Trevor
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:09 pm

Personally, I am at the opinion that the Raspberry Pi has not yet failed.  I also personally believe that it will not fail.

What does worry me will schools take it on? In one breath - they will, on the other do they need to right away?  Schools will need to stop being a platform ecosystem of training, and move towards knowledge and understanding (I am talking about Australian education as I have no idea how computing is in other countries).

The raspberry pi also holds one of the key elements - differentiation between computing and ICT.  Interesting to note in 'Computing: A curriculum for schools' (http://www.computingatschool.org.uk) it differentiates as "Computing and ICT are complementary subjects. Computing teaches a student how to be an effective author of computational tools (i.e. software), while ICT teaches how to be a thoughtful user of those tools. " Therefore, computing is developing computation thinking while ICT is creating objects or content using technological tools available.

Where I am going - answering the original post - is that yes Linux CAN be complex, though Linux can also hide some of the complexities, the same as Apple OS X shields the complexity of unix.  So there will need to be a place for both.

This can be simply as a graphical interface as soon as you turn the device on, then when the needs of the user change, they can make the choice of it going to a CLI or open a terminal. Therefore, if the user is using the Raspberry Pi device as an ICT tool then they might want to be shielded away from the complexities of the OS, though the same person later using the device to develop computational thinking (Computer science) then that shielding maybe too constricting hence they would need to move away from the 'backyard' and into the forest.

I hope I make sense, I just had 30 six year olds in a computer class, right after 16 year olds.

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Tass
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:20 pm

@Trevor All makes sense to me - I think you're describing exactly that the Pi will offer.  A kid-friendly interface to help them slowly navigate their way through the OS as they start to learn, while at the same time letting them dig deeper once they're ready to, keeping the full power of the OS under the covers for those that really want to tinker. There's nothing stopping you from getting under those covers - there are simply the easy options provided for the beginners while they still need them (or that's how I envision it will work at least).

And of course making the recovery of a broken OS as simple as swapping out an SD card

Sounds like you're well-suited to tell us exactly how well you think the next generation will take to something like this.

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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:37 pm

liz said:


rodneyj said:



theres two types of people....


Three, actually; there are the people who are politely engaging you, the people who are (correctly) calling you out for trolling, and there's me. Who's just banned you.


That made me snigger under my breath. I would have laughed out loud, but then everyone in the office would have looked strangely at me. Well, more strangely that they do already, what with my golden age hair and all.
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:37 pm

liz said:


and there's me. Who's just banned you.


That's an extremely funny wield of the old banhammer, Liz.

I do think some of the points our (now ex) friend raised are worthy of discussion, though.

My viewpoint, coming from someone who cares *only* about the educational uses of the Pi (and then, only within the restricted field of teaching and learning Computer Science[1]), is that the Pi is a beautiful, if somewhat flawed, project.  And my questions are whether the flaws will eventually prove to be fatal.

So, what do I see to be its flaws?

Well, software-wise, there's, first and foremost, the choice of Linux.  Although an exceptionally capable operating system, it's simply not the solution for every problem, no matter how hard people try to make it so.  It gets shoehorned into every possible product not because it's the best solution, but because it's the cheapest solution.

In an educational environment, we unfortunately have to deal with the fact that the majority of administrators are Windows-only, the majority of those holding the purse-strings are Windows-only, and the entire infrastructure is more-or-less owned by Microsoft.  It's gonna be really hard to get any non-MS product through the door, let alone one that's running MS's arch-nemesis, Linux.  Linux scares non-*n*x sysadmins, and MS regularly push FUD about how it's a patent violation nightmare. Something non-Linux, a microkernel with "language packs" that provide something akin to the micros of yore, might well be an easier "sell" than "hey, it's linux, how hard can that be".

We also have a software fragmentation issue.  At least 2 separate distributions to choose from, god alone knows how many different languages, user interfaces, and so on.  If you don't know exactly what you're doing, it's extremely easy to get lost. Witness Abishur's problems with GL, and Abishur is a helluva lot more clued up on what Pi is and isn't than most.

There's also the lack of GPU accelerated desktop when using the Pi through Linux. That hurts.  Unfortunately, being "linux" means we have to wait for someone motivated to develop a GL/ES accelerated x server.  Have you ever asked yourself why the other GL/ES based platforms out there mainly *don't* use X?

