Bringing up a beta board

Dom just sent me this video: he’s successfully brought up the beta board he’s working on, and things are looking great. He’s got a few demos going here, and alongside some other stuff, you’ll be able to see (hear) the Raspi’s sound working for what I think is the first time; on other occasions we haven’t been able to attach speakers for one reason and another.

See that red wire on the top of the board? I’ve got lots more to tell you about that tomorrow (don’t worry, it’s not bad news), and some video I took at the factory earlier today. More to come later on, so keep checking over the holidays.


mkopack avatar

AWESOME!!!! Getting exciting seeing it up and running and living!

a.lone.wolf avatar

It handles the Star Trek trailer VERY well, and its 1080p! Its even better than a blu-ray player. Cant wait for launch.. Xmas money will be well spend on this..

nearlygreen avatar

Great indeed to “see” the sound working… :)

Happy Christmas to all involved.

Montekuri avatar

Wow!!! We got videos!

max1zzz avatar

Awesome, can’t wait to get my hands on one

walney avatar

Hmmm… Red wire? Wireless aerial maybe?

liz avatar

No, it’s not – I’d better squash that idea immediately! It’s not anything that’ll make any difference to the user (and it won’t appear on the board you buy), but it *is* interesting enough for me to write a fair bit about tomorrow.

Micah Denn avatar

Is it a branded R-PI power supply

liz avatar

No – nothing that exciting, rather an interesting look at the way we work and the fiddly things we have to do to get this thing going.

Micah Denn avatar

Is it a direct connection to Edens brain?

eben avatar


Bakul avatar

Something to do with power? The wire goes to a regulator/

Bluemerlin avatar

I saw that, it depends what the TP1 connection is for.

Thunder__X avatar

You’ve sparked my curiosity! Also, Merry Christmas to you and everyone on the Raspberry Pi team!

DaveB avatar

Usually a wire like that is a workaround for a problem with the PCB, but Liz says it’s not bad news so maybe I’m wrong.

eben avatar

Good guess. A little more about this tomorrow – fortunately it’s a tiny problem, the fix for which actually makes a tricky bit of the layout substantially simpler.

Alien/ST-CNX avatar

Yes… thought so. If you’ve only got one fix, that’s pretty good for a first rev board.

The video looks very nice… Makes me really hope you make OpenCL (or equivalent) available on the board!

eben avatar

Unfortunately the video is done using a dedicated video accelerator – you shouldn’t take it as an indication that there’s GPGPU capability available out of the box.

We do have 24 GFLOPS of floating-point performance which I’d like to be able to expose to users. I’ll be looking at ways of doing this next year, but it probably won’t be via a standard API like OpenCL (implementation effort is too high).

Alien/ST-CNX avatar

Great, glad to hear it. As you probably know, Apple, Intel and Nvidia are using the LLVM project for vectorized compilation, so depending on what is exposed, there may be a chance to interface it with LLVM and substantially reduce the work required. But having access to those 24GFlops would be helpful either way.

Merry Xmas all!

liz avatar

It is – and the fix was so easy it’s not bad news at all, but it *is* interesting (and it made for some great video).

DaveB avatar

So I take it that you don’t have a big pile of bare boards that now need to dispose of then? (If you do, get your names printed on them and use them as business cards).

liz avatar

No trash boards at all, although there are a couple which had some components removed when we were chasing a bug – they’re being rebuilt at the moment.

scep avatar

The red wire runs under the bed and is connected to an iPad.

eben avatar

Make that two iPads. Couldn’t do Samurai at that rate with just one.

The Cageybee avatar

Ahh the fondle slab. Incapable of playing 1080p video.

Imagine that, less than a tenth of the cost of an Ipad2 yet can blow it out of the water. Nice!!!

scep avatar

I see it now: the red wire goes down the rabbit hole and the blue wire is connected to the iPads ;)

Thunder__X avatar

Can’t wait!

guru avatar

First demo I’ve seen that really does justice to the 3D GPU, good as Quake is :-)

liz avatar

That Samurai demo is a mobile industry standard demo, built by a Finnish company called Rightware (formerly Futuremark) – I’ve had the odd dinner with them in Helsinki, and they’re great guys.

