Low cost computer Raspberry Pi goes on sale

Source: The BBC news.

A credit-card sized computer designed to help teach children to code goes on general sale for the first time today.

The Raspberry Pi is a bare-bones, low-cost computer created by volunteers mostly drawn from academia and the UK tech industry.

Sold uncased without keyboard or monitor, the Pi has drawn interest from educators and enthusiasts.

Supporters hope the machines could help reverse a lack of programming skills in the UK.

“It has been six years in the making; the number of things that had to go right for this to happen is enormous. I couldn’t be more pleased,” said Eben Upton of the Raspberry Pi Foundation which is based in Cambridge.

The device’s launch comes as the Department for Education considers changes to the teaching of computing in schools, with the aim of placing greater emphasis on skills like programming.

In a speech outlining those changes, Michael Gove mentioned the Pi, suggesting devices like it could play an important role in the kind of computer class the government envisages.

“Initiatives like the Raspberry Pi scheme will give children the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of programming,” he said.

“This is a great example of the cutting edge of education technology happening right here in the UK.”

Initially the £22 ($35) model of the Pi will be offered for sale. A cheaper £16 ($25) version will go on sale later in the year.

The machine, which runs on open-source operating system Linux, can be hooked up to a typical computer monitor – with additional ports used to attach a keyboard, mouse and other peripherals.

It also features an ethernet port, meaning the device can make use of high-speed internet connectivity.

Supporters hope the thousands-strong community of people that has grown up around the Pi will help develop additional software and suggest uses for the device.

 

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