Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

University of Cambridge Offers Free Online Raspberry Pi Course

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the learn-all-about-it dept.

Education 99

Barence writes "The University of Cambridge has released a free 12-step online course on building a basic operating system for the Raspberry Pi. The course, Baking Pi — Operating Systems Development, was compiled by student Alex Chadwick during a summer interning in the school's computer lab, and has been put online to help this year's new recruits start work with the device. The university has already purchased a Raspberry Pi for every new Computer Science student starting in 2012."

cancel ×

99 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Free Rapberry Pi *... (0)

simpz (978228) | about 2 years ago | (#41214719)

.... *(mouse, keyboard and large HDMI LCD panel for your room not included)

Re:Free Raspberry Pi *... (2)

hattig (47930) | about 2 years ago | (#41214827)

Wish I had got a free computer when I went to university there. They should buy all their ex-compsci-students one as well, IMO.

Free PC + £100 of mouse/keyboard/SD/monitor is a lot cheaper than a full PC. However I suspect that most development will be done on a main PC cross-compiling to the device.

And this hardware will provide a baseline computing platform to teach upon.

Re:Free Raspberry Pi *... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41215405)

I'm sure you're right. When I was looking at colleges (I wasn't Cambridge material), I visited Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. It's a tiny little school I had never heard of. But one of the brothers that grew up in Sioux City and started Gateway 2000 went there, and they had an arrangement where every student got a machine. And iirc, every room was wired for ethernet. In the mid '90s that was something of a sell for prospective students. It took another three years before the state school I went to installed ethernet and personal computers were strictly BYO.

Re:Free Raspberry Pi *... (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#41215693)

will buy you a carp low end dell for FREE** real cost is lumped into the all the fees we have and most people don't even want it as they have better ones.

Re:Free Raspberry Pi *... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41224017)

will buy you a carp low end dell for FREE** real cost is lumped into the all the fees we have and most people don't even want it as they have better ones.

Hopefully your chosen university also has remedial English classes.

Re:Free Raspberry Pi *... (1)

philofaqs (668524) | about 2 years ago | (#41217843)

If only mate, there's probably more of us than they've made yet. Wouldn't mind one though...

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 2 years ago | (#41214851)

When even the cheapest 100-quid-in-Tesco LCD TVs have a couple of HDMI ports and USB mice and keyboards cost less than a fiver each, it's not really an issue. That's sort of the whole point.

If you haven't got a TV, don't go to the pub this weekend and buy a TV instead for your Raspberry Pi.

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (1)

ThePeices (635180) | about 2 years ago | (#41215639)

WTF, you spend 100 GBP at the pub in a *weekend*.

Dude, god help your liver...

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about 2 years ago | (#41215943)

Today you can get an lcd with an hdmi input and speakers, a keyboard, and a mouse for $100 usd, so I'd say he's close enough. ;)

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (1)

pointyhat (2649443) | about 2 years ago | (#41216237)

He's probably from oop-norf. They have a different type of organ to the liver up there.

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (1)

XsCode (639295) | about 2 years ago | (#41221119)

Nahh it's just you lot Daarrnn Saaarrfff are all lightweights..

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (1)

pointyhat (2649443) | about 2 years ago | (#41222033)

But we can afford spirits down here so that doesn't count.

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (1)

xQx (5744) | about 2 years ago | (#41218947)

Okay, you got me.

Don't go to the pub this *weeknight*.

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | about 2 years ago | (#41221787)

Dude, god help your liver...

Some people in the pubs here can drink so much, I can't even drink that many soft drinks trying to keep up.

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (1)

IrquiM (471313) | about 2 years ago | (#41225801)

100 GBP at the pub is just a couple of glasses of good whisky! Expensive hobby, but worth it!

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41215729)

but then you would have to buy A tv license.*

* ok you dont but that wont stop them hounding/harassing you over it

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | about 2 years ago | (#41221807)

* ok you dont but that wont stop them hounding/harassing you over it

I don't have a TV and I still get harassed over it.