Bikko avatar

Remember seeing a BBC documentary about Sinlair and Acorn when making BBC computer,
The BBC guys are coming upstairs and they can’t get their acorn computer working.

They Cut the wire at last second that feeds to CPU alt clock (i think)

In spirt of the BBC micro is that it? do we get dramatic music aswell?

eben avatar

Absolutely – except instead of cutting the wire, we’ll be frantically soldering one on as they walk up the stairs.

psergiu avatar

Anyone has a youtube/vimeo/whatever link to this documentary (watchable from outside the UK) ?


Jecel Assumpcao Jr avatar

Look for “Micro Men” on Youtube and you will find a few options, like

Note that this is not a documentary, but a “comic drama based on true events”. Close enough.

mkopack avatar

If you guys look, that red wire is connected to TC1 (test connect 1), so it’s probably something to enable a debugging mode or something on the processor…

eben avatar

The wire’s actually running *through* the test point hole to connect nodes on the top and bottom of the board.

mkopack avatar

Ah, couldn’t tell from the pictures. Regardless, glad to see the progress. Hope you and Liz got nice and recharged on your vacation.

Hope you guys are also doing some serious stress testing (like 48 hour SuperPi or something like that to just get the heat up and make sure everything keeps working right timings wise and stuff..)

eben avatar

We’re doing a reasonable bit of stress testing. Thermals aren’t an enormous problem, at least for the SoC; it’s quite hard to get above body temperature. One thing we do want to be sure about is the performance of the power supply under heavy load; this is the area that’s seen most work since the alpha hardware.

Jessie avatar

It goes through that hole and connects to the TARDIS for inter-dimentional space and time travel.

Thomas M avatar

When can we order? Order on this site?

Montekuri avatar

2012 January :D

liz avatar

We don’t have a definite order date yet because it depends on testing. As you see, it’s looking good so far!

Gert avatar

You mean order the red wire?
I’ll ask Liz to put a purchase button up for that.

ukscone avatar

The red wire is to make it all christmas-y. they were going to use tinsel but it caused glare on the camera

Montekuri avatar

So, the red led is Rudolph’s noise?

Bakul avatar

With such disrespectful jokes about Rudolph it is no wonder Santa is not going to deliver this board before Christmas.

liz avatar

The lack of mounting holes presented huge problems for the angel we wanted to impale on the top.

Jessie avatar

Glad to see things coming along. I think everyone is itching to buy one, two, or more.

Armen avatar

+ ! Like! :)

Mark K avatar

It’s not a clock problem is it? :)

CHRIS :) avatar

Whats the downside, my laptop cost me 950$ but isn’t this good, maybe to get one you have to pay the 35$ but also fight a bionic chimpanzee or solve world hunger, surely theres a catch :(

P.S do you have to fight an alligator in a nuclear reactor blindfolded?

liz avatar

Well, we *did* get to play with an X-ray machine today as part of getting the boards up, but happily for you and everybody else involved, there was no harder radiation than that involved.

guru avatar

“Stand back, I’m going to try computer science!”

Gee avatar

taking another look at the blank pcb (sorry liz this just stops the comments of anything extra on the board) it looks like one of the ground traces for a voltage regulator didn’t entirely connect. therefore the red wire is a bridge to ground. as i said it only looks like. please don’t take my work for it with out hearing from the ras-pi team themselves
regards Gee

Gee avatar

saying this after reading eben’s comment (finally on my part ) i’m not so sure. all i can say the something is being connected to ground.

hippy avatar

Check the circuit Liz kindly posted a couple of days ago, look up NCP1117, and you’ll find the centre leg isn’t 0V …

hippy avatar

^ ADDED : Looking at RG1 and RG3, both are NCP1117 with different pin labelling so now I’m completely confused !

hippy avatar

^ AARGH : RG1 and RG2. Time for bed methinks.

Thunder__X avatar

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Raspberry PIs danced in their heads.
And Liz her ‘kerchief, and Eben in his cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap..

The Cageybee avatar

Doubt it. You’d be able to find ground on the board a little easier than snaking a wire through the board.

