Wired opinion piece from Pete Lomas
This is so good I’d kick myself if any of you missed it – head straight to Wired and read what Pete has to say about the manufacturing process and design decisions we’ve been dealing with up until now. It’s a great piece.
Should probably be required reading.
I agree with you. If the teachers and students who teach and learn using the RPi know this stuff, their motivation would drastically increase!
“How important was it to have internet connectivity? Turns out, it’s absolutely key: Without it, you can’t connect to the XBMC open source media player or get version updates via GitHub. So the $35 Pi had to include Ethernet…” I would argue, if you support USB WiFi adaptors and wired USB LAN adaptors, that’s just as good. So I’m looking forward to Model A.
I’d go one further and say on board wifi would be easier to use than ethernet – even my mobile phone can give me wifi internet, only my router has ethernet ports these days. Wired internet is faster and easier to set up, but is messy and impractical in the home especially if the PI is hooked up to a TV and the router is in another room…
Cost. Wired was built in to one of the ICs while Wifi would have required another IC, a redesign of the board (which from the article was already tight) and then the inclusion of an antenna, which would have made it a transmitter and so would have needed even more testing and certification.
Great article. Hopefully people will get a better sense of the work involved behind the scenes.
a very well done article, and kudos in bringing northerners in :)
He didn’t really say ‘gotten’, did he?
I think it’s unlikely. ;)
A very interesting read. But such a pity it had to be translated into American. With all the emphasis on Raspberry PI’s UK origin and now UK manufacture it would have been a much nicer read in English, even if the publication is an American. Labor/size of a dime/gotten/optimizing and so on. Such a shame.
I disagree with the title of the article. At first glance, it seems a bit harsh. Just because you make some compromises doesn’t mean you sold out. I believe you delivered same product you announced many many months ago with very few changes to the original spec. You kept to the price point you had set. We are using open software. I don’t see it as selling out at all.
The article is great, by the way. An enjoyable read.
A very interesting read indeed!
great article .. I don’t see how anyone else could go below $35 and make a knock off .. the low price to begin with I think is your best protection against clones ..
Reading the blog comments / forum it seams like everyone likes their little moan (not enough memory – too long to get one – missing feature – not made in the UK) – but it’s easy to forget just how much people behind the foundation have put in – financial, time and perhaps sanity :-) – to make this all possible. When you get a glimpse into the process you can appreciate how hard they’ve worked.
Plus they’re making headway on many of the points and added the new feature I was going to moan about (lack of mounting holes) before I had the chance – so I’m happy anyway ;-)
Still a long way to go until we get the new generation of school children ready to take on the IT world, but coming along very nicely.
Well done everyone!
The Foundation was already running on donations by the trustees, some of whom had remortgaged their own houses to provide funds.
I hope the money from the second mortgage was a loan to the Foundation and not a donation so there’s a chance of it being paid back!
Thankfully, it was. We’re still in a position where none of us can take a salary from the Foundation though, because of UK charity laws.
Very interesting article. Pete makes it sound like the deal with Sony was struck at the same time as the partnership with RS and Farnell? Is that really the case, or just “editing of history” by Wired?
Great pictures too – I’ve managed to photo-match them onto pictures of a Raspi PCB :-)
If they break some kind of copyright let me know and I’ll remove them.
You’re right; it wasn’t at the same time, but a few months later. The Farnell/RS deals were finally signed off on Feb 28, the day before launch. Eben and I first went to Sony the day before Easter Friday, and Mike Buffham and Pete took it from there.
Thank you Liz, for drawing this piece to our attention. It is truly enlightening, and makes me proud that I am a (negligible) part of the growth of the Raspberry Pi concept by buying one and spreading the word where I can. The only thing that really troubles me is – when do you kids sleep?
Seldom. (And when we do, we do so very soundly.)
There’s a very strong statement on open hardware. However, in talking with JamesH and Gert on the camera module forum, they have emphatically stated that RPi is NOT open source.
