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Cnet is Creating False Information about the Raspberry Pi

Wed May 13, 2015 10:20 pm

Cnet made a video about the chip (the $9 computer on kickstarter). They mentioned the Raspberry Pi but they said that the chip has a better processor. How does one define better in this case and what makes it better. Even if the chip's cpu is newer does it have neon support, how many cores does it have, what temps can it handle, how much power does the cpu use and all the other factors that come into play so I don't the reporter should have just said the chip's cpu was better. I am sorry if I was a little bias towards the Pi. It is had not be be a little bias when you love the Pi so much you buy 10 of them and have a picture of the pi logo in a frame next to your bed.
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Re: Cnet is Creating False Information about the Raspberry P

Wed May 13, 2015 10:43 pm

From what I read, "chip" has a better processor than Raspberry Pi A/A+/B/B+/CM

The new Pi2B is much better than "chip" :)
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Re: Cnet is Creating False Information about the Raspberry P

Wed May 13, 2015 10:56 pm

It's clownfunding so no wonder that they will go crazy with $9(+20) "PC" that by default will be compared to most know counterpart - Raspberry Pi... there were even Raspberry Pi related clownfundings for not very practical or sane reasons that also created a lot of hype-traffic on blogs and "technology" sites... just because those blogs and sites must make a lot of hype-traffic as that makes money.

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Re: Cnet is Creating False Information about the Raspberry P

Thu May 14, 2015 12:00 am

The CHIP is using an Allwinner A13, which is a single core ARMv7 processor. Compare to the all Pis prior to the Pi2B using ARMv6.

The CHIP is clocking the processor at 1GHz. Default for all Pis prior to the Pi2B is 700MHz.

The CHIP has 512MB of RAM. The early Pi B, the A and the A+ have/had 256MB.

So...on the surface, the CHIP has a "better" processor. Of course, besides the fact that the Pi2B will blow the socks off it, there are a couple of things to keep in mind (though they may be a bit too subtle for mass media). The first is rather simply that you can buy a Pi today, but you won't be able to buy a CHIP until (if all goes as planned) May of next year. A bird in the hand, and all that. The second is that, while it has more memory that the Model A+, the A+ is the Pi closest to the overall "spec" of the CHIP. But remember that part of the A+ is HDMI, which is another $15 for the CHIP. By the time you get the features of an A+ added to a CHIP, it'll cost more than an A+.

So...yeah, cNet is right...up to a point. However, cNet is also kind of misleading if you actually understand what you're dealing with. This is not to say that the CHIP isn't an interesting device. It will surely have a number of potential uses, especially in cases where either no video out is needed, or where composite video will suffice....or (with a $10 add-on) you really, really NEED VGA. Probably the most interesting part of the whole project is what The Register referred to as "the world's ugliest Blackberry clone"...the PocketCHIP.

What is going to be interesting is to see what the RPF has up its collective sleeve within the next year. That will likely include a Pi2CM (hinted at for later this year) and possibly an improved A+ or two (a Pi2A depends on hardware prices coming down, and I don't consider a 512MB A+ totally beyond the pale...which would erase an advantage the CHIP has over the A+). Then there is the chance that someone else will come along with a comparable sized board with better features. Look at what Hardkernel has achieved. In the current SBC market, a year is a very long time. It might well be that almost all the CHIPs that are ever sold will be the ones from the Kickstarter campaign (my best guess is that is about 25K committed to so far).

So....I'm far more amused than concerned about the cNet coverage. We've seen any number of boards (C-120, anyone? Odroid-W or Odroid-C1?) breathlessly touted as a "Pi killer". While it may happen someday, there isn't anything out there yet that shows any sign of hitting the kind of popularity the Pi has achieved...and that is, undoubtedly, part of the reason cNet is comparing the CHIP to the Pi. Anyone interested in the CHIP probably already knows about the Pi. Can you imagine a major media comapny trying to compare a new SBC to--say--a Cubieboard? Almost everyone outside of the intense tech savvy circles would go, "Huh? What the heck is *that* when it's at home?" Yet, in terms of processor, the CHIP is very similar to a Cubieboard-1.