I hope this won’t stop the first production run. I like many of the other hackers would happily apply the fix ourselves.

Then the board could be re-jigged for the second run.

I guess it’s still a little early for you guys to decide what you’re going to do.

brep avatar

What’s up with the capacitor on the top right? In the video from 0:24 it is rotated with 180 degrees.

azureblue avatar

Good spot. It takes a knock as well. From 1’46” it’s leaning to the right, still like that at 2’15”, and back in the original orientation at the very end Most likely the clips were shot out of sequence and for some reason the component needed replacing/refitting once. Odd that it should be the wrong way around as it’s clearly marked for polarity.

electrodacus avatar

Glad to see the Beta working.
I’m not happy with the USB connector extending so much outside the PCB limit a simple case will be impossible in this configuration since RJ45 port is recessed compared to USB.
Also the SD card is more than half outside the PCB.
The alpha board was way better designed even if a bit larger.
I do not think it was the same PCB designer or there is an interest in making this hard to use as p part of a different product.
I was quite exited especially because of the price but I think is time to look for alternatives.
Hope Is soon available I will still buy some for investigation.

The Cageybee avatar

Yeah. Good luck with that hunt.

edutechuk avatar

yeah, i am sure pc world will sort him out with something for a tenner.

can’t wait for shipping.

electrodacus avatar

Yes a bit hard for the price.
The ideal one is the BeagleBone but at 89$ is more than double the price of raspberry pi.
There are some ARM9 stamp board with no connectors at similar price that can probably work for my project.
But since I’m not sure this project will be finalized next year I’m not sure that by 2013 I will still be able to find ARM9 or even ARM11 easy.

JamesH avatar

I think you’ll find that $89 is over triple the price of the model A. But that’s just quibbling.

electrodacus avatar

Not fair to compare with model A since model A has only 128MB of RAM and no LAN (the LAN is important in my project).
And the LAN is not GB LAN as on the Bone.
Even model B can not really compare in therm of CPU performance cortex A8 vs ARM11 (2 DMIPS/MHz vs 1.2 DMIPS/MHz ).
Not sure how SGX530 compares with the raspberry GPU but that is not important for me.
The The AM3358 on the BeagleBone only cost 5$ in quantities so I expect lower cost devices or the price can drop in time.
I still think that BeagleBone is a bit expensive for what it is but it has the potential to go lower in price or I can build my own custom board that will not be possible with raspberry pi.
RTC is another thing that is missing on raspberry pi and I need that.
I love raspberry pi and I think is a great product but it will probably not work for me.

electrodacus avatar

I think I’m quite lucky since I found something for 60$ even less in quantities it has the WM8650 SOC is a 800Mhz ARM11 and 256MB RAM so quite similar it has a 4.3″ LCD and battery and most important for me it has RJ45 connector.
Other thing includes 2x USB , WiFi , micro SD card (except for the 4GB flash included), and it comes with android 2.2

It costs more than the 35$ for the raspberry pi and the 3D and video acceleration are probably not as good but also not important to me.

Rich Sedman avatar

For goodness sake! I’m so surprised at the extreme patience from all concerned so far in response to negative comments like these… If you don’t like it, don’t buy one and, better yet, don’t post. It’s not being developed for your own personal benefit.

Amazing work from the Raspberry Pi team! Next year is going to be great – I can hardly wait!

encore118 avatar

Nothing wrong by voicing wants or needs on an open forum. The Raspberry Pi demonstrates how it could help both young and old minds around the world better understand computer science to unlock great potential. Many have said with “great power comes great responsibility”. :)

hippy avatar

I thought the same on USB / LAN positioning and also have issues with connector placement generally and the lack of mounting holes.

It is however what it is and we will have to live within those constraints or consider something else. Not that’s there’s anything comparable I can see for the price. Interestingly the Beagleboards seem to have similar different recess distance issues for LAN and USB.

liz avatar

There’s only so much you can do within the price constraints. You can buy short USB ports, but they’re a lot more expensive and would add far too much cost to the device.