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41214895)

Yay, Raspberry Pi. Story after story after story after story after story after story... ad nauseum...

Somebody used a Raspberry Pi - let's post a story! Somebody used a Raspberry Pi while wearing a tie - let's post a story! Somebody used a Raspberry Pi while wearing a tie and his laces were undone - let's post a story! Somebody used a Raspberry Pi who ate eggs for breakfast that day - let's post a story!

Sure, the Pi is neat. It'll be nice to see the tiny, increasingly useful/powerful and increasingly cheap computers the future will bring us. All of that is great!

But am I the ONLY ONE who just doesn't think the Raspberry Pi is THIS interesting? We don't really need an up-to-the-minute play-by-play concerning every detail of it and every detail of how someone decided to use it.

Some things our editors are real suckers for: IP lawsuits, random yahoos disparaging Open Source (that we'd never know about if you didn't give them the publicity), new Apple products, new Apple policies, Google press releases poorly disguised as news, book reviews that read like publishers' advertisements, and The Cloud.

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | about 2 years ago | (#41215087)

Seriously. Though, it might be more tolerable to hear it about it 30 times a day if it didn't have such an awful name.

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41215149)

I like the name.

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | about 2 years ago | (#41221763)

I like the name.

I like trains.

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#41215275)

I received my Raspberry Pi last week so I'm getting a kick out of your misery.

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (1)

ThePeices (635180) | about 2 years ago | (#41215647)

Yep, you are the only one...on here.

Can you go over to that counter to your right and hand in your geek card please. And watch your step on the way out the door, there is a bit of a drop.

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (4, Insightful)

pnot (96038) | about 2 years ago | (#41215285)

.... *(mouse, keyboard and large HDMI LCD panel for your room not included)

Also not included: electricity to run the LCD panel, a room to put it in, food and drink to nourish yourself while using the Pi, room heating, toilet paper, organic fair trade coffee with unlimited free refills, jumbo size jar of dill pickles, free haircut, health insurance, manicure, or personal trainer.

Seriously though, if you're being given a free thing, it's a little churlish to complain that you're not being given more free things. Anyone who doesn't want their RasPi can probably sell it to a fellow student who wants an extra one...

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (1)

pointyhat (2649443) | about 2 years ago | (#41216243)

Yeah - it's worth at least 4 pints second hand!

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41228507)

You can easily use your smartphone (or tablet) to SSH tunnel into the Raspberry Pi and start up a VNC connection. Now your phone is all 3. Checkmate pessimists!

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (1)

Cederic (9623) | about 2 years ago | (#41215347)

Yeah, a fine return on the £3000/term it's costing you to be there.

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (1)

fa2k (881632) | about 2 years ago | (#41215469)

The Raspberry Pi was designed so it can be used with old CRT monitors which you can get for free in many places

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 2 years ago | (#41215935)

Not really, as it does not have a VGA connector.

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (1)

Goth Biker Babe (311502) | about 2 years ago | (#41216201)

You're not being retro enough. It has a composite out! I had CRT monitors that worked with composite feeds.

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41217223)

Hopefully the composite output signal can be changed between 50 and 60 Hz. Otherwise the image might be little too retro with old tv sets on one side of the Atlantic.

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (1)

ThePeices (635180) | about 2 years ago | (#41215629)

Is money even a minor consideration when one can afford to go to Cambridge?

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (1)

mpeskett (1221084) | about 2 years ago | (#41215739)

The fees at UK universities, for domestic students at least, are all capped to the same level.

That cap just recently tripled, but until then it was a very reasonable £3000ish per year. Anyway, point is, Cambridge is no more expensive than anywhere else in the UK.

I went there, studied Computer Science, and apparently graduated just in time to not get a Raspberry Pi. That said, having seen the setup with the practical labs, I wouldn't be surprised at all if the CS department were in fact buying in RPi's for students to use for a term or two and then give back for the following year to use, rather than for students as a free gift. We had the same deal with some FPGAs.

