The Raspberry Pi Foundation will be making a big (and very positive) announcement that just might interest you at 0600h GMT on Wednesday 29 February 2012. Come to www.raspberrypi.org to find out what’s going on.
Jonas Butz, a high school student from Germany, was on Twitter the other day, and showed us a rather excellent QR code poster pointing at this website which he’d made after a hard day’s designing Lego cases. We retweeted it, and it turned out to be extremely popular, so I’ve asked his permission to post it here so those of you who don’t do the Twitter thing can see it and download it.
Jonas has made the QR code available as a .png file, so you can download it by right-clicking on the image, enlarge it to whatever size you fancy, print it out and stick it all over your school or place of work to entice people to visit our website. Spread the word – and thank you, Jonas!
(Edit: the original QR code was occasionally not being recognised by people using Barcode Scanner on Android devices – we’d had some reports of it working most, but not all of the time. Jonas has also made this version, with a slightly smaller raspberry in the middle of it, which Barcode Scanner seems to be much happier with.)
A brief status update for those of you wondering when boards are going to arrive. As you may have gathered, there’s been a delay at the factory; we’ve been assured this morning that a first batch of boards will ship to us either today or first thing Monday.
In other news, if you don’t own an alarm clock, this weekend might be a good time to do some shopping.
We’ve just had a message in the Fedora thread on our forum from Chris Tyler, who is leading the team behind the Fedora remix for Raspberry Pi. The whole thread is worth a read; Chris has been giving lots of detail on what’s going on at Seneca College, where the work is being done, for a while now. I’ve asked Chris if it’s OK to copy his latest post here, because it’s all about what you’ll be downloading in a couple of days. So without further ado, I’ll hand over to him:
The last few days have been very exciting and exhausting for both me and the ARM team here at Seneca!
We chose today for the release event in order to get it out before the hardware was released, and before our midsemester break next week when our local celebrants would be away. The plan was to do some final release docs and signing over the weekend and then have a fun but simple celebration where we could tell the local community about what we’d been doing.
Things haven’t unfolded quite the way I’d envisioned — first, the event took on a life of its own, and second, I spent the weekend violently ill and with a fever, both of which consumed a lot of unexpected time and energy. I’ve also become aware of just how large and active the Raspberry Pi community is as we’ve watched the first SD card image get massive attention, and the short video that VideoSeneca posted on YouTube received over 60K hits in about 36 hours, and it’s obvious that my traffic estimates for the release were naive.
All this to say: we’re proceeding with the event today, and I’m especially looking forward to talking to the high school students, teachers, school principals, school board technologists, as well as the local hackers/makers and Seneca students and faculty who will be attending. We’re going to focus on enjoying the event today, and then over the next couple of days wrap up a couple of remaining issues with the release, sort the bandwidth issues (watch for a call for help with that tomorrow morning), and write up some good notes with details on the Remix, the installer, and future plans.
Thanks for your patience with this process and the teething pains, and if you’re in the Toronto area this afternoon, please come on by!
Liz: Here’s a post from Liam Fraser, who you may recognise from the forums, or for his Python tutorials on YouTube. I’ve bent his arm into administering our downloads server for us, and he has, as usual, gone above and beyond what we’d briefed him to do.
Liam’s tutorial video series is becoming very popular, and he’s paying a lot of attention to what you are saying in the forums and blog comments here. Because some readers have said they’re struggling a bit with making SD card images, he’s planning on a video tutorial to show you how to do it step-by-step before we launch the device itself. Head over and subscribe to his channel – we think you’ll get a lot out of it.
We had email the other day from someone complaining that a naked Jennifer Anniston had been seen on YouTube in a “recommended for you sidebar” near one of Liam’s videos. Now, obviously, the Foundation can’t police YouTube’s algorithmic choice of what it thinks you might like, and we don’t police community-created videos like Liam’s. I’m just putting it out there; we thought this might be the sort of information some of you would like to know…
Over to Liam.
I’m Liam Fraser, the guy who is administering the Raspberry Pi Downloads server. As many of you will know, the release of the Debian 6 image on Friday went extremely smoothly. We still have around 2000 seeders on our torrent which is fantastic. Even more impressive than that was the number of mirror links that were generously donated by the community.
I’m sure many of you saw the dreaded ‘capacity full’ message when trying to download via http. Over the past few days I’ve been working on a load balancing system for our server so we can fairly distribute our http traffic amongst the mirrors.
The system takes client location, mirror location and server bandwidth into consideration when assigning a mirror. A server with a gigabit connection would have more chance of being assigned to a user than a server with a 100 megabit connection. A user can also select an alternative mirror if there is an issue with the automatically assigned mirror.
However, I can’t just start putting links from those who have kindly entered their mirror details on the wiki into the load balancer because it would be unfair on those people hosting to have to deal with such a traffic surge.