As far as the SD card reader’s footprint goes: I actually have a story about that. We had originally sourced one which cost about 30 cents. Our supplier let us down right at the last minute, and failed to tell us that the product had been end-of-lifed, so we’ve had to buy in a reel of another brand from Digikey and are hand-soldering them ourselves on the beta batch. (Obviously, the production batch will all be done by machine.)

That reel we bought cost about four dollars per SD card reader, which is the sort of price we’d have to pay for one that was flush. We’ve sorted out more in the $0.30 range for the production boards, but those are the sort of price deltas you’ll see for componentry like this.

It’s a good illustration of the constraints we’re under as regards components; and we have to strive very hard to keep costs down by juggling a lot of parts by price.

electrodacus avatar

Liz thanks for the answerer.
So in the final version the SD will be flush with the PCB? That will be great.
As for USB the plan was to use the short USB connector when the PCB design was made but because of the cost the longer one was used?
I think I will be able to remove the USB port since I have no need for that.
Hope I will be able to buy one in January.
Happy new year.

Ryfys avatar

Nice device! Now, if I could only run Slackware on it and compile the kernel myself, I’d be in for buying one.

Gee avatar

There is an arm version of slackware available. with a bit of tweeking in like that it my run on the arm11 core and kernel supplied (personal work in progress). just because i’ve useds slackware on old x86 machines and it worked well.
Regards Gee

axiomprime avatar

Sweet. So sweet. I’m pulling an all-nighter in work and this has cheered me up no end.

SergioPoverony avatar

When sales will begin? A year has ended

JamesH avatar

Early next year.

DavidCDean avatar

I’m sure this has been answered elsewhere, but are there standoff / mount holes in the board?

JamesH avatar

No, wasn’t space on this revision of the board. Maybe if we respin it holes will appear but they do take a lot of real estate.

simonx avatar

Lovely to see the RPi booting.

Hate the sticky out SD card. How are we supposed to fit it into a case? All the connectors are on the edges, but the sticky out SD means we have to either use an extender or a have a wiggle in the case for the power-in.

I suppose there’s no way to move the SD slot over a bit?

reallynotnick avatar

I think the easiest solution is to just have a hole on the side of the case and let the card stick out like it would on a MacBook Pro or most external SD card readers. Plus then it allows you to have easy access to the card without having to take apart the case.

Of course this is not the ideal setup for most people I will make due with it. Already have my 8GB SD card bought and am waiting to be able to order!

R.Koebler avatar

SD-card-bodies are often mostly empty:
So, if you don’t need to change the SD-Card too often, and don’t need a really-high-capacity-SD-card, you could just cut away the empty part of the SD-card-body. ;)

Roger Wolff avatar

That must be a pretty recent SD card. I’ve opened up SD cards a while back and those were filled much further.

Jongoleur avatar

Wonderful stuff!

I’m sure some people here will be familiar with the book “The Soul of a New Machine” by Tracy Kidder (though I just looked at the copyright date – 1981, so perhaps not…). Anyhow the “Red Wire” reminded me of the hardware debugging section in that book.

I’m hoping that a modern take on that book, but about the Raspberry Pi, will eventually apppear, it would be fascinating reading!

I hope that everyone concerned with the Raspberry Pi project take at least a few days off over the festive season to relax and at most only stare at a screen for entertainment.

Merry Xmas everyone, and a terrific New Year!

Dan Hibbert avatar

Just saw the bbc4 video followed by this video. Very excited!!

meltwater avatar

First off thank you guys for working so hard and quickly, very short time between getting the boards and testing/debugging fixing etc.

I imagine the red wire is a safety measure…if the R-Pi turns evil there has to be a way to save humanity… Have to keep the Guilt chip wired in!

Glad to hear it is no biggy, better to find in test than later whatever it is.

Seeing the videos just make me look forward to the release all the more.

andrew lindop avatar

I can program a little on my bbc but this looks a little more complex – a must have though no doubt :)

Paul Maddox avatar

great demo, and don’t worry about the modwire, it’s not complete without at least one mod wire ;)
Given the complexity of the project to get this far is awesome.
I’m looking forward to ordering mine!