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | about 2 years ago | (#41215925)

Seconded -- I was there in 1998-2002 for a physics degree, and paid about £1000 per year, plus living expenses. As a EU citizen I paid the same as the locals, it was much higher for those outside EU.

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (1)

pointyhat (2649443) | about 2 years ago | (#41216289)

Neckbeard territory here. It's terribly expensive. I got a grant and paid sod all back in the day for which I am very grateful. If we didn't piss 9.3x10^9 quid up the wall on the festival of running, jumping and getting missiles pointed at us, then quite a few more people would have an education in a few more years...

My only regret is that I should have done medicine instead of EE as I hate the software industry as a whole.

Re:Free Rapberry Pi *... (1)

xaxa (988988) | about 2 years ago | (#41216669)

Others said it's £9000/year (which the government loans at close to interest-free, that you don't pay back until you have an OK job, and doesn't appear on your credit rating).

Students from outside the EU would have to pay £24,800/year, plus spend approximately £8000/year on living expenses, to study at Cambridge.

Since (almost) all UK/EU students can get loans and/or grants from their governments, I think support from the university or its alumni is less common than in the USA -- but I don't really know, and could be very wrong.

teknohabercim.com (1)

goldenilkay (2721773) | about 2 years ago | (#41214875)

When will it start this course?

Re:teknohabercim.com (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 years ago | (#41214899)

When will it start this course?

In due course. The Rasp Pi doesn't have a lot of power, it takes a while to boot up...

Do they have a course on how to order one... (2, Interesting)

supremebob (574732) | about 2 years ago | (#41214989)

And actually get it delivered to you? I ordered mine back in mid June, and I'm STILL waiting for it.

Latest ETA was late September.

Re:Do they have a course on how to order one... (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#41215173)

I got 2 just in the last 2 weeks. should be easy to get. one from MCM and one from newark.

but as the 'elephant usb bug' is still around, I can't really use my pi's. I NEED USB to work and be 100% solid. so, still waiting on that.

Re:Do they have a course on how to order one... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#41215413)

I NEED USB to work and be 100% solid. so, still waiting on that.

Have you tried the "smsc95xx.turbo mode=n" fix?

(Just add that parameter to /boot/cmdline.txt...)

Re:Do they have a course on how to order one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41217275)

Have you tried a decent power supply? Most of the shitty "1A" and "2A" wall warts you get sag below 5V even under light loading. You need something that maintains 5.1V.

Re:Do they have a course on how to order one... (1)

cbope (130292) | about 2 years ago | (#41219991)

Try a different keyboard and/or mouse. I booted my Pi for the first time last night using a Dell keyboard which happened to have a passive USB hub built-in. Only about 2 out of 3 keystrokes were registering making login practically impossible (password keystrokes are not echoed). I switched to a different keyboard without a USB hub and it works fine. I believe the issue is popping up when one or more USB devices try to draw a bit too much power from the USB ports. My Pi worked flawlessly after the keyboard swap. I am using the 230v euro power supply sold by RS Components by the way, which I believe is rated for 1200ma output at 5v.

Re:Do they have a course on how to order one... (1)

makomk (752139) | about 2 years ago | (#41220865)

That'd probably make sense if the only USB devices you're planning on using are the keyboard and mouse. There are more problems with USB than just devices that use too much power, see this forum thread: http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=12097&start=250 [raspberrypi.org]

Supposedly the RasPi Foundation has been banning people from their forums for suggesting that new purchasers should be told about this issue [element14.com] , so it's probably not suprising if you haven't head about it.

