toxibunny
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 12:49 am

I am looking forward to seeing the fruits of your labour. Good luck, Rodney! I hope you listen to my advice and have python programming language as the easy entry for your system.
note: I may or may not know what I'm talking about...

rodneyj
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:03 am

toxibunny : Thanks

unfortunately Im not sure when I will be able to order a RasPi yet, I registered my interest with RS a few weeks back now [due to some confusion]. Its likely that someone or some other group may have created such a system for the device before mine turns up, and if not, still likely someone has a project I can join by then anyway.

Ill let everyone know eitherway. My children are already planning the games they will write as well so heh

thanks again all

Phoenix RasPi
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:44 am

Since virtually no one has been able to obtain a RasPi two months after "launch", I suppose a case could be made that it"s a failure, at least for the 2012/2013 academic year.  Even if it had shipped in March, the state of the OSes alone is below what it needs to be for the general academic environment, much less education-oriented applications, documentation, training, etc.

March is too late for most school systems to plan their budgets to buy any, much less many, RasPi boards.  Those that do make it into classrooms will be via early-adopter geek teachers and parents who are desperate to do something, anything, to improve academic opportunities.  So, the coming academic year will be a beta (and to some degree, alpha) test period for the large number of moving parts (boards, cases, peripherals, OSes, educational applications, programming language configurations, documentation, etc., etc., etc.) that make up the RasPi ecosystem.

It"s going to take much more than a year just to get non-geek teachers trained in how to integrate the RasPi into their curricula that are already overburdened with exam-oriented requirements.  It would be interesting to see if anyone can dredge up the development and deployment schedules and budgets for the BBC Micro, etc.  I"ll bet you any amount of silver and gold that it didn"t happen in six months – it was probably more like six years before every kid already in school when those computers were introduced had been through the official program for at least a year.  So, it will be at least several years before success or failure can be ascribed to the RasPi.

As for Linux and Python vs. anything else, it really doesn"t matter.  The LXDE desktop (or whatever else may be used with OSes other than Debian) is more than adequate for the purposes of not scaring novice kids off, while offering enough hints of wonderful things under the covers to keep the brave and foolish experimenters delighted for years.  I think it would be a better use of the OP"s time to adapt the tools being provided with the RasPi than to try to cobble together yet-another OS (just what we need, another "standard").

It should be noted that it's very likely that the RasPi will primarily be introduced into secondary schools during the first, year, or so, and if anyone is really smart, they'll challenge the students to do all of the heavy lifting for developing and documenting the plethora of education-oriented material that's desperately needed yesterday just to get the teachers up-to-speed.  By the time the RasPi is really ready to be introduced into elementary schools (beyond the natural geeks, who will have RasPi boards bestowed on them by kind parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, et al), some of those high school students will be graduating from colleges and universities as teachers themselves and will form the real bow-wave who will help complete the flood of classroom battle-hardened RasPi systems into schools.  Fortunately, that will be right about when the many Boomer teachers and administrators will start retiring in large numbers, who will have absolutely no interest in learning about anything new, other than the cost of beer and electricity in Mallorca, Menorca, and Benidorm.

If you really feel the need to sugar-coat Linux, why not just create a set of commands with whatever you feel are more meaningful names and alias/link them to the "real" commands?  Before you get too far down that road, people with similar ideas did that upwards of 30+ years ago, mapping Unix commands to their CP/M and PC/MS-DOS equivalents, like ls to dir, cp to copy, rm to delete, etc.  I"ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to go find them – they should all still work perfectly well.

BTW, renaming rm so that rm -r /* (remove all files starting at root and proceeding recursively into all directories) no longer works would be a highly-recommended first step (assuming you were foolish enough to allow a novice user to be root).  Obviously, enforcing use of sudo and not allowing users to ever become root explicitly is probably the second thing I would do, but, you might think something else is more important.

I would be curious to see what you think would be a better file system and security model than that provided in Linux.  Microsloth thought NT was just the greatest thing since sliced bread until folks like me wandered into trade shows where they were exhibiting and proceeded to break into all of their demo machines on the show floor.  We put embarrassing things on the screens that even the poor tech support weenies they brought along couldn"t figure out how to get rid of before prospective customers saw them.  Oh, sure, we did it to Unix vendors, too, where the sales people were allowed to set the passwords, etc.  However, the more hard-core companies posed much more of a challenge – then, it was just a matter of social engineering to get the sales folks to slip up, especially when we managed to get them to invite us to their parties where the spirits flowed freely (and, yes, it still works to this day  ).