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Re: Cnet is Creating False Information about the Raspberry P

Thu May 14, 2015 12:02 am

This is the actual quote:

A new microcomputer called Chip is hot on crowd-funding site Kickstarter. It promises an easy way to learn how to program with a tiny board that packs Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and internal storage -- something you don't find in another popular microcomputer, Raspberry Pi. --CNET
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Re: Cnet is Creating False Information about the Raspberry P

Thu May 14, 2015 12:08 am

... its cheap, and its poweful... but, its not a single board computer!

To use DVI or HDMI requires two boards. (what is the cost of the second board?)
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Re: Cnet is Creating False Information about the Raspberry P

Thu May 14, 2015 12:10 am

But this is the big news:

We built C.H.I.P. to make tiny powerful computers more accessible and easier to use. A huge part of making C.H.I.P. accessible is making sure that it can change to meet the needs of the community. That's why both C.H.I.P. and PocketC.H.I.P. are both TOTALLY OPEN SOURCE. This means all hardware design files schematic, PCB layout and bill of materials are free for you the community to download, modify and use.

(from the C.H.I.P site)
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Re: Cnet is Creating False Information about the Raspberry P

Thu May 14, 2015 12:33 am

I won't give CNET any criticism for their reporting because if it weren't for them I wouldn't have known to get a raspberry pi and I would still be playing guitar oblivious to Linux.
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Re: Cnet is Creating False Information about the Raspberry P

Thu May 14, 2015 1:06 am

MarkHaysHarris777 wrote:... its cheap, and its poweful... but, its not a single board computer!

To use DVI or HDMI requires two boards. (what is the cost of the second board?)
If you can make do with composite video, all you need is a cable. A VGA board is $10. An HDMI board is $15. (That's in the Kickstarter...next year we'll find out if they can hold those prices in production).

Further note on the 'faster than a Pi': The actual phrasing is "faster than the latest Raspberry Pi." Now that's an interesting statement. If all you look at is clock speed, it's true, it's 1GHz for the CHIP compared to 900MHz for the Pi2B. The question them becomes how does it really compare? According to Wikipedia (not a definitive source, but we're not talking controversial subject here), the Allwinner Ax series, which includes the A13, uses an ARM Cortex-A8. The Pi2B is a quad-core SoC using the Cortex-A7. The A7 is supposed to be a lower power, but otherwise equivalent processor core. So, yes, on a core by core basis, the CHIP does appear to have a faster processor. Of course, the Pi2B has 4 cores to the one in the CHIP, which should make the Pi significantly faster at actually doing anything.

It all matters *exactly* what you are measuring.

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Re: Cnet is Creating False Information about the Raspberry P

Thu May 14, 2015 1:18 am

MarkHaysHarris777 wrote:... its cheap, and its poweful... but, its not a single board computer!
Not having a feature you want doesn't make it not a computer.
To use DVI or HDMI requires two boards. (what is the cost of the second board?)
More than the mainboard :(

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Re: Cnet is Creating False Information about the Raspberry P

Thu May 14, 2015 2:35 am

plugwash wrote:
MarkHaysHarris777 wrote:... its cheap, and its poweful... but, its not a single board computer!
Not having a feature you want doesn't make it not a computer.
I think his point was not claiming it isn't a computer, but that it isn't a "complete" computer. If your reading is correct...you're right. There is noting implicit in "computer" that it has to have some particular form of video output (and, indeed, the CHIP has composite video out on the single board), or even video output at all..
To use DVI or HDMI requires two boards. (what is the cost of the second board?)
More than the mainboard :(
For HDMI...yeah 60% more that the processor board. If VGA is acceptable, the output board is only a bit more than the processor board. Either way, the cost of a "system" at least doubles from the cost of the just the processor board.

