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Hardware Linux

Raspberry Pi Now Has Distributors -- and Will Soon Have Boards for All (Video) 304

Posted by Roblimo
from the my-computer-is-smaller-than-yours dept.
In an exclusive Transatlantic Skype conversation with Slashdot editor Timothy Lord recorded on Feb. 22, Raspberry Pi project leader Eben Upton talks about the state of Raspberry Pi, and tells us that yes -- finally -- they now have distributors in the U.S. and other countries instead trying to ship every unit from the U.K. Even better, instead of buying a batch of boards, selling them, and only then ordering another batch, the new distribution agreements mean they can keep a steady flow of orders coming in and going out. One slight downer is that people who have donated to the project may not get their Pi(s) right away; the distributors have spoken for all of the current order. Eben talks about this, and about how Raspberry Pi is going to take care of contributors, starting at about 4:15 in the video. You can also look at an in-person interview Tim did with Eben in January -- or wait until the end of today's video for a list of other Raspberry Pi videos.

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Raspberry Pi Now Has Distributors -- and Will Soon Have Boards for All (Video)

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  • Cursor (Score:5, Informative)

    by marjancek (1215230) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @09:07AM (#39196179)

    Mind moving the cursor somewhere else, please?

    • Re:Cursor (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @10:21AM (#39196801)

      While we're all asking for stuff, how about not making the videos autoplay? It's far more an annoyance than a convenience. I had to track down this mysterious droning voice after I opened up half a dozen Slashdot tabs. I'm trying to avoid doing work covertly here, people!

      • by EvilIdler (21087)

        Doesn't autoplay with the right browser extensions (using ClickToPlugin on Safari; similar should be available for other browsers). I recommend setting up your browser(s) to make avoiding work as painless and pleasant as possible :)

        • by orasio (188021)

          There are two strategies for that.
          One of them is yours, fix what is wrong.
          Mine is to just avoid sites that are impolite to me.
          Now I will just avoid all /. articles with videos in them.

    • Mind moving the cursor somewhere else, please?

      Eben's cat did try to remove it to be fair!

  • by unixisc (2429386) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @09:09AM (#39196189)
    Can you not activate videos unless and until I click 'Play'? Not everybody has unlimited broadband
  • by damburger (981828) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @09:15AM (#39196233)

    They went on sale this morning, and almost immediately downed the websites of two large electronics suppliers (RS and Farnell). By the time I had got to work, the sites were back up but that is largely because they didn't have anymore Raspberry Pis to sell.

    That is the kind of reception that Apple wishes the iPad 3 would get (although it probably won't.)

    • by docilespelunker (1883198) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @09:33AM (#39196345)
      Today I wanted a phase locked loop chip from Farnell. Could I get onto the site to look it up? No... Seems the world wants a router that's had it's wings clipped and a DVI port nailed to the top.
      • I retract this comment, it's an HDMI port and it looks like they used solder.
      • by petermgreen (876956) <plugwash@@@p10link...net> on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @10:23AM (#39196839) Homepage

        The hardware is actually based on a mobile phone SOC, not a router SOC. That means more memory and a GPU but it also means the ethernet is stuck behind USB.

        I agree though that even given the fact it's less than half the price of the cheapest comparable linux board i've previously seen (the beaglebone) the buzz round the thing is still insane.

        • by Rich0 (548339) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @11:12AM (#39197437) Homepage

          Well, when you think about it this unit has the potential to be a one-size-fits-all solution for numerous problems. The cost is starting to approach the chip in a toaster and yet the thing can do anything a PC can do (sans horsepower), but potentially do it while running on a few AA batteries worth of juice. Anybody who makes kiosks, DVRs, in-car entertainment, or even cheap PCs should be looking at this.

      • by grqb (410789)

        Seems the world wants a router that's had it's wings clipped and a DVI port nailed to the top.

        Actually this is exactly what I want. I need something like an Asus RTN16, but cheaper. The Raspberry Pi seems to fit this bill quite nicely.

    • Yeah I'm sure RS and Farnell have much more server capacity than Apple.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Alrescha (50745)

      "That is the kind of reception that Apple wishes the iPad 3 would get (although it probably won't.)"