So, if you’d like to become a trusted mirror to be used with our load balancer, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
• The http path to your mirrors Raspberry Pi root folder
• An FTP Login with password for your Raspberry Pi root folder
• Server speed (100 megabit, gigabit, etc.)
• Continent/Country of the server
• Logo / link / text such as “This mirror is hosted by webfusion.”
Any mirror that provided us with this information would automatically have new images pushed to their web root via FTP and would not have to worry about being up to date.
Edited to add: I’ll be setting up an rsync server as an alternative to FTP for all the linux guys as they’ve all asked for it in the comments below.
Liz has asked if data on how many downloads are made from the trusted mirrors can be given to the Foundation, so they can make estimates about how many Raspberry Pis they will need to produce, so you’ll be helping out in more than one way.
It’s worth pointing out that that we’re expecting a large amount of traffic and that we cannot be held accountable for exceeding your bandwidth allowance. However, any mirror wanting to be removed from the list could easily do so by emailing me.
Thanks to Chris Tyler and the team at Seneca College for all their work on getting Fedora onto the Raspberry Pi. This will be the distribution we’ll be recommending to users; we expect it to be ready for download on Wednesday. Here, Chris and friends talk about what they’ve been working on.
(Video link updated 22/02/12.)
Meanwhile, the manufacturing cogs continue to turn. We hope the Raspberry Pis from the first batch will be out of testing by the end of Thursday, and on their way to freight.
I need to start this post with a huge thank you to Webfusion, who have donated a server to the Raspberry Pi Foundation for downloads; and to Liam Fraser, who is administering it for us (at the same time as filming Raspberry Pi tutorials, doing exams and generally being a busy and fantastic volunteer).
Because we anticipate an awful lot of download traffic, we’re having to limit the number of direct HTTP downloads which are available so our shiny new server doesn’t fall over under the strain. We would strongly encourage you to torrent the images instead. After a certain number of HTTP downloads have been made, all the disc images you’ll download from us will only be available as torrents, so you’ll need to install a client like BitTorrent before you start so you can download the files. It goes without saying, but if you torrent the image, please help us out by seeding.
This disc image is not the one we expect people to be using as standard (that’s from Fedora, and has some other exciting stuff bundled with it, which we hope to be putting up over the next few days). It’s the Cambridge reference filesystem, which is a fully functional Debian Squeeze installation containing LXDE (desktop) and Midori (browser); development tools; and sample code for accessing the multimedia functionality on the device.
Edited to add: we’ve been really overwhelmed by the number of you who have so generously been offering to host download mirrors for us, so people don’t have to use a torrent client. Thank you all very much. If you are hosting a mirror, you can help us out by adding a link to http://elinux.org/RPi_Community – and it would also help us enormously if you could let us know how many downloads you’re seeing, which will help us gauge the sort of numbers we need to be looking at for future batches of the Raspberry Pi itself. You can email me via the contacts page.
I’m running around from pillar to post a bit at the moment sorting out stuff for the launch, which means I don’t have time for a lengthy blog post today. So in order to keep you amused for a few minutes, here’s an interview about Raspberry Pi that Eben did a couple of days ago. Enjoy!
We’ve had a number of people contact us this morning about a teaser for an interview with David Braben in Eurogamer, which is due to go out next week. David was a bit equivocal in what he said, and the difference between the consumer and educational launches wasn’t made clear. Some other bits of the press have picked it up too, but have kind of gone in feet-first; Tom’s Hardware currently have a big splash on their homepage saying “Raspberry Pi not available to consumers until September”. You can probably gather that I am not having a fantastic day dealing with this. I’m doing my best to get both articles amended. (Edit to add – the lovely folk at Eurogamer are scrambling to make changes already. Thanks guys!)
I’ll quote from the Tom’s Hardware piece (Edit to add – Tom’s Hardware have also made a correction now; thanks very much!) – before you have a heart attack, please be aware that what you’re about to read is COMPLETELY WRONG:
Despite Monday’s report that the first batch of boards for Raspberry Pi will be completed on February 20, the $25/$35 credit card-sized computer won’t be available for public consumption until 3Q12. Co-creator David Braben is hoping this will be the actual public release timeframe given the team doesn’t endure additional delays as reported earlier this week.
“We’ve not got a pre-order [system] for the commercial one yet because we need to determine the price, determine roughly when it’s going to be,” he told Eurogamer. “We have a good idea that it will be sort of in Q3 this year, but we can’t be certain. There are a lot of variables in terms of what we need to get ready. We don’t know completely but we’re moving very quickly.”
What’s that? Will this little rig not be $25 or $35? Sounds like we may be shelling out a few extra Jacksons than originally thought.
I’ll take these one by one.
You will be able to buy a Raspberry Pi from the end of February, from this website. The “consumer release” that Eurogamer is talking about is actually the educational release, which, as you’ll be aware if you’ve been hanging out on our forums, will come with a kid-targetted software stack, a heap of written support materials, and a standard case.
The model A will cost $25 and the model B will cost $35. These prices will not change (unless we can change them downwards). Price is such an important part of what we’re doing in trying to change the way people use computers that we’d be totally, totally mad to move the price point. The educational release’s case will not add to the price if we can possibly help it.
We have no plans for preorders.
Liz: This post is written by Clive, a Computing teacher from the UK who wishes to remain at least moderately anonymous. Clive will be contributing posts to the Raspberry Pi blog for as long as I can keep twisting his arm, as he introduces the hardware to his students and gets to grips with it himself. Thanks very much for writing this, Clive; we’re really glad to have you here!
Somewhat slightly dazed
See the happy moron, he doesn’t give a damn.
I wish I were a moron, my god! Perhaps I am!
Hello. I’m Clive and I’m a teacher. Reading these forums leaves me rather bewildered, as if a cow had appeared by my bedside one morning and started shouting at me. In Tagalog.
I don’t understand 99% of the technical stuff that goes on here. My knowledge of Linux is rudimentary and what I know about electronics wouldn’t fill the back of a Raspberry Pi board even if it was written in special TeacherFont™ (size 18, underlined Comic Sans if you want to add it to your styles). I don’t dream in machine code and I never got annoyed about the Pi losing I²S because I don’t even know what that means.
None of this matters though because what I want to use the Raspberry Pi for is teaching and learning. This is, after all, why it was made. This September I plan to use the RasPi to teach Computing to 11 to 18 year-olds and to brush up my own CS skills on the way.
My posts here will chronicle my use of the RasPi as a teaching and learning tool. I’ll be looking at resources and training ideas as well as courses such as the new GCSEs in Computing. That’s right–I’ll be making it all up as I go along, in a way that would make a hardnosed Ofsted inspector sob until their clipboard went soggy. All I can promise is that there will be no talk of binary blobs. Or blobs of any kind. We educators will erect our own blobless corner of the forums, where we can lounge about in frayed, corduroy jackets with beige leatherette elbow patches, drinking tea from stained mugs and shaking our virtual fists at unruly urchins.
Computing and ICT education in the UK is big news at the moment (more on the Royal Society Report, Nesta reports, Curriculum review etc. in future blogs) and I’ll be thinking about how the recent brouhaha will affect teaching, training and the job in general. I’ll be thinking hard about this because these are my subjects.
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah!
Most recently the Education Secretary Michael Gove (below) has decided that Computing is the Medicinal Compound (most efficacious in every way) of education and is consulting to disapply the ICT curriculum. This despite the fact that Gove wouldn’t know what Computing was if you stuck a whiteboard marker up his bum and programmed him in LOGO to draw a picture of Hello Kitty on Dave’s new Kahrs walnut kitchen floor. (Left a bit! Right a bit! Up a bit! Fire!).
When I were a nipper, if you weren’t quick enough out of the orchard the farmer would pepper the backs of your legs with dried corn and rock salt (that’s not a euphemism, he really did load his shotgun shells with that stuff). It was scary and yet it was hilarious at the same time and that’s how I feel about Gove’s Computing ePiphany. (Yes, it’s a capital P. I’ve got to point this out else it may be edited and it took me ages to think of.)
Now, I personally love the fact that the Government has finally acknowledged that Computing–and computational thinking–are essential to a well-rounded education. Because they are. Yet I worry about the fact that very few ICT departments in the country have staff with CS qualifications. Who is going to teach Computing? Who is going to train these teachers? These are big questions with no simple answers. Still, it’s a start.
Shhh, don’t mention the “I” word
I also worry that even the likes of the BBC and the Guardian run headlines shouting, “ICT to be scrapped!” It isn’t being scrapped: it’s compulsory across all Key Stages. ICT is useful and relevant, even though I personally loathe the name. But it has a bad rep, often deserved but not always. Apparently it’s pointless too, because all young people are Digital Natives dontcha know? Feral, digital children are meant to be running rings around me daily, making me look foolish with their mad iSkillz and occasional battle rap. Which is odd, because despite talking to hundreds of young people every week I have yet to witness this.
The fact that people–young and old– do not have these skills is the reason that I get mass emails with everyone’s address visible; why people ring me up crying because they have just lost a week’s work; why, statistically, every PowerPoint I’ve have ever seen looks like it was made by a five month-old chimp by flinging its own faeces at the monitor. Digital Natives indeed.
I’m also a member of CAS, the grass roots pressure group whose mission it is to get Computing back into schools. They are part of the reason (I’d say a large part) that the UK Government has suddenly “decided” that Computing is important. A team of CAS members is writing the User Guide for the RasPi education release this summer, so I’ll be talking about that too.
So for those of you who joined the forum hoping to use the RasPi in education and are currently wondering what the hell you have wandered into, fear not! There’s lot to write about and lots to do. The next few months should be very interesting and very Raspberry flavoured indeed.