Good luck!

tufty
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:05 am

JamesH said:


It's a wind up


Wind up or not, he does raise a couple of issues that most people seem to be trying hard to ignore.  Which is not to say that I think the Pi is a failure, far from it; if nothing else, it's raised awareness of the paucity of CS education in those outside the educational sector, and that's no bad thing.

I'll post more on this when I get back from work this evening.

bredman
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:16 am

I regularly build computers for elderly people and children with learning difficulties. I always use Linux (normally a locked-down version of Ubuntu). There is no reason that the end-user should ever see the operating system.

Most of the confusion is caused by the fact that the RPi is not actually ready for consumer release yet. Please remember that we are currently looking at the developer release.

A fine line needs to be walked. On one hand you can hide the operating system (like Apple hides Unix) so as not to scare away the timid folk, but on the other hand you must make it easy for the user to experiment and wander around.

jamesh
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:16 am

rodneyj said:


jbeale : yes I believe a big part of the situation is to provide a simple interface as you said.

However, I think we would need to provide the interfaces to the more advanced features of the RasPi from within that simpler looking interface otherwise I fear that users will get the impression they are in a simpler system with less features. And as soon as they realise this would just "break out" of that anyway.

.........

Reason I posted this thread where I did and with the title I did, is not because of im mindlessly trying to cause heated arguments, but because of a real concern with the direction the computer is taking.

I actually agree that a linux system should be initially deployed, so as to take advantage of the masses of software already available for linux systems and also the vibrant community. I just think as the system is aimed at children learning programming, that Linux should become an alternate system for the device and initial only, not the standard. Linux is great for someone like me, us nerdy type long time programmers love to see the complexity there straight away and have access to it easily, however I believe this would put off young newbies.

However my initial solution to the Linux RasPi complexity for children problem, could well be to create yet another Linux distribution....

Ofcourse how I feel about all this could be completely delusional in numerous ways, but its how I feel after years of looking at this problem and even creating [failed] solutions to it in the past.



rodneyj said:


I find it amazing that not one single replier has understood the nature of my argument here.

Does no one else even understand why the raspberry pi has been created ? Although I could write an essay on the situation, I feel the information is already available for you all to research yourselves.

Almost all questions raised with my original post, were answered in my OP, so instead of dissecting ignorant comments, I just refer you learn to read and reread my OP. Other points raised that were not initially spelt out in my OP, are ignorant beyond belief, and so I will choose to just ignore them.

This thread is not for trolls to spew rubbish and or brainwashed repetition, please polluted someone elses thread with that kind of playground talk.

Now please just ignore this thread unless the OP applies to you and you are an interested party, just to be clear :

<copypasta from OP>

Of course I will be working on an alternate system to run on the raspberry so my children can experience the confidence through self learning I had the opportunity to. If others have this need as well, maybe we should get together to fix the raspberry for future for everyone.

</end copypasta>

So just to be doubly clear, as I understand most cant seem to read, and or have some hardwired reaction to repeat rubbish to make themselves feel better : -

Please Please have some respect for others, and dont reply here unless you feel as I do, and want to help in anyway with this. If you disagree with me, please make your own thread that I wont have to read….

thanks again

<ps edit> -- maybe I come from a poor family... stop trying to call me a liar... maybe it was a zx81, I quickly got a +2 anyway... who cares, im talking about that era of personal computers... and please, just make your own thread to split hairs, I dont like wasting time with it...


Sorry Rodney, I don't like your attitude in this post and being rude to other (as far as I can tell no-one was actually rude to you unless you count accusing you of trolling, which given your first post seemed fairly accurate to me). So, please be civil or you will be banned.

You have made points that have been covered before on this forum, i.e is Linux suitable, is the device suitable etc. You can search the education forum for more information. Personally, having grown up with the Apple 2, UK101, BBC micro, I think Linux is probably easier to get to do something good than those devices, once you have a few basics under your belt. Python for example. It also by far the quickest route to a cheap programming device.

As far as I can tell, there is very little you can use as an alternative either. RISCOS is a possibility I suppose, or as suggested a wrapper over Linux (which is LXDE, or XFCE or Unity or whatever desktop you want so already there in many ways). Although I think you may be doing the intelligence of our children a  disservice saying Linux is too nerdy! It can be extremely advanced, but it can also be easy to use with the appropriate software
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Tass
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:27 am

@rodneyj you've come onto the official site, posted in the main forum, slated the project, called it a failure, attacked anyone that tried to reason with you and tried to promote your own project?  Really??  Did you think this through at all?

