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04 September 2012

What can you DO with a Raspberry Pi?

Previous sections of this story:

The RPi ports and chips detailed
Well, originally, the Raspberry Pi (when I first heard about it anyway) was posited as a way to "get kids back into programming" - the idea being that, because it came with a C compiler and a Python programming option, as part of its standard operating system (the "Raspian" version of Debian), that people would be "forced" to think about the machine from a simple perspective, and get back to basics.

It was seen as the next wave in the hobbyist-do-it-yourself "kit" computer movement. Back to "the good-old-days of the Apple II" when you bought the board and built the case for it, yourself...

But I think it's a lot more than that - and far more interesting, in its own way.

It really is a fully-functioning computer. 700Mhz single-core might sound like a slow machine, now... but those of us who are old enough remember when that was faster than the state-of-the-art top level machine you would have bought for more than few thousand dollars.

For years I've been asking "why can't we keep producing the same chip for longer, and make it so cheap that anyone can get one" - instead of just ramping up to the next "generation" of chips, and continuing to pay top-dollar for them... and the answer is... we have! And the Raspberry Pi is one of the results.

Once you've got a Linux distribution up and running - the sky's the limit. You can do anything you would do with a "normal" computer. In fact, in pretty much all respects... this IS a normal computer... it just costs $38.

Continue: "So... What did I do with my Raspberry Pi?"

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