If you’ve listened to interviews we’ve given about the general fantasticness of our community, you’ll have heard us mention more than once that that very fantasticness has, on occasion, made us alter the direction the Foundation has planned to take things in. (Raspbian, a Raspberry Pi optimised distro which came out of the community, and which you should already have upgraded to because it’s 40% faster that Squeeze, is a great case in point.)

What’s that, you ask? Keep reading for an explanation.

One of the most surprising about-turns for us came over casing. We had solid plans on getting an official case designed, once we’d sold enough Raspberry Pis that we could afford the injection moulding for large numbers, and selling that alongside the Raspberry Pi. But a cases ecosystem appeared almost instantly once the Raspberry Pi was in the community’s hands, and people started to get very excited about making their own, either for home use, or to sell. And we like that, because we believe the world runs on entrepreneurship, and hope that from small case-companies great things will grow. We also like the fact that the Raspberry Pi acts as inspiration to kids to go and make their own; physical making as well as digital hacking is something we really want to encourage.  (The educational release will come in a very bare-bones case, but we hope that one project that schools will take on as soon as they get them will be getting kids to make their own cases, either using that bare case as a base for their design, or making new ones from scratch.)

Pibow set up

So we’re not giving any one case official Raspberry Pi Foundation status. But if you’re still looking for one and don’t own a lathe and a laser cutter, the closest you’re going to come to such a thing is the Pibow from Paul Beech, who designed our logo, does our letterheads and business cards, and is currently working on the Foundation’s new web site design. (Paul posts as @guru here and on our forums.) Lots and lots of you send Eben and me your cases in the mail (soon we will need a larger house to keep them all in), and I should make it clear that I’m not featuring Paul’s here because he works with the Foundation, but because his case is one of the most solid – absolutely no rattling – and best-looking cases I’ve seen yet. (He’s donating a proportion of the profits to the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the GIST Foundation and his local Access Space, which we’re very grateful for.)

There’s even a clever slot for GPIO ribbon cable if you’re doing a spot of physical computing with your Pi.

Paul introduced me to a prototype Pibow at Games Britannia a few weeks ago. About eight seconds after he removed it from his bag, a small girl barrelled up to us and said: “Is that a Raspberry Pi case? It’s LOVELY. Where can I get one?” He then showed us a newer prototype in the pub after the Cambridge Raspberry Jam last weekend, and a cluster of grown men holding pints said: “It’s FANTASTIC. Where can I get one?”, so I reckon he’s got most bases covered.

I agree with the little girl. It’s lovely. You can get one from the Pibow website, I think it’s the nicest retail case I’ve seen, and I want one. Hint hint, Paul.