Kernel source isn't pushed up to the main tree yet, which means upgrades are going to be a bear.  Hopefully that will get fixed soon.

Then there's the hardware issues.

The main one that's gonna hurt educational takeup directly is the lack of VGA.  Yep, I know, it's been done to death, but it's still an issue, it's still a flaw.  A reasonably priced (probably Pi-specific), fixed resolution HDMI or DSI to VGA adaptor would seem to be a must.

It seems that a lot of the power supplies out there simply aren't "good enough" to drive a Pi in a real world situation.  Phone chargers don't seem to be cutting it.  Requiring a decent power supply is workable for a dev board, and maybe even for in-school usage, but not where you're expecting to to be in the hands of potentially /millions/ of kids with iffy crackberry chargers.

Likewise keyboards.  The "keyboard crashes Pi" thing looks like it might well be hardware-related, in particular USB power related.  Again, maybe fine on a dev board for thousands of users, but not where schools are going to be buying Pis to use with their existing keyboards, and, potentially, whatever cheap supermarket crap keyboards the kids have lying about at home.

The hardware problems wouldn't be an issue if we were looking at merely 10,000 development boards.  But we're looking at close to half a million hitting the streets soonish.

Then again - maybe I just worry too much.

Simon

[1] Sorry, all those people who bought a Pi "to learn about Linux", I simply don't care about you.

Trevor
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:41 pm

Tass said:

And of course making the recovery of a broken OS as simple as swapping out an SD card
This is going to be the kicker - Swapping SD chips.  One chip for ICT with a protected shielded system and another SD chip for the hard core students who don't want or need the fluff.

How I will be doing it is in the lower grades the students will get the shielded SD chip and when they are capable in learning the backoffice linux they can swap the SD chip to a more complex looking system.

My high achieves will be Rolling their own


Sounds like you're well-suited to tell us exactly how well you think the next generation will take to something like this.


I am a passionate, dedicated and sometimes overbearing computing teacher.  I currently work in a school that I teach from 5 year olds, right up to 16 year olds.  After hours I train other teachers how to integrate ICT in their learning areas.

Schools need to get out of the surface integrating that currently some do (here is the computer what can I do with it) and to deep integrating (here is the task, will technology assist, if so what).  This is where I am doing my research on for my Doctorate.

We also need to get over the PC.  We are in the post PC era, when you look at WHAT most of the students do with a PC a device like the RPi can do it. Also how many schools add extra ram or hard drive space into a PC?  Not in Western Australia. We just throw them out.

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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:46 pm

tufty said:


Then there's the hardware issues.

The main one that's gonna hurt educational takeup directly is the lack of VGA.  Yep, I know, it's been done to death, but it's still an issue, it's still a flaw.  A reasonably priced (probably Pi-specific), fixed resolution HDMI or DSI to VGA adaptor would seem to be a must.


I posted this earlier. it could/should work: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1080.....3832wt_952


[1] Sorry, all those people who bought a Pi "to learn about Linux", I simply don't care about you.


Oh

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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:52 pm

tufty said:


liz said:


and there's me. Who's just banned you.


That's an extremely funny wield of the old banhammer, Liz.


It's right up there, isn't it?

You raise some good points, although some of them can hopefully be ironed out over the next 6 months.  As someone pointed out earlier, what we're dealing with at the moment is a pre-release dev system that is now in the hands of a lot of end users.  Possibly dangerous, but it also has the potential of pulling in a lot more than just the next generation of school kids - there are all the PC-era Windows users that were thought to be lost forever that might now try a bit harder to get their head around Linux - I know you don't care about them (in the nicest possible way), but this would be an added bonus

Maybe I'm just lucky, but I've tried 3 or 4 different power sources (phone chargers, kindle chargers, USB cables straight off my laptop) and 2 different keyboards and haven't had any issues.  Hopefully a hard-and-fast list of approved hardware will be drawn up over time, along with the ability to purchase these recommended devices from the foundation themselves.

As for the VGA/HDMI issue, well, let's just leave that one there....

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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:53 pm

tufty said:


liz said:


and there's me. Who's just banned you.


That's an extremely funny wield of the old banhammer, Liz.

