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Raspberry Pi's $35 Linux PC Hits the Streets at Last

After months of widespread anticipation and a buying frenzy that took its makers by surprise earlier this year, the tiny Raspberry Pi PC began arriving on buyers’ doorsteps this weekend.

There has been a huge wave of anticipation and extraordinary levels of demand for Raspberry Pi since it was launched, so we are delighted to be delivering the first boards to initial customers,” said Glenn Jarrett, a spokesman for UK-based RS Components, which is a distributor of the device. “We are working very closely with the manufacturer to bring subsequent batches of boards into stock so that we can fulfill every customer order for Raspberry Pi as quickly as possible.”

The first run of 10,000 devices were snatched up within minutes when they went on sale in late February. Those who missed the first round can get in line for the next at RS Components, Allied Electronics, or Premier Farnell.

Packed with Power

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into a TV and a keyboard.

The ARM-based device comes in two models, both with 256MB of RAM: the $25 Model A, which includes one USB port and no Ethernet; and the $35 Model B, which offers an Ethernet port and two USB ports.

It’s the Model B that just started shipping, and it’s already selling for much higher prices on eBay, according to at least one report.

Fedora Linux is the free and open source operating system that’s used by default in the Raspberry Pi, but Debian and Arch Linux are supported as well. Canonical, last I heard, had not yet committed to providing Ubuntu support for the device.

Originally designed to encourage kids around the globe to learn programming, the diminutive device can actually be used for a variety of other purposes as well, including spreadsheets, word processing, games, and playing high-definition video.

The video below from the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Liam Fraser demonstrates some of those capabilities in action.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0QojdnF9EQ&w=480&h=274]

A Linux-Powered Revolution

It’s no doubt because of the Raspberry Pi’s impressive array of features in such a tiny and inexpensive device that demand was so overwhelming for its maker, whose site was actually brought to its knees by the rush. There’s been virtually no limit to buyers’ planned uses for the PC, as can be seen in a recent Reddit discussion, but they clearly extend well beyond the realm of education.

What especially excites me about the Raspberry Pi—and the like-minded Cotton Candy—is the way it will bring capable computing power into the hands of those who might not otherwise be able to afford it, including countless businesses and consumers in emerging markets. I believe it’s a real revolution in computing.

by Katherine Noyes, PCWorld

Raspberry Pi computers ready for delivery

The first batch of Raspberry Pi computers is finally ready for delivery. The credit card-sized Linux computer costs only $35 and is designed to encourage children’s interest in programming. UK distributors have confirmed receiving shipments and will soon send out invitations for purchasing to customers who pre-registered. A school in Leeds received the first delivery today.

The Raspberry Pi was announced back in February as an incredibly affordable ARM-based Linux machine designed to teach children about programming. The tiny $35 Raspberry Pi can connect to a TV or keyboard to be used for word processing, gaming, and playing HD video. Production of the computer had been delayed twice due to a production mistake as well as a testing mix-up.

Customers among the first to have placed an order should expect to receive their shipments by April 20. However, this initial supply of the Raspberry Pi is still limited, with full production volume set for later this year. Hence, current orders are limited to one per customer and only a portion of the customers who pre-registered interest will receive an invitation to order.

Raspberry Pi sees ZX Spectrum emulator port

So far, everyone scrambling to get their hands on the much sought after Raspberry Pi seem to be hoping to use it as a media player. The cheap Linux computer is capable of decoding 1080p video, and its low profile makes it ideal for the living room. Clearly, everyone needs to think a little bigger. One enterprising user has managed to port a ZX Spectrum emulator to the computer for some retrotastic gaming.

Andy Taylor currently volunteers at the UK Computer Museum, an organization that was working on software to run on the Raspberry Pi. After that project was finished, Andy decided to port the ZX Spectrum emulator Fuse to the mini computer. The games he managed to get running include Manic Miner.

It opens up even more possibilities for the Linux computer. It’s only a matter of time before people begin porting other emulators, and although there may be a limit on what it can render, we wouldn’t be surprised to see some classic consoles of old land soon.

That’s if customers can get their hands on a Raspberry Pi, of course. The computer is so popular it sold out within two hours in the UK, and was then hit by manufacturing delays caused by an incorrect ethernet jack. Meanwhile, 2,000 boards are currently waiting to gain CE compliance before they can be be shipped to UK customers.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkbvDO1K_-c&w=480&h=274]

Raspberry Pi: What You Need to Know (Features, Details and More)

Raspberry Pi’s Linux-based Fedora operating system, which was developed primarily to encourage kids to code, looks potent enough to compete with Microsoft’s Windows 8 when it arrives. It is even powerful enough to handle everyday jobs which are done with word processing and spreadsheets.

Let’s take a look into its features and details.

Origin and Importance of Raspberry Pi – The Raspberry Pi was developed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, an organization founded in 2009. The organization is supported by the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory and tech firm Broadcomm, whose system-on-a-chip powers the device. Games developer and Raspberry Pi Foundation head, David Braben, told gaming magazine Edge that Raspberry Pi is quite a powerful and cheap device that anyone can carry around. That makes it appear less like a purely school thing.

The Pi aims at providing a deeper understanding of the thorough academic subject of computer science as there is a big difference between IT education and IT literacy.

