First, thank you for taking the time to view and join the Raspberry Pi forums. The foundation here has done a great job of making this thing happen. What is the point of this post? Well this is your typical Forum Faq that tells you what topics come up often and where to find the answer without posting. While having more topics posted and more frequently does create more google (and any other search engine) hits it dillutes the knowlege base here. You will see people often refer people to the FAQ, the wiki, or the search option, and often times a admin/mod will then lock the topic. This is not to be rude, and if someone does it in a rude manner we would like to know, it is done to keep the sanity of long time forum members, and to make sure that when someone does a search on these forums the don't find 2000+ garbage posts that they have to wade through to find the information they need. Let us start with the most important things to check out first.
The Official FAQ: http://www.raspberrypi.org/faqs
The Official Wiki: http://elinux.org/RaspberryPiBoard
The Official Forum Wiki: http://www.raspberrypi.org/for.....re-posting
The Search Function: http://www.raspberrypi.org/for.....rum-search
Ok now on to common topics…
Documentation/Datasheets: Edit…In a nice turn of events Broadcom has decided to let loose of a breif 200+ page datasheet. Many thanks to the people that massaged this out of their hands and onto the internet for the low level hacker types to enjoy. Linky: http://dmkenr5gtnd8f.cloudfron.....herals.pdf
Info on the ARM core contained within the BCM2835: http://infocenter.arm.com/help.....index.html
More useful information on this core:
*Be sure to click the "Resources" tab about half way down the page.
GPU Drivers: Kind of related to the topic above but not the same. You will be accessing the GPU through driver function calls, and Open GL calls not through registers. The source for the GPU's drivers is not going to be supplied by Broadcom, nor is it's low level functionality. These are just the constraints of the SOC chosen, if it really upsets you that much there are plenty of alternitive ARM based PCs out there to purchase. Do a search if you are interested in this topic.
Note on the above two topics: Many people come here and are upset with the lack of "openness" of the SOC. They claim that this defies the goals of the project or undermines student's ability to learn. Please keep in mind that the foundation keeps things as transparent and open as they can but some things are out of their control. The main goal of the project is to provide studends with a learning device that cost $25. The goal is not to make the most open source/hardware project out there.
VGA port: Why is there no VGA port? Quite simply, the SOC does not support RGB out and it would have raised the cost above the target. The foundation is aware how important this issue is and it will be addressed in a future model. Again this is another thread that gets started often.
Why not 512MB or 1GB of ram? Not feasable for this SOC. This particular SOC uses package on package ram, and the cost was too high for more than 256MB. In addition we arn't talking x86 compiled code anyway, ARM uses denser code.
Windows (any version): Someone may possibly get Win CE working on this device, most here argue that it isn't worth the time, but if you want to spend the money and make it happen then go for it. This has been discussed many times here is one example: http://www.raspberrypi.org/for.....38;ret=all
, and another about ReactOS: http://www.raspberrypi.org/for.....38;ret=all
Also I am aware that Microsoft has stated that they will be making a verision of Win8 for ARM, but they also have stated that they will be only supporting 3 ARM chips Tegra, OMAP, and Snapdragon. Since there is no source code avalible for Windows products there little chance of making it work on this platform, and even if you did there wouldn't be any compatible applications other than stuff that ran on an abstraction layer or compatiblility layer.
Windows on ARM is being written to run on ARM SoCs from NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments, and it will only be available on devices designed to run it - you won't be able to buy a license for Windows on ARM and install it on an existing tablet, or a tablet designed to run Android.
Sound input: This has been poping up a lot lately, and there is none. Your options are to write your own code to bitbang audio input through the GPIO pins, or buy a usb mic or sound card.
USB 3.0, SATA, or anything else that requires a bus? These are not present because the only bus avalible on the BCM2835 is a USB 2.0 bus. Even the model B uses the USB 2.0 bus to connect to the chip that generates the two ports and ethernet. It dosn't make any sense to bottleneck a USB 3.0 device through a 2.0 port. Sata could be useful but it would add to the cost of the device and there are plenty of SATA to USB 2.0 adapters and enclosures.
Is (insert distro) going to be avalible for the Raspberry Pi? If the makers of X distro port or a user ports it than yes. Debian, Fedora, and Arch will be avalible from the start. From the sounds of it Puppy is in the works as is a couple others. For info on distros currently running on actual hardware look here: http://www.raspberrypi.org/for.....ributions/
. Please adhere to the rules of the distros board:http://www.raspberrypi.org/for.....this-forum
HDMI, input, CEC, version number: There is no input fuctionality. CEC is supported. The HDMI version is 1.3a.
