A Monday grab-bag of community cleverness

We’re very proud of the community at Raspberry Pi. If you haven’t dipped a toe into the forums here yet, you really should – there are a lot of very smart people talking about very interesting stuff and making some very cool things in there.

We rely on our community to make the Raspberry Pi what it is. While we provide the hardware, the community ports (and writes) the software that runs on the device and supporting materials needed to teach with it, and comes up with some inventive uses of the Raspberry Pi that had never even crossed our minds. Quadcopters and baby monitors, anybody?

Lego prototype case design by Eric Baird – click on image for more details and instructions on how to build one yourself

The need for help in getting our educational software stack in good order, alongside the materials we need to help teachers use the Raspberry Pi in lessons, is the reason we’re not launching straight into schools. We want the Raspberry Pi to be available for a few months for the community to work on before it’s unleashed on kids wholesale. Our friends at Computing at School are writing teaching and learning materials; early drafts we’ve seen from them so far have been first-rate. You’ve already seen demos of KidsRuby running on Raspberry Pi, and we’ve been running Scratch (here it is in the background of a Raspi pic from the BBC’s Rory Cellan Jones), another kids’ programming tool, ever since we got our alpha boards to play with back in the summer. There will be more of this sort of thing to come; we’ve got partners working on ports of some very exciting tools which we hope will genuinely engage kids at the moment. Watch this space for announcements.

Picture of a superbly detailed 3d model of the Raspberry Pi by Confusis. Click on image for a page where you can download a .skp (SketchUp) file.

Even though the devices aren’t available to the general public yet, the community has been busy with development using a VM put together by Russell Davis (who posts here as UKScone). There’s an excellent series of video tutorials we are pointing beginners at, which is being filmed and curated by Liam Fraser, who is also working on a GUI (graphical user interface, for the non-technical folk who have got this far) to help beginners easily load their SD cards and get started with the device. The projects and collaboration section of our forums is a great place to look if you have some ideas and you’d like some help or company while you develop them; or if you just want to check that nobody’s working on your idea already.

An animated version of our logo made by forum member Antario. Click on the image for more colour variations and sizes.

Paul Maunders, who bought one of our beta boards at auction, has been testing it (note that he’s using a beta distro; things won’t be quite like this with the retail boards and we are aware of a few software kinks which are being ironed out for the final version) and is answering any and all questions about his experience on Reddit. He’s also taking video of his board working and is blogging about what he’s doing with it.

Abishur, one of our forum mods, has been working on hacking a working NES (“Well…I hope it’ll be working when I finish”) to house a Raspberry Pi so he can use it to stream video and play retro games. There is a blow-by-blow account of what he’s up to, alongside a lot of detailed photos, in the dedicated forum thread.

I’ve only scratched the surface here – there’s so much development of cool software, so many exciting hardware plans and such a lot of fan art out there that it’d take me all day to talk about it. If you’ve got a personal project you’d like us to know about, please let us know in the comments.


Andrew avatar

Live the RasPi. Hope to get one soon. First.

Benedict White avatar

The Arch community would be working hard on it as well, if we could get more than one Alpha board and some replies to emails. That said, when we can get hold of some we will be working on them.

Bit of a shame really as it most press Arch is one of the distros that is supposed to work on release.

tufty avatar

Hey, at least you have *one* alpha board. That’s a lot more than most people have.

If you also have serial console to your alpha, though, I’d love to hear from you. In lieu of having an actual board in my hands, it would be useful to see if my stuff actually boots on real Pi hardware.


Benedict White avatar

I’m not the one who has it, and it has been used to get stuff working, not for its main purposes.

tzj avatar

damn that’s way better than my sketchup model… but is it to scale? :3

rasppi avatar

exactly what i needed for planning my project….again how accurate are the measurements? especially of component layout etc

liz avatar

Afraid I don’t know – I don’t have one with me, but from memory it looks absolutely right.

HansH avatar

Any idea what the new measurements for the sdslot are
Any other changes in the components (USB for instance)

tzj avatar

sd slot on the production boards is 3.3mm thick, so I’ve been told.

Zotlerg avatar

I’ve converted the SKP file into an OBJ, but when it’s imported into 3ds Max it appears tiny.
When I upscale it to be the correct length, it’s width is about 56.5cm which is wider that the FAQ page state. So I don’t know if that model can be trusted yet. Anyone else try it?

confusis avatar

The model was as accurate as I could get at the time with the info and images I could find. It can’t be too far off :P Feel free to adjust and modify if need be.

confusis avatar

As with any file conversion, things can be adjusted, moved and changed by the conversion. I’ve had .SKP files converted into blender that half the components ended up 10x bigger and the other half shrunk by 50%! Also I will adjust and fix the model when I (hopefully) buy one of the first batch.

tzj avatar

well I did use gerts scale drawings if that helps at all…

Gert avatar

Let’s just hope I did not make any mistakes with that.