Jiří jackiv avatar

Pokud se vám podaří tento projekt dokončit a bude se prodávat za 25 dolarů,bude to revoluce v počítačovém světě !!!Přeju vám hodně úspěchů.J.J.

jose avatar

este je otazne, ci sa bude dat zohnat za taku cenu aj v cechach/na slovensku..

ausserirdischesindgesund avatar

What does the board show immediately on power-up, before the kernel takes over? Is there some kind of “BIOS boot screen” loaded from the GPU?

Gert avatar

Nope. The first thing you see on the screen is the Linux boot text. The GPU is active but not showing itself.

Graeme avatar

I only found out about this project via a link on the BBC website. Initially I was very impressed (well, actually I still am – good work!), until I saw the use of the Broadcom device. We’re a low-volume high-value OEM and Broadcom are not helpful to us.
From one of the Pi spec sheets it mentions 1080p30 decode/encode, whereas most specs of this part only mention decode. So the question is, can the device really do H.264 encode at 1080p30?
I’ll still be buying a dozen when available next year. Season’s Greetings (or Merry Christmas – if that’s your bag).

JamesH avatar

Yes, it can encode 1080p30H.264. There will be a camera module that uses the encode available next year.

Broadcom do not deal with low volume OEMS, it’s just the way they work. Anything else, with their setup, is not cost effective. This has been discussed in the forum.

kuku avatar

Which video acceleration API is used ?

JamesH avatar

Openmax, but that a right PITA so we are looking into alternatives. On first release we will provide a complete media player app

tom dez chez avatar

I want 1…xD

Jeff avatar

My breath just stopped when I saw this project. I had working on such a product but funds are my main issue. Also I had been let down from many investors because they said its impossible to be done.

Clive Attwood avatar

I just love this and can wait to get one All the best Merry Christmas

[…] Further to my post of last night, read this: […]

Stephen H-C avatar

Looks great. I’ll get one for the kids and I to play with. My first computer was the Acorn System 1, when 15. Taught me a lot!

Martin avatar

Yhay that looks very cool! The project is very cool at all, i will buy more than one as soon is it available, may be there are some minor drawbacks, but i think there will be solutions for that! The caseing will be one problem because of the connectors but i think thats bearable.

Douglas Toltzman avatar

This looks great, but I hate to see it promoted as yet another MP3/Movie player and game machine. When I was a teenager (back in 1980), I bought my first computer (a Commodore VIC20), learned to program it, and interfaced it to many external devices so the computer could control all sorts of things. I learned a lot about programming (in BASIC and at the machine level), and basic electronics. I hate to see kids doing nothing but playing games and watching movies on their computers. I know you agree with me, but your demo is antithetical to your purpose, in my opinion.

liz avatar

I don’t agree with you, actually, and nor do the other members of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Lots of us got our start writing games because we enjoyed playing them; and we’re very conscious that there are a lot of kids who will want to own a Raspberry Pi who may, later down the line, be turned on to programming them because of the multimedia capability. I’d love a world where all kids are enthused by basic electronics too, but it’s not the world we live in. In order to get the device into the hands of as many as possible so we can reach those who don’t even know they have a potential yet, we’ve made sure it has features they know they want already.

Douglas Toltzman avatar

I hope to buy one and use if for home automation. Spectator sports are not the solution to anything, in my opinion. I am sure you are right about reaching a much larger audience by promoting the device as yet another way watch movies. I just don’t see the value add.

Vindicator avatar

Many of us got started in computers learning games, My start was with a timex sinclair 1000 kit with a 16K upgrgade module, when no computers existed in my home town, Later the local community college aquired apple IIe computers and they were teaching programming in basic and games were taught to teach the uses of looping and such.
The Raspi is not going to be easy for anyone to just turn on and play games, They will have to learn some basics about Linux just to operate the platform and add the games which is a step in the right direction, Just throwing a disc in is not an option either so they will have to learn to transfer the games and software onto the SD card again more learning as to how it works, more than just plugging a SD or disc into a windows machine and it installs and plays it for you.
Most of the Raspi that will be bought from here will go into projects that have nothing to do with games, I have a quad core overdriven machine to play game on.
I am 50 years old this week and am still playing around with my computers, repaired a Xbox 360 for a neighbor last week just for the fun of it.
I believe the interest is out there just not the platform.

