Raspberry Pi

The RaspberryPi is a small cheap ARM based bare-bones PC targetted at school kids and educators for teaching basic and probably some more advanced level computer science at schools. I think it is an amazing project and something I have been saying is needed in schools for many many years.

My statements always went along the lines of “The problem with IT in schools is that they only teach the use of admin based applications, and the level of information regarding how the computer works, its construction etc is minimal and often incorrect. It breeds a sense of techo-fear where people are afraid to use a PC incase they break something.”

Truth is, you don’t need to be an enormous nerd or a geek to get a lot of use and flexability out of a computer. Even a basic understanding of a terminal and the general workings of a PC would be 100x more useful than “Double click on the excel icon…. dont touch anything else!” that appears to be what the kids get today. (Not to poke at teachers, I believe its more the curriculum that needs to change, I’m sure IT teaches find it soul destroying the level they have to teach)

The R_Pi is an ARM System on a Chip running at 700MHz base (though i think it could be over-clocked… you naughty people) with 256MB ram. It features network, USB connectivity, RCA connection, Audio and HDMI output along with some other nice stuff. Full details here….

While many of you will take a breath and say “You cant do anything with that” The truth is, maybe you are correct, but for a mere £25 it will make you take a look at the CPU and memory usage of typical applications and make you see how needlessly bloated they all are and as a challenge, make you think more about efficiency and getting the most out of something rather than “Oh it should be pretty more than functional”.

Once in the hands of nerds and educators alike, this epic little PC will hopefully start an exciting step forward in IT education.

My own plans? Well… compile LuxRender for it of course!!!! I have managed to do this already on a debian arm distribution, emulated in QEMU…. however I would like to do this again using the official R_Pi disk image.

Instructions to follow!

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