The Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi is an amazing little device. It’s a tiny, cheap yet reasonably powerful Linux PC. Having seen the recent videos of the system running XBMC and an AirPlay client, I’m convinced they are not merely toys.

The aims of the project are laudable: the founding aim is to provide a perfect device for teaching programming and other computer skills on a very affordable device, particularly for a school environment. I think they’ve succeeded: the cheaper variant of the device is just $25.

At this price I’m almost certain to buy one to try out — almost certainly the $35 version, however, as the $25 version has no ethernet connection (though can connect to wifi via a USB dongle).

So what am I going to do with my Raspberry Pi? I’d imagine that to begin with, I shall be playing with the media centre possibilities. Running a bare-bones install with XBMC atop it seems like it could be a great system. Low-power, silent and with the power to drive HD h.264 output, the system sounds ideal for this kind of thing. The community forming around the device seems keen on this idea too, so hopefully the support will be there from those more experienced with this kind of thing — and working out which remotes work well is something best crowd-sourced.

Another dream I have is Raspberry Pi Colo, along the lines of Mac Mini Colo, though whether the hosting could be as affordable as the device I don’t know. Imagine a dedicated server for $35 + hosting. I can imagine that would keep this site going.

The power available in such cheap systems continues to amaze and inspire me. The Raspberry Pi is a fantastic acheivement.

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