Re:Do they have a course on how to order one... (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#41223937)

I have not tried the command-line 'fix' yet. I plan to, but I've heard that its not a total fix.

the only device on the usb bus I have is a usb-audio dac. it does not draw current, or, not much. I have a linear (not switching) wall wart that is about 2A and it powers the pi thru a powered hub. (the hub's power barrel was the wrong size for the WW I had, so I soldered in a female to match the wallwart and that has given it reliable power). I do have ethernet connected. I'm seeing this as having ethernet on one side and both audio and usb-serial devices (just those 2) on the other end. the usb-audio to play audio and the ttl/serial thing for control (out of band, with custom code that I write).

the usb/serial stories I've read don't sound promising. dropped data. and the same for usb-audio; dropped data. its not all about power supply although you do have to ensure that you have that end 'firmed up'. I'm pretty sure mine is ok.

luckily, I plan to run headless so the hdmi port will be left unused and I won't be logging into mine via local keybd/mouse and screen. that, alone, should help me a lot. and I think it does.

but usb audio is not clean (dropouts) and this is one of the main purposes (for me) for this pi unit. until usb is 100.0% solid, I can't recommend the pi. I do think it will get worked out, but as it is NOW, its not usable or trustable for real work.

once they fix usb, this is gonna be a killer board!

Re:Do they have a course on how to order one... (1)

FrostedWheat (172733) | about 2 years ago | (#41215245)

I've gotten one from a couple of different sellers now, the only one who so far hasn't delivered is RS. All the rest have been very quick.

Re:Do they have a course on how to order one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41216121)

Took Allied Electronics about 12 weeks to ship mine. I felt like Calvin waiting for his beanie to arrive.

Re:Do they have a course on how to order one... (1)

pointyhat (2649443) | about 2 years ago | (#41216299)

Thats usual for RS. Phone them and whinge and it'll appear very rapidly. I live about a mile from an RS trade counter which is the best place to go whinge at.

Re:Do they have a course on how to order one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41217307)

Second this. RS is shite. I preordered with them in March, got my "order invitation" in May, and with recent delays it "might" ship in September with me "maybe" receiving it in October. If I get Pi for Christmas it will be a pleasant surprise.

Re:Do they have a course on how to order one... (1)

xded (1046894) | about 2 years ago | (#41221107)

I ordered one in mid July and got the following email some days ago.

We have been advised that our next batch of approximately 40,000 Raspberry Pi’s will now be arriving during September, with further deliveries expected in October. This delay is due to the very high level of demand on the core Raspberry Pi processor chip. Unfortunately, this means that some orders will be delayed, although we are trying to reduce this as much as possible.

Based on my order number, they should ship it at the beginning of October and, based on their schedule [rsdelivers.com] , they probably have, today, a backlog of 35000 orders (40k RP units?).

Seemed strange to me that they were able to grow such a huge amount of unfullfilled orders, especially since people on blogs are starting to treat the RP like a grocery store commodity. But now that I read the parent comments, I'll make sure to complain (and most likely cancel) my order if it doesn't ship by the first week of October (I'd do that right away, but now I wouldn't find the time to use the RP anyway even if I got one).

Re:Do they have a course on how to order one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41217047)

Eh? I ordered mine from Newark a couple of weeks ago, and I got it in exactly 2 days. $12 shipping though.

"operating system" (2)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | about 2 years ago | (#41215023)

I think it's a miniature course in elements of systems programming rather than a tutorial on writing an operating system in the modern sense.

It worries me that something as simple as a Raspberry Pi is offered to all Cambridge undergrads, though. This is supposed to be the best university in the country - why are there people being admitted to its courses who aren't already playing with stuff like this in their spare time as kids?

Re:"operating system" (4, Insightful)

bugs2squash (1132591) | about 2 years ago | (#41215135)

What do you mean by simple ? It's as complex to program as anything else, the development environment is as rich as any other and it has the backing of a sophisticated community. Or are you one of those people who think real comp sci is all about using excel and word.

Re:"operating system" (1)

oakgrove (845019) | about 2 years ago | (#41215267)

burn

Re:"operating system" (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | about 2 years ago | (#41216003)

What's wrong with x86?

Re:"operating system" (1)

Goth Biker Babe (311502) | about 2 years ago | (#41216215)

Apart from cost, power requirement, size, etc. etc. Also ARM is a far better processor to learn this kind of thing on. Being RISC ARM assembler is incredibly elegant.

Re:"operating system" (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | about 2 years ago | (#41216307)

Cost? Old x86 boxes are free - even laptops. Extremely low power+size are of questionable relevance for an educational tool.

Yes, ARM assembler is elegant. I recently found my first Dabs Press ARM Assembler book full of annotations I must have made when I was nine years of age. But the real world is not elegant, and it's really not a dealbreaker.

Re:"operating system" (1)

xaxa (988988) | about 2 years ago | (#41216711)

Old x86 boxes are unreliable, which isn't appropriate for a lab, and take up far more space + power + cooling. There's also much less chance of some of the students doing something really interesting with an old PC, compared to a tiny ARM board. And where would you get a class set of 50/100/whatever similar old PCs? And where would you store them?

Also, ARM's R&D is in Cambridge, right next to the main computer science buildings.

Re:"operating system" (3, Interesting)

inasity_rules (1110095) | about 2 years ago | (#41215443)

Ever try to write an OS? In assembler? I did. Got as far as memory management before I gave up. I had a text graphics driver and all too. The device may be simple. Programming it and what can be done with it is not. All you need is imagination. And move them to a C compiler fast. Assembly gets hectic too quickly. Sure minuet did it, but those guys are certifiably insane. My kind of insane, but insane nevertheless...

Re:"operating system" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41215595)

Sure minuet did it, but those guys are certifiably insane. My kind of insane

....

Got as far as memory management before I gave up

Apparently not so much your kind of insane after all.

Re:"operating system" (1)

inasity_rules (1110095) | about 2 years ago | (#41215703)

I tried to do something very stupid which sounded very clever with the memory manager, which is why I gave up. I wasn't interested in reinventing the wheel, I wanted something different. It proved to be a dead end, and a lot more difficult than I thought. C would have been easier and more optimized. I still develop low level systems(just not operating systems), so, yes, very much my kind of insane.

Re:"operating system" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41215747)

It was all the memory leaks, He forgot what he was doing it for

Re:"operating system" (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 2 years ago | (#41216017)

Sure minuet did it, but those guys are certifiably insane.

No, it just originates from Finland...

Re:"operating system" (1)

Goth Biker Babe (311502) | about 2 years ago | (#41216235)

Er yes :-D

I've written several extensions to RISC OS (Acorn's 32 bit OS for ARM machines) in assembler since that's what most of the OS was written in.

Re:"operating system" (1)

inasity_rules (1110095) | about 2 years ago | (#41216285)

Then, why are you complaining the device is too simple? It is a general purpose RISC system. It is in fact fairly complex, and with a little imagination can do some fairly complex stuff (gpu binary blob aside). I honestly don't see your point.

Re:"operating system" (1)

inasity_rules (1110095) | about 2 years ago | (#41216295)

Oh, wait, you're not op? Ignore my other post then...

Re:"operating system" (5, Insightful)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about 2 years ago | (#41215489)

This is supposed to be the best university in the country - why are there people being admitted to its courses who aren't already playing with stuff like this in their spare time as kids?

Because not everyone has the support & background to be already proficient at something before they go to university - this is why we have educational establishments!

It's not like the 80's when consumer computers were geared towards programming, there were languages build-in to the micros and monthly programming magazines. The kids of today have it *far* more convoluted and difficult to get into than I did. In fact, this is the entire reason the Raspberry Pi was created, to bring entry-level programming back.

Re:"operating system" (2)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | about 2 years ago | (#41215909)

What? I have written a couple of toy operating systems for the x86 platform. The first time round was around 1998 using the Risc PC 486DX4 copro, and the second time round was much easier because I could test using a VMware / VirtualBox VM. They both boot on the bare hardware too.

I don't see why I need a Raspberry Pi for any of this this. And it is indeed not like the '80s, where only the more privileged kids had computers at home, and the programming environments were far more limited.

The Pi may be quite useful as a controller for embedded devices, but it really has very little point as an educational tool for general-purpose systems programming.

