For those who have not heard of it, Raspberry Pi is a small, positively tiny, computer with the goal of stimulating teaching of computer programming in education.   The concept was first considered in 2006 and finally became a proof of concept in late 2011, with the first orders planning to ship March 2012.

In essence Raspberry Pi is nothing more than a circuit board the size of a credit card with a few components attached -- video, audio, networking, CPU, GPU and memory.  There is no onboard storage, power supply or even a case!

Initially Raspberry Pi will run Fedora Linux from an SD card (purchased separately) allowing users to learn the Python programming language.  Power is via an external USB connection (again, purchased separately).

Demand for the Pi has been phenomenal -- RS Components in the UK have exceeded 250,000 pre-orders with orders from other sources adding a further 100,000.  Shipping was expected in mid March 2012 however there were some delays over the electrical certificate requirements.  The first batch was delivered to a school on 13 April with general order fulfilment to start 20 April 2012

Although the Raspberry Pi is selling at around £25 users will need to purchase a pre-loaded SD card, a power supply, and a RCA or HDMI cable to connect to a TV or other display device.  A USB keyboard would be useful too!

RS Components confirmed they had started shipment of the first 2,000 on 18th April.  You can join the waiting list by expressing an interest at RS Components

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