Saturday, 10 March 2012

Raspberry Pi - It's a Date!

A week ago, Farnell furnished me with an estimated delivery date for my Raspberry Pi model B. I'm not going to be one of the first, but at least I know I have a place reserved in the queue.

As I've written elsewhere, the Raspberry Pi's release day on the 29th February was a bit of a shambolic affair. The recent announcement of a manufacturing blip, which will add a few days to the wait, hasn't exactly helped either. However, from speaking to others waiting for their Pi, I get a sense that people have shifted from worrying about getting their Pi, to planning and scheming about projects to start when it arrives.

Of course, you don't need to wait. There are many sets of instructions for how to set up a development environment for the Pi. I haven't found the time yet, but clearly many others have.

The software options for the Pi are already pretty broad. So far, the list of supported OSs stands at Debian, Fedora, Arch and OpenELEC (an OS designed specifically to run the XBMC media centre). I'm expecting many more distros to provide ISOs for the Pi in due course.

Before you pick an OS though, you