I do think some of the points our (now ex) friend raised are worthy of discussion, though.

My viewpoint, coming from someone who cares *only* about the educational uses of the Pi (and then, only within the restricted field of teaching and learning Computer Science[1]), is that the Pi is a beautiful, if somewhat flawed, project.  And my questions are whether the flaws will eventually prove to be fatal.

So, what do I see to be its flaws?

Well, software-wise, there's, first and foremost, the choice of Linux.  Although an exceptionally capable operating system, it's simply not the solution for every problem, no matter how hard people try to make it so.  It gets shoehorned into every possible product not because it's the best solution, but because it's the cheapest solution.

In an educational environment, we unfortunately have to deal with the fact that the majority of administrators are Windows-only, the majority of those holding the purse-strings are Windows-only, and the entire infrastructure is more-or-less owned by Microsoft.  It's gonna be really hard to get any non-MS product through the door, let alone one that's running MS's arch-nemesis, Linux.  Linux scares non-*n*x sysadmins, and MS regularly push FUD about how it's a patent violation nightmare. Something non-Linux, a microkernel with "language packs" that provide something akin to the micros of yore, might well be an easier "sell" than "hey, it's linux, how hard can that be".

We also have a software fragmentation issue.  At least 2 separate distributions to choose from, god alone knows how many different languages, user interfaces, and so on.  If you don't know exactly what you're doing, it's extremely easy to get lost. Witness Abishur's problems with GL, and Abishur is a helluva lot more clued up on what Pi is and isn't than most.

There's also the lack of GPU accelerated desktop when using the Pi through Linux. That hurts.  Unfortunately, being "linux" means we have to wait for someone motivated to develop a GL/ES accelerated x server.  Have you ever asked yourself why the other GL/ES based platforms out there mainly *don't* use X?

Kernel source isn't pushed up to the main tree yet, which means upgrades are going to be a bear.  Hopefully that will get fixed soon.

Then there's the hardware issues.

The main one that's gonna hurt educational takeup directly is the lack of VGA.  Yep, I know, it's been done to death, but it's still an issue, it's still a flaw.  A reasonably priced (probably Pi-specific), fixed resolution HDMI or DSI to VGA adaptor would seem to be a must.

It seems that a lot of the power supplies out there simply aren't "good enough" to drive a Pi in a real world situation.  Phone chargers don't seem to be cutting it.  Requiring a decent power supply is workable for a dev board, and maybe even for in-school usage, but not where you're expecting to to be in the hands of potentially /millions/ of kids with iffy crackberry chargers.

Likewise keyboards.  The "keyboard crashes Pi" thing looks like it might well be hardware-related, in particular USB power related.  Again, maybe fine on a dev board for thousands of users, but not where schools are going to be buying Pis to use with their existing keyboards, and, potentially, whatever cheap supermarket crap keyboards the kids have lying about at home.

The hardware problems wouldn't be an issue if we were looking at merely 10,000 development boards.  But we're looking at close to half a million hitting the streets soonish.

Then again - maybe I just worry too much.

Simon

[1] Sorry, all those people who bought a Pi "to learn about Linux", I simply don't care about you.


Almost everything in your post is, hopefully, going to be covered by the early adopters, prior to any educational release. That's the reasons there is a big sell to all and sundry. Get a critical mass of people working on the system to fine tune it and sort out any issues. That's always been the aim. I have high hopes in that respect, they may not all pan out, but the majority of issues will be sorted out by the community.

The only one I don't know how to fix is the Windows bias in schools. But maybe, just maybe, there are some good teachers and tech support people out there who will embrace and push the systems rather than just stick with what they know.
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:03 pm


The only one I don't know how to fix is the Windows bias in schools. But maybe, just maybe, there are some good teachers and tech support people out there who will embrace and push the systems rather than just stick with what they know.


You may need to fix the Windows bias in business first though. I'd be interested to know how much say schools have over their computing purchases. I know that  some schools/insitutions are tied to paying well over the odds for kit, aren't able to make use of second hand gear (too many costs involved) and so on. I also wonder how much of the preference for windows is down to "better the devil you know"?

Bear in mind that some large scale IT contracts stipulate the Windows platform, there would appear to be a lot of ground to make up.

