Raspberry Pi as the successor of BBC Micro


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by reiuyi » Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:14 pm
It has been mentioned a couple of times there was some intention of getting the Raspberry Pi computer under the BBC name. I don't have sources for this, but please see it as a possibility within this thread. You could see the Raspberry Pi computer as a successor to the BBC Micro, in a way. Releasing under a different name wouldn't significantly change the goals of the Foundation, nor would it probably mean a big difference in availability, price or functionality. What I do wonder about is its name.

I made this thread because I wonder; what would raspi be called if it really was released with "BBC" on it?

Would it be called the BBC Nano perhaps? The really striking thing is how similar the machines are. I don't mean in terms of visual appeal; I mean in terms of release quantity  (or the issues of guessing the number of interested people correctly!), release of different models, and perhaps also its cult following. We might as well create our very own Domesday Project in the future!
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by Michael » Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:48 pm
The Foundation trustees tried very hard to get an agreement to use the BBC Micro name, right up to May 2011.  Unfortunately, things didn't work out in that direction (although perhaps one of the trustees could comment on if there is any future hope in that direction).

Eben touched on the subject a bit during his speech at the Beeb@30 celebration at the beginning of the month: http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/970 starting at time index 11:30
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by reiuyi » Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:26 pm
Michael said:


Eben touched on the subject a bit during his speech at the Beeb@30 celebration at the beginning of the month: http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/970 starting at time index 11:30


Yes;



this video was part of the reason I made this thread. Upton briefly mentioned the Foundation tried "getting the thing to be called the BBC Micro. We spent a significant period of time trying to attach the BBC name to this". It made me wonder whether or not the goal was to actually call the Raspberry Pi the "BBC Micro", or instead a modern alternative which has BBC in its name. I cannot say there are many who dislike the Raspberry Pi name. I am merely interested in this part of unspoken history! The affairs within the Foundation are usually interesting to hear about

Edit: the forum software automatically embedded the video, though it fortunately included the correct starting time.
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by jacklang » Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:50 pm
As Eben said, we spent a while talking to the BBC, but the problem is that as a public body they cannot endorse one particular manufacturer, even a not-for-profit.

Just finding the right people to talk to took a while.
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by shirro » Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:13 pm
Funny, I have stacks of toys around the house licensed by the BBC. Perhaps if you ask to call it the Doctor Who micro you might have better luck?
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by Michael » Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:45 pm
DeliciousRaspberryCake said:

It made me wonder whether or not the goal was to actually call the Raspberry Pi the "BBC Micro", or instead a modern alternative which has BBC in its name. I cannot say there are many who dislike the Raspberry Pi name. I am merely interested in this part of unspoken history! The affairs within the Foundation are usually interesting to hear about

I can't talk to the Foundation's, or indeed the BBC's intentions.  However, people do tend to forget (or not realise) that the last computer to carry the BBC name (or British Broadcasting Corporation Microcomputer Project name, to give it its full title) was in fact the Acorn BBC A3000 - essentially an Acorn Archimedes with the computer and keyboard back in the same case.  So perhaps such a theoretical beast might be called the Raspberry Pi BBC Model A|B or perhaps the BBC Raspberry Pi?

Here are some nostalgic links about that computer:

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by MattHawkinsUK » Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:06 pm
Never believed the BBC's attitude at the time. Today it all becomes a little bit clearer ...
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by cpc464 » Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:58 pm
The Raspberry Pi brand is already pretty huge. And unfortunately the BBC, and the reputation of its brand, is not quite what it was in 1980.

I wish the Pi (or a version of it) could be like an 80's home computer. Where you switch it on and just start programming in a "programming shell", if I can call it that, with no distractions. Of course you can program any computer today, but there is an awful lot to learn first: GUIs, logins, the boot sequence, the desktop, icons, menus, then programming tools, environments, ecosystems, libraries and so on. It is such a barrier.

In 1984 I was programming my Amstrad to draw mathematical patterns. All you needed was a few "plot" commands. To do the same thing now, I would first have to spend several days learning about OpenGL or similar, choose my ecosystem, write a fairly complicated program just to include the right libraries, before plotting a single plot.
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by mikerr » Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:03 pm
I view the Pi as closer to the ZX Spectrum than BBC model B.

The BBC B was never "affordable" for the masses to buy at home (£399)
that was the domain of the ZX Spectrum (£129)
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by jamesh » Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:06 pm
mikerr wrote:I view the Pi as closer to the ZX Spectrum than BBC model B.

The BBC B was never "affordable" for the masses to buy at home (£399)
that was the domain of the ZX Spectrum (£129)


I bought/preordered a BBC Model A for £235, new (S/N 3336) , then upgraded to a B for £90....still more than a spectrum though!
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by DougieLawson » Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:12 pm
mikerr wrote:I view the Pi as closer to the ZX Spectrum than BBC model B.

The BBC B was never "affordable" for the masses to buy at home (£399)
that was the domain of the ZX Spectrum (£129)


Wow! Was the Beeb really that pricey. That explains why we (me and my twin) went from a ZX80 kit to a Microtan 65 and Acorn Atom. Then onwards to a Speccy and Amstrad CPC464, then an Amstrad CPC6128 then various Amstrad PCs
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by adlambert » Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:35 pm
It's worse than that. The Price of a Model B in today's money is between £1300 and £1800 pounds depending on which view you take on the worth of money.

It's no wonder then, that the teachers at the time treated them like delicate crystal and locked them away.

A Spectrum about £500, a ZX81 £250.

