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First Run of Raspberry Pi Boards To Be Completed Feb 20th 181

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the hurry-up-and-take-the-money dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Raspberry Pi has confirmed the first batch of $35 PCs will be constructed on February 20. They've also coaxed Broadcom into releasing the datasheet for the board. Apparently the company hit a snag with the quartz crystal package so there was a manufacturing delay, but it's since been resolved and things are on schedule for later this month." From the announcements: "Eben and I may be going to China to make sure that the boards can be brought up properly for that date if necessary. We’ll be airfreighting them to the UK immediately, so you should be able to buy them before the end of the month."
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First Run of Raspberry Pi Boards To Be Completed Feb 20th

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  • by mehrotra.akash (1539473) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @09:56AM (#38952873)
    For Asian markets, why dont they ship directly from China instead of moving them to UK first and then shipping them to their destinations
    Infact, for all non EU destinations wont it make more sense to ship directly from China?
    Will avoid multiple customs duties as well. (no customs will need to be paid for the UK entry)
    • Liz has posted that "There’s actually a little more to the logistics than I’m able to tell you about at the moment, because we’re still in negotiations. You’re right, we’re not being quite as blunt-instrument about it as you think." so there may be some other shipping systems in place shortly after the 20th ... but we'll see
      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        I've been looking forward to it, where can I buy it in the US? Will I have to get it delivered, or will they be in stores?

    • It sounds like they're planning on moving that way eventually, but it takes time to negotiate, etc when dealing with many different nations. From the official FAQ:

      Will the device be available internationally?
      We intend to ship worldwide from launch. We may establish a distribution network in due course.

      How much will it cost to ship to [country X]?
      We don’t know yet; we’re still negotiating about logistics. The people we’re talking to have local distribution points all over the world, so you

      • by jimicus (737525)

        We don’t know yet; we’re still negotiating about logistics. The people we’re talking to have local distribution points all over the world, so you can have your Raspberry Pi shipped from somewhere closer than the UK.

        This is a fancy way of saying "We've got an account manager with a well-known international courier such as UPS, and we're negotiating terms with them.".

    • wont it make more sense to ship directly from China?
      Will avoid multiple customs duties as well. (no customs will need to be paid for the UK entry)

      Alec Guinness voiceover: The customs laws are more complex than you can possibly imagine.

    • by stevenvi (779021)
      That would involve setting up distribution channels in China. This is pure conjecture, but I would imagine that it would cost more in the end. Think about the consumer electronic devices you own. How many were made in China? How many were shipped to you directly from China?
      • How many were made in China? How many were shipped to you directly from China?

        Well, most were made in China/Thailand/Malaysia and shipped from those countries to local warehouses here in India
        From there they were shipped/moved to my home

    • by Builder (103701)

      For a small company, why don't you setup multiple distribution channels and regional based logistics ?

  • by The Jynx (806942) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @10:02AM (#38952951) Homepage

    Raspberry Pi has confirmed the first batch of $35 PCs will be constructed on February 20

    To save any ambiguity, the actual release says:

    The good news is that this finally means we have a date for the first batch: the boards will be finished on February 20

    • by jp10558 (748604)

      So is anyone going to be creating some sort of box for these or will we be getting a bare board?

      • by Zerth (26112)

        The foundation isn't going to have an official case until they are ready to put them in schools(later this year), so just bare boards for now.

        Several individuals have designed papercraft, CNC'd, or 3d printed cases. At least one of the 3d printed cases has been put up on Thingiverse or Shapeways.

        Others will just use the shipping packaging it comes in.

  • Anyone read the broadcom SOC doc in detail? I won't lie and claim I read the whole two hundred pages in detail but I did page thru it. Has anyone found any reason why it was secret? Superficially I've found nothing shocking or amazing. Sometimes there is something "new" which is cool and amazing. Think back to the first time you wrote a 16550 driver. The funniest thing I've found so far is a little example on page 11 where a 250 meg clock with a too-small implementation divider means you literally can

    • by MoonBuggy (611105)

      Has anyone found any reason why it was secret?

      Complete speculation here, but hey, it's Slashdot: it's easy to say "There might be some important proprietary data somewhere in that 200 page technical document, best be safe and keep it private.", much harder to commit to "This is completely devoid of private information, let's make it public.". Couple this with the fact that, in normal situations, there's almost no demand for data like this from the general public (even among the techie crowd we get here, it's a niche) and you see why the data isn't rele

    • by blacksmith (42129)
      There's a fair amount that's been removed from this datasheet from the full BCM2835 one - all the parts that aren't accessible from the ARM have been taken out. It wasn't that these bits were secret per se, but that it took effort to produce the edited version.
    • by eclectro (227083)

      Has anyone found any reason why it was secret?

