Beta board bought by anonymous bidder and donated to museum

Just when we thought the auctions experience couldn’t get any more exciting, a rather brilliant thing has happened. A well-wisher who wants to remain anonymous (and whom, when I am back in the country, I intend to buttonhole and buy a pint or six for) paid £989 for one of the ten beta boards we are auctioning at the moment, and has donated it to the Computer Museum at the Centre for Computing History.

Raspberry Pi on eBay

We met Jason Fitzpatrick, director of the Museum, a couple of weeks ago at a talk we gave in Cambridge; we’d already been hoping to work with him and the Centre for Computing History on some of their schools outreach work, so this is a very happy coming together. He’s as excited as we are about the donation, and says:

We are really pleased and quite taken aback at this generous donation. We are extremely supportive of the Raspberry Pi project and feel that it could usher in a new era for computing, allowing potential programmers to ‘get to the bits’ and who knows, maybe create the next big thing!

We will be purchasing a number of the (somewhat cheaper) Raspberry Pis to take out for school visits and help promote the programming in schools initiative – something we very strongly believe in.

The Raspberry Pi is an unusual addition to the museum’s collection, which is largely made up of hardware from the 1960s-1980s. The museum, like us, hopes that the Raspberry Pi will bootstrap a new era of computing in schools. Jason says he wants to be able to point to the museum’s Raspberry Pi in future years and say: “and this is the computer that changed everything“…

There are still six of the very limited edition of beta boards, the first Raspberry Pis ever made, left to go in our charity auction. All proceeds from the auction will go to fund the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s charitable work. We are amazed at the generosity people have been showing so far; thank you and good luck to everybody who has been bidding.


[…] RPi website is carrying a great story about one of the early boards which was bought on eBay for nearly £1000. […]

tom avatar

You guys(f&m) rule!

I have questions about the future. How many boards will you be able to produce per month?
And in what intervals is broadcom releasing new chips in that price range?

liz avatar

Q1) It depends entirely on how many boards people buy. You buy them, we get the funds to make more!
Q2) No idea.

scep avatar

How cool is that?! :) And I really do think that one day we will be able to point to that machine and say, “This changed things”.

Edward Laverick avatar

That’s a fantastic gesture, really nice to see.

Bart avatar

In Beta and already writing history… Isn’t that great :-) I am so glad my brother pointed me to this project. We are already decided on or first simple project. A remote for the thermostat of the heating system at my home. I’ll b able to switch on the heating system before I drive home via the Internet.

Bart avatar

Switching on the heating system via Internet, not the driving home ;-)

Erick Baumgartner avatar

Wow that is a feel good story if ever I heard one. Epic charity.

Crundy avatar

Wow! That’s awesome. Be sure to buy the chap(ess) a pint from me. I’ll pay you back, promise!

Billy avatar

Hello i no this sounds like a novice question but will the boards have an operating system like when you turn on a laptop or would i have to type lines of code just to say get a video up think this is a brilliant idea but i realy want just a small computer and want to no if this would be suitable thanks

lol768 avatar

@Billy See the FAQ question “What Linux distros will be supported at launch?”. You will be able to create an SD card with Debian or Fedora installed on it. From here you should be able to install mplayer or something similar to play videos. You could also install something like LXDE for a desktop environment if you wanted to.

Keep in mind that these boards won’t run Windows, due to the fact that ARM is not supported by Windows, however there are many great Linux distros available.

Tozzi avatar

Windows 8 (which will be released in a near future), will have ARM support? Or will that maybee just be OEM for tablets (like iPads)?

stuporhero avatar

Windows 8 will not run on the RasPi.

Shish avatar

It will not? Sounds like a challenge :P

JamesH avatar

Well, if you have all the source and ability to build Windows 8, you are more than welcome to give it a go. Good luck!

Mark Sloan avatar

Very generous donation. I hope this device is a great success.

Montekuri avatar

Wow. It is a surprise! A big happy surprise!
Someone is very, very generous :O

Al avatar

That’s great, this project is great, it’s ALL great.

TheEponymousBob avatar

Great news! Thanks go out to the generous donor.

Davespice avatar

What a jolly good chap. Mr Anonymous I salute you!

John Benson avatar

Just how much more warmth and fuzziness can this project produce? Fantastic news and a great example of where (hopefully) this project will lead…

[…] jQuery("#errors*").hide(); window.location= data.themeInternalUrl; } }); } (via @Raspberry_Pi) – Today, 10:03 […]

Ian Hamlett avatar

That is so lovely. Thank you whoever you are.

MadSheep avatar

Can we have a step list of what is needed so the r-pi start the production and then the selling and the current working step?