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Re: Cnet is Creating False Information about the Raspberry P

Thu May 14, 2015 2:45 am

W. H. Heydt wrote: I think his point was not claiming it isn't a computer, but that it isn't a "complete" computer. If your reading is correct...you're right. There is noting implicit in "computer" that it has to have some particular form of video output (and, indeed, the CHIP has composite video out on the single board), or even video output at all..
Yes. Comparing the processor is not 'really' fair, completely speaking. Its difficult to compare (price and otherwise) a multi-board computer with a single-board computer and still be objective...
W. H. Heydt wrote: For HDMI...yeah 60% more that the processor board. If VGA is acceptable, the output board is only a bit more than the processor board. Either way, the cost of a "system" at least doubles from the cost of the just the processor board.
Yes, again; and other factors must be taken into account too-- what it costs to package and protect the 'complete' computer adds to its cost (the C.H.I.P and the RPi). It is possible I suppose to break down the RPi into constituent parts for comparison sake and then claim its a $9 computer, because after all you can remove much of the peripheral components of the single-board computer and it still 'computes'. But that is silly. Its silly to hype the $9 dollar computer and then show the user all of the things it can do with BOTH of its boards installed, yet fail to mention what the total cost of the 'complete' computer is!
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Re: Cnet is Creating False Information about the Raspberry P

Thu May 14, 2015 3:15 am

MarkHaysHarris777 wrote:
W. H. Heydt wrote: I think his point was not claiming it isn't a computer, but that it isn't a "complete" computer. If your reading is correct...you're right. There is noting implicit in "computer" that it has to have some particular form of video output (and, indeed, the CHIP has composite video out on the single board), or even video output at all..
Yes. Comparing the processor is not 'really' fair, completely speaking. Its difficult to compare (price and otherwise) a multi-board computer with a single-board computer and still be objective...
I think it really comes down to is mounting and packaging. If two boards nest closely and snugly together (as appears to be the case of CHIP plus VGA or HDMI board), then it's reasonable to compare to a single board system, so long as everyone is made aware of what each package consists of.

If all we're doing (as cNet did) is comparing "raw" processor speed, the board counts don't matter, though to do a proper comparison one really needs to look deeper. (As an unrelated example, much is made of the Odroid-C1 having a 1.5GHz clock. Yeah...that's great, but it uses Cortex-A5 cores, which are single dispatch while the BCM2836 uses Cortex-A7, dual dispatch cores. Net result is that the Odroid-C1 benchmarks 10% to 20% faster than a Pi2B, despite the 60% faster clock. Find a way to kick the clock on a Pi2B to around 1.1GHz, and they'd match. Get to 1.2GHz on the Pi2B, and it should benchmark faster.)
W. H. Heydt wrote: For HDMI...yeah 60% more that the processor board. If VGA is acceptable, the output board is only a bit more than the processor board. Either way, the cost of a "system" at least doubles from the cost of the just the processor board.
Yes, again; and other factors must be taken into account too-- what it costs to package and protect the 'complete' computer adds to its cost (the C.H.I.P and the RPi). It is possible I suppose to break down the RPi into constituent parts for comparison sake and then claim its a $9 computer, because after all you can remove much of the peripheral components of the single-board computer and it still 'computes'. But that is silly. Its silly to hype the $9 dollar computer and then show the user all of the things it can do with BOTH of its boards installed, yet fail to mention what the total cost of the 'complete' computer is!
Consider the amount of flak the RPF took over their signature line touting a Linux system for $25. Took a while to get the Model A out the door, and it never sold well (by Pi standards...it was a wild success by almost any other boards standards), but it did deliver what it said it did at that price...and now the A+ is $20.

The CHIP is a $9 computer. There are many things one might like to do that will require more hardware. The closest comparison I can make is to the A+. To be "fully featured" *both* of them need external additions. Both will need a hub (the A+ can make do with an unpowered one...I haven't seen if that will work for a CHIP). The A+ would need a WiFi and bluetooth dongle to match that part of the CHIP. The CHIP needs a video output board for most uses. In the end, the prices are probably very similar, even though they start from different bases.

I'm not going to run down the CHIP for not being what it isn't. Once I get my hands on one, I'll be able to make a better--practical--assessment. I'm sure some people here will do proper benchmarks and other tests. At the same time, I find that Pis have features I value built right onto the board. If I need a feature the Pi doesn't have, then I seek out a board that has it and assess what to use from there.