      This is a very competitive space, and Broadcom does not want a competitor to find a weakness in their product or duplicate a feature that other SOCs do not currently have (which may have been the reason this chip was used for the rasberry pi in the first place).

      That said, I find it somewhat disappointing that an open source project is dependent on a chip that is not able to/does not release complete specifications. But at least (apparently) the important parts of the datasheet were released.

      • by vlm (69642)

        Yeah that was exactly my point, I was not shocked by what I read. Oh look, it has a very-nearly 16550-compatible UART, be still my shuddering heart.

        Supermarkets are a competitive marketplace too ... but a fairly bland commodity does not need to be kept secret. The grocery market business is pretty cutthroat, but you don't need to make it a secret that the 3 pound bag of gala apples contains gala apples, just need to sell it cheap and good condition.

        Now if the chip had something utterly unexpected, like a

        • The "VideoCore IV" (aka BCM2763) is hardly mentioned, so the answer is that this document doesn't include the interesting parts. When they say it could be used to port a new OS to the chip, that port wouldn't include any interesting [accelerated] video output.

      • Any truly innovative bits will be patented.
        Any non-innovative bits can generally be reverse engineered for relatively little money, by buying a device, and having it closely analysed.
        The notion that the manual being secret buys you anything much, once the device is released is basically laughable.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @10:59AM (#38953779) Journal
      My understanding is that anybody who obtains the full version of all Broadcom datasheets, unless placed under an NDA of Greater Warding, will have everything he needs to discover their CEO's true name(in The Old Tongue) by which he can be banished forever from the temporal plane.

      Understandably, he is kind of touchy about that.
    • by citizenr (871508)

      >Has anyone found any reason why it was secret?

      It still is. Whole thing is a GPU/FPGA with glued in ARM core. They released all the ARM details, but omitted everything about GPU/FPGA.

    • by Animats (122034)

      The funniest thing I've found so far is a little example on page 11 where a 250 meg clock with a too-small implementation divider means you literally cannot run 300 baud RS232 with this dude.

      As one of the people who needs 45 baud (I restore Teletype machines from the 1920s and 1930s [aetherltd.com]) this is mildly annoying. It's also irksome that in Linux, you specify one of a set of standard named constants for well known speeds. In Windows, you specify a baud rate to the driver as an integer, which allows nonstandard baud rates UNIX was built for the PDP-11, which had a serial device with 14 fixed baud rates (16 with an external clock.) DOS was designed for the IBM PC, which used an 8250 UART, of which the

    • by mako1138 (837520)

      Broadcom keeps their datasheets so locked down that you have to sign an NDA to get anything, generally. This release comes as a bit of a surprise.

      This is good news, but in retrospect, this seems backwards. If you want to grow an ecosystem, you need spec sheets. Did they choose Broadcom for the RPi design without any assurances that the datasheet would get opened up? Was this agreed upon from the beginning, and it's taken Broadcom this long to redact the datasheet? Or did Broadcom have a change of heart when

    • by Nethead (1563)

      When you said 16550 driver I was reminded of the VIC-20 where MOS couldn't produce 6551s in time so they software emulated it on the 6522 (and 6526 on the C64.) It could burst up to 1200 baud but 600 baud was it's sustained max. I remember friends an I "turbo" speeding our 300 baud modems to 600 baud on clean lines.

      The 68hc11 was a cool chip. I loved the "upper register" of extra op codes. I built myself a nice little FORTH platform way back in the day with it.

  • This sounds great for some enthusiasts, but to use this as your primary STB with no case (just bare board) sitting on my cabinet, come on.
    • Break out your Legos and make a case.

    • That's why multiple groups, including the Foundation itself, plan to manufacture cases. Isn't that wonderful? (Cases will not be available from the Foundation at launch.)
    • by vlm (69642) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @10:25AM (#38953277)

      .. with no case (just bare board)...

      I made a quick check and if you have a replicator or access to one or a friend with one, thingiverse seems to be flooded with different case designs for the pi. I would not be surprised if a replicator owner would squirt one out for you in exchange for a six pack.

      I have noticed over the years that /. is stereotypically wimpy about basic handyman skills... Buy a box at radio shack or home depot electronics dept and drill a couple holes in it, no problemo...

      • by chispito (1870390)

        I have noticed over the years that /. is stereotypically wimpy about basic handyman skills... Buy a box at radio shack or home depot electronics dept and drill a couple holes in it, no problemo...

        Use a cardboard box.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        I have noticed over the years that /. is stereotypically wimpy about basic handyman skills...