[…] "CRITEO-300×250", 300, 250); 1 meneos Comprador anónimo paga 1200€ por un Raspberry Pi y lo dona a un museo[ENG]  por eL_ReMoRa hace […]

Paul Johnson avatar

This is great news! I keep checking out the eBay site, and am delighted that you are raising so much money.

I’m soooooo tempted to start bidding on #1, but sadly while I can afford over $5000 for the Pi, I can’t afford the ensuing divorce!

reiuyi avatar

Very gratuitous of this unknown person. However, it is we, the people, who must turn the Raspberry Pi into a true museum piece. Our seemingly infinite creativity must come up with simple yet eye-catching DIY projects and programs which will get the attention of youngsters and elders! By providing the necessary knowledge, motivation and inspiration, it is we who can help put the producer back into the consumer. This way, hopefully stopping the yet continues downward spiral into seeking spiritual satisfaction in merely consuming..

Armen avatar

Seriously, salute to this great gentleman/madam who donated the sum to the Raspi foundation (by bidding) and the device to the computing museum.

Jason Fitzpatrick, director of the Museum: “We will be purchasing a number of the Raspberry Pis to take out for school visits and help promote the programming in schools initiative – something we very strongly believe in.”

I kind of like Mr. Firzpatrick :) my sort of guy :) as I said in my previous comments I’m really excited about educational potential of these for kids.

And now considering your device is already in the museum you should keep up with expectations :) which I know it’s tough but certainly you can do it.

Got nostalgic, also excited and started dreaming :) and I searched to see what BASICs are available on linux. Python is great but I don’t know why I think for a kid BASIC is something else (maybe because that was my first encounter, the WOW moment, with computers and programming. I still remember the moment as if it was yesterday (it was 26 years ago!!!) when with my parents we went for a visit to a neighbor’s place and there I saw this black box on a table in front of the TV, being 12 and shy of asking the neighbor himself, I asked my dad to ask him what the *thing* was :) and he said “oh! that’s my new toy, it’s a computer (it was a ZX Spectrum) let me show you …. he turned on the device, he glanced at a booklet, typed a few lines in seconds (I remember max 4 lines) and all of a sudden the TV screen was full of vibrant beautiful colors scrolling up the screen … I guess the Border was changing colors too!!! … for me it was like WOW! HE COMMANDS THE TV SCREEN!!!! AMAZING!!! … before that moment the things shown on tv screen was something beyond grasp, in monopoly of some serious looking grownups reading news … *they* could command the TV what to show … but now it was full of vibrant beautiful colors, the way I would like a TV screen to be!!!!! …. it’s needless to say that the day after I persuaded my parents to buy one :P … and the poor neighbor, I guess he wished he had never shown it to me, because I would run downstairs as soon as he got back from work (tired, at 7pm, 8pm) and I would bombard him with questions, the poor guy taught me the coordinates, drawing lines, loops and so on …. I remember one of the booklets or the user guide had a Cartesian coordinate like grid printed in one of the first pages and he taught me using that… I have wonderful memories …. I also remember the little printed basic code I found on the door with a scotch tape, when I was leaving home to go to school with a basic program starting with line 0 :) and the anticipation of him coming back from work to teach me how he does that magic :) …. and then Commodore 64 and then Amiga 500 … to be honest I guess it kept me off trouble in my teenage years too :) because I had the tendency to have much older friends and to go out with them riding bikes (motorcycles) and drink alcohol, they would get in fights … but at 16 those stuff was not interesting to me anymore … those were fun but really hacking C64’s assembly code was more exciting …. anyways …

Oh by the way, dreaming and searching I came across this which kind of reminded me of the good old days, [this is the result of less than 5 minutes browsing so neither I have tried it nor recommend it, just saw some screen shots, but it looked nostalgic to me]:

By the way is there any simple single task operating system, any kind of environment like those of Sinclair or Commodore out there that kids can feel more in control of things, this is also important, to tell the truth jumping into linux world and even getting to know it is intimidating for me even now! let alone a kid :) … as far as it boots up from an SD card I guess it should be possible … damn things have gotten too complicated, not fun anymore [as they used to be!!!] multi threaded, multi core, multi user, multi task, layers upon layers, you can’t exactly know what’s going on inside …. damn I miss the simplicity of freezing a c64 program, tinkering with the assembly code and then unfreezing it :) … good old days …. the world of computers would have gone the way it’s gone and for the good of course, but this minor point if addressed, then computer programming will be fun again for everyone.

All the best to you guys and I really hope you won’t go astray from the major path (I understand the more the excitement in different applications the better, but there is one application which I really hope won’t be forgotten)

Homer Hazel avatar

This is totally awesome! I am glad that someone had the thought to purchase and donate one of the beta boards to a museum. It is a perfect place to hold these boards. I could probably afford a normal Raspberry purchase for donation to a museum, but not one of these betas at auction. Excellent work!