As I posted earlier, Linux is only difficult if you've been introduced to it after 10-15 years of using Windows (like I was).  There are a whole host of Linux experts out there and they're nothing special - they aren't insanely bright, or equipped with any special abilities (sorry guys, it's true ) - they were just introduced to it at the right time.  And that's what this project is all about (IMHO).

Seriously though - good luck with your project, try not to step on too many people on your way, spend the next few years of your life developing your new, more suitable OS and come back and show it to us.  We'll give you our unbiased opinion.

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Tass
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:33 am

Phoenix RasPi said:


Since virtually no one has been able to obtain a RasPi two months after "launch", I suppose a case could be made that it"s a failure, at least for the 2012/2013 academic year.  Even if it had shipped in March, the state of the OSes alone is below what it needs to be for the general academic environment, much less education-oriented applications, documentation, training, etc.


Just a few points - quite of a few people do actually have their RaspPi - about 2000 of them, with 8000 shipping next week, and a few hundred thousand in the next month or two.  I wouldn't call that a failure, especially seeing it's 20 times more than the foundation ever imagined it would ship in the first year.

As for the educational release, as long as I've been following the project (December), the foundation has made it very clear that they will not be targeting the start of this school year - the educational release will be made available at the end of the year, after the start of the school year.  That gives everyone 6-9 months to build the project up to where it needs to be for next year.

rodneyj
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:04 am

JamesH : I dont like your attitude, trolling and calling me a liar, please ban yourself and do the community a favour…

…….

A couple of people have made the point of hiding the underlying linux OS, and I agree initially as an ad hoc solution this will give our children something usable atleast, if not sleek…

……

RiscOS could be promising and ill definately grab an image of it to check out, along with the source etc… when I get my RasPi

……

I can write my own OS from scratch [so can others], and this is probably going to be the best solution for the RasPi at the end of day….

thanks again

edit : also lets not keep flogging the dead horse of : children are not dumb  /  they can use linux.... we already know thats not the case, and hence people keep trying to create different things like the RasPi to solve the problem....

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piglet
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:15 am

We will look forward to hearing from you again once you've got to the point of releasing your new hand-written bespoke operating system.

Till then, good luck and happy coding.

n31l
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:20 am

I thought the Pi was to teach kids to program, not to teach them how to use another  simple user interface? when the programmers die out are all the new IT people just going to sit a look at a blank screen!!!

PS I'm still finding the maths test easy, my be if we made it a bit harder we would get less trolls.

rodneyj
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:20 am

I think a lot of the problem with this thread, is a lot of the posters arent among the golden generation, and dont have the confidence or self proved programming abilities we were lucky enough to get....

Those that are have high hopes for the RasPi

rodneyj
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:23 am

n31| : yeah but its the same thing. Also im thinking the maths tests are getting harder

hvc123
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:28 am

all i can say is HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

Rodney you are a USER point and click king, i personally think you are missing the point.

the RPi is designed for education & programming i was 7 when i got my first speccy (back in 82) and i remember me and my friend sitting there for it seemed like an eternity copying line after line of code from my monthly mag that my mum used to get me just to draw a bridge on the screen.

everyone must remember the dreaded

50 data 00,f8,EE, etc, etc ,etc.

nowadays im very linux biased (even do it for a job) and to be honest linux is not difficult to understand, infact if you stripped the GUI of any windows machine and tried to use that it would be a hell of a lot harder than any linux. i mean windows (my opinion) drivers for example, they are massive in size nowadays because of the amount of "lazy" coding going on.

linux is also what you nice LCD tv is running on you router will have a flavour of linux running on it,you phone (unless its a win mobile) even you hard line phone may have a linux os. linux is the most versatile os in the world (i know a massive statement).

maybe a port of the Amiga OS would be good for a few im sure thats what rico is kinder like.

when my oldest is in senior school (hes not yet) i would be really unimpressed if the school taught him how to point and click on an icon and write a word document, Because he already can do that i want him to be able to write some code, make his own games and apps rather than just playing games.

my 2ps worth over

1+6 = 16

hvc123
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:31 am

piglet said:


We will look forward to hearing from you again once you've got to the point of releasing your new hand-written bespoke operating system.