        The funny part is, in the last Raspberry Pi story about 2/3 of the comments were complaints that you couldn't get the SMD and BGA parts as a kit to hand solder.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Already some great cases proposed here

      http://www.raspberrypiforums.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=9

    • by X86Daddy (446356)

      Until you can buy or print a tailored case made for this device, note that a Penguins or Altoids tin appears to be a perfect fit (after cutting holes for the ports that stick out).

      • Sorry, no. According to the FAQ, it won't fit in an Altoids tin because of the rounded corners.
        • by idontgno (624372)

          because of the rounded corners.

          Wait, what?

          When did this turn into an Apple design patent issue?

    • by harrkev (623093)

      Case? Where we're going, we don't need cases...

      If you have a monitor with built-in speakers, and a built-in USB hub, that is all you need.
      Plug the Pi into the USB hub as both master (to control USB) and slave (to suckle power from the USB hub). Plug Ethernet into the Pi. Plug wireless keyboard/mouse dongle into the USB hub. Add one HDMI cable to the monitor.

      Then, use *** DOUBLE SIDED FOAM TAPE ** to attach the Pi to the back of the monitor. Simple, elegant computer. If you tidy up the cables in the ba

    • a case is in the works

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      The fact that it has no case and is so small is, IMO, its best feature. You can have it in any form factor you want. Add a hard drive, a couple of tuner cards, stick it in an old VCR you've ripped the guts from, and you have a home made DVR that says VCR on it. Gees, so many uses for this thing. How about an "FM" radio that will pick up almost every station in the world? Put it in an old stereo. The possibilities are endless.

      Um, you're not a hardware hacker, are you? I haven't done this kind of thing since

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @10:29AM (#38953315) Homepage Journal

    Apparently the company hit a snag with the quartz crystal package

    What does the quartz crystal do? Is it like the crystal radio I made when I was 9? Does the Pi do wi-fi via a cat's whisker? Or does the quartz crystal control the clock like my dad's wristwatch? Or is it a "healing crystal" for absorbing the dangerous electromagnetic radiation that the Pi almost certainly emits. Wait, it says the "quartz crystal package". Does the Pi come embedded in a crystal???

    Please excuse me for not being geek enough to know this already. I had no idea that computer boards had quartz crystals on them.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The clock oscillator on pretty much every board is based on a quartz crystal oscillator. (or, maybe, a silicon ring resonator, but my money's on a regular XO of some sort).

      They're available in a myriad of sizes and configurations and while there's some basic standards, there are variations among mfrs, not so much in the pad layout, but in things like how far the weld on the can sticks out, and so forth.

    • But here's the wiki link anyway: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_oscillator [wikipedia.org]

    • Re:sheepish question (Score:4, Informative)

      by chill (34294) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @10:48AM (#38953573) Journal

      Quoting user shirro from the Raspberry Pi comments [raspberrypi.org]:

      Quartz crystals provide a clock signal that regulates all the other components. They utilize the mechanical resonance of the crystal to produce a stable electrical oscillator. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_oscillator [wikipedia.org]

      Digital circuits such as microprocessors have delays in processing and moving data about and a clock is required to regulate the system so that data is not read before it is available. Different parts move at different speeds and the master clock is divided down to appropriate rates for each component of the system.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        I had no idea that quartz crystals are still used for time keeping on computer chipsets. Thanks for the education, all. I figured that by now it would all be silicon.

        I feel warmer toward my equipment knowing this.

    • http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=quartz+die [google.co.uk]
      quartz is used as spacers in chip packaging.

    • Re:sheepish question (Score:4, Informative)

      by JoeMerchant (803320) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @11:16AM (#38954043)

      Quartz crystals for geeks 101:

      Quartz crystals are the basis of reliable, relatively frequency stable oscillators. They are at the heart of most every computer system of any size or complexity (yes, some use RC oscillators, others use more exotic stuff, but, we're talking the 99% here...)

      Without a reliable time source, you cannot do asynchronous serial communications and any number of other things that require your computer to have the same sense of time as another computer it is attempting to talk to.

      These same crystals are also at the frequency basis for many radio systems for similar reasons, except in the radio realm the crystals can be used to control the radio frequency for transmitters and receivers to lock to each other without much tuning fuss.

      Extra geek points if you remember the crystal color combinations to make Sleestak repellent noise (from Land of the Lost).

    • by c++0xFF (1758032)

      Any time you see a CPU speed listed for a computer, you're actually seeing information about a quartz crystal. For example, the Raspberry Pi has a 700 MHz processor, which really means that there's a stable clock source timed to oscillate 700 million times per second. At the core of this clock source is a quartz crystal to serve as a time reference.