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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:03 pm

poing said:


I posted this earlier. it could/should work: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1080.....3832wt_952


Oooh, interesting.



[1] Sorry, all those people who bought a Pi "to learn about Linux", I simply don"t care about you.


Oh


Like I said, sorry about that.  Doesn't mean that I won't try and help, just that I don't see it as a driver for the Pi.  "Learning about Linux" is no more CS than "Learning about Windows", "Learning about MacOS" or "Learning about Excel".  It's ICT, not CS.

For the majority, "learning about linux" would be easier and cheaper using Virtualbox and a debian install image.  Or, if you're currently using Windows, /just/ a debian install image

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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:05 pm

My view point (history) - Collaborative development of the Computer Course of Study in Western Australia, computing teacher, and currently undertaking a Doctorate in Computer Science Education.

tufty said:


So, what do I see to be its flaws?


Well, software-wise, there's, first and foremost, the choice of Linux.  Although an exceptionally capable operating system, it's simply not the solution for every problem, no matter how hard people try to make it so.  It gets shoehorned into every possible product not because it's the best solution, but because it's the cheapest solution.



I have been a Linux user since Slackware 0.0.1 and 5 1/4 floppies. Yes Linux is not the solution for every problem, though sometimes its the person thinking within a 'platform' centric way.



In an educational environment, we unfortunately have to deal with the fact that the majority of administrators are Windows-only, the majority of those holding the purse-strings are Windows-only, and the entire infrastructure is more-or-less owned by Microsoft.  It's gonna be really hard to get any non-MS product through the door, let alone one that's running MS's arch-nemesis, Linux.  Linux scares non-*n*x sysadmins



We in Western Australia (I focus on WA because its really all i know) has the same issue. Microsoft is the end all of computing in schools. We ARE NOT trainer, we are EDUCATORS. Any person who teaches MS Word and nothing else are not doing their job. Students need word processing skills - and they can come from wiki editing, text editors, HTML formatting, ect ect.



We also have a software fragmentation issue.  At least 2 separate distributions to choose from, god alone knows how many different languages, user interfaces, and so on.  If you don't know exactly what you're doing, it's extremely easy to get lost. Witness Abishur's problems with GL, and Abishur is a helluva lot more clued up on what Pi is and isn't than most.



This is going to be a plus - there will be a dist which is a general purpose, then many which are special purpose, and they are all a SD card away.

My first pilot is going to be a class of 30 students all having their own device and a few SD chips.  I will be seeing which ones they use for what and if they do swap them for different needs.  This will allow me to see what effect does having more than one dist means to students.  We need to remember that we have students who can swap between an iPhone, an Android and other mobile phone devices at a drop of a hat.



There's also the lack of GPU accelerated desktop when using the Pi through Linux. That hurts.  Unfortunately, being "linux" means we have to wait for someone motivated to develop a GL/ES accelerated x server.  Have you ever asked yourself why the other GL/ES based platforms out there mainly *don't* use X?



This is one of the issues that I do hope is fixed soon.



The main one that's gonna hurt educational takeup directly is the lack of VGA.  Yep, I know, it's been done to death, but it's still an issue, it's still a flaw.  A reasonably priced (probably Pi-specific), fixed resolution HDMI or DSI to VGA adaptor would seem to be a must.



We have been 'lucky' enough that most of the screens available to use have VGA/DVI ports, though not the IWB projectors (which is a huge issue, forcing me to purchase HDMI - VGA converters to run Apple TVs)

I also had 100 15" VGA/DVI LCD screens given to me by a few companies that were upgrading their systems, ready for these little critters. Also most houses have a TV with DVI/HDMI these days


.... Power and keyboards ....

The hardware problems wouldn't be an issue if we were looking at merely 10,000 development boards.  But we're looking at close to half a million hitting the streets soonish.


This is where there will be a problem.  There will be reusing of peripheral devices that if don't work will cause issues in the roll out of the RPi in schools.

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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:11 pm

JamesH said:


The only one I don't know how to fix is the Windows bias in schools. But maybe, just maybe, there are some good teachers and tech support people out there who will embrace and push the systems rather than just stick with what they know.