      The delusional noise that comes out of certain dark corners of the universe never ceases to amaze me.

      A.

    • That is the kind of reception that Apple wishes the iPad 3 would get (although it probably won't.)

      From the Raspberry Pi Twitter feed I today read that the Raspberry Pi had been ranked higher than iPad 3 by search engines in terms of news with most buzz.

  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @09:18AM (#39196251)
    So... Those who donated to the project prior to completion have to wait for their boards while the folk who order direct get them shipped first?

    I can't help but think that this is a giant "fuck you, revenue comes first" to those who believed in the project from the start. Yeah, even charities have to pay their staff, and I understand that, and I hope I've just misunderstood. Otherwise, poor form guys.
    • by neokushan (932374)

      Who donated to the project?

      • by psergiu (67614) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @10:29AM (#39196899)

        I did.
        By buying the Raspberry Pi stickers. They said they were overpriced (thus they considered those money to be a donation). I say they were fair-priced. And they sent me 6 instead of the 3 i ordered.
        I don't expect any favours for this.
        I'm sad i didn't "donate" more as they are now out of stickers and i don't think they will sell them again (each were indivdualy cut and packaged by the members of the foundation)

    • They do need to make a profit but I think the whole raspberry pi process has been a bit of a cock-up I can't say I would have done better but I think they made some poor decisions along the way and the happy attitude didn't help after hearing about delay after delay. I wish them success and I will buy one but the enthusiasm for it has worn off some time ago and I don't mind waiting a couple months for things to die down.
    • Outraged? Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by chrb (1083577) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @10:27AM (#39196879)

      Those who donated to the project prior to completion have to wait for their boards while the folk who order direct get them shipped first?

      Why don't you let the people who donated comment instead of putting words in their mouths? How about this hypothesis: many donors saw a charity with a good idea, one that they liked and wanted to support, and they saw their donation as exactly that and nothing more - there was no guarantee that they would be first in line, and they didn't expect that there would be any such guarantee in the future. They just wanted to show their support for a cool project that had little financial backing.

      When you donate to a charity, do you always expect to get something in return? Is that how you think the world works for everyone?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @09:19AM (#39196257)

    Unfortunately it didn't really work out as planned. Farnell and RS was DDoSed a long time from 6 am to about 12. And there is still problems for people outside the UK to buy the rasp. I'm in Sweden and Farnells liks to the pre-order does not have Sweden in it's list. RS on the other hand requires a company to "express an interest in raspberry" (it says nothing about pre-order). So even now when the sites is working again I'm still unable to order a Rasp.

    This makes me wonder why they didn't team up with a firm that is known globally and can handle traffic like e-bay or amazon?

    • fleabay would insist on people using paypal... and amazon would want a ridiculous cut of the price...
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      or dx. there's going to be a clone there in a month anyways.

      and those who already donated and paid.. well of course you'll wait for longer! you're already a guaranteed customer. same goes for people who signed up to be emailed when it's available, you'll be emailed when they got surplus stock they'll need to get rid of..

      • by vlm (69642)

        or dx. there's going to be a clone there in a month anyways.

        The concept of clone is inappropriate since they've release gerbers and BoM and all that. Its a clone the same way two 6-32 machine screws that came off different yet identical screw machines are "clones".

        They chopped the main site and put up a single page static site to handle the load, if they had not, I'd be including a link to the gerber files etc. You two can become a raspberry pi manufacturer.

        My experience with dx is that it might be clone like in that it'll probably have inferior parts on the same

      • by chispito (1870390) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @12:54PM (#39198719)

        or dx. there's going to be a clone there in a month anyways.

        and those who already donated and paid.. well of course you'll wait for longer! you're already a guaranteed customer. same goes for people who signed up to be emailed when it's available, you'll be emailed when they got surplus stock they'll need to get rid of..

        Don't expect clones. There's no magical board design to save costs or increase the power/utility here. What makes this unique is the RP foundation got Broadcom to sell them a cell phone chip at cost. I don't think you'll see anyone else getting those chips for those prices.

