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rurwin
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Re: Why did the industry fail?

Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:11 pm

Batjac's original straw-man was that the RaspPi will not be wanted by the general population because it is not powerful enough.

My reply was that it is not aimed at the general population. It is aimed at around 5% of the general population who will decide to learn to program. And that was enough back in the 80's to produce the young programmers of which you speak.

I think the RaspPi can still attract that 5%. However it is unlikely to sell as widely as the Spectrum, Atari ST, Commodore 64, BBC Micro etc. because at least three quarters of those sales were for a pure games machine, an arena in which the RaspPi simply cannot compete. The price may attract something over 5% and some of those may be seduced into programming, but I don't expect that to be a major effect.

error404
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Re: Why did the industry fail?

Thu Mar 08, 2012 2:00 am

XBMC is to RPi as Games were to C64.

Smartybones
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Re: Why did the industry fail?

Thu Mar 08, 2012 2:23 am

error404 said:


XBMC is to RPi as Games were to C64.



actually, openELEC are porting their version to the Pi too, i find their version a little more slick and less bloat...

the RPi's killer app maybe?

game on...

http://openelec.tv/

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riffraff
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Re: Why did the industry fail?

Thu Mar 08, 2012 8:11 am

Not powerful enough for what?

Not powerful enough to browse the web?

Not powerful enough to play YouTube videos?

Not powerful enough to post ignorant opinions and off-color jokes to Facebook?

Not powerful enough to download pr0n?

Not powerful enough to use Gimp to deface pictures of your ex-g/f?

The only thing this machine will be lacking is ported software, that's the whole point of releasing it in the hobbyist community before the educational release. For most people, this would be all the computer they would ever need.

What it is NOT powerful enough to do is run the current releases of code-bloated-crap-OS's that do everything the previous release of code-bloated-crap-OS's did, just a little flashier.

What the industry has continually FAILED to do is break free from the market dominance of Intel and Microsoft. There has never been a "Year of Linux"  because there has never been a cheaper Linux-native platform. Windows has always been an option.

I remember rushing to my local big-box electronics store to buy a Linux version of a popular new netbook for $100US cheaper than it's Windows companion only to find that the store manager had cracked open a dozen copies of Windows XP and had the tech install them on all the remaining Linux machines cuz he thought they wouldn't sell.

Ubuntu has made a huge impact because it is dead simple to maintain. A lot of people I know who aren't tech-savvy have made the switch. I hope that whatever official distro the Foundation settles on will have package support as efficient as Canonical. That's the key. I've had a lot of people who've heard about RasPi in the news somewhere ask me about it. The general consensus is that $35 is not too much to invest to try out a Linux machine.

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riffraff
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Re: Why did the industry fail?

Thu Mar 08, 2012 8:36 am

The industry is what it is. It's been dominated for years by a handful of aggressively litigious survivors, but you have to consider that RasPi owes it's existence to a conflux of important technologies:


32bit SoC's with all required peripheral interfaces onboard
PoP RAM
USB interface and devices
Solid state memory challenging capacity of rotating memory
Televisions have equivalent or superior resolution to computer displays

billio
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Re: Why did the industry fail?

Thu Mar 08, 2012 9:57 am

The Raspberry Pi idea has evolved from "the industry" ?. Not as a product but as a recognition that for the industry to flourish it needs to address the educational development of its future workforce. Well surely that's true from a UK perspective ?.

Also, the Raspberry Pi is an experiment. Nobody knows for sure if it will meet the educational objective. Prototyping in a low cost manner is an excellent way to move the concept forward. The dramatically low cost point is a key element in "hyping" the concept and the "hype" is essential to spread the idea through TV and other media.

Therefore I wouldn't say the industry had failed. I would say it is just addressing the problem in an innovative manner and in doing so might have opened people's eyes to some new markets and applications. If these markets are profitable then the industry will make Raspberry Pi Mark 2 etc..

hippy
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Re: Why did the industry fail?

Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:13 am

riFFraFF said:

The only thing this machine will be lacking is ported software, that's the whole point of releasing it in the hobbyist community before the educational release. For most people, this would be all the computer they would ever need.
It may be all most people need but the R-Pi currently does not have the ergonomics to support choosing it.

Most people use desktop PC's or laptops ( netbooks, tablets and phones ) to escape the shackles of the desk. The R-Pi doesn't fit the portable role and it has deficiencies on the desktop compared the traditional beige box.