When I am training teachers in leadership, this is one of the videos I put on:  Worth a watch -

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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:12 pm

JamesH said:


Almost everything in your post is, hopefully, going to be covered by the early adopters, prior to any educational release. That's the reasons there is a big sell to all and sundry. Get a critical mass of people working on the system to fine tune it and sort out any issues. That's always been the aim. I have high hopes in that respect, they may not all pan out, but the majority of issues will be sorted out by the community.


I wish I could share your confidence.  I'm sure the lower level linux issues will be sorted soon enough, but I don't see accelerated X happening fast.  If there's actual hardware issues to fix, which there may be, they are gonna end up hurting half a million people and maybe more. That's bad press.

For the rest, I still don't see linux as the universal panacea. It's no worse than the current windows-only ecosystem, but I'm not sure it's significantly better.


The only one I don't know how to fix is the Windows bias in schools. But maybe, just maybe, there are some good teachers and tech support people out there who will embrace and push the systems rather than just stick with what they know.


As far as the teachers are concerned, and even a decent number of the tech support people, there seems to be a decent amount of willingness / desire for change.  The problem is more to do with the layers of bureaucracy above them, the layers that deal with the money and curriculum setting.

Simon

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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:21 pm



brian_reiter said:



The only one I don't know how to fix is the Windows bias in schools. But maybe, just maybe, there are some good teachers and tech support people out there who will embrace and push the systems rather than just stick with what they know.


You may need to fix the Windows bias in business first though. I'd be interested to know how much say schools have over their computing purchases. I know that  some schools/insitutions are tied to paying well over the odds for kit, aren't able to make use of second hand gear (too many costs involved) and so on. I also wonder how much of the preference for windows is down to "better the devil you know"?

Bear in mind that some large scale IT contracts stipulate the Windows platform, there would appear to be a lot of ground to make up.


In many areas the county council provides IT services for their schools. In most cases these run on windows, with email via MS exchange, all the software from the stuff that reports the attendance and coursework grades, right through to the stuff teachers use to share resources to their classes is all online, and all on windows. Trying to use Pi to run an anti-windows crusade in this space is crazy.

There is one particular company in the UK that has 'owned' that space of the market since at least the early 90s, and probably before to my knowledge, all on Windows even back then.

Also, to whoever repeated the oft spouted fallacy about "bloaty" drivers for windows is judging a book by its cover. Often the 'large' install downloads are augmented by things like, additional merge modules for things like MFC or (bluerrrgh) .NET support. Or each binary can be inflated in size if they statically links to MFC.

Additionally, the perceived 'bloat' is actually caused by the inclusion of high resolution bitmaps and icons for product branding, and when using multi-language support you can multiply whole copy of the graphics/icon/string resources  by the number of supported languages.

Windows Driver files themselves aren't big. The extra size is probably the configuration utilities, their libraries and branding that go with them.
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:26 pm

For a "failed device" it sure made the OP think on the subject of programming. Jamesh correctly pointed out that most of the systems the OP talked about were a decade older than he was. One point he did have is that it might just be better to build an interface that was designed to be a programmer only. I suspect that many RasPi"s given to children will very quickly end up as media devices using pre-rolled software, rather than as a programming tool. I very much hope I am wrong. On the other hand I have seen proportionally more post about media players and media servers than I would like to see, at least given the goals of the foundation. I actually intend to get back into programming. I have made a small start with a NerdKit. I have more than enough systems to carry out my other computing needs. Example:
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:33 pm

tufty said:

As far as the teachers are concerned, and even a decent number of the tech support people, there seems to be a decent amount of willingness / desire for change.  The problem is more to do with the layers of bureaucracy above them, the layers that deal with the money and curriculum setting.
Simon



I tend to agree with tufty on this point, having worked in IT in schools and worked IT in all sorts of government locations, introducing linux in general (and not even thinking about the Pi at them moment) into an established environment?  Not very likely.  It can also be a hard sell as a) of lot of high level IT guys don't know Linux, so they can't properly protect the network "from Linux" and b) teachers are letting computers replacing their role in teaching.

When I worked in the school system I was in a Jr. High (ages 13ish-15ish) that had two computer labs that were booked 24/7 by the math teachers so that students could come in and do this math tutor program that came complete with scratch paper program.

