Eben’s Slashdot Q&A is now live

Remember when we encouraged you to go to Slashdot last week, in case you wanted to ask Eben Upton, Raspberry Pi’s Director, any questions? The results have just been posted. Head on over to have a read. Any further questions can be asked in the comments below – I can’t guarantee he’ll be quite as assiduous as Gert has in the post further down the page about answering them, but I’ll do my best to prod him into it.


David Riley avatar

I really liked his answers. It’s really good to see someone with an execution plan and the resources to pull this off running a project like this; so much the opposite of what’s happened with OLPC. I am so excited about this whole thing, you guys. Great work!

rasz avatar

Reading the replies i noticed video output dillemas. Wouldnt HDMI2DVI cable just work? I was under the impression all HDMI sources supported legacy DVI signalling.

jamesh avatar

Yes it should work.

Søren avatar

The RPi only supports HDMI and composite video.

HDMI is digital. Composite video is analog, but essentially only usable for TVs, not computer monitors. The dilemma is whether to support VGA for old analog computer monitors.

DVI can carry both digital (HDMI) and analog (VGA) signals. While you can get a HDMI to DVI adapter, that doesn’t give you an analog VGA signal, if all you had was digital HDMI signal to begin with.

jamesh avatar

It’s a simply plug issue to convert HDMI to DVI-D.

You cannot get a plug that converts HDMI to DVI-A (which contains an analog stream).

If you monitor has DVI input, it’s almost certain to be DVI-D, so an HDMI to DVI-D plug or cable is all you need.

thomasb avatar

I see that you plan on using C and Python for teaching languages. I think the device could be a trojan horse to teach other interesting paradigms to people (including children).

In particular, I think functional programming (OCaml, Haskell, Scala) are not as known as they deserve, and that the future may see more of this kind going mainstream (Clojure, …).

OCaml is used to teach (functional) programming to high-school student a lot in France, and I would love to see an ocaml port on the Raspberry Pi. This would help people learn early about type safety and this kind of stuff.

Nevertheless, keep up the good work!

liz avatar

Obviously, we can’t port everything that’s out there; we have a fairly small team working on getting stuff ready for launch, and there’s a whole world of software out there. The hope is (and it appears to be a sensible one, given what’s going on in our forums and elsewhere) that the community will start porting things they really want to see Raspberry Pi onto the device once they have their own boards. We’d love to see software like this on Raspi – I’m sure someone, somewhere will be excited enough by the idea to work on a port.

Andrew Minor avatar

It would be useful, though, to have a selection of software or documentation “products” that carried Raspberry Pi branding. They could be developed by third parties in conjunction with the RasPi team and form part of the “official” package available to buyers.

I think the key thing here is that the “official” manual would contain in depth and detailed documentation on the capabilities and limitations of the hardware from the outset and would be the “go to” (or maybe GOTO!) reference book for low level information.

I guess that this doesn’t have to be available immediately (and isn’t likely to be) but certainly made available within four to six months after release, perhaps.

Naturally software, hardware, documentation and educational materials would be made available through other providers later, just as they have with every other personal computer.

liz avatar

Sure – and we’ll be hosting torrents here of software stacks for people to download. We won’t be selling any of this because it’s all open source. We are not going to be developing educational materials ourselves; we’d merely be duplicating the work than an awful lot of other people have done already.

Nathan Liddle avatar

Python is a capable language for functional programming, most people use it imperatively, but that doesn’t make it any less functional. :)

Thomas avatar

Python is indeed capable of functional programming.

However, I missed my point: I should have emphasized how valuable a statically typed programming language is, for teaching. The functional languages I mentionned all have in common the fact that they are statically typed, with a powerful type system. (Less silly bugs = more fun)

However, I think that it is up to us, to provide support for these on the Raspberry Pi, if we really think that it is the way programming should be taught. So I am really looking forward to buying the device, and start porting OCaml on it.

David Riley avatar

It’s just running Linux; you should be able to run anything you can compile and run on Linux on ARM. I should imagine any of the bevy of open-source language interpreters should build with no problem on this!

If it’s running Debian or a derivative, I should imagine it would be as simple as “apt-get install ” as long as said interpreter is in Apt built for ARM (and as long as you’re running on the B board with Ethernet; for the A board, you could always get the source package onto the SD or a USB stick and build it).

jamesh avatar

Just out of interest I tried installing the languages you mentioned on my prototype. The only one not in the Debian Arm repo was Haskell. All the others were there, although I am only fully installing OCaml (waiting for it now to complete install – takes a while to unpack)

So it looks like most of the languages you mentioned are ready to go ‘out of the box’.


jamesh avatar

And managed to try OCaml before bed and it seem to work – well, I typed ocaml, and got this…

jamesh@raspi-jamesh:~$ ocaml
Objective Caml version 3.11.2


Thomas avatar

That sounds promising, indeed.

jamesh avatar

And here is Scala (wasn’t particularly fast though)

jamesh@raspi-jamesh:~$ scala
Welcome to Scala version 2.7.7final (OpenJDK Zero VM, Java 1.6.0_18).
Type in expressions to have them evaluated.
Type :help for more information.


And Clojure..

jamesh@raspi-jamesh:~$ clojure
Clojure 1.1.0
user=> help
java.lang.Exception: Unable to resolve symbol: help in this context (NO_SOURCE_FILE:0)

ottocool avatar


I was quite disappointed when i heard that Ubuntu can’t be supported, so I thought why don’t we collect some money in order to support the development of Ubuntu on the Raspberry Pi?

jamesh avatar

It’s not a question of Raspi supporting Ubuntu, but Ubuntu supporting the Armv6 architecture which they have dropped. Since Debian (and other distros) still support Armv6 there are plenty of alternatives that provide pretty much the same functionality.

Mike Jans avatar

Im a realy big fan of Ubuntu… but only for Home computer….

Im much more intrested in using TinyCore Linux on this little beast ;=) because the distro is only 10MB in size and has a ultra easy package manager..

good work

Rosia Nicolae avatar

Will it have Linux drivers for SPI and I2C ?

jamesh avatar

It can use the standard Linux SPI and I2C drivers, so yes.

Rosia Nicolae avatar


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