Though an R-Pi can be used on the desktop, even attached to the back of a monitor, it does not have the integration of the beige box. Once you add USB hub, HDD, CD/DVD, mouse and keyboard it's likely a jumbled mass of components, wiring and multiple power supplies.

Some people will find that perfectly acceptable but I suspect most would choose the 'neat solution' the beige box offers, and once one looks at the price of a complete system there's often little in it cost wise.

The R-Pi has its advantages and fits the TV connected PC and the DIY TV application roles well but that doesn't make for being attractive to most people. The R-Pi fulfils the needs of what it was designed for (education), geeks, hackers and those who already want to use it as an application machine but won't IMO have such appeal to the general population simply seeking a computer to use.

Even for the media player market I expect most would prefer to pick up a 'plug in and go' commercial solution because the advantages of that will, for them, outweigh the potential advantages of an R-Pi.

una.szplodrmann
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Re: Why did the industry fail?

Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:07 pm

rurwin said:

My reply was that it is not aimed at the general population. It is aimed at around 5% of the general population who will decide to learn to program. And that was enough back in the 80"s to produce the young programmers of which you speak.
Thanks for the clarification. I pointed out that the Raspberry Pi is considerably cheaper than it's role-models because it could result in rather different patterns of uptake than those of the 80s. The $25 tag gives the Pi both more demographic and more geographic reach than its luminaries had. I was a kid from a low income background in the 80s. Personally speaking, I suspect that if I could've afforded a computer before my late teens, my knowledge of computer science would have extended beyond tinkering with embedded systems and interpreted languages.


I think the RaspPi can still attract that 5%. However it is unlikely to sell as widely as the Spectrum, Atari ST, Commodore 64, BBC Micro etc. because at least three quarters of those sales were for a pure games machine, an arena in which the RaspPi simply cannot compete. The price may attract something over 5% and some of those may be seduced into programming, but I don"t expect that to be a major effect.


Maybe sales will peak when the market for a cheap device running XBMC becomes saturated. TVs are of course a lot more prevalent than in the 80s. With that in mind, who is to say that global sales figures will not outstrip those of the devices you mentioned?

Evidently, the Raspberry Pi is not a specialist device, aimed at educational institutions. Its a cheap, versatile device with headline-grabbing video acceleration performance: It is a general purpose, populist device. However we choose to speculate, I'd say the future of the Raspberry Pi is far from clear.

Chris.Rowland
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Re: Why did the industry fail?

Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:16 pm

It's my opinion that the killer app that lead to Windows dominance was Visual Basic. It removed the difficulty from developing a GUI application. Suddenly any half competent developer with a good idea for an application could develop and sell a Windows application.  The result was that with a Wintel PC you could get the application you wanted.

I hope the Pi becomes the Linux killer app, the one that makes it impossible not to have a Linux system.

hyena
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Re: Why did the industry fail?

Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:33 am

Why did the industry (in the UK) fail  .. i think first of all you have to define industry .. if you mean software or industrial design (both services businesses) then it didnt, many of the games we buy today for PC/xbox etc are by British developers, your beloved ipads/pods etc are by designed  a british designer and we have of course ARM and corporate software like sage accounting software etc

.. if you mean manufacturing then there are historic, cultural and financial reasons why:

... we had (like Unison today in the public sector) in the 70's huge trade unions in the private sector more interested in national politics than their members interests .. this led to a massive decrease in competitiveness in British manufactured products (remember British Leyland cars ! or the London underground today !) in effect this gave British manufactured products a poor reputation, performance and price competitiveness.

... we have a banking/financial system which has no interest in LONG TERM investment, just a quick buck and on top of this we have a tax system which allows people to buy and sell property dodging most if not all taxes and pay third parties in cash (avoiding VAT) .. these 2 factors together are a killer for encouraging entropeneurs in to uk manufacturing/product development .. if you add on the killer EU reg tape and rules  then its just not worth the agro setting up in the uk unless you are a big player and the government give you huge grants

... there has been a huge decrease in both secondary school and "university" educational standards.  Nowadays O/A levels are a pale representation of the qualifications in the 80's and the vast majority of new "universities" are so poor now its "de rigeur" to see job ads ask for "russell group universities only"  .. this has hit science badly as many schools deem it "too hard" and push their students in to easier courses to improve the schools results. If youre an employer you can set up in Eastern Europe or the far east and get far better educated/motivated employees at ALL levels than in the UK and far cheaper. (why of the 1 million jobs created over the last couple of years 75% has gone to migrant workers from Eastern Europe).