Now, on point b) I think that a good software suite will remedy that problem, on point a) I don't think the r-pi is necessarily targeting itself as a computer lab *replacement* so it doesn't necessarily matter.  It is a good option for non-established, low income school districts where there is no, or a skeleton lab.  In such an area it wouldn't be hard to convince a district to spend the money to start building up a lab using the r-pi

More importantly, the place in education where I see the r-pi really shining is in "extra curricular" classes.  I was fortunately enough to get to take a computing class in my senior year of high school that officially launched me into computers.  The class had us start from the ground up assembling, installing, and configuring the PCs.  Likewise I could see several programing type classes being developed around the pi so that students could take home the devices relatively easily to do their homework.  I also like the idea of a networking class where each pi does a specific task (ldap, firewall, file server, mail server,etc) to teach students how networks operate and get them thinking big picture instead of local machine.
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:36 pm

Lob0426 said:


One point he did have is that it might just be better to build an interface that was designed to be a programmer only.


I didn't think about it until now, but let's remember that the Raspberry Pi's sole purpose is not just to get kids programming.  If it was JUST about programming, sure - there could possibly be other ways to go about it.  But not everyone it cut out to be a programmer.

The idea here (in my mind) is to bring about a better level of understanding about computers in general, how they work, what they can do and break down the separation between very far left end users and very far right sys admins.

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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:43 pm

I'd agree, in the developed world at least, the RPi isn't intended to replace teacher's laptops, the admin staff's computers or even existing labs full of locked down but usable computers for ICT teaching. They are a cheaper alternative to allow pupils to do proper computing without the risk of breaking 'The Machine'.

SD cards are cheap enough that the solution to most problems is just to put in a new card and wait for the half-a-day-a-week IT technician to fix the problem when they are next in (rewrite the SD image).  If a PC is out of service than can take much longer to fix and will effect all teachers/pupils trying to use the suite until it is fixed.

Sensible monitors may also allow the RPi and regular computer to be plugged into the same screen to save space/money ("today class we are going to use screen 2...").

In developing worlds where they don't have the Microsoft monopoly any OS should do. Even for ICT what word processor or spreadsheet you are using should be much less of a concern than teaching the skills - by the time the pupils actually get into work there knowledge of the programs will be out of date, but their skills in being able to perform the task shouldn't be.

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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:25 pm

Lob0426 said:


One point he did have is that it might just be better to build an interface that was designed to be a programmer only.


I didn"t think about it until now, but let"s remember that the Raspberry Pi"s sole purpose is not just to get kids programming.  If it was JUST about programming, sure - there could possibly be other ways to go about it.  But not everyone it cut out to be a programmer.

The idea here (in my mind) is to bring about a better level of understanding about computers in general, how they work, what they can do and break down the separation between very far left end users and very far right sys admins.

And my worry is that "better level of understanding" will get shoveled underneath YouTube. Not everyone is cut out to be a programmer as you say. But I see youth who will more likely install xbmc and that will be the end of the curve. Once they learned how to program it would be simple indeed to break out of the locked software and run anything they like. Consider it as a challenge to get them motivated in programming. Of course they would just have one of their friends do it for them. I have seen this pattern time after time.
One kid was having trouble with their iPhone battery. I suggested they look up how to replace it on the Internet. Oh I"ll just have John do it! I have done this replacement myself it is not that hard. But why should he/she do it if they can get someone to do it for them. There really needs to be some motivation to do it yourself for a real accomplishment to be made. John will be the smart one in the end! There is the same theory in automotive repair for years now. Oh you need a computer to work on them. I did need a computer, a home computer, to find out my problem was a MAF sensor, one time, a throttle position sensor another. I looked the error code up on the internet. I did not need to take it to a shop as most would have. I did cheat and bought a can of sensor cleaner for the MAF. The moral. Do not be afraid to do it yourself! Whether it be cars, computers or anything else. John will have to get his own car (and his own RasPi) if he wants to work on one around here.
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 4:38 pm

Excellent morals there lob!

Last weekend I mended my tumble dryer. New belt, bearing, bearing hanger, seals. Needed the internet to find out how to fit the belt which simply didn't seem to be long enough (heat gun it!). Also last weekend I checked the other half's brakes on her car - slight bind on rears, fronts need new disks and pads- will do that when I get time.