HansH avatar

The usb connector is different then the beta version…. seems lower as the beta version

John Knight avatar

I’m planning to adapt a Commodore 64, booting X into an emulator by default, and having as close as I can get to every C64 game ever made! Plus, with other USB outputs, there’s no reason why it can’t also be used as a desktop machine, with a standard USB keyboard.

Alan Heath avatar

How hard would it be to map the exisiting C64 keyboard matrix to a USB controller ripped out of a standard pc keyboard? I’m going to do a similar thing with an Amstrad 6128 case and this would be the hardest part as far as I can see.

jack avatar

@ Alan Heath google Keyrah and they make the device that maps the the C64 keyboard and original joysticks. I believe it costs more than the Raspberry PI. I already have a keyrah that I use with a C128D keyboard for my emulators. Enjoy

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Andreas Eriksson avatar

I love arcade games. If it is possible, my first project will be to assemble a team and make something like Ketsui: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcBJUBc-3qY

The original PCB of the game has various CPU like Motorola 68XXXX and Z80. :)

My game will be dedicated to Rasberry Pi.

Greetings from Sweden.

Antario avatar

Wow! Absolutely stunning community projects! It is just awesome to see that there aren’t even countless R-Pis out there, just a handful of them, and many community members are already on their creative! Can’t wait to see what will happen when everyone gets hold on an R-Pi.

And thank you for featuring my work, Liz :D

tawalker avatar

I am really looking forward to the RPi’s launch – in particular, I hope I would be able to install the ARM version of Arch Linux, as I am used to Arch on my Eee 701 netbook.

Just wish I was a bit more practical, so I could build a Mac Mini (“Mac Nano”?)-type metal case for an RPi, with an illuminated “raspberry logo” on the top… ;-)

doug avatar

I’m working on a project as part of Qt on Pi to create an children’s computer using the Pi. I’m a strong believer that the RasPi is not only a great platform on which to teach programming but it could be a great, affordable first computer to show how exciting computers can be.

I have been prototyping it using Qt Quick which is great and my beta testers (4 and 2yr old) are showing great interest especially when I knocked together a simple game in 10 minutes :-D

xx avatar

Are there any plans to develop an arduino like sketch language IDE for it ?
I mean something that would possibly use the same language as arduino and allow Raspebrry PI to work as both a microcontroller and a singleboard computer with an OS?

JamesH avatar

The foundation has no plans – but anyone else who fancies it is more than welcome to give it a go.

hamjudo avatar

The Arduino’s language is C++. It may not feel like C++, because it is missing the standard libraries.

Someone will probably port the subset of the Arduino libraries that trivially fit within the Raspberry Pi’s capabilities. ie. Pull pin 1 high, wait 250 milliseconds, pull pin 1 low.

Until someone ports realtime Linux to the Raspberry Pi, the Pi won’t be able to come remotely close to the Arduino’s low timer jitter. Even with realtime Linux, the jitter will still be worse.

This won’t matter to many applications. You will need a GertBoard or other buffer board, to provide similar current drive.

I’m not familiar with IDEs for C++. So I don’t know if there is something similar for native code, or if someone will be writing one.

I will probably use visual python, see http://vpython.org. If you saw the GertBoard video, you’ll know that it is trivially easy to access the GPIO pins from any language. Visual Python uses an IDE called “idle”. I will be using that to show off programming to the students I mentor.

Marius Jonsson avatar

The lego case is fantastic. I love it! <3 M

DeliciousRaspberryCake avatar

It’s almost like the fruit is already among the masses..

Maxx Melendez avatar

Hello Liz,

I am a senior at Hofstra University in Long Island, NY. I came across the Raspberry PI board reading an article I believe in Wired Online. Although our Computer Science dept. at our school is very small, the thought of making computing and programming easily accessible is very intriguing. One idea a friend and I had been tossing around is building a middle/high school purely focused on programming and entrepreneurship in the NY Metro area. Our hope is to teach teens to innovate and launch start ups just as strong as Silicon Valley has. I am really excited for the launch of this board, just wanted to know what the tentative release date will be? I am really looking forward to seeing the first boards and hope that the Pi will take off globally.

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[…] la comunidad. La primera versión va incluso sin caja, aunque habrá después modelos disponibles (o te la puedes hacer de Lego que tiene muy buena […]

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[…] la comunidad. La primera versión va incluso sin caja, aunque habrá después modelos disponibles (o te la puedes hacer de Lego que tiene muy buena […]

[…] la comunidad. La primera versión va incluso sin caja, aunque habrá después modelos disponibles (o te la puedes hacer de Lego que tiene muy buena […]

Fabian avatar

Where are the on/off/reset buttons or how can I add them?

Best regards,

[…] la comunidad. La primera versión va incluso sin caja, aunque habrá después modelos disponibles (o te la puedes hacer de Lego que tiene muy buena […]

[…] la comunidad. La primera versión va incluso sin caja, aunque habrá después modelos disponibles (o te la puedes hacer de Lego que tiene muy buena […]

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