The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card-sized single-board computer developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation with the intention of promoting the teaching of basic computer science in schools.
You connect it up to a TV or monitor, plug in a mouse and keyboard and you’re off! It’s powered by a phone charger and its operating system runs off an SD card – there are a number of Linux distributions available for download.
For most users, it’s recommended you buy an SD Card pre-installed with NOOBS (New Out Of the Box Software), or download NOOBS from raspberrypi.org. The recommended standard distribution is Raspbian (based on Debian) which has a full graphical desktop interface. Alternatives for different purposes are available, such as various XBMC ones for setting up a media centre, or Linux power users can follow instructions to write the OS image to their SD card.
Raspberry How Much?
Model A costs about £20 [256MB RAM / No Ethernet / 1 USB port]
Model B costs about £27 [512MB RAM / Ethernet / 2 USB ports]
Raspberry What Else?
There’s an app store for the Pi – it comes bundled with the Raspbian distribution. Anyone can submit Pi apps for free or for sale!
There are plenty of accessories available for the Pi – cases, add-on boards, wireless connectors, USB hubs, etc. You can buy accessories from Amazon, Farnell and RS Components as well as a number of independent retailers. Check out Pibow by Pimoroni, PiFace by Andrew Robinson, AdaFruit and ModMyPi, as well as Pi news and tutorial websites Pi Weekly, The MagPi and RasPi.TV There’s also a swag store for merch at swag.raspberrypi.org.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a Cambridge based charity founded in 2009 to put the Pi in to development and, overall, to promote the study of computer science in schools.
The Raspberry Pi is a very cheap computer which runs Linux and can be used to write computer programs. Many young (and older) people have taken the opportunity to learn to code using languages like Python, or build interactive games using programs like Scratch. the opportunities are endless – the Raspberry pi blog is a constant stream of amazing innovative uses for the Pi. My favourite is Pi In The Sky!
Here’s a fantastic talk given by Raspberry Pi evangelist Rob Bishop: