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Portables Robotics United Kingdom Hardware Linux

Eben Upton Talks About the Raspberry Pi USB Computer 82

Posted by timothy
from the but-such-small-slices dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I contacted the Director of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Eben Upton, and he graciously gave an interview pertaining to his foundation, the Raspberry Pi device, and how the device relates to robotics. The Raspberry Pi device is basically a $25 Linux PC on a credit card sized board! This microcomputer looks perfectly suited as a low cost, micro form factor, low power, PC performance robot brain."
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Eben Upton Talks About the Raspberry Pi USB Computer

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  • by Burdell (228580) on Saturday August 06, 2011 @10:33AM (#37007632)

    When a computer that could display 320x200 video cost $3000+, weighed 30 pounds, and covered a typical desk, your assumption was correct. Now you can (obviously) get a compact, lightweight, and inexpensive general purpose computer instead.

    If you run a special-purpose system with no OS, you have to write code to handle everything (communications, interrupt handling, etc.). When you can get enough computing power in a small enough package, it cuts development and maintenance time significantly because you can use a general purpose OS to handle all the normal stuff, develop on a standard system, use standard libraries, etc. If there's a bug in your home-grown, hand developed USB device manager, you could spend days trying to track it down. Odds are, there aren't many bugs in the basic I/O parts of the Linux kernel, but if there are, somebody else has probably found them and you can "yum update" to get the fix.

    Why do so many home/small business routers/firewalls run Linux, rather than develop a custom networking OS? Because the CPU and RAM needed to run Linux is cheaper than the development time to write and maintain a custom OS. The same is true of this: if you can get a fast-enough Linux-on-a-stick system for $25, why would you waste time writing your own whole system? "Because you can" is only a valid answer if you are only going to make one device (and even then it probably isn't valid).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 06, 2011 @10:56AM (#37007778)

    Shrunk connectors have been discussed on the forums. Basically you want to keep normal sized USB ports so that you can plug in USB flash memory sticks directly. There is no alternative for the RJ45 Ethernet socket. Mini-HDMI may be on the table, but it is not much smaller than the much more common HDMI. The headers for the GPIOs and the graphics port are already small at 1.27mm pitch. Power should come in through a sturdy port, so no shrinking there either.

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