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Re: Cnet is Creating False Information about the Raspberry P

Thu May 14, 2015 5:10 am

W. H. Heydt wrote:Once I get my hands on one, I'll be able to make a better--practical--assessment.
Yeah, I'm game. I already have a dozen iddy biddy machines laying all over my desk... one more won't hurt! :geek:






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Re: Cnet is Creating False Information about the Raspberry P

Thu May 14, 2015 7:43 am

MarkHaysHarris777 wrote:But this is the big news:

We built C.H.I.P. to make tiny powerful computers more accessible and easier to use. A huge part of making C.H.I.P. accessible is making sure that it can change to meet the needs of the community. That's why both C.H.I.P. and PocketC.H.I.P. are both TOTALLY OPEN SOURCE. This means all hardware design files schematic, PCB layout and bill of materials are free for you the community to download, modify and use.

(from the C.H.I.P site)
That is good news, all the Neckbeards who feel they need that info can play with the chip and stop bothering the foundation to provide their proprietary info.
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Re: Cnet is Creating False Information about the Raspberry P

Thu May 14, 2015 4:04 pm

BMS Doug wrote:
MarkHaysHarris777 wrote:But this is the big news:

We built C.H.I.P. to make tiny powerful computers more accessible and easier to use. A huge part of making C.H.I.P. accessible is making sure that it can change to meet the needs of the community. That's why both C.H.I.P. and PocketC.H.I.P. are both TOTALLY OPEN SOURCE. This means all hardware design files schematic, PCB layout and bill of materials are free for you the community to download, modify and use.

(from the C.H.I.P site)
That is good news, all the Neckbeards who feel they need that info can play with the chip and stop bothering the foundation to provide their proprietary info.
While I understnad--and appreciate--your point, those that keep needling the RPF over this will probably just someothing on the order of, "If *they* can do it...why can't you?" On the other hand, I wouldn't be the least surprised if there is a proprietary "blob" buried in there somewhere.

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Re: Cnet is Creating False Information about the Raspberry P

Thu May 14, 2015 4:17 pm

W. H. Heydt wrote: While I understnad--and appreciate--your point, those that keep needling the RPF over this will probably just [say] something on the order of, "If *they* can do it...why can't you?" On the other hand, I wouldn't be the least surprised if there is a proprietary "blob" buried in there somewhere.
You are correct, about what people will be [saying]. But, I don't think you'll find a proprietary blob in there anywhere... and of course you guessed right if you thought the reason I quoted the site was to needle the RPF just a tad. ;)

Most of the industrial 'community' has caught the vision for open source software, and everyone has learned (well everyone except Microsoft) that its a good thing; cheaper, faster, more secure, more innovative! The *very* same thing is true of open source hardware... and industry players who do not embrace open source hardware will die as the 21st century progresses. I foresee a time when normal 'people' are going to be able to make a Broadcom chip in their own homes (its just a matter of time). When that comes some very dramatic changes are going to take place in this field. Well, 3D printing has changed the face of manufacturing dramatically (and will continue to do so). I don't know if I'll ever see the time in my life where I can walk into the kitchen and say, "Earl Grey, hot!" and have my tea and drink it too!... but, I do think I'll see the time when I can 'print' my own integrated circuit chip.

At any rate, open source hardware is going to be the complete way of the future/ the RPF better get on board with it, or they might get run over by it. Just saying...

Also, again, believe it or not, RPF does not need to worry about clones/ nobody really wants to clone the RPi, they just want to understand it so they can merge it completely and safely into their own products which are unique... I don't want to be in the single-board-computer business... but I do want to use RPFs single board computer most efficiently. Just think about it.
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Re: Cnet is Creating False Information about the Raspberry P

Thu May 14, 2015 5:33 pm

Earl Grey hot; 2 3/4 hours to print the cup. Then the tea will probably be cold. LOL.

One point this discussion has missed, is that a whole lot of the projects people do on RasPii are headless. This means a video board is not really necessary. Composite out for initial setup is more than adequate for most.

More to the point is can they, or better yet, will they keep the $9 price point?

The Foundation wanted to see more boards appear and it is slowly happening. Most of the boards are more expensive, rather than comparable in price. But we need to remember that the Raspberry Pi has gotten cheaper as production continued. This has allowed the foundation to make improvements and stay at their original price points, or as today lower on the B+ or before on the A+.