Jason Ozolins avatar

Nothing about the RPi would prevent you from compiling up a VIC-20 emulator and giving that to your kids, if you so wished. You’d have to hack in some support for the GPIO pins, but if you are wedded to PEEK, POKE, bleeps and blobs then you can certainly get a reasonable simulation going on this modern hardware. Unlike the genuine model from the good old days, there’s less mucking about with dud cassette tapes and cheap disk drives that rattle the head positioning out of alignment after too many “seek to track zero” bad sector reads on copy protected games. Old dot matrix printers were quite fun to print bitmapped graphics on, but the VIC-20 and C64 tape and disk systems were really pretty woeful. Friends and I made parallel port DACs to get a few seconds of scratchy sample sound out of our C-64s, which was of course a fun thing to do, but that was when a Fairlight CMI cost $30K and anything cheap that could play PCM audio was a real achievement. Nowadays, I’m very glad that a starter computer can come with great graphics, really good audio and enough RAM to store many minutes of sampled sound; just because it has decent graphics and audio doesn’t mean you have to use it to watch movies!

I do have similar concerns to yours about the way my 10-year-old views the household computer as a way to play endless Web based flash games. I actually got my brother to bring a refurbished BBC Master 128 over from the UK when he moved back to Australia last year (try getting to yer fancy flash games sites on THAT, son!)… but I’m really much happier just to have to make enough desk space for a USB keyboard and flat panel and a nifty little board in between. No flash plugin will be installed on a Raspberry Pi in this house. :-)

If you really want to go for VIC-20 minimalism, you could always get a Parallax Propeller board (use a Propeller core to generate video directly!) or an NXP LPCXpresso if you just want lots of I/O, but you won’t be paying much less than for a Raspberry Pi…

JustACat avatar

I’m so excited! When, when, when? =)

Bart avatar

I can’t wait to have this board! :D Great to see a movie of it actually running. And it beating my netbook…

I have a USB hub and an ethernet cable ready near my TV ;)
Bit worried about casing though, I hope it won’t take long for a nice case to arise. I’m sure there will, though.

Will Godfrey avatar

Only one ‘red’ wire on an early-production board is an incredible achievement. I’ve seen veritable nests of them on 2nd and 3rd generation boards – and these are large well spaced out boards.

Rushi Desai avatar

Any news on the accelerated driver for X? How well is LXDE running? Have you tried Chromium?

Vindicator avatar

Great going, I have been patiently waiting for a few months now and the Finnish line is in view and heading toward us.

Aleks avatar

Looks like it is going to be inconvenient to have connectors on all sides of the board. While board is small all these wires sticking from all directions make whole assembly big.

Is it technically possible to redesign board to have connectors on one side ?
(may be in two rows – on top and bottom of the board)

liz avatar


Vindicator avatar

All of the ARM board I have looked at seem to have the same affliction of connectors out all sides of the board and the one I have seen that does not have them on every side, has a proprietary connector for all connections which I personally would really hate.

George avatar

Simply amazing! just hope to be able to buy one ASAP (as everyone else).

One simple question, at 0:52 a shell command is typed: $ . mov, what’s that command? how is it able to play a movie from a tty console? which video player is it running? thanks for sharing info about this.

psergiu avatar

“.” is an alias for “source”
This means that “mov” is a shell script in the $PATH which calls up the player.

JamesH avatar

It’s a custom player. Will be supplied with the Raspi.

KyRol avatar

And what I should do in order to see (by my own in real time) Samurai Demo on my 1st Raspberry Pi device?

stqn avatar

Boot seems a bit slow in this video… How long does it take to boot? Which distro is it? Thanks!

Justin150 avatar

I learnt to really programme on the BBC Micro. You could hack into BBC basic and add commands so it was a totally extendible language. 30 years later I have a 10 year old daughter. She will be given a Raspberry pi and told to make it work, thereby learning about computers the same way I did.

Totally brilliant.