Till then, good luck and happy coding.



of which will probably be based on linux or some sort of nix i.e look at the mac its based on bsd

oooo 8 +6 = 14 getting harder

rodneyj
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:45 am

hvc123 : lololol, how did you know Im the point and click king ? you know me ?

anyway if you know me you must know that didnt work out as planned, so im thinking going back to what we know works… aka a spectrum like interface…

in the future maybe I get my "kingdom" back up, but my children will want to program asap

also: by os from scratch, it means not based on something else….

bah 1+2… i give up lolz

Edit: also "USER" wasnt defined in "kingdom" as programming and user usage was the same... pretty advanced stuff... theres nothing else like it... but yeah thats another story, and was made for children / etc... and didnt work out well enough for me... so it got left on a backburner for now...

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frying_fish
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:12 am

rodneyj said:


hvc123 : lololol, how did you know Im the point and click king ? you know me ?

anyway if you know me you must know that didnt work out as planned, so im thinking going back to what we know works... aka a spectrum like interface...

in the future maybe I get my "kingdom" back up, but my children will want to program asap



I guess I'll finally throw in my 2p to this debate.

Lets take the "Linux is too hard to use" argument.

I don't see how opening a program on a Linux system is different to windows? Maybe just that icon has a different name, but from the GUI (which a lot of Linux systems boot to by default), it is the same as windows in that respect.

I have personally managed to setup Linux boxes for people that were really struggling with their windows machine always getting viruses and such, and once they had the desktop on there, it proved as easy for them to use. (This included an 11 yr old, and their parents, none of which were technically minded at all). This same computer has lasted them with all the updates for the past 4 years and still works fine.

In terms of being able to get to program, getting an environment setup in Linux is actually easier than windows, as if you want to learn something like C/C++ you don't need to either mess around with MS visual studio (which doesn't do things in quite a standard way with the nuances of windows), or the borland compilers and such. Quite a task. In Linux, you need a text editor, and gcc installed, if your distribution doesn't have it by default, it is typically in the package management system, which has a GUI that can be easily reached, and these things selected from.

Of course there are also development environments for most languages and all of these are reachable too, and quite easily. Scrabbling around to organise these on windows quite often proves to be a lot more difficult.

"Need to have something simpler for them to use"

What is simpler than the point and click icons to take you into the development environments? How do you specifically need to know about the underlying operating system to manage to click on an icon that opens into what you're going to be running. Just because the distributions don't currently start to a graphical run level doesn't mean that much. Even if all you have to do is tell them to type in their username/password and one extra part (startx) as part of login many children are capable of this.

I have recently been into a school (where I will start my teacher training in September) that have just started introducing netbooks for use during science lessons to do some assessments or other activities during the lesson. The year 7 (11/12 yr olds) all seem quite capable of typing in their login details, and then clicking on icons on the desktop that they are presented with. If they were required to type one extra thing I'm sure they could handle that too.

I don't really see how the difficulty of managing the underlying operating system (which actually on a multi-user/ multi-seat setup is easier with Linux) has any bearing on how difficult it is for the child to be able to access programming.

/rant

rodneyj
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:36 am

frying_fish:

Im really thankful for your 2p on this, and I totally agree with you [almost], a highly integrated and streamlined [for RPi] linux distribution as you so excellently describe is definately something Im very interested in. Some [most] netbook linux distribution are really a testament to the potential of this approach.

However [the almost bit], we have had this for some time now, and we do not seem to have got back to the original golden computing feeling, maybe its because the total system hasnt been aimed at children learning to program [Im not sure on this], or maybe its as I imagine some kind of distraction principle, whereby as soon as the learner begins to tinker with the system, after becoming comfortable with its usage, a "can of worms" opens before them. The complexity they find maybe serving only to confusing learners, whereas with the original home computers "poking" around although opened a new level of complexity could simply be conceptualised with a memory map, giving us confidence of understanding the total principles of the machine, and the total power of turing equivalence as we relaxed back into the higher level default language.

By no means is it known what the magic of the early computers was that produced self confidence of that/our generation of programmers. I suspect multiple "experimental" solutions could help us better understand how we learnt and how best future generations can learn tho.

thanks again for your excellent post, very refreshing

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frying_fish
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:30 am

Being only 26 I missed most of this golden age. I had an Amiga 500, that I spent about 3 months with at the age of 10 learning to write a calculator. Then I got into the full modern Intel PC world, and only picked up Linux once I hit University.

