Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 27th Apr 2012 11:33 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems The BBC reviews the Raspberry Pi. "The device may inspire a new generation of computer programmers or it could leave children used to smartphones and tablet computers baffled and bewildered. A great experiment with the way we teach computing has begun and we can't be sure how it will end." Mine's coming the week of May 21.
Thread beginning with comment 515951
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Fri 27th Apr 2012 13:35 UTC
MOS6510
Member since:
2011-05-12

I don't really see the use for it, apart from the price and the chance to build your own fancy case.

Personally I'd prefer an instant on device like the 80's home computers and a wider range of included programming languages, including Assembler.

For example turn it on and instantly be presented with a prompt from an operating system that allows you to directly start programming in BASIC or another simple language. Just flick the switch and start coding if you want to. Or from that prompt switch to other languages.

An emulation of BBC BASIC would be awesome.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by renox on Fri 27th Apr 2012 14:03 in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't really see the use for it, apart from the price and the chance to build your own fancy case.
I tend to agree with this: it's a nice cheap computer, but I don't think that I have an use for it..

Personally I'd prefer an instant on device like the 80's home computers
Uh? Once you have put the SD card in it, it is an "instant on" device.

and a wider range of included programming languages, including Assembler.
The review talks about Scrath and Python, but it doesn't say that you're limited to only those languages..

I'd be very surprised if there isn't an assembler already working.

As for an easy to use language environement, Scratch is used to teach programming to kids, so..

Edited 2012-04-27 14:09 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Fri 27th Apr 2012 14:12 in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Uh? Once you have put the SD card in it, it is an "instant on" device.


I don't know if it is. I have a cheap netbook somewhere and it takes a while to boot Linux from its SD card. To be honest I have no idea how the Pi does this, if it boots in a traditional manner or does something else.

My Commodore 64 "boots" in 2 seconds. As I kid when I wanted to code I'd turn it on and type away. Even a boot time of merely 30-60 seconds could have been enough for me to get over my coding urge and do something else.

Wider range than what is available on Linux???

As for an easy to use language environement, Scratch is used to teach programming to kids, so..


Linux has a very wide range, but only 2 are included. It can be a hassle to install others and this might put people off. Also when everybody starts installing themselves they may end up with different version than their friends causing compatibles issues, like Python 2 vs Python 3.

If its aim is to teach coding it should be ready to do that, not require the user to perform non-coding stuff to get to what he wants to do and why he bought the Pi.

Of course Scratch and Python are 2 choices that should cover a large mass of wannabe coders.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by whartung on Fri 27th Apr 2012 17:07 in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
whartung Member since:
2005-07-06

Most of the older computers may have been instant on (plus monitor warm up), but in truth they weren't typically usable if you had a disk drive unless it booted from the drive. The cassette typically came in built to the ROM and worked fine, but the DOS had to load.

That said, all of my current Macs are EFFECTIVELY instant on. Yes, my desktops are basically in low power sleep, but my iPhone and laptops are in more of a catatonic sleep. I don't know when the last time my mac laptop was actually rebooted.

I don't know the power and sleep support that RPi has. And, out of the box, it doesn't have a spot for a battery to maintain state and live unplugged.

But, I think it is likely effectively "instant on" for most use cases. It won't be instant on when you take it from home to school or whatever, but c'est la vie. Someone can come up with a battery backed up case. I wonder how long the thing will stay alive in sleep mode on 4 AA batteries, or some commodity cell phone battery that costs more than the computer.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Fri 27th Apr 2012 19:07 in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

My experience with home computers in the 80's was limited to the Commodore 64 and 128. Both could access the disk drive without the need of any extra software, although the C64's way of using the disk drive was a bit awkward.

I think the main advantage, from an educational point, was that home computers didn't change. Windows/Linux/OSX computers get operating system updates, they come on changing hardware, you can customize the way everything looks.

A home computer always comes on with the same screen, its build-in programming language stays the same, the chips don't change. It gave you a chance to really get to know the computer and figure out how it works. There weren't so many layers between you and the computer like there are now.

I really like my Macs, but I can't love them like I did my Commodore 64.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by jgagnon on Fri 27th Apr 2012 20:07 in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
jgagnon Member since:
2008-06-24

It would be possible to create an "instant on" experience with something like the Pi. It is cheap and soon it will be freely available. Having a standard piece of hardware to program to allows people to get innovative with their solutions.

Point is that this is the start of something really, really awesome. The Pi will do for general computing what Arduino did for micro-controllers. Is it "best of class"? No, but it doesn't have to be. It has a strong following and that is all it will take.

The Pi has all the potential to become the next Commodore 64 (fixed hardware, just waiting for the software to be written). If not it, then something directly inspired by it.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Fri 27th Apr 2012 20:17 in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

A few years ago there was the Commodore 64 DTV, which was a Commodore 64 crammed in to a joystick and with a number of build in games.

It could be hacked to attach a real C64 keyboard and even a disk drive to it. It seems to me the possibilities with the Pi are even greater.

I just hoped it doesn't become too much of a success, causing "everybody" to come with their own Pi product and fragmenting the market with a whole bunch of these devices, all cheap, all different.

The C64 had a 10 year run and each time programmers kept pushing the boundaries and make it do stuff people never imagined it could do. There is no need to push the Pi if in a few months the Pi2 is announced and other companies come with their own Pi, with better specs.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by steve_s on Sat 28th Apr 2012 18:04 in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
steve_s Member since:
2006-01-16

An emulation of BBC BASIC would be awesome.


There's been an effort underway for a few months now to port RISC OS to the Raspberry Pi. Unfortunately it seems they're still some way away from release. Once they're done though you won't have an emulation of BBC BASIC, you'll have legitimate full-blown BBC BASIC V running natively.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Sat 28th Apr 2012 19:02 in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I'd spend money on that!

Reply Parent Score: 2