Thomas Drew avatar

This looks fantastic and I can see it being very popular! We will defiantly get half a dozen to play with in our office. I amazed it can be dome for the price! I’m a instrumentation Engineer that specialises in designing various types of bespoke scientific test equipment (electromechanical systems mainly). I would be very interested in embedding a few of these devices as front ends for some of the kit we work on. With a touch display and some custom software we could save ourself a lot of effort over what we currently do! Plus this seems like a lot of of power and storage space available. What’s the Raspberrypi foundation’s policy of using their hardware in commercial devices?

John avatar

At 14 seconds and 24 seconds into the video Dom is identifying things on the board. Unfortunately my hearing isn’t very good and I just can’t make out the phrases he’s saying at these two points. What is he saying in these two places?

liz avatar

If you go to the FAQ page, you’ll see a labelled diagram of the board at the top of the page – basically Dom’s describing the ports which are on that image.

Armen avatar

I’ve just discovered Raspberry Pi and like other guys who owned Sinclair ZX spectrum, Commodore 64 when they were kids I’m very very excited about this project. This truly can be a contemporary version of those devices [like Amiga 500]. It has the potential of having extreme educational value, a very good introduction for kids to the world of programming (not just using a computer). The video was nice. The trailer and all. Real time rendering in 1080p was impressive. But I was more interested to see more snapshots, videos of the linux desktop environment. Only (I guess) the last 10 seconds of the 2:27 seconds showed a browser window. What I’ve been looking for and haven’t been able to find is pictures, videos of the device running a text editor for example, maybe writing a couple of lines of code, then running the program to draw stuff, the things that made us interested in programming back in the day. A video with the device booting up into desktop (LXDE? I don’t know I’m a Windows user ) would make my day (cause I’m really excited about this project). Is the software side of things that complete or not yet? I was craving for some videos :P but didn’t get the dose unfortunately :) something like bring up the browser window, copy some text from the browser, minimize the windows, open up a text file paste the text in it, save, close [the process of note taking these days!] playing some solitaire … showing trailers is great, but those stuff are really exciting in a $25-$35 educational home computer.

JamesH avatar

LXDE works fine, as do a number of browsers. I’ve tried Midori which seems to work best in the low memory environment. C compilers work fine, as do a number of other languages – see the Wiki for more details.

Armen avatar

Wow! Good news! To tell the truth I wasn’t that optimistic about the state of the software side of things. I never dared to set foot into linux world [one reason for me to play with this device :) ] Even the name “Midori” was new to me, searched a bit and it looked great, speacially on its wiki page says it supports HTML5 on YouTube which is great, those are classrooms of tomorrow (and also a lot of fun entertainment). Apparently we have a little problem of scarce of videos showing the device booting up into a desktop environment and user doing some real world stuff with it (a little bit of browsing, text editor, some interpreted language executing a program). I’m sure A LOT of people are out there (the whole internet world!!) that like me are craving for some videos :P

I don’t know why I’m so excited about this project but there is something in it which looks like (to me at least) having the potential of being world changing. By world changing I mean the way kids all over the world are introduced to using computers and world of computer programming. Great idea maybe because there are great guys behind this idea, smart and *experienced*.

There are very important but unnoticeable (at first glance) important design decisions which make this device *very* promising (at least). I see these:

– The price! Even people in poor countries (hopefully!) can afford it. In countries which people are better off, you can just give one of these to a smart kid on the block and buy another one of yourself, “hey you kiddo have you seen this magic black box and what cool things you can do with it, take it and give it a try!”

– The size and ruggedness. With a rugged plastic box a kid can throw one of the these into his jacket pocket and take it to a friend’s house to show his friends this new cool demo he has been working on. He can take the device to school (or university) to show his teachers the cool stuff this little black box is capable of. Schools can give these to students to take home, attach it to a TV and be introduced to GUI automatically just playing solitaire. This is not a $600 ipad which people would be worried not to have a scratch on.

– I don’t know why but I love the fact that the whole thing is stored on an SD card. (I presume) pop one out and pop another in and you have a new computer! :P “Hey you kid have you brought the SD card to show me the cool stuff you’ve been doing lately, give me the SD card … oh nice desktop background, wow!!!, nice programming skills!!!! what? you hacked this game to 256 lives with a hex editor? :P I would love to play that game with 256 lives!!!!!