Noah Caldwell avatar

Fantastic! I’m sure you’ll let us know ASAP anyway, but I can’t resist the urge to ask: any news on final production, as in when orders will be accepted?

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enem avatar


Tozzi avatar

And now for the million dollar question; will it be released to everyone (the cheaper ones for $25/35) as soon the Ebay bidding is over? :D

manuel avatar

Thats the same i thought! My alarm is set :D

Palin avatar

That’s fantastic news. I hope the museum have it on display and running some sort of program that shows off the PI rather than just have it being shown for size. This is excellent news and really nice to hear of such charity.

Andy avatar

We will probably keep the beta board safe, but other Pi’s will be on display and visitors will be able to use them. An installation of RISC OS would be very popular with some of our visitors.

Hudders avatar

“Probably”. ;)

Andy avatar

Ok – more than likely :-)

mike avatar

Just awesome… thank you mr(s) Anonymous! btw thank you all, by putting so much time and effort in making this project (what i believe to be) a huge succes!

[…] the prices of which keep exceeding expectation (Board #1 is now at a whopping £3,500!). It was revealed yesterday that board #7 was purchased by an anonymous bidder and will be donated to the Centre for […]

Andy avatar

This is great news for the museum (I’m one of their volunteers). I can’t wait to have a go on it the next time I see Jason. We really appreciate the kind donation by this anonymous person.

Armen avatar

Do you have a ZX Spectrum in the museum also? :)

Andy avatar

Of course! We could not call ourselves a computer museum if we didn’t have one!

Armen avatar


Armen avatar

I checked out the website … Commodore 64! oh so its first public debut was 30 years ago at CES!!! cool… Happy Birthday!!! I’m jealous :( I was I was 30 again :( :)

Armen avatar

I *wish* I was …

jim avatar

i want one so bad!!!!!!!!!
cant wait….
when will be time 2 buy one or 2 or 3 ….???

scott avatar

Very cool to have someone buy it and then donate it to the museum. Cant wait to get my hands on these and convince school districts to use them.

Jon Evans avatar

Awesome! My boss sent me Link to RaspPi now I’m hooked!

art san avatar

This was a very impressive and thoughtful donation. Surprising???….very thoughtful.
Impressive too that Director Fitzpatrick mentions that the Museum will be purchasing
a number of ‘Pies’ to carry forward the educational purposes of The Raspberry Charity. It just keeps growing !!!!!

ms9cw avatar

I really did want to be one of the lucky 10 who would own a Beta board, I did try bidding £1500.00 on boards #04 and #03 (given that #07, #06 and #05 went for around a grand each) but alas there are people with less sense and more money than me! I am very pleased for the Foundation that these auctions have been such a great success. Guess I’ll just need to be patient and buy a production model when they come out.

ms9cw avatar

Errmmmm…patience has never been one of my virtues :)

[…] and a staggered auction of 10 numbered pre-release boards has already raised over £10,600 with one board donated to the soon to be Cambridge-based computer museum and at least another £5,500 expected from the […]

JoeStrout avatar

By my count, boards 1-10 brought in 16,336 GBP (that’s over $25K for those of us west of the pond). Great job, guys!

Nate avatar

When can I buy one. Are you planning on doing a pre order as I can’t be the only one prepared to pay now so it arrives though the post ASAP.

Nate avatar

wrong tread please delete

Doug avatar

I’m glad a first-run Raspberry Pi is going to a museum and I’m very glad the foundation is receiving a considerable amount of money for it. In my opinion though, I’m slightly disappointed that the museum isn’t Bletchley. Overall, It would be very nice to house the whole history of British Computing in one location nationally, rather than several independent sites. The impact would be much greater.

Jason Fitzpatrick avatar

We fully intend to make the museum in Cambridge an important national resource. Our sponsors understand this and are working with us to make it happen.

There are good reasons, however, for having more than one location exploring the history of computing. The subject is complex, far reaching and ever expanding; the recent donation is the perfect example :-)

The museums that currently exist all have a very different focus and play their own role in the preservation of computing history. Our purpose is to tell the story of computing from the personal standpoint and highlight how computers have irreversibly changed our lives in a very short space of time. Bletchely has an impressive display of huge machines dating back to the 50’s and the legendary Colossus. Its collection is not diminished by ours, merely complimented. Naturally there is overlap but we are all experts in our own fields :-)

And, yes, the person that donated the #7 Raspberry Pi is pretty awesome …

[…] Beta board bought by anonymous bidder and donated to museum … […]

Jon Horridge avatar

Could the likes of me make Raspberry Pi? I know which is the hot end of a soldering iron. Or maybe add the big bits to finish one off.

JamesH avatar

Not really- the components are very very small, and the SoC is a BGA which you cannot do with a soldering iron.

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