Dohnut.

There, did you puke? I damn well hope so, you deserve the discomfort you fucking moron.

Re:stop copying Apple with these awful food names! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40205645)

Apple stole that name originally.

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Openelec (1)

kregg (1619907) | about 2 years ago | (#40205571)

I received my Raspi a few days ago and the first thing I have tried is running OpenElec to run XBMC and it runs very well. So many things to try not enough time.

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