      It's rare to see the oscillation frequency of a crystal to be used directly as a clock frequency nowadays, so don't assume that the crystal in the RP is 700 MH

  • by Kagato (116051) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @11:07AM (#38953897)

    It's not quite the Apple TV, Boxee or Roku killer... yet. While the SoC supports a fair number of codecs, only a small number are licensed at this point (see the Pi FAQ), and if you have hopes for Flash and Silverlight based streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, etc.) , that's not going to happen unless Chrome or Firefox release a browser with embedded support.

    • by CaptainLard (1902452) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @12:43PM (#38955335)
      Thankfully, this will NEVER be a ____ killer! For once we don't have to worry about losing development support when X device fails to achieve 25% market share by Q3. Thankfully, the PI is produced by a non-profit so no hedge fund manager can pull the plug when the projected growth rate increase drops below 50% or whatever they do in their volcano fortresses (I kid I kid).

      ...if you have hopes for Flash and Silverlight based streaming services...

      How much widget-ry (advertising sources) do you even need? I have hopes that Raspberry Pi will accomplish their mission of letting whoever wants to program, learn how to program. In my opinion, the smarter the human race, the better. /naivedreams. And the best part about all of this is, if you do care enough about Hulu etc, you can just take chromium and adapt it to the PI or wait till it runs android apps, etc. I think the biggest issue is getting these things out to the people that want them.

      • For once we don't have to worry about losing development support when X device fails to achieve 25% market share by Q3. Thankfully, the PI is produced by a non-profit so no hedge fund manager can pull the plug when the projected growth rate increase drops below 50% or whatever they do in their volcano fortresses

        So, in a few years, when this unit is obsolescent, or in a few years further when it's obsolete... It'll be a good thing? And you expect them to keep producing it, even as the costs of sourcing the

  • Is it just me or has all the hype caused anyone else to just wait for the 2nd gen?
    • by chispito (1870390)

      Is it just me or has all the hype caused anyone else to just wait for the 2nd gen?

      I wouldn't hold your breath. There are maybe two things I could see them adding: built-in WiFi and more RAM. For wifi, you can simply use USB, and likely make it cheaper than a chip/antenna they could build in. For RAM, it's apparently not cost effective to go to 512MB at this point:

      http://sdr-radio.com/http://www.raspberrypi.org/forum/general-discussion/how-much-ram-does-the-bcm2835-support

      • by c++0xFF (1758032)

        Considering the low-cost target, I doubt many features will be added. Most improvements will simply be implemented via USB or extension boards anyway.

        That said, here's my wish list of 2nd generation improvements, which are mostly just incremental improvements and rely heavily on Broadcom:

        1) More RAM
        2) Upgraded CPU speed (a given, really)
        3) More hardware decoding options for video, audio, etc.
        4) Even smaller form factor

        And although these could technically be done as an external extension, I would like to se

    • $35 is cheap enough that I can both try it now and wait and see later.

    • by drwho (4190)

      yes, and SDR is good, but I'd like one that is a TRX, and is cheaper. Perhaps a digital radio operating in MW low HF only (to save costs).

  • I think of this as an advanced arduino and a bit more. NOT as a replacement for a PC. I think it should be the basis for 'doing cool things' - by kids or adults. I expect lots of hardware add-ons will be made, and many of these made for resale. I plan on ordering two model Bs at launch, and then model As as needed. There's lots of projects I have in mind for them. I don't think I am alone in wanting to use these for "cool stuff" - I don't think these are meant to be a replacement for the OLPC.

    I like the mod

    • by Zerth (26112)

      Good luck with that, they are limiting sales of the first batch to 1/customer and only made model Bs.

      As for your model C desires, have you considered a PIC or Atmel chip?

      • by drwho (4190)

        I hadn't heard the limit of 1. I know they have only made the B so far. I am ok with that. No, a PIC won't do, perhaps an Atmel or something similar. But I am not ready to roll with my projects quite yet, so the delay in getting my R-PI is just annoying to my curiosity and doesn't delay and projects (yet).

  • I've been spoiled with linux on modern machines, so I don't have much experience running it in resource-strapped environments. Do you think I could run this machine as a file server if I put a text-mode linux distro on it?

    • by c++0xFF (1758032)

      This thing has more than enough power to run X, so don't bother with the text-mode distro.

      The problem you'll run into is not processing power, but connectivity. No SATA connector, for example. As long as you're OK with serving files from an external USB 2.0 drive or the SD card, you'll be OK.

      http://elinux.org/Rpi_Hardware [elinux.org]

  • Just tell me when MAME and a decent front-end are available for it, complete with FAT32 SD card, 44.1KHz, 16-bit, stereo audio, 60Hz framerate and USB HID joystick support.

If you had better tools, you could more effectively demonstrate your total incompetence.

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