My question is directed to "Mr. Raspberry" further long..
First, who is this "Mr. Raspberry"? Anyone I know???
Anyway, your post raises an interesting philosophical question (and appropriate here, since you raised the issue of philosophy). That is, is something still that something if it is completely changed and is now largely different from what it used to be? Or, to put it another way, "is it still accurate to refer to it as an X if it has morphed into something completely different (a Y)?" Needless to say, I think the answer to these question is "No.", but there are some real world examples of companies that think otherwise. Two examples of this are the Toyota Corolla and Microsoft Windows. In the former case, Toyota has used the Corolla label over the years for very different types of cars. Since the word doesn't mean anything, they are, of course, free to use it as they see fit, but it is confusing and annoying for the consumer. Similarly, Microsoft calling their "Windows 10 Iot for the Pi" Windows is silly, since it has nothing in common with what the consumer generally associates with the term "Windows" (namely, being compatible with their existing base of x86 Windows software and having a pretty GUI - Windows 10 Iot has neither of these). The point is that Windows is not (or should not, in this author's opinion) simply be a synonym for "OS produced by Microsoft" - it should actually mean something.
Now, what does all of this have to do with this thread? Well, it is not impossible that at some future date, the Raspberry Pi Foundation (or whatever they end up calling themselves in that future time) may produce a computer that does not require an SD card to boot, but that board will not be (in this author's opinion) a Raspberry Pi. It will be something else.
By definition, the RPi is an SBC that boots from an SD card. Just as "Windows" is a PC OS that respects your existing base of x86 software and gives you a nice, pretty, user-friendly GUI.
A few other comments:
- You didn't answer my question about "Why you want to do this" or why you can't just treat the SD card as being equivalent to one of the capacitors on the board. Note, incidentally, that if you do this, you don't need a very big SD card - it can be only 100 megs or thereabouts. So, essentially it becomes a zero-cost item.
- To all the others who suggested using a Model A and booting from USB, note that this doesn't fit the OP's requirements, since he mentioned it running "offline". As I understand it, the "Model A booting from USB" thing requires another PC as the host - i.e., it won't work with a USB hard disk. Correct me if I am wrong...
And some folks need to stop being fanboys and see the forest behind the trees.
(One of the best lines I've seen on this board lately)