Re:"operating system" (1)

pointyhat (2649443) | about 2 years ago | (#41216123)

I think you are talking from the wrong end of your body. It's a general-purpose computer.

It is relatively open, is well documented, has an OS and a toolchain, it's inexpensive and reliable. That's all you need as an educational tool.

What do you think we need as an educational tool instead?

Re:"operating system" (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | about 2 years ago | (#41216155)

I can't see how your point is relevant to jareth's.

There is a big fat x86 sitting on everyone's desktop which works fine as an educational tool!

Re:"operating system" (2)

pointyhat (2649443) | about 2 years ago | (#41216213)

Yes but you don't want to have to reinstall it every 5 minutes when you break something. Please don't say the word QEMU either as it's not the same.

I notice you are from the UK. In the mid 90's we had a surplus of BBC micros from schools available. We used them to test hardware interfaces for micrcontrollers so they didn't blow up expensive dev hardware. If it blew up, you'd throw the beeb in a skip and get another one out of the cupboard.

That's what the Pi is for both with respect to software and hardware. It's a "shitbox" you can trash every 5 minutes.

Re:"operating system" (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | about 2 years ago | (#41216283)

What is wrong with a VM, exactly? Why can't you develop on a VM and then test at intervals on bare hardware? It's perfectly normal. And an old x86 is effectively junk - somewhat cheaper than a Raspberry Pi.

I can't bear the idea of using a bunch of Beebs as throwaway test devices! but I guess I can understand the philosophy of using something cheap as a buffer for device development, for middle class definitions of cheap. That's entirely not the same as using it as an educational tool for systems programming, though.

Re:"operating system" (1)

pointyhat (2649443) | about 2 years ago | (#41216449)

The problem is that they don't match reality in some cases (peripheral support mainly from experience) and most of the time you're having to develop kernel drivers for hardware which you can't emulate which means JTAG, reference manuals, red bull and much frustration.

The beebs were free to us (schools had to pay to take tech waste away) and we had 30 or 40ish. If we blew the VIA or PSU up, there was no point in repairing it. We gave the 6-7 that we blew up a dignified funeral: we took a couple out to the car park and I drove my Land Rover Defender over them until they were mush. The remainder went in various garages and probably on ebay later on (I got £175 for a Master Turbo in 2000 which was nice).

Regarding systems programming, a cheap ARM board that runs linux (nothing stupidly powerful) with JTAG and a host adapter to plug into your cheap X86 would probably do. I really wouldn't want students exposed to x86 architecture to be honest - it's a flipping mess.

Re:"operating system" (1)

Goth Biker Babe (311502) | about 2 years ago | (#41216257)

Assuming you *have* a desktop! Thing is you can plug it in to your TV and you need a tenner's worth a cheap peripherals to drive it.

Also I'd like to see you playing about with basic hardware IO on your desktop. Where do you get the GPIOs for a start?

Re:"operating system" (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | about 2 years ago | (#41216341)

Assuming you *have* a desktop!

That's a much better assumption than preferring familiarity with the Pi.

Also I'd like to see you playing about with basic hardware IO on your desktop. Where do you get the GPIOs for a start?

Yes, we all miss the Beeb's user port &c. Is the point hardware interfacing or systems programming, though? You don't need a whole new architecture just because your PC doesn't have GPIO.

Re:"operating system" (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | about 2 years ago | (#41221015)

ARM assembler is much more straightforward to learn and conceptually satisfying than x86 assembler.

Re:"operating system" (1)

Goth Biker Babe (311502) | about 2 years ago | (#41216275)

The one thing the PI isn't is embedded. Nothing that has the graphics capability of the PI is truly embedded unless it has its own canned screen. The Pi may be a little behind the curve power wise but its still a computer. Hell the first machine I ran linux on was my 30Mhz Acorn RISC PC in the mid 90s. The PI is blindingly quick in comparison. Just don't run bloaty code.