– Living long enough in a financially not well of country like Armenia, I haven’t seen a home without a TV set. Though we hold the Guinness world record for the biggest chocolate :P but that’s a different story, more about tourism sector maybe (and the chocolate facotry of course!). Not as fun as this device :P Now all can start using and learning about computers. I searched the internet and came across LITEON usb keyboard for $7, a mouse $7, a kid can take this device home and start playing games with it on TV (first step of learning = playing) in Armenia they love chess so I can imagine the whole family being gathered around the TV suggesting moves :P [I don’t play chess though] coincidentally BBC has an interesting article about Armenia and it’s love of Chess. Then it’s solitaire and then typing in some code for some eye candy lines bouncing around the screen and there you go …. by the way how’s the text readability on analog TV sets (let’s say 21″-32”)? … did I say we’re craving for videos and snapshots? :P


Armen avatar

Forgot this one …. the fact that you can easy attach a keyboard and mouse and start coding …. tablets are great devices but those are not suitable (neither designed to be) devices to introduce people to programming.

TMR avatar

I think there’s a valid point in that, as the project progresses, marketing for it needs to develop some “show off the hardware hackability too” sidework, but I think the key here is, once you’re using GPIO, you’re ready to start soldering.

If there’s ever (LATER, obviously!) an optional-build version of the board with headers attached, I think they should be female-header type to match up to breadboards, which would allow direct with-breadboards use the way the Arduino does. (This is certainly what I’ll be doing when it’s time to start doing electronics on it with my Niece.)

And this demo is really stunning. High resolution video playback and 3DCG are how you prove what you can do, and shouldn’t be confused with final educational marketing videos. (Which I am excited to see.)

Armen avatar

TMR: “I think there’s a valid point in that” … “and shouldn’t be confused with final educational marketing videos. (Which I am excited to see.)”

Certainly there is a valid point in that. These videos *must* be there to show people the eye candy stuff. Very important. It helps spread the word and sell the product. And as a person who lived in a Soviet country just after the collapse of Soviet Union (the whole thing was almost untouched except I could travel freely!) I’ve felt the importance of eye candy (and trivial fun things) in human life. This is a great project and it has created a buzz worldwide… the opportunity shouldn’t be missed, specially because of lack of videos [I understand the team not wanting to take financial risks but lack of videos is something else] … if the board and software side is “complete enough” to boot into a desktop environment and do some stuff just pump out some videos on YouTube [and it doesn’t have to be from the RPi guys themselves …. volunteers, beta testers, people interested in the project could make those videos …. of course we understand that it’s still beta, things will crash, restart, etc. … but there is almost nothing on YouTube (or I couldn’t find one)

Jonathan Butler avatar

Guys this stuff is looking amazing! Keep up the awesome work, can’t wait to get my hands on one of these babies :)

ls4hunter avatar

Haha Love to see it running like this <3

Jeremiah avatar

New to the site. But can’t wait to buy some of these! So many uses. Great job dev team. :)

Philip Machanick avatar

You can see how tiny it is from how enormous the USB connector looks. Good work, looking forward to the real product.

[…] Video overview of the features […]

Gordon Spencer avatar

I just cant wait to get my hands on a couple of these, they look great and the capabilities look endless

JmaP avatar

Am I the only person to find the little red wire crossing the raspberry some how … nice ?
I’m actually thinking of drawing (with a permanent marker) one like that on my Pi just before I power it up for the first time :)

And as this topic became some how ‘Sinclair-related’… maybe I’ll put my PI inside my ZX Spectrum (if I manage to find it on my dad’s garage) :D

Would it be shipping before March 14th ?

[…] Bien entendu, avec les caractéristiques proposées (ARM@700Mhz, 256Mo de RAM, Videocore 4GPU capable de décoder du HD, Chip OpenGL ES2.0, Ethernet, Chipset son, … — voir les caractéristiques complètes), […]

[…] Gods, I am excited about these $25 PCs. Bringing up a beta board | Raspberry Pi Bringing up a beta board. Posted on December 23, 2011 by […]

[…] you can see here, the Raspberri Pi project is making headway on the beta boards. For those who don’t know, […]

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