After a little over three months of waiting it has finally arrived, the famous Raspberry Pi. This credit card sized circuit board has been highly anticipated and praised by geeks across the globe. As a fully programmable micro-computer it has the potential to be a media centre, a basic desktop or even the inner workings of robot. It is a piece of technology which I purchased for no other reason other than sheer fascination.
700Mhz ARM CPU
Videocore 4 GPU (capable of running at 40Mbits/s)
256GB of RAM
2 USB ports
1 HDMI port
1 S Video Port
8GB SD Card (I purchased this separately)
The SD card acts as a hard drive in each Raspberry Pi unit, which means installing an OS onto the SD card. An easy process with Ubuntu’s graphical ImageWriter tool which I have running on my netbook but there are more complicated command line methods. For me the whole process of getting Raspberry Pi set up probably took about 30 minutes. I opted to install the ‘standard’ Raspbian “Wheezy” OS which is based upon Debian Linux. However I may attempt running other varieties in the future.
What can I say about the results? Simply wow.
Raspberry Pi really has been designed well and to see how it can run a fully working OS, relatively quickly considering its size, is a sight every geek should witness. Yes, the programmes pre-loaded on the OS are basic but Raspberry Pi isn’t a device to replace your desktop, it is designed to teach programming.
It was created by members of the University of Cambridge’s Computer Laboratory after a noticeable slip in applications and skills from applicants to computer science courses. The reason for this slip? The majority of software today has been completely locked down by companies. Windows 7 and the Apple varieties do not require day-to-day programming in order to get software working. This has caused a whole generation of children growing up in a ‘programme-less’ world. Very different to previous generations who needed a basic knowledge of programming or command line protocols in order to get software working.
Today the Raspberry Pi unit sits patiently on my desk whilst I decide on an interesting computing project which it could be best used for. Should it be turned into a server? A retro gaming PC? Let me know if you have any suggestions.