I think there is definitely scope for trying to help children learn, but we do have to give them a lot of credit in their abilities and not just pigeon hole them as unable to cope. I think a great example is how quickly the younger generations cope with new technologies, social media, smartphones and the like. The younger generations are definitely quicker at adapting to these and becoming proficient. One example I always think of is gaming. My younger cousins, and soon to be siblings-in-law are much more proficient at the same games that I play, just because they learn the systems quicker and have quite a high aptitude for it.

I would really like to see this device in a classroom setting and see how the children get on with it over a period of 4 weeks. See how much they could learn, and how quickly they could possibly be outpacing their teachers.

Andre_P
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:48 am

Rodney :

If you should walk into social club as a new member and shout out that the whole idea is pointless, while getting various verifiable facts completely wrong then you would have a close encounter with a Bouncer or at least a few dirty looks from the people already there.

Anyway if you are truly interested in Pedagogy then have a look here

http://otal.umd.edu/~mgk/blog/.....00548.html

You may find it useful if you are going to write an OS from scratch. It might be worth while spending the time working on that rather than writing stuff here.

rodneyj
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:52 am

frying_fish :

I suppose this will be necessarily a long term on going investigation. My pessimism about the subject is hopefully unwarrented, however hoping for the best whilst planning for the worst may be a safe approach to the task. I would be really happy though if it was such that children we are trying to develop for, actually out pace us creating the tools they require as they need them.

I cant thank you enough for taking part in this discussion, you are proof that even missing this so called golden age of computing, self learning, confidence, respect and great technological understanding still takes place.

greatly appreciated

rodneyj
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 12:02 pm

andre : If someone walked into a social club I was a member of and had frequented for years, claiming our entire organisation was fundamentally flawed, I would buy him a drink and explain how I sometimes have simular thoughts, to get a discussion going. I also would assume he had done a lot of research himself to even say such a thing. If I later found from discussion that my assumptions were wrong, then I would move on...

theres two types of people....

poing
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 12:04 pm

rodneyj said:


I think a lot of the problem with this thread, is a lot of the posters arent among the golden generation, and dont have the confidence or self proved programming abilities we were lucky enough to get....

Those that are have high hopes for the RasPi


I think the problem with this thread is the 'failed' premise and the fact the OP thinks he is part of a 'golden generation' that gives him some crucial extra mindpower or something.

Whether the Pi will be a success in the educational world remains to be seen, but it is a gigantic success already by unleashing the full power of Linux in home made embedded systems. What the 3D printer is for physical products is the Pi for embedded functionality. Combine these two and people can make their own electronic devices at home with astounding ease. And that's exactly what I'm doing, at least trying do.

Creating a special 'easy' OS for educational purposes sounds to me as reinventing the wheel, but this time a square one. Kids will learn Linux easily.

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liz
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 12:20 pm

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.
Director of Communications, Raspberry Pi

brian_reiter
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Re: raspberry pi already failed ?

Tue Apr 24, 2012 12:54 pm

The "golden age" largely depends on point of view (and perhaps age). To some it may indeed be the 8/16-bit micro period of the 80s and early 90s, to to others the golden age was the 60s and 70s, the PDP series and so on. I know a number of people who was lyrical about the PDP-8 and PDP-11, but they wouldn't now wish to suggest them as a viable solution to an engineering problem. For those using VMS the golden age has yet to die away.

For educational purposes the RPi should be quite good, it fills the gap between full blown PCs and the embedded systems (Arduino etc.). cheap enough not to worry about breaking it, powerful enough to do useful work without too much pain, presumably light enough to be mounted in situ on mobile (robotic not phones) platforms. Its linux, so what? Most of the desktops look and behave in the same ways as Windows. Linux/unix and derivatives have been around for decades, and may be around for many more.

Sure, you're not going to know everything last thing about the system (memory maps, graphics etc.) or even a small fraction, but to be honest but that is the same about every mainstream computer manufactured in the last 10 or 15 years.

Want something akin to the 80s computer? Have a play with the GameDuino or DuinoMite, better still combine them into one hybrid monster. Olimex have also (have?) prototyped a RPi clone, similar to the RPI but without the GPU, it will run linux and is likely to be simple enough to allow for the construction of a completely bespoke OS.

Since I started typing this (in notepad) Liz has banned the original poster, ah well.....

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