Is RPi open source or not? I would like to hear the foundation comment on this.
Why is this so important that people keep banging on about it.
It would be great if it was Open Source, but it is not necessary.
As far as I’m concerned the Foundation has delivered what they said they were going to deliver and then some.
Get over it and be thankful that some really smart and dedicated people have spent 7 years of their lives to give us the opportunity to take advantage of something as amazing as the Raspberry Pi.
For individuals that believe Open Source is so important why not spend the time learning and developing to release your own open source hardware rather than expecting others to jump through hoops and limit their ability to achieve their goals so you can achieve one of yours.
It does get very wearing doesn’t it. The Foundation has achieved a remarkable feat – just accept it and move on. Moaners are usually non-contributors or “give and take” … you give, they continually take.
I for one am so thankful that the Raspberry Pi has been launched enabling me, at low cost (I am a pensioner) to help my grandson to understand coding rather than play computer games all day. He has already “mastered” Basic on my old BBC “B” Micro and VIC-20. Now his ambitions are to code in Linux and Python. For a 9-year old, that is quite some ambition.
Did the moaners and philosophers on here ever have any ambitions at that age?
Yes, built my first radio at the age of 7. cutting code at the age of 18, with punch cards and paper tape. anyone else?
I wasn’t very good at programming, but I do fondly remember using paper tape to store my BASIC programs in computer class, back in ’78. We had a Teletype machine as our terminal and each morning they used the paper tape reader to boot up the computer. It took nearly an hour to do so, if I remember correctly.
The answer is yes and no. Anything that can be open source, is open source. That’s the OS, the drivers, etc. Anything that is proprietary is not open source (mpeg-2 codec, GPU blob), and to make it open source would be breaking the law and end the RPi completely. I’ve yet to hear a report though of someone going “I can’t do what I need to because item ‘X’ is closed source.” I’ve heard a lot of intellectual arguments for open source, but that’s philosophy not practice.
Worthwhile adding to Abishur’s post that being OS or not (and I class it as mostly open) doesn’t really detract from what you can do with the device except in some rather esoteric cases.
Nice. Thanks for sharing Liz. It was worth reading as it gave me a better appreciation of what was going on behind the scenes when it seemed like nothing at all was going on during the process. Nicely handled (proud owner of 3 v1 Raspberry Pi’s). Well, 2 if you count the one I will be selling to my son when allowance comes due this week :-)
“Instead of going through all the PCB layers, we made human-hair sized holes (micro vias) that go through only the first couple of layers (blind) – saving just enough space on the other layers for wiring up the other PCB components. At high volumes, these holes could be made quickly and efficiently with a laser. And it only cost a few cents extra.”
I’m no electronics engineer, but I’d be happy to read more about this.
That’s an odd thing to write, I had the impression you guys didn’t care much if other companies were copying Raspberry pi. Though in this case, it’s very specifically about the PCB design, and not so much about the idea of a small computer
From the sounds of the article, it’s not necessarily the Foundation that wants to prevent cloning, but the manufacturers (RS/Farnell/Sony) that want to prevent cloning, at least until they’ve earned back their investment in set-up costs. Which IMHO is perfectly understandable, otherwise the Raspi couldn’t be sold so cheaply.
Look at https://www.olimex.com/Products/OLinuXino/iMX233/iMX233-OLinuXino-MAXI/ as a comparison – much more ‘open’ yet also much less powerful than the Raspi, and more expensive too…
Re: RPi hardware design (although not specifically Pete’s article): Can any Foundation member please comment on the P1 GPIO “DNC” issue below? Are the DNC pins still DNC, or are you now done with P1 pinout changes?
They’re not DNC any more; they’re what they look like! I think we’re pretty close to being done with P1 pinout changes; barring catastrophe, Eben says he doesn’t expect to change the pinout connector.
Thank you Liz!
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