  • Ordered mine (Score:4, Informative)

    by psergiu (67614) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @09:20AM (#39196261)

    Managed to order mine from Farnell this morning. Took almost a whole hour of refreshes & timeouts considering that i already had an account on their site. RS Online did not accepted any orders, they only have a "register for updates" page.

    The DDoS of the Farnell & RS-Online servers caused by the announcement was massive (and still is for Farnell).

    • by cerberusss (660701) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @09:38AM (#39196393) Homepage Journal

      Managed to order mine from Farnell this morning. Took almost a whole hour of refreshes & timeouts considering that i already had an account on their site.

      I know for a fact that electronics engineers make lousy software developers. You better pray that your "whole hour of refreshes" didn't get you 3600 Raspberry Pis.

  • by jwijnands (2313022) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @09:38AM (#39196381)
    A scene in a living room in the Netherlands, just finishing my second cup of coffee...The Raspberrypi.org site displayed a cryptic message late yesterday which trigger a change notification email to me. This morning it has been down.
    0700 CET, I hit refresh, again. Suddenly the raspberrypi.org site is alive again.


    Huh, who are these Premier Farnell and RS Components companies? I'd expected these in the store on raspberry.com.

    Ah well...

    Farnell crashes in the first 90 seconds and stays down. RS has a few international sites that occasionally show signs of live. The Raspberry Pi is listed for 27,49 excluding tax. Including tax that $25-$35 computer suddenly sells for $42,50. Ah well.. oh, and 6 euros shipping ex tax. Hm, site crashes again. Hang on, they don't really want to deliver to consumers when an order is less than 50 euros.
    Farnell has now been visited by some people and this company is at least as bad. In quite a few countries it seems not to do business with consumers at all.
    At almost 1000 I finally manage to stay on a site long enough to actually click something into the basket. By then the feeble stocks have long been depleted.

    What I wonder...
    - why work with distributors who do NOT want to sell to private individuals?
    - why work with consumers who are obviously unwilling or unable to handle a sizeable traffic load?
    - Why such a small batch of boards in the first place?


    Disappointing all around. I'm sure I'll get one sooner or later but I'm not going to pay a fortune for one.
    • by amaupin (721551) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @10:35AM (#39196975) Homepage

      Agreed.

      I expected a neat and tidy order form on raspberrypi.org. Instead, I'm directed to search the homepage of two UK electronics retailers for the Raspberry Pi and follow the normal checkout process. At just a fraction of a second after launch, one retailer is completely down and the other is only showing a form collecting names and addresses of people interested in buying the RP - no actual checkout process. Soon it goes down, too.

      Following Twitter, it seems one retailer won't start selling the RP until later this week, and the other won't even ship to many international or non-corporate buyers. The Raspberry Pi people are just as in the dark as the rest of us, and it's up to random folks calling the retailers in question to gather this info.

      I really respect what the Raspberry Pi Foundation are doing, but they bungled this launch. Yes, their own site was prepared for the traffic, but when you partner with idiots and fail to guarantee those incompetents can hold to promises you made, it does reflect a bit on your own abilities.

    • by psergiu (67614)

      $35 + Netherlands VAT of 19% = $41.65
      You are complaining for 85 cents (which are surely from UKP-EURO floating exchange rates) ?

      I should be the one to complain that i lost over one Euro on the excange rate to RON in the Farnell Romania store, that my VAT is 24% and shipping is more expensive. But i won't complain and i ordered one.

      It was a great idea from the part of the Raspberry Pi foundation, too bad that RS & Farnell underestimated the demand (even after warned by the foundation).

  • Model A vs Model B (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dan East (318230) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @09:38AM (#39196391) Homepage Journal

    This seems to have gotten lost in the commotion, but they also announced that the $25 Model A will be produced with the same amount of RAM as the $35 Model B (256 MB). Originally the Model A was only going to have 128 MB, so now the only difference is the Model B has an ethernet port. The Model A is going into production immediately.

    • The model B also has 2 USB (instead of 1) ports.

