[quote]Quote from radu on November 28, 2011, 23:03
If kids want to learn hardware stuff, they should play with the GPIO and microcontrollers. There is no benefit in accessing the video hardware directly, because all the video cards have different hardware, different instructions sets, and so on.[/quote]
I think not. \"GPIO and microcontrollers\" are all fun and games, as long as what you wanted to do is blink an LED. Which can be awesome indeed if you never did it before, but can also be done with 2 transistors. What the original microcomputers did was let you type in a few words and start interacting with the software right away - then directly with the silicon underneath. As long as you knew what the address of the pixel buffer and the color attribute buffer was, you could put a colored dot on a screen in one or two instructions. Then delete it and start moving it over the screen when, say, you pressed a key. No MCU does that for you. No PC does that for you. And I believe that kind of lowest possible barrier to entry is what went (and is still) missing. Whether RasPi will be able to provide a similarly low barrier remains to be seen, but I\'m pretty sure it won\'t be able to replace what I was just talking about.
There is indeed no benefit in accessing hardware directly if you\'re trying to get something done, yes. But if the point is to learn how these things work, there is plenty of benefit in doing it. Frankly, I found learning how to draw a continuous line over a doubly-fragmented video RAM much more fun than figuring out the 50-150 lines of code needed to put a single slider control on the screen in C / Win3.11 and up. To each his own, I guess...