Tag Archives: hardware

What Raspberry Pi’s launch day tells us

Raspberry Pi, the $25 / $35 Linux ARM computer, launched yesterday, with 10k units through 2 distributors. The distributors were crushed within minutes, their websites down for hours. There is now just sign up forms to express your interest.

This did not surprise me. For months RP has been a topic of conversations in my tech circles. The statement is typically how many units you’d buy, not whether or not you’d buy one. The moment I can buy 3, I will. I’m hoping, but not entirely optimistic, that I can do that this year.

At $35 this is still $30 less than an ethernet connected arduino, which is impressive. It also makes me wonder if they are adding enough to their unit cost to actually cover the people it takes to make getting these units out to the public possible. Even at double the price, they would have more demand then they knew what to do with.

But I think a more important thing can be said from this, how mainstream the hacker/maker world has become. RP is a DIY platform, and lots of people want it. If they can ever get their supply chain to meet demand they will sell more units than iPhones. Just think about that for a minute. And every one of these running Linux, though every one of these doing something slightly different.

I hope the RP foundation fully embraces the Arduino model, their closest comparator, and make the hardware fully open as well. The community around RP will only be fully unleashed when everyone can manufacture these boards. Given the RP foundation’s goals, this should align very well. A version of these with GPIO would be incredible, because the closest thing is the Beagle Bone, which comes in at $90.

Unreasonable expectations

Yesterday I learned something about the new Ubuntu 10.04 release.  I doesn’t like to start correctly when applied to a 8 year computer, that has a 11 year old second video card sitting in it.

This is the desktop under my desk in the office that I largely use as a media streamer, irc proxy, and second display (via synergy) for reading documentation while I write code.  It turns out that some number of years ago I’d stuck my old 3dfx card (a company that when bankrupt in 2002) in there, I think when I was testing Linux DRI on that machine and the i815 driver wasn’t working correctly.

Honestly, I’d forgotten the card was in there for years.  But when the machine did funny things to the display during boot (just about the time it’s trying to switch to it’s fancy splash screen), I spun it around to play with cables and noticed the second vga port.  Removing the 3dfx Voodoo3 pci card and rebooting fixed all the issues.

Lesson learned: don’t leave hardware you don’t ever plan to use plugged into machines.