MattHawkinsUK wrote:t's also impossible to re-test every time a new Raspbian is released or a new Pi device is released. So after 4 years the vast majority of tutorials are going to be out of date most of the time.
In my opinion this thread has touched on a very important topic that may explain why the computer programming courses of the 1980's were later replaced by courses which taught secretarial skills such as word processing. About the time programming examples started appearing in school textbooks, the computers on which those BASIC programs could run were no longer manufactured. The publishers deleted all programming examples from the next edition and that's where we are now.
In some countries the mathematics curriculum has undergone radical revision every 10 years since 1950. This constant stirring of the pot in hope that the soup would improve has left other countries with tastier soup and better mathematics education. Computing technology seems to change even faster; however, schools in some countries, possibly for financial reasons, continued to teach BASIC until quite recently. From a certain point of view, those schools generated more computer literacy than the schools which switched to word processing.
The point of the curriculum reform supported by the Raspberry Pi is to put computer science back into the classroom. Since the introduction of the original Pi, available RAM and number of cores have increased by a factor of four. While it may be unreasonable to expect all software developed for the newer models to run on the older models, it is important for educators writing textbooks and schools adopting them that instructional materials designed for the original Pi remain relevant.
Since there have not been any elementary mathematics or science textbooks that include Raspberry Pi based programming examples anyway, the rapid change may not be much of a problem. On the other hand, such books won't ever appear, given the way things are going. For computer science to become a central part of the curriculum, the essential part of the subject which doesn't change every year needs to be identified and a stable computing environment designed to support instruction. The Pi currently looks like ideal hardware for such a learning environment, but Raspbian has made incompatible changes each year.
As Raspbian tracks upstream Debian many of the changes are not surprising. Recent changes in Debian, for example, spurred a number of system administrators to create Devuan that was aimed at not changing that which is not broken. On the other hand Debian long-term support for Wheezy will continue until May 2018, while Raspian Wheezy is already deprecated. Thus, Raspbian actually changes faster than Debian, which is strange given that Raspbian is designed for education and Debian for modern servers.
While the recent PIXEL changes with splash screen and automatic login are the most visible so far, probably the change from Python2 to Python3 was more disruptive. The Pi currently enjoys community support through a huge number of tutorials. Change diminishes the value of that support. I would be happier if a little more effort were spent making Raspbian better by keeping it the same rather than better by changing it.