As to Open Source, most of us just do not care either way! Open Source does help the development community. Most of us put together our projects on top of what is available and very rarely need to dig into the nuts and bolts. Open source has benefited the community as a whole, but totally open might not be for the best overall. Unsupported "clones" might cause more harm than good.

Overall the Raspberry Pi "Community" is the benefit that has caused the Raspberry Pi to outsell all comers. Until these other "competitors" figure that out the RasPi will stay on top. They may be bigger, faster, cheaper but if you cannot figure out what they can do, they are not as good!

Just my two cents worth.
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Re: Cnet is Creating False Information about the Raspberry P

Thu May 14, 2015 7:07 pm

MarkHaysHarris777 wrote:
W. H. Heydt wrote: While I understnad--and appreciate--your point, those that keep needling the RPF over this will probably just [say] something on the order of, "If *they* can do it...why can't you?" On the other hand, I wouldn't be the least surprised if there is a proprietary "blob" buried in there somewhere.
You are correct, about what people will be [saying]. But, I don't think you'll find a proprietary blob in there anywhere... and of course you guessed right if you thought the reason I quoted the site was to needle the RPF just a tad. ;)

Most of the industrial 'community' has caught the vision for open source software, and everyone has learned (well everyone except Microsoft) that its a good thing; cheaper, faster, more secure, more innovative! The *very* same thing is true of open source hardware... and industry players who do not embrace open source hardware will die as the 21st century progresses. I foresee a time when normal 'people' are going to be able to make a Broadcom chip in their own homes (its just a matter of time). When that comes some very dramatic changes are going to take place in this field. Well, 3D printing has changed the face of manufacturing dramatically (and will continue to do so). I don't know if I'll ever see the time in my life where I can walk into the kitchen and say, "Earl Grey, hot!" and have my tea and drink it too!... but, I do think I'll see the time when I can 'print' my own integrated circuit chip.

At any rate, open source hardware is going to be the complete way of the future/ the RPF better get on board with it, or they might get run over by it. Just saying...

Also, again, believe it or not, RPF does not need to worry about clones/ nobody really wants to clone the RPi, they just want to understand it so they can merge it completely and safely into their own products which are unique... I don't want to be in the single-board-computer business... but I do want to use RPFs single board computer most efficiently. Just think about it.
Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, ARM, Amazon, Google. The list of closed source software suppliers is HUGE. Not just MS. Although most of the above also supply OSS.

Open Source Hardware is an odd one. Arduino open source all their designs and lose a lot of money to chinese clones because of it. Generally, the HW is the 'dongle', the reason why you can keep your sales levels up. HW is much more difficult to 'copy' than SW, but once copied, you can really trash the original supplier with lower prices since you have had no development costs to recuperate. Giving the copiers a head start by releasing designs seems, to me, to be a rather careless way of doing business.
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Re: Cnet is Creating False Information about the Raspberry P

Thu May 14, 2015 8:10 pm

On the whole "open source" issue, I think a lot of people forget that "open source" DOESN'T mean "unprotected." For example, GNU and Linux software is open source, but the code is still under copyright and you violate the license that permits you to use it you can find yourself in a world of hurt. It has happened to some pretty big companies. Likewise, it should be perfectly possible to copyright PCB designs and either license the use of the designs for a fee, or not license anyone to duplicate the board.

Granted, going after people who started mass producing copies of hardware designs would entail paying a bunch of lawyers with no surety of any return, and a lot of people would get bent out of shape if it were to be perceived as a big guy beating up on a little guy, plus there are places where the loal laws don't really offer much protection, especially to foreign companies going after local ones, but (at least in theory) it *is* possible to do business that way.

The Pi does have one advantage in these scenarios (besides simply not disclosing the details of the PCB designs) in that, unless a company wants to commit some serious money, they simply won't be able to get the SoCs to truly clone the Pi...and any company with the resources to buy big enough batches of 2835s or 2836s to interest Broadcom is hardly going to be bothered by the expense of developing their own PCB to put them on. Of all the machines that have been touted as "Pi clones", only one of them even came close, and that one (a) didn't last very long, nor were many made, and (b) every other supposed "clone" uses non-Broadcom SoC.