So thats where we are, if we think about the 80's .. Sinclair happened because the government bankrolled it until it went pop, it then setup again and went pop again

... Acorn existed only because it won the state broadcasting company contract (BBC Micro) and on the back of this should have prospered but bad management killed it, it was then bought out by an Italian company and over time died again (spinning out ARM in the process)

Like many british startups at the time, a lack of poor management (international and domestic sales, manufacturing and strategy), huge labour QC/cost issues at the time as well were the killers.

We come to today and with the manufacture of circuit boards so highly automated you would have though that there would be no issue in manufacturing the pi's initial 10k run in the uk .. fair enough you would expect that anything hand soldered would lead to a slightly higher cost than the far east, but theres no shipping cost if its made in the UK  (import duty is a red herring as its EU tariff rules causing it but the same EU tariff rules have a loophole to get around it)  so why was it such an issue ?

... Firstly the pi's design probably didnt help .. if it had been more like the  EOMA68 format board (like a pcmcia card) then there are no connectors to worry about so everything should be fully automated with no hand soldering needed.  You can then manufacture the edge connector which basically contains all the connectors in the far east as it probably is mostly hand soldering.  this would also give you great flexibility in product differentiation (for example the pi A and B would be identical boards just different connector boards)  .. now i have obviously no idea whether the pi would be more or less expensive by doing this or whether the pi was just a cut and shut on a broadcom reference design so needed to be like this.

... we come to the lack of flexibility and competitiveness in UK manufacturing.  Its very expensive taxwise to employ (or contract with)  someone in the Uk, furthermore there is so much red tape and employment law on top and if we add in the poor educational standard of employees at all levels thats fundamentally why manufacturing is a lot more flexible and cost effective in Eastern Europe (where EU rules are kicked in touch and the standard of education at all but the very highest levels is far higher) or the far east.

What can we do about it  ?

1. change tax system to remove the tax loopholes/dodging around land and property and incentivise LONG term investment in startups with tax breaks  .. making it worthwhile to be an entropeneur and possible to find finance rather than be a tax dodging "property developer" (or MP/Minister working cash in hand.

2. improve drastically secondary education and focus back on science technology and maths.

3. break up the banks in to retail and investment and incentivise retail to lend to SME businesses.

4. match overseas tax breaks for R&D industries .. we were the world leader in Pharmaceutical R&D until the USA offered huge tax breaks to move the R&D in to the US .. over the last 10 years thousands of graduate and post graduate jobs have disappeared to the US and key industry has died while the previosu governement were more interested in dodging tax on their ever increasing personal property portfolios

5. change the benefit system so it pays to work as opposed to live on benefits.

my take on it anyway

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riffraff
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Re: Why did the industry fail?

Sat Mar 10, 2012 5:04 am

@hyena

+1:-)

Same applies to US economy.

What keeps ringing in my mind is a line from an interview with HP CEO Meg Whitman last year. She said something to the effect that there's no profit in the PC market.

She's absolutely right. They way they're built now,with so much crap loaded on a mainboard and dependence on a overpriced, resource-hungry, under-performing OS there is absolutely no margin.

This just astounds me because everywhere I go, my work, the hospital, doctor's office, vet, supermarket, auto parts store, restaurant you'll see an HP (I'm using one now, an off-lease workstation purchased from a local discounter). Even with that level of market dominance, approached only by Dell, HP can't turn a profit and Whitman was talking of dumping the entire PC division. This will remain the rule as long as the market is dependent on Wintel designs.


… we have a banking/financial system which has no interest in LONG TERM investment


This keys in with my comment above. What once was an "18-month or bust" return on investment rule just keeps getting shortened. The market has the attention span of a gnat. This has lead to leaning on media hype and planned obsolescence policies to gin-up investor enthusiasm. The poster-child for this is Apple.

Apple creates one innovative design and road-maps a series of incremental upgrades to it, keeps everything under tight security wraps and touts each iteration as a major advance in technology. Allow me this soapbox, please, I despise Apple for this one reason: It has prostituted itself to become the darling of the modern liberal culture when it is, in fact, a shaitan to every principal which they hold dear.

I can pretty much hurl the same accusation at Microsoft. These two companies with their media-hype marketing, narrow-minded development strategies, intolerance of market competition and compulsively obsessive abuse of litigation have left the marketplace in a shambles.

It is my sincere hope that this project, using an SoC, employing open-source OS's and turning it loose for experimentation will help break these monopolies.

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