Re:"operating system" (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#41216385)

its been described as a combo of a 'hot' graphics core and an ok-but-not-great cpu core glued to the side.

the pi kind of ignores the gfx 'greatness' and uses it to boot and use the cpu core for linux.

this combo was never meant for what we are doing.

Re:"operating system" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41219393)

"this combo was never meant for what we are doing."

What they have done is taken something that in the old days could have been 10 lines of Z80 assembly
language talking to a UART and a terminal and made it incredibly complicated by making you create your
own terminal. What exactly are you supposed to be learning by this exercise? How to glue together a bunch
of libraries you don't understand to print "hello world" ?

Oh, that's right, this is how ALL software is cobbled together now.

Re:"operating system" (1)

xaxa (988988) | about 2 years ago | (#41216767)

Why did you use the RISC PC? Surely you had an old Archimedes lying around!

Re:"operating system" (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | about 2 years ago | (#41216997)

Oh, I had the PC Emulator for the original Acorn, but that was 80188 software, not 486 copro!

Writing an OS for ARM never appealed to me even though I knew and loved the instruction set. I wanted something that would work with (then comparatively) well-documented "industry standard" hardware. Also, ARM26 did not iirc restart instructions properly for VM, but maybe I'm remembering wrongly.

Re:"operating system" (2)

davidshewitt (1552163) | about 2 years ago | (#41215989)

I disagree - I think it's easier than ever to get started with programming. The kids of today have an entire Internet full of programming tutorials. It's much easier to Google a question than it is to try to look it up in a book, which is what one had to do in the 80's.

Re:"operating system" (1)

pointyhat (2649443) | about 2 years ago | (#41216135)

At the same time, it involves less thinking now. You had to understand what you're doing rather than get google to do your homework for you.

People now just have no fucking idea what they are doing unless they can Google it. Even I'm guilty of it and I hate it so much thatI drag my laptop out into the garden where the WiFi doesn't work occasionally so I can think for a bit.

Re:"operating system" (1)

cduffy (652) | about 2 years ago | (#41222403)

I disagree - I think it's easier than ever to get started with programming. The kids of today have an entire Internet full of programming tutorials.

Tutorials that teach them how to use high-level tools with no low-level understanding of what those tools actually do. Not saying that the Pi does this entirely, but I think there's a lot of value to getting started without so many layers of abstraction in the way.

There are far too many people in software today for which everything under the JVM (or otherwise, runtime environment provided by their language of choice) is just "magic". It might be easier to get started at churning out high-level programs, but not at understanding what makes them tick.

Re:"operating system" (1)

residents_parking (1026556) | about 2 years ago | (#41216505)

Not to mention a large proportion of undergrads will be polymaths. I came across a few in my time - superbly gifted - whose only problem was "what subject do I drop?"

Re:"operating system" (1)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | about 2 years ago | (#41215733)

Don't let Oxford hear you say that.

Re:"operating system" (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | about 2 years ago | (#41215959)

I think we can all agree that one of these universities is the best for science, and the other for arts. *ducks*

Re:"operating system" (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | about 2 years ago | (#41215969)

I wouldn't call them "arts" exactly...

Re:"operating system" (1)

pointyhat (2649443) | about 2 years ago | (#41216065)

There are two reasons to do a university course: to make money -or- because it's interesting. The latter people are so few and far between that they have to cater for the earlier ones to make the courses viable.

At the risk of getting flamed off the planet, most of the postgrads we've had in are shit and couldn't pass the simple test: "you have one hour to open a file in python and print every alternate line to the screen". They were given a windows 7 box without python installed and had to work it out themselves. Quite scarily the worst ones come from the red brick outfits and the best come from the old technical colleges.

I applaud Cambridge for trying to appeal to the people who find it interesting as these are the people we need badly.

Re:"operating system" (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | about 2 years ago | (#41216089)

I decided not to apply for Cambridge at undergrad level many years ago because it seemed to be full of people who were only there for the piece of paper and the money which would follow.