The TRS-80 that we had as the sole computer in our school would be some shocking amount, the price of a decent used car.
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by jamesh » Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:54 pm
adlambert wrote:It's worse than that. The Price of a Model B in today's money is between £1300 and £1800 pounds depending on which view you take on the worth of money.

It's no wonder then, that the teachers at the time treated them like delicate crystal and locked them away.

A Spectrum about £500, a ZX81 £250.

The TRS-80 that we had as the sole computer in our school would be some shocking amount, the price of a decent used car.


From my point of view it was money well spent...!!! I've still got it, so that works out at 335/30 = 10ish per year, for a career.
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by DavidS » Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:14 pm
As the RPi is a modern computer that can run RISC OS, and the most popular RISC OS platform today, it is a follow on to the BBC computers (wich ended with the Acorn Archemedies, a RISC OS computer).

Now the RPi gives us the experience of the BBC Computers by allowing us to run RISC OS, and thus BBC BASIC V (though I am not sure why we still call it BBC BASIC, as it is no longer endorsed by the BBC).

So it would be very nice to see the BBC endorsment on the RPi, though as the features of BBC BASIC were part of the original requirment for a BBC computer it would have to run RISC OS as the primary to meet the requirement. None of the newer BASIC veriants that are called BBC BASIC quite measure up.
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by scidata » Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:48 pm
My 2c from across the pond. The BBC may have a great rep in Britain, but apart from WWII films using the "This is the BBC" booming radio voice, and "Spitting Image" during the 80's, it's not so well known over here. The pi is.
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by mikerr » Thu Mar 12, 2015 5:45 pm
DougieLawson wrote: Then the BBC Jeremey Clarkson turned it into a comedy farce with "supercars" like the Veyron that nobody except the likes of Chris Evans can afford to drive presented by the current batch of comedy idiots.

fixed that for you...
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by Heater » Thu Mar 12, 2015 6:05 pm
What is all this about?

The BBC Micro is a distant memory. As is the Archimedes. At the time they were expensive enough that even though I was old enough to have started work I could not afford one.

Here and now the Pi is a huge hit all around the world. All is well and good.
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by MikB » Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:53 pm
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-31834927

BBC seems too busy enthusing over MicroBits now, which will get a whole new generation of people coding "like the BBC computer did back in the 1980s".

Hello, anybody remember the Raspberry PI you were enthusing over, which was going to do the same thing a few years back?

Fickle old BBC, eh?
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by scidata » Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:10 pm
"digital professionals" is a depressing term. Looks like a whole new crop of cut & paste script kiddies is being milled. I'm always hoping for a deeper, syntonic understanding of computation.
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by AndrewdAzotus » Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:14 pm
cpc464 wrote:In 1984 I was programming my Amstrad to draw mathematical patterns. All you needed was a few "plot" commands. To do the same thing now, I would first have to spend several days learning about OpenGL or similar, choose my ecosystem, write a fairly complicated program just to include the right libraries, before plotting a single plot.


Don't you get what you want under RiscOS [in NOOBS] using BBC Basic?
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by AndrewdAzotus » Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:20 pm
mikerr wrote:
DougieLawson wrote: Then the BBC Jeremey Clarkson turned it into a comedy farce with "supercars" like the Veyron that nobody except the likes of Chris Evans can afford to drive presented by the current batch of comedy idiots.

fixed that for you...


Did you see the recent episode about the 'frozen wastes of Canada'?

It wasn't about the frozen wastes of Canada, nor even the pick up trucks they were driving. It was all about bullying Richard Hammond.
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by davidcoton » Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:07 pm
DavidS wrote:it would be very nice to see the BBC endorsment on the RPi, though as the features of BBC BASIC were part of the original requirment for a BBC computer it would have to run RISC OS as the primary to meet the requirement.


Why is RISC OS required? The original BBC Basic run on a 6502A, 2MHz 8-bit microprocessor. It had (IIRC) 32KB RAM, plus Basic and OS in ROM (16K each? My memory fades, even if my BBCs can still remember ...) and some of the ROM address space stolen for the memory-mapped I/O.

The system was big enough to write commercially useful programs. There was virtually zero library support, so users learnt real coding and efficient (speed and space) coding. There was also some real rubbish code, both in magazines and sold commercially, that showed that not everyone learnt.
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by cpc464 » Tue Mar 17, 2015 6:39 pm
DavidS wrote:...BBC BASIC...


It was written by Locomotive Software, the same people who (later) did the BASIC for the Amstrad CPC464. Both were very good, fast versions of BASIC.
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by cpc464 » Tue Mar 17, 2015 6:42 pm
mikerr wrote:I view the Pi as closer to the ZX Spectrum than BBC model B.

The BBC B was never "affordable" for the masses to buy at home (£399)
that was the domain of the ZX Spectrum (£129)


There is no "agree" button in this forum ? Well, I agree. £399 was also the price of my favourite, the CPC464 (colour monitor version).
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by cpc464 » Tue Mar 17, 2015 6:51 pm
AndrewdAzotus wrote:
cpc464 wrote:In 1984 I was programming my Amstrad to draw mathematical patterns. All you needed was a few "plot" commands. To do the same thing now, I would first have to spend several days learning about OpenGL or similar, choose my ecosystem, write a fairly complicated program just to include the right libraries, before plotting a single plot.


Don't you get what you want under RiscOS [in NOOBS] using BBC Basic?


Can you ? That's fine, but it kind of makes my point. Before writing a single line of RiscOS NOOBS BASIC, you need to know how to make large downloads, burn them to a card, select an OS, boot it, login, configure the system, find the BASIC environment... and so on. A lot of advanced concepts to master before writing 10 hello 20 goto 10.
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