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Re: Cnet is Creating False Information about the Raspberry P

Fri May 15, 2015 10:21 am

jamesh wrote:Arduino open source all their designs and lose a lot of money to chinese clones because of it.
When the goal is to put hardware into as many people's hands as possible and as cheaply as possible, rather than maximising income from doing that, it is not losing money per se. And it does not seem that different to the Foundation's early goals. As Eben said, "our dream scenario is that someone in China decides to copy our design and start knocking out millions of clones", which is what did happen with Arduino. It is so open that anyone can build an Arduino clone if they can get hold of the microcontroller used and they are widely available.

Of course, with the Pi having become a £100 million dollar-plus business success, with the Foundation's educational projects relying upon revenue from that, the goals have understandably changed over time. It is not simply about delivering cheap hardware to as many kids as possible but supporting the educational projects on top. To protect the educational projects the bottom line has to be protected, and with clones inevitably impacting upon that, having clone manufacturers and even competition will not be as appealing as it may once have been.

It is just business and different business model; the Arduino team are not as reliant on revenue as the Foundation is. The Arduino team don't have to protect their revenue stream as much as the Foundation does.

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Re: Cnet is Creating False Information about the Raspberry P

Fri May 15, 2015 12:24 pm

The unexpected success of the Pi has indeed changed the plans of the Foundation. They never expected to have the money to pile in to education that they now have, and once you have that, it's not easy to give it up. In fact, it would probably go against the charity's founding principles - would you fancy trying to explain to the Trustees that you have decided to deliberately reduce the charities income by your actions, with no expectation of the income coming back up again?
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Re: Cnet is Creating False Information about the Raspberry P

Fri May 15, 2015 1:15 pm

I used to think it would be great if the pi was cloned. Now that I've seen how much work goes into quality control and all the work that's going on on the education front, I'm not so sure.

It's easy to come along, take the design, find a fab house to make the pi much cheaper. You don't need to pay staff or worry about quality control, you just need to make money. Make it a few dollars cheaper, whack 'Raspberry Pi' somewhere in the ebay listing and it is likely to outsell the original hardware. You'll find that components end up being replaced in the factory by the cheapest version at the local market that week. The board itself is not easy to manufacture, so there will probably be shorts all over the place. Hopefully, they'll be caught at QC, but things will get through. So who's problem will it be when there are a millions of pi clones out there with capacitors with hairline fractures, bad oscillators, intermittent shorts and so on? It's certainly not doing the foundation or customers any favours.

With the reduced income, do you expect the foundation to be able to pay the engineers to improve the product and maintain quality standards? Who's going to write the educational resources and run picademy? You can certainly forget about getting the pi onto the ISS and letting kids run code in space. Any idea how much paperwork, testing is involved there? Managing everything while working with about a dozen of other organisations is certainly no trivial task either.

Letting people clone it seems like the quickest way to destroy everything that's going to keep the foundation relevant.

So yeah, it's much more money driven now, but it's still a non-profit charity. The extra income isn't going into somebody's pockets, but back into furthering education, making the pi better and doing things which would not have seemed possible when the pi first came along. I see no reason to be just another cheap arm board in a sea of other cheap arm boards.

blc
Posts: 465
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:28 am

Re: Cnet is Creating False Information about the Raspberry P

Sat May 16, 2015 12:52 am

$9 base cost
+$15 for HDMI
+$20 to get it to the UK
+20% customs duty (assuming HMRC cast their gaze upon your package)
= $51.80, or £32.93 (£27 without customs), and the earliest estimated delivery is December - for a model which lacks a HDMI port. HDMI versions are expected a year from now.

RS have the RPi2 in stock for £31.92 (inclusive of VAT) and will deliver next working day. The RPi2 is more powerful than the CHIP and has a *massive* amount of support, official and unofficial (official as in OS updates, firmware, etc; unofficial as in this awesome forum).

I think I know which side my bread is buttered.

plugwash
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Posts: 3454
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:45 pm

Re: Cnet is Creating False Information about the Raspberry P

Sat May 16, 2015 8:08 am

blc wrote:+20% customs duty (assuming HMRC cast their gaze upon your package)
You mean VAT not customs duty.

You forgot to include the fee for collecting the VAT (usually about £10 but i've heard stories of much higher) so things are even worse than you indicate.

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