So this weekend I saved myself probably in excess of £100 with 2.5hrs work.
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:24 pm

That MAF sensor (Mass AirFlow sensor) in question was on a 2004 Corvette. It is an after market performance item installed by a prior owner. A shop would have replaced it without troubleshooting it. I saved myself considerably more than £100 just in the labor, never mind the part. The part is $275 for stock and I could not find a price on the part that is actually in there. Guessing at it being $350.
By the way this is a very common problem in fuel injected automobiles. Fine Particulates that pass through the air filters build up on the sensors. Many of them are "hot wire" based. This coating of particulates insulates the sensor. A $10 can of cleaner usually fixes a $300 to $1000 dollar dealer repair after parts and labor. The shop replaces, or worse yet claims to replace, the MAF. This only took 20 minutes part of which was locating the sensor and looking up error codes. 10 minutes to actually remove it, clean it and reinstall it.
Symptoms:
Intermittent good and poor fuel mileage
Intermittent overheating
Engine warning light goes on and off
I average about 17 mpg city and 27.5 mpg highway.
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:09 pm

I am sure we can all think of things we would have done differently but an imperfect real solution beats a perfect hypothetical solution any day! It is outright silly to think the Raspi has failed -- it has gotten barely started but it is a _great_ start!

As for an accelerated X11 server, rather than rely on a hope the "community" would do it, I think RPF should actively seek funding (may be X.org, Khronos, Broadcom, TI...) and fund a competent team to implement an X11 server that talks OpenVG.

Over the years Linux has gotten very complicated so I am not sure how good a platform it is to learn about all aspects of a computer. Personally I'd use something like plan9 as it is not a minimal microkernel nor a monolithic giant. It is simple, programmer friendly, simple GUI, and a fraction of the size (total kernel sources under 300K lines as opposed to over 14Million lines for the Linux kernel -- granted that Linux does a lot more but when you want to learn the essential aspects its complexity can get in the way). But on the other hand if you want to run all your favorite apps and games, you don't really care about the kernel complexity, only whether they run on it!

Anyway, bottom line: Raspi has had a great start and it can only improve from here on out. I even know of someone who is writing a Scheme OS to run on it

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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:56 pm

Despite some of the earlier friction this has proved to be an interesting thread.

As a grandfather and retired FE lecturer (Computing and Microelectronics), I have no doubts about the ability of interested youngsters to get their heads round Linux and the Pi architecture, or at least as much of it as they need in order to do whatever they want to do - which is how they tend to work.

It's sometimes said that Windows is for users and Linux is for geeks. I wouldn't take issue with that, but it is precisely those youthful geeks that the Pi is aimed at. It is they who, given the right start, could be leaving the universities in a decade or two and setting up new, innovative hi-tech businesses. And if you doubt that that is what it's about then you haven't been listening to Eben's interviews.

Two other aspects of the Pi which don't always get due coverage are that it's a) cheap - it's about the price of four packets of cigarettes, and while the kids aren't likely to break it it won't break the bank for most people if they do; and b) safe - there are no dangerous voltages inside a Pi.

Eben is a visionary (and no, I don't know him). Visionaries don't always get it right, but my gut feeling is that the Pi is the start of something worthwhile.

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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:47 am

Debating with a Linux zealot is an exercise in futility. Don't get me wrong, I use Linux at work, I have a Linux webserver, I own an Android phone, I code in Linux, etc.

The moment you say something against their religion, they get back to you with their big guns.

"You are an MS b*tch!"

"Why are you a Linux haterz..."

"RTFM n00b!!!"

Being able to recompile the kernel or issue a bunch of make commands doesn't make you any better than everyone else. In the end, you'll see in a lot of Linux threads, where someone claims to be a Linux overlord, admitting that eventually, someone, somewhere in the internetz is going to develop a driver for his "unsupported hardware" he's been trying to make work in his beloved Linux system.

Stop talking and start walking...

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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:38 am

Even without Linux-administrators at schools, the 'pi will gain hold. For $50 you have a complete 'pi system. Someone in the school is bound to say: Let's buy one and see what happens. And what happens is that someone follows the instructions and has a working "pi-system". When it breaks they reimage the SD card. Until someone finds something better, that will work. 16
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