The Rant – Raspberry Pi…

The Rant – Raspberry Pi after the break…

The Rant – Raspberry Pi…

I’m a sucker for small and independent computer hardware projects. We live in an age of a relatively mature computer industry of Apples and PCs. Consoles haven’t changed in years, being a strictly Microsoft (XBox) / Sony (Playstation) / Nintendo (Wii) race. There’s a bit of flexibility in smartphones and tablets but Apple dominates both.

Even in software, there really isn’t a whole lot of excitement. Browsers? The only “excitement” is to see which giant, Google or Microsoft, eventually becomes the dominant browser. Firefox, Safari and Opera need not apply. Operating systems? Are you kidding me? It’s been Apple or Windows for decades with Linux being little more then an asterisk for all but the most dedicated computer users.

So it’s always refreshing to see a new project come along that attempts something close to innovation. The “Raspberry Pi” touts itself as a $25 ($35 for a more robust system) “computer” – Just add hard drive, monitor, keyboard, mouse, case… Basically, it’s a motherboard (yes, I know, single-board computer). A $25 dollar motherboard. That runs certain types of Linux (an operating system, like Windows 7 or OS X).

OK, the more I type about it, the less enthused I am about a $25 dollar motherboard. Granted, the process of designing and mass producing in some quantity this item should be celebrated to some degree but the reality is that, to most of the public, Linux is as inaccessible as Esperanto. I’m not seeing a practical application unless they try to bundle this with a keyboard and other necessities in order to make it an actual computer. I think the bare minimum would be a case so that it would simply look like a device.

Let me be clear – I am happy that I live in a world where the Raspberry Pi exists. Unfortunately, I’m not sure what I would do with such a device. Didn’t the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project flounder with it’s effort to make a “People’s Computer”?

Anyway, good luck to the Raspberry Pi people, I hope that their project is a success and that they make many more products. Maybe if this is a success, it will take Linux out from being a footnote in the operating system battles. Most likely not but I’m a sucker for such projects, especially if they add a little excitement in a mature industry not known for having many new players in it.

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2 Responses to “The Rant – Raspberry Pi…”

  1. mailinatorpeter Says:

    I think you are being very pessimistic about the Raspberry Pi project. This little device is perfect for kids and adults to have a bit of a play with computing for very ltitle money. I intend to switch over my Asterisk PBX server to one of these little boards to save the environment and save space. This is not a board for playing with the big boys, but might just create some innovation we have been waiting for!

    • Lutonaut Says:

      Hi mailinatorpeter and thank you for reading my blog.

      Re-reading my entry, my opinion hasn’t changed but I’ll politely disagree that I was being “very pessimistic” about the Raspberry Pi. In my opinion, it’s sort of like one of those car deals where the car costs $200 dollars but you need to add tires, a steering wheel, a transmission, an engine, seats, a windshield, a gas tank and brakes. That kind of car deal is great for an auto mechanic who knows what they are doing but not exactly accessible for those who take twenty minutes to find where the glove box is. As stated in the original entry, I hope that (and, to some degree, it already is) it is a success and that the success inspires other types of entries into this field. I hope that you find great joy and productivity in this product.

      Again, thank you for reading my blog.

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