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Education Programming United Kingdom Hardware

Raspberry Pi Arrives, With a School Debut In Leeds 148

Posted by timothy
from the when-a-plan-comes-together dept.
hypnosec writes "It seems fitting that the first batch of Raspberry Pi computers landed in the UK in the hands of school children based in Leeds as what many consider as another wave of grass-root computing revolution, another BBC Micro 2.0, begins. The Raspberry Pi has been designed from scratch to get anyone interested in computer programming to do so without forking out much; the base unit can connect to a television like the Commodore C64 or the Sinclair ZX81. According to the BBC, the first batch has been presented [Friday] by Eben Upton, the school project coordinator, in an event held at the Leeds offices of Premier Farnell, one of the official PI distributors."
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Raspberry Pi Arrives, With a School Debut In Leeds

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  • no (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, 2012 @06:46AM (#39684165)

    The BBC microcomputer revolution was about a British company demonstrating to curious schoolkids how they could be part of the microcomputer revolution. It involved a group of local academics building a computer from a 6502 and generic parts, writing a simple OS and powerful BASIC interpreter, and providing lots of interface options. It involved liaising with and providing en masse to a vaguely enlightened primary and secondary school system pre-1988 Education Reform Act.

    This is about one of a dozen generic ARM system-on-a-chip + connector boards being hapharzardly built in China (in fact, many smaller projects have gone *more* smoothly!), over-advertised to second rate geeks who don't have the talent to build something themselves or the clue to choose one of several existing systems. It's not even setting a good example of local electronics manufacture - hell, they lied about import duty etc.

    The only thing it *is* is a sad example of what British consumer industry has become: go work for an American firm; select a few chips designed at another company; ask China to glue them together for you; choose a third party distributor; and market them badly. Maybe the ex-Acorn people who clearly have had an influence on this project have become comfortable doing what they do now - or maybe they're sad that they couldn't have made this into something more, overshadowed by sponsoring Broadcom. I guess we'll never know.

  • The First Hurdle (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Duncan J Murray (1678632) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @06:53AM (#39684197) Homepage

    As people have mentioned before, simply creating the product and making it available isn't going to miraculously rejuvenate computer programming in the UK amongst children. After all, many children already have access to computers capable of running python as it is - and so do schools. If schools want to teach computer programming, it doesn't actually need a raspberry pi.

    I think the next step is to create tutorials for the raspberry pi, and to ensure that schools aren't penalised for teaching computer programming (as in it won't detract from teaching time and achieving targets in other subjects), and I think the only way to do that is to make computer programming a new GCSE, with a curriculum, exams, and formal teaching time.

  • by RotateLeftByte (797477) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @07:08AM (#39684235)

    and if it takes off in the US i forsee a plethora of LawSuits alledging patent, copyright and anything else the syhsters can think of just to stop this in its tracks.
    If this becomes really successful I have no shadow of a doubt that the likes of Microsoft will see this as a threat to their business and try by whatever means to stifile if not downright kill it.
    You really can't have people building a computer now can you? Whatever next? Desiging their own Operating System and giving it away?

    On a personal note, this device really takes me back to my Degree project in 1975 where I build a DtoA and AtoD converter board for the NatSemi IMP16 Microcomputer. in the years afterwards I build a number of UniBus devices for the PDP-11.
    Interfacting 'kit' to computers has gotten a lot easier these days.

  • by Morgaine (4316) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @08:18AM (#39684531)

    Although you're making a "glass half full" kind of prediction, it's not hard to imagine that the opposite of your guess might occur in the US: All the other ARM licensees might see this as a fantastic coup for Broadcom, and follow suit with their own competing $25 - $35 boards.

    After all, Texas Instruments already has their own $5 SoC [ti.com] available and used in their BeagleBone [beagleboard.org], so they could quite easily remove features from that board and release something into the Raspberry Pi price niche for education. (The BeagleBone's $89 [adafruit.com] places it far outside the Raspberry Pi's price niche.)

    The Chinese will of course follow suit with boards based on their wildly successful Allwinner A10 [rhombus-tech.net] ARM device, which is far better than Broadcom's SoC (on specs) and only costs $7 in production volumes. Expect a pile of competitors from that quarter!

  • by CnlPepper (140772) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @08:51AM (#39684777)

    Anyone who can't think of a use for these boards is lacking a serious amount of imagination.

    1) Educational tool
    2) Media center
    3) Robotics controller (CNC tools, experimental robots)
    4) Homebrew NAS
    5) Cheap linux box
    6) Point of sale machines
    7) Disposable computer for test industries

    and that was 1 minutes thought.

    So many uses it's stupid...and the reason it is so damn useful is that it will be have good support and it is so damn cheap for the power you get.

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