Yet Cambridge has the best reputation in the country for research and for some undergrad courses (e.g. mathematics). It could afford to select only those who are both intelligent and passionately committed. It certainly does so for certain subjects, according to some of m'colleagues, but not at all for others.

Re:"operating system" (1)

pointyhat (2649443) | about 2 years ago | (#41216175)

I think it has the best reputation for comp sci research as the grads are shit and can't get a job anywhere else (no offense guys). Agree they are best for mathematics though.

The best guys we've had came from Nottingham, Brunel, Warwick, Reading and Imperial.

Re:"operating system" (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 2 years ago | (#41218295)

Because demand (of workforce) is bigger than the amount of awesome people?

Re:"operating system" (1)

IrquiM (471313) | about 2 years ago | (#41225885)

It worries me that something as simple as a Raspberry Pi is offered to all Cambridge undergrads, though. This is supposed to be the best university in the country - why are there people being admitted to its courses who aren't already playing with stuff like this in their spare time as kids?

Probably because they know what a girl is?

Finally, a 12 step... (1)

blackt0wer (2714221) | about 2 years ago | (#41216593)

Finally, a 12 step program you might actually complete successfully.

Bastards (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 2 years ago | (#41217131)

This explains why I can't seem to get one. I have been waiting for my pi for months, and I was on the waiting list for months before that. I just got an email the other day that said they couldn't produce enough of the devices and my order would be delayed *again*. I bet I won't see one until 2013.

Onboard programmable LED! (2)

Kevin Newman (2721831) | about 2 years ago | (#41217621)

I think the course is great. After the initial excitement of getting my Pi up and running (to the point of doing a Google search) this little board has been sitting around on my desk for a few weeks gathering dust. Finding out that the little LED labelled "OK" on the Pi's PCB is hooked up to the GPIO and can be turned on/off with a few lines of assembly language is exciting news! Browsing through the pages of this online course... 10/10 to the author for an ace job at tutorial writing. You end up compiling to a new kernel.img that you copy over to the SD card. Plug it in, turn it on and it boots into your assembly. Somehow not as super-human feeling as directly controlling a 286 with Turbo Assembler back in the teenage years but certainly the most excited I've been in a long time. My only prayer is that those pimply faced youths appreciate just how awesome it is to be controlling a piece of sand to make some gallium arsenide pump out bursts of photons are regular intervals. The tutorial goes as far as describing and working with the message API to control the display driver. Gives a great overview of how the system works at a low level. Fantastic.

Re:Onboard programmable LED! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41218025)

a 10 cent microcontroller can do that with no os

Stop buying RasPis from RS (1)

Builder (103701) | about 2 years ago | (#41222369)

I've ordered 3 from Farnell and had them delivered within 3 days of placing the order.

If you're waiting for an RS order, it can't hurt to buy from Farnell and cancel your RS order if it arrives first. If your RS order beats the farnell one, you have the right to return it within 7 days.

Operating Systems Development.... (1)

niftymitch (1625721) | about 2 years ago | (#41226879)

Folk keep harping on the price of the extra stuff like a laptop, keyboard, mouse, display.
For "Operating Systems Development" the RasPI is ideal. You cannot do OS development
on your own laptop. Some can be done under qemu but nothing is equal to real hardware.

OS development is like working on cars. You need a second car to go get parts
if you are doing anything other than a trivial repair. Microsoft and Apple do not give
out the keys to their walled garden so they exclude themselves. There are so many
other hardware platforms that no class could address all the N! permutations of devices
and stuff. Replace the head gasket on your car tonight if you want a lesson in auto mechanics that
makes this point.

The RasPI is small, inexpensive and ideal for education.

It can be connected to a laptop via an ethernet link and powered from that
same laptop or a wall wart. Reload the SD card as needed when something
is broken.

Homework... pickup and then hand in an SD memory card... All students are pointed to
the same base code image....

REMEMBER: OS design... like working on cars. You need a second car to go get parts
if you are doing anything other than a trivial repair.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>