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Eben Upton Muses on the Raspberry Pi, Scratch and, His Love For Parallela 71

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the boot-to-emacs-for-maximum-terror dept.
super_rancid writes "In a 7,000 word interview with Raspberry Pi's founder posted on TuxRadar.com, Eben Upton talks about the challenges of managing such a successful project, what may be in the Raspberry Pi mark 2, and why he wishes he'd backed the Parallela Kickstarter." On interesting answer: "We were thinking of booting into Python or booting into Scratch. For younger kids, boot into Scratch. Have an environment where it’s Linux underneath, boots into Scratch and hold down a key at a particular point during boot and it doesn’t boot into Scratch it just drops into the prompt. So you can play with Scratch for six months, once you’re happy with Scratch you turn over the page and 'Hold down F1 during boot,' and it’s like 'Oh look - it’s a PC!' So I think that’s something we’d really like to do."
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Eben Upton Muses on the Raspberry Pi, Scratch and, His Love For Parallela

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @10:41AM (#44308309)

    ...how useless and overhyped the Pi is today - and has been since more than a year back - when compared to the some of the so much more capable "Android sticks" that cost not much more. Yes, everyone knows that the Pi has a composite video output and a dedicated ethernet output, but that's not what it all comes down to, especially since most of the "Android sticks" come with 2 (or more) USB ports and Wi-Fi these days. What are his thoughts on offering the barely usable amount of 256/512 MB of RAM and just a single CPU core (spreading applications across multiple cores for smoother multitasking is the gain here, not eventual software that threads) when there are $35 "Android sticks" that come with 1 GB of RAM and two CPU cores that are even clocked higher?

  • by thelovebus (264467) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @10:45AM (#44308367)

    When I first read about the Raspberry Pi I was excited because I thought they were going to recreate this boot to a BASIC interpreter-type of experience we used to have on Apple II's and TRS-80's and the like. That's the sort of experience that they claimed inspired the raspberry pi, and they claimed that sort of programming-based, learning-intensive experience was what they wanted the pi to be about.

    So, I was very disappointed to see that by default, a raspberry pi really is "just a pc" that boots into your typical CLI, and the "getting started" instructions actually have the new user start up X right off the bat. Providing scratch and a python IDE are nice and all, but I feel like all the normal trappings of "just a pc" take focus away from the real point of the pi.

  • by Grench (833454) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @11:00AM (#44308505) Homepage Journal

    Useless? Nope. It's not exactly a stellar performer, but it has a lot of uses. Remember, it's designed as an educational product, rather than as a PC replacement. It is not as powerful as your average desktop PC. But it is not useless.

    My own Pi runs Samba4 (it's an Active Directory domain controller for my home Windows PC network, and runs a DNS service), it runs CUPS (for network printer sharing), it runs CrashPlan (for backing up my other PCs' data), and it runs the LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP) stack so that it can run some dynamic web-based services - the ones I use are Cacti and Observium (for graphing/monitoring my Cisco devices), and Horde Webmail/Groupware.

    This is exactly what I used to use an old AMD Sempron box for. Granted, that AMD box was free, and more powerful - but it's bigger, noisier, makes more heat, and consumes more power than the Pi does.

    I think the Pi is a fantastic project. It would be nice to see a more powerful ARM CPU and extra RAM on the next version of the board, but I'd be just as happy to see Ethernet being separated from the USB bus, and a SATA connector with the option to set your Pi up to boot from a hard drive out of the box (note that mine does run off a USB hard drive, but it still has to use the MicroSD card as a bootstrap - a SATA controller could also mean faster I/O throughput).

  • Re:Not with that CPU (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @11:17AM (#44308649)

    More RAM is utterly pointless. The slow CPU can hardly make good use of what's already there. Even with 2GB, it would still not become a usable desktop system.

    Hello Mr. Monoculture.

    Your MP3-player doesn't even have 256MB ram. Does that make it pointless to add more since it won't turn into a usable desktop system if you do?
    The Pi was never meant to be a desktop system or even a media player. Just because a lot of hobbyists picked it up as a cheap replacement for HTPCs or the gazillion different ARM developer cards doesn't mean that 2GB ram would be pointless for its intended purpose.
    It have been clear from the start that the Pi is intended to be an educational toy to teach children how computers work. The step to boot into a programming language will make sure that the kids of today will have the same opportunity to learn that todays programmers had when they were young.
    So, you are among those that use it outside of its intended modes of operation. That is great since it increases the market for the device but it feels a bit too much to use arguments that indicate that anything that doesn't turn the Pi into a desktop system is pointless.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @12:43PM (#44309471)

    Time to move up to Alice [http://www.alice.org/]. My kid was using Scratch for a while and got bored (hit a wall). Just found Alice and plan to install and go through the tutorials with her this weekend.

Do not simplify the design of a program if a way can be found to make it complex and wonderful.

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