HDMI & Composite at the same time? No, one or the other not both. No dual displays unless you can find a USB monitor that works with Linux, or buy two R-Pis and install some desktop spanning software.
The bootloader: The SOC loads the first thing in the fat partition on the SD card. Whatever it says to do after that it does. Can I boot from a USB stick or USB HDD? Yes but you still need an SD card tell the SOC where to look. There are plenty of old SD cards out there for dirt cheap and even the smallest card should have enough space to put the bootloader files onto.
There has been some confusion about the firmware and how the bootup proceedure goes. It is quite simple the firmware resides on the SOC, not on the SD card you won't be able to destroy it. The GPU handles the inital boot up proceedure, after that it is all things as normal.
Will the R-Pi come with…Power Supply? No. SD card? No. For the price it will come with the R-Pi board itself. Will the foundation sell these parts? Yes. If bought from the R-Pi store what distro will come on the SD card? Unknown at this point, an official distro hasn't been determined.
System Clock, Real time clock…ect: There is a system clock, there is however no way for it to run while the R-Pi is off. There may be an expansion board later to allow for it. Right now you will be able to input the time and date at startup each time or have it go out to the internet for it. This will be a potential issue for some people's projects, but the Raspberri Pi can't be all things to all people. I'm sure that after launch there will be individuals who fit the R-Pi with a RTC chip and a coin cell and then the option will be there for all, but it just wasn't an option for the boards as it would have driven the price over target and the PCB over size. http://www.raspberrypi.org/for.....quests/rtc
Mounting Holes? There are no mounting holes in the initial version. Why not? In order to meet the foundation's goal of credit card size they had to be sacrificed. It is a bummer for some. Statements have been made that later revisions will have them at some point. This can be discussed further here: http://www.raspberrypi.org/for.....38;ret=all
or numerous other threads if you use the search function. Hot glue or rubber stick on feet are your friend.
Will there be a case? Yes. There will be a case once the educational product launces in 2012. Plus many of us users have designed some and I'm sure someone will produce 3rd party cases. Due to the size of the board it will also integrate nicely into many products like larger USB hubs, and keyboard, and joysticks. Read here: http://www.raspberrypi.org/for.....8;search=1
When are they going to be released? Short answer…When it's done. Long answer…The alpha and beta boards are out. When they are done being tested and all issues are worked out the foundation will put in an order for the PCBs and the IC placement. Right now all signs are pointing to Feb of 2012, but I must stress that there never is/was/will be a set launch date. Update: The first lot of boards are supposed to return from the factory Feb 20 2012. So I would expect that soon after that they should be up for sale.
Will there be pre-orders? No. Quit asking. Why not? There are not enough people to manage pre-orders and all the crying that comes from people when they have to wait for a board due to demand. If you see any vendor offering pre-orders then realize it is a scam, all Raspberry Pis will be sold through the store intially.
Are you going to ship to [insert country here]? Yes, the Raspberry Pi will be shipped worldwide. What will shipping cost to… Don't know yet.
Are you aware of [insert issue here] website issue? Yes, right now priority goes to getting the boards shipping not fixing the website, or forums. Admins are aware that the demand on this site is causing database, and PHP errors. Nothing can be done about it at this point in time. When the frenzy calms down some that will fix many of the issues. Plus there are others such as the issue with the iPhone and Safari. Just be patient, in a couple months these things will be sorted out.
What open source is and is not…Taken from here…https://trac.handbrake.fr/wiki/IsIsnt
Open source is:
A means to encourage software innovation among diverse groups of programmers
A policy of open inspection and analysis of source code, both to educate and provide a means for constructive criticism
A means by which programmers can "scratch their itch" for mental stimulation while at the same time solving computing problems that are frequently applicable even to non-technical users
Free, both intellectually and in terms of cost
Open source is not:
A way to get commercial-quality support at no charge
A free-for-all forum to ask for pie-in-the-sky software features and expect them to be implemented as requested and with no delay
An invitation to harass and otherwise frustrate a small and dedicated development staff because they didn't do what you wanted
This is a work in progress… There are tons of frequent questions I have not yet covered. I will update as I feel it is needed (and have the time), and people will contribute to the thread as they see fit.
Why in the "Features and Requests" section? Just because I feel this is where many of these questions come up.
Isn't most of this info avalible in the FAQ and Wiki? Yes 99% of it, but it keeps getting asked so I'm just putting it in one more place.
Thank you for the people that took the time to read this giant rambling.
V 1.13 This guide licensed under GPL V3