BCM2837 – the SoC used on the Raspberry Pi 3, Compute Module 3, and Raspberry Pi 2 version 1.2; see our official documentation
BLE/BTLE - Bluetooth Low Energy, a low power version of the Bluetooth wireless communications protocol.
BT - Bluetooth, a short range, low bandwidth, wireless commmunication protocol often used for mobile devices.
CODEC – Coder/Decoder, hardware or software blocks that encode and/or decode video or audio data
Compute Module - A Pi variant, aimed at commercial customers. Uses a different form factor, more targetted towards use inside other products. More details here
config.txt – a file located on the boot partition of a Raspberry Pi's SD card that is parsed at boot time in order to enable, disable, and manage operating system features which cannot be changed after booting; see our official documentation
CSI – Camera Serial Interface, a hardware interface for connecting cameras to SoCs
DHCP – Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, a network management protocol which dynamically assigns an IP address and other network configuration parameters to each device on a network
DPI – Parallel Display Interface, an up to 24-bit parallel RGB interface via the Raspberry Pi's GPIO pins
DSI – Display Serial Interface, a hardware interface for connecting LCD panels
Device Tree (DT) – a data structure for defining hardware; see Wikipedia
Device Tree source (DTS) – a human-readable source file to be compiled into a DTB
Device Tree blob (DTB) – a binary file containing a Device Tree, the result of compiling DTS files.
dt-blob.bin – a binary file containing initial GPIO configuration that is read by the firmware at boot time; despite the name, this is not Device Tree blob (although it is compiled by the Device Tree tools)
DVI – Digital Visual Interface, a video interface for connecting a source device to a monitor or display; electrically compatible with HDMI, so a simple adapter can convert from one to the other (excluding audio, which DVI does not support); see Wikipedia
Etcher - The Raspberry Pi recommended tool, available on Linux, Windows and Mac, for programming SD cards ready for use on our devices.
Firmware – software that runs on a particular hardware device, for example a wireless chip or dongle; distinct from the usual software running on the Raspberry Pi in that it is usually a fixed binary blob of data that is loaded on to the device at startup; on the Raspberry Pi, the VC4 GPU requires firmware to be loaded to it at startup in order boot up and run the entire system.
GNU - The GNU Project is a free software mass collaboration project, which has produced huge amounts of software that is used on the Raspberry Pi, including Linux itself.
GPIO – General Purpose Input/Output, the programmable pins on the Raspberry Pi
GPU – Graphical Processing Unit, a hardware device for handling graphical (and related) tasks at high speed; on the Raspberry Pi, this is called the VideoCore4 (VC4), and is built into the SoC.
HAT - Hardware Attached on Top. A specification for designing devices to attach to the Raspberry Pi, see the launch announcement here.
HDMI High-Definition Multimedia Interface, a standard interface for transmitting uncompressed video and compressed or uncompressed audio data from a source device to a display device; see Wikipedia
HDCP – High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection, an optional encryption mechanism used for HDMI or DVI transmission; see Wikipedia
HVS – Hardware Video Scaler, a hardware block in the VC4 GPU on all Raspberry Pi models used for manipulating and displaying bitmaps
I2C/I2C/IIC – Inter-Integrated Circuit (pronounced I-squared-C), an electrical protocol used for attaching lower-speed peripheral ICs to processors and microcontrollers in short-distance, intra-board communication; see Wikipedia
I2S – Inter-Integrated Circuit Sound, an electrical serial bus interface standard used for connecting digital audio devices together; see Wikipedia
ISP – Imaging System Pipeline, a set of hardware (and sometimes software) stages that processes images from a camera into a high-quality result; the Raspberry Pi has a built-in hardware ISP that processes images captured from a camera attached to the CSI port.
ISP - Internet service provider.
LAN - Local Area Network, an ethernet or wireless based communication network in a localised area, for example a house or office.