Pi Operating System – The Raspberry Pi operating system is Linux, or Fedora, to be more precise. The OS supports programming languages including Python, BBC Basic, C and Perl. You can run Fedora if only you want to, although the PC architecture is based around version 6 of the ARM architecture, which may or may not be supported by some more recent distributions and may slightly limit the obtainable alternatives.

Pi Specifications – The Raspberry Pi processor is a 700MHz Broadcomm system on a chip with a Videocore 4 GPU. This provides OpenGL ES 2.0, hardware-accelerated OpenVG and 1080p HD video. There’s also 256MB of on-board RAM and sockets for HDMI, USB 2.0, RCA video, USB 2.0 and 3.5mm audio jacks. The power comes via a MicroUSB connector.

The model B adds a second USB 2.0 port and a 10/100 BaseT Ethernet connection. Although there’s no Wi-Fi in either version, you can easily hook up a USB Wi-Fi adapter. However, it doesn’t come with a case, and there’s no hard disk or SSD. It has been designed to use SD cards for booting and storage.

Pi Launch Date – The Raspberry Pi for the Model B has already been launch in UK. The device, at the moment, is only bought by interested individuals rather than educational institutes.

The official educational launch will take place later this year and the plan is to use existing customers as voluntary helpers so that when the Pi hits schools, its software will be in its prime, free of bugs, and easier for kids and educators alike.

Raspberry Pie and BBC Micro 2.0 – David Braben said in the interview: “At the moment, on a normal machine you’ve got to know quite a lot to be able to boot Linux, fire up a compiler and get anything to compile. Just to say your own name on the screen is a challenge. Whereas on the BBC, you’d see in every shop that someone had typed, ‘So-and-so is clever,’ or ‘So-and-so smells’. Line 20, Goto 10: that almost entered the vocabulary, it’s so straightforward. It’s understandable even to someone who hasn’t done programming. It would be great if you could take that and wrap it in something where it’s easy to create something – websites, for instance – very easily.”

Raspberry Pi could also play a role in the developing countries, primarily because it’s simple and stronger than a normal laptop, and exceptionally cheap.

Pi Price – There are two versions of the Raspberry Pi hardware: the $25 Model A and the $35 model B. Although neither will make you spend in excess, you do need to provide your own keyboard and screen.

Game consoles like XBox and PlayStation killing future innovation – Raspberry Pi CEO

Raspberry Pi CEO Eben Upton hopes the device will revitalise the computer industry. Picture: Raspberry Pi

REMEMBER the 1980s, where you could write your own computer software and program it to do all sorts of nifty tricks to impress your friends?

This joy of discovery is what the tiny, programmable Raspberry Pi computer is trying to save, says founder, CEO and Cambridge graduate Ebon Upton.

Though some gaming companies like XBox were beginning to come out of the closed platform cave, (Microsoft released the source code for the Kinect free last year), Mr Upton told News.com.au gaming consoles were killing technological progress because they were not programmable by default.

“I think it’s unfortunate these programmable machines were killed by PCs,” he said.

“Though some PCs are technically programmable, they don’t try and tempt you into programming. I think these closed platforms are a threat.”

The Raspberry Pi on the other hand is the size of a credit card and provides all the basics any programmer would need for just US$25 ($23).

It consists of a naked motherboard containing USB, SD card, audio and video ports along with an ARM processer and a Linux operating system. The screen, mouse and software – that’s left up to you.

“There’s a lot of nostalgia for what computers were like in the 1980s,” Mr Upton said.

“When you turned them on they went ‘beep’. They were the kinds of computers you could type a program at. But they weren’t cheap and robust enough to give to your kids.

“Lots of people did not have computers of their own. Some households would have a family computer that would sit in the main family room and you weren’t supposed to muck around with it too much because if you broke it, it was a disaster.”

Mr Upton said the concept was originally developed as a way to give school children a chance to learn how to program before they reached university. Little did he know that adult tech geeks would want one too.

He said the Raspberry Pi “may not set the world on fire” but the low-budget device would help grow the computer programming industry which he said needed more young, enthusiastic developers.

“From the point of view of the UK there’s a sense that the pipeline is empty, no one is filling the pipeline anymore,” he said.

“I would like to see 1000 more programmers per year, 1000 more people going to uni to study computing. More developers would mean more volume. More stuff getting done. More companies. Just more.”

He said the result would be similar in countries like Australia and the US.

When Raspberry Pi first went on sale a few months ago, the company hoped it might receive 100 orders, total. To date there have been tens of thousands of orders and not enough stock to keep up with demand.

That’s a pretty huge achievement for a company that does not have a single full-time employee.

Mr Upton and his team of six trustees, 15 to 20 Cambridge volunteers and local UK businesses have been working around the clock with distributors and resellers Premier Farnell and RS Components to fill backorders to ensure consumers get their Raspberry Pi while it’s still hot.

“People keep getting in touch and say they’re going to do these crazy things with it,” Mr Upton said.

“A lot of people want to send them into space by putting them in balloons and sounding rockets. A lot of people are talking about using it for home automation, like using it to control their central heating, or opening the garage door. It’s got quite good capabilities so you can connect it to a hard drive much more easily than you can a PC so people wanted to do that.

“I think that’s why people are enthusiastic about the Raspberry Pi. It makes people do what they want to do.”

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