      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @10:02AM (#39196623) Journal
        Strictly speaking; the SoC on both(being, after all, the same part, now even with the same PoP RAM option) has 1 USB port. The model B has an SMSC LAN9512 chip attached to the SoC's USB port, which is a single-chip USB-ethernet and USB hub part, providing one ethernet port and 2 USB ports. The A has just the SoC port with nothing downstream...

        Makes me wish I'd picked up a few more of those now-fallen-out-of-favor USB 'docking stations' when Microcenter was blowing them out for $8... As a standalone part, the B is a trivially better product, $10 seems a trifle high for just the LAN9512 and connectors; but a USB hub and ethernet dongle will be uglier, and both for under $10 will be a bit tricky. Connected to a USB docking station, though...
    • by Howard Beale (92386) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @10:10AM (#39196707)
      At this point, why even have the Model A? If anything scrap the A and make a 'C' model: 512 MB RAM, and wireless.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I was hoping that would be available at the same time as the pi

  • I don't understand why they didn't make sure they got all the kinks out and delivered on 03/14.

  • Losing interest (Score:4, Interesting)

    by morgauxo (974071) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @10:51AM (#39197171)
    Am I the only one losing interest in this? I was really stoked at first, dreaming of all the possibilities of what could be done with such an inexpensive computer. I was considering it's use as everything from a very powerful microcontroler to a server and even a desktop. Right off the bat I wanted two to build car computers, one for a lightweight, power sipping and silent development server and another to use as an X-terminal on my workbench.

    The problem is the display. The lack of VGA output means all those cheap monitors that everyone has in their closets are useless. I'm not even talking about bulky power hungry CRTs, I can't even use the older LCDs that I have lying around. That really kills the price advantage this board would have had. I know, I'm not the target market, schools or kids are. Apparently it's the less financially advantaged schools, the one I went to had a computer lab as early as 1994 (and few knowledgeable teachers to take advantage of it). Are they going to be able to buy all these new monitors? I understand there was an idea that kids would take these home. But it's still only going to work for kids with newer TVs in the family (and probably more than one since mom, dad and siblings are busy watching reality TV crap on the main one). Aren't families like that going to already have real computers?

    I guess there is the composite out. I've never seen anything on composite out that looked much better than late 1980s 8-bit games. Is that going to get kids of today excited?

    By the way, no, converters are not really a practical option. Yes, there are cheap adapters that are just pin remappings. Yes, many of us have even used those adapters successfully on our computers. No, that's not going to cut it for the Raspberry Pi. The cheap adapters work on our computers because they are just remapping Analog output pins that our computers already have active. The raspberry Pi does not have anything attached to those pins. For the Raspberry Pi you need to spend about $90 for a converter that converts the digital output to Analog VGA. That multiplies the money you are spending by over 4! Another option might be a USB to VGA adapter but those aren't much cheaper and would then require a lot of work to get the drivers going.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      The problem is the display. The lack of VGA output means all those cheap monitors that everyone has in their closets are useless. I'm not even talking about bulky power hungry CRTs, I can't even use the older LCDs that I have lying around.

      I've had two $10 19" LCDs with DVI in from yard sales. Forget the older LCDs, they're bunk anyway. Donate them to someone even less fortunate, along with some big heavy PC you have in there too.

  • by whistlingtony (691548) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @10:53AM (#39197193)

    Yeah, I did it too. I was there, hitting refresh. They sold out almost immediately, and now whole swaths of folk have to wait to get one just a little bit more.

    For that, people are pissed, Eben's a jerk, worst launch ever, etc etc etc.

    Guys, they're a non profit. Demand was too great. That's not a BAD thing. Yes, you have to wait. That does not mean that it was the worst launch ever... It means you need to be patient a while longer. Instead of being upset that you didn't get yours, how about taking a step back. You can wait. It won't kill you. This is a good thing. The raspberry pi team did something cool, and that coolness is not diminished just because some of us didn't get one.

    Sheesh. Calm Down.

    Tony

  • by yakovlev (210738) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @10:56AM (#39197239) Homepage
    Where raspberry pi is really failing at the moment is messaging. We were initially told that we could order internationally direct from the foundation. The post on the website says that you can buy them now from RS and Farnell, which would also be fine. While I think this is true for Farnell if you live in the UK, it isn't true for RS or Farnell if you live in the USA, so a lot of people feel like they've been deceived.

    Furthermore, Farnell doesn't even seem to sell to USA consumers, and RS only has an "express an interest" site, and nothing on their USA site.

    So, consumers are very confused about what is going on. Because of the inconsistent messaging, USA consumers have no idea if we'll ever be able to buy them online, at least without significant retail markup.

    What I think would improve the goodwill would be for the Raspberry Pi team to:

    1.) Contact RS and Farnell and figure out what the heck is going on, particularly for international customers. Put a post on the website to the effect that you're doing this.
    2.) Once they do figure out what's going on, TELL US.

    If, in two weeks time, when all the traffic has died down, international customers will be able to get them, that's fine, but people currently don't feel like that's the case. The two distributors are ruining Raspberry Pi's goodwill (which often happens when you give this power to someone else) but Raspberry Pi isn't compensating by over-communicating on their end.
  • by DynamoJoe (879038) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @11:34AM (#39197695)
    I might as well look at the bright side and let someone else solve all the problems with the first run. Thanks, early adopters!
  • by boley1 (2001576) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @11:34AM (#39197699)

    I'm in the US and had a heck of a time figuring out a way to order. Pre-order links not working, no results searching for Raspberry Pi on partners' site ...

    But in a chat with Newark rep, found that you can just enter part # 83T1943 and it will come up. $20 handling fee if you order online, less if you call the order in.
    "83T1943 is the Newark Part # for the Raspberry PI and has an approximate lead time of 30-40 daysyou will get charged shipping if you order online, you should call in 800-463-9275"
    You will still probably be charged some shipping - but according the Newark rep less.

    Disclosure: Not associated with Newark, other than an occasional customer.

    • by Ford Prefect (8777) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @12:09PM (#39198113) Homepage

      I managed to pre-order one in the USA through the Farnell export site; this was about 8:20am GMT. The page has now gone to a register-your-interest form [element14.com], so probably not much use now.

      Price GBP 24.55, estimated delivery date 16/04/2012. No idea what postage will cost, I'm prepared for something horrendous to get it to Seattle.

      What people are missing is that they're now build-to-order. Instead of before, where the Raspberry Pi organisation had an initial batch of 10,000, the sale of which would fund the next batch to arrive at some indeterminate point in the future - RS and Farnell are ordering the things from the manufacturers themselves.

      I was watching with amazement as both RS and Farnell got nuked off the intertubes within seconds of the announcement. This board is popular. The previous plans for ordering wouldn't have worked at all.

      Would Apple have coped better with such a launch? Probably. But as the Raspberry Pi twitter feed [twitter.com] says: "Apple has a market cap of $500bn. We have Liz's collection of fridge magnets and a few coins down the back of the sofa."

      I'm really looking forwards to my Pi arriving. Given that I was expecting to wait at least until the summer to get one, things are going well!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      After stumbling about most of the day I can confirm that this is the way to order the Pi from the U.S :
      - Go to newark.com and register an account (not really necessary but makes the rest easier)
      - Call Newark's sales center @ 800-463-9275
      - They will probably know what you want when you say Raspberry Pi but the part number mentioned above is correct for the model B (# 83T1943).
      - Tell them you want it shipped from the Gaffney, South Carolina warehouse.
      - Final cost will be $35 plus UPS ground to where-ever you

  • by wild_quinine (998562) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @11:48AM (#39197859) Homepage
    I've never seen so much whining and sour grapes in one place before. The majority of posters sounds about thirteen, and demonstrate the worldliness to match.

    "I couldn't get one immediately! Well, I guess I won't buy one any more!!!!"

    Who cares? Certainly not the non-profit you're slating. Voting with your wallet doesn't work against a non-profit with a massively in-demand item. That's you just sitting in the sad corner by yourself.

    You know what the foundation want? They want people with intellegence to get into developing, and to get others into developing. Half the comments I've read in this thread show personalities that need more development than the Raspberry Pi.

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