LED – Light-Emitting Diode, a semiconductor device that produces light from electricity
Linux – the main operating system used on the Raspberry Pi; the particular customised distribution for the Raspberry Pi range is called Raspbian; third parties have also produced their own distributions.
MSD – Mass Storage Device (amongst other things), such as an SD card or hard disk drive
MQTT - MQTT stands for MQ Telemetry Transport, a lightweight and simple machine to machine protocol often used for IoT devices. See their site here
NAND - a NAND gate is a logic gate, specifically an inverted AND gate; can also refer to a type of flash memory that uses NAND logic; see Wikipedia
NOOBS - New Out of Box software. Easy OS system image installation for the Raspberry Pi range. Note, NOOBS is no longer developed by the Raspberry Pi team, see PINN instead.
OTP – One-Time Programmable, a type of memory that can only be programmed once, and retains the programmed data after power off; used for serial numbers etc.
Overlay – a boot-time or run-time patch to a Device Tree allowing a degree of configuration by the user; see our official documentation for more details, or run dtoverlay -a in a terminal window for a list of available overlays
Pink Pony/Unicorn - A feature request for a future Raspberry Pi model that is unlikely to happen.
PoE - Power over Ethernet, a mechanism to power a device through its Ethernet connection. Raspberry Pi produce a PoE HAT for the Raspberry Pi Model 3B plus.
Polyfuse - An self-resetting electrical fuse used on some Pi models to protect against over current situations. Can take hours or even days to reset.
raspi-config – a command line tool for configuring Raspbian's operating system features; see our official documentation
raspivid, raspistill, raspiyuv, raspividyuv – a set of applications to run the Raspberry Pi Camera Module in various modes; see our official documentation
Raspbian - A Debian based Linux distribution targeted at the entire Raspberry Pi range, regarded as the official O/S. The current version is based on Debian Stretch with the first release being in August 2017. See this Wikipedia entry for further release details.
Raspberry Pi Configuration Tool (rcgui) – a graphical equivalent of raspi-config
Raspberry Pi Desktop – a version of the LXDE desktop environment, specifically tailored to the Raspberry Pi (used to be called Pixel)
RPF - Raspberry Pi Foundation. The original registered educational charity (1129409) which launched the Raspberry Pi.
RPT/RPF(T) - Raspberry Pi Trading. A wholely owned commercial subsidiary of the RPF which designs and develops all Raspberry Pi products, including magazines. All profits from the RPT go to the RPF for use in their educational aims.
rpi-update - A program you can run on a Raspberry Pi to download the very latest test firmware and Linux kernel. There is no guarantee that the latest version will work correctly, so you should only run rpi-update if recommended by a Raspberry Pi engineer.
SoC – system on a chip, an integrated circuit that integrates all components of a computer
SPI – Serial Peripheral Interface bus, a synchronous serial communication interface specification used for short distance communication
SSH – Secure Shell, a cryptographic network protocol for operating network services securely over an unsecured network; see our official documentation or Wikipedia
TLA – three-letter abbreviation; almost the entire reason for this glossary
TLS – Transport Layer Security A cryptographic protocol used to supply security over a computer network, often used to secure other protocols such as MQTT.
TP1/TP2 – test points
UART – Universal Asynchronous Receiver-Transmitter, a protocol for asynchronous serial communication in which the data format and transmission speeds are configurable
USB – Universial Serial Bus; the main Raspberry Pi models have four USB sockets for connecting USB devices, for example, mice or keyboards; see Wikipedia
VC4 – the VideoCore4 GPU used on the Raspberry Pi; contains a large number of hardware blocks that handle graphics, cameras, display, CODECs, etc.
VNC – a graphical desktop sharing system that uses the Remote Frame Buffer protocol (RFB) to remotely control another computer; see our official documentation
Volt (V) – SI-derived unit for electrical potential difference.; see Wikipedia
vcgencmd – a Raspberry Pi–specific tool for communicating with the VideoCore4 GPU
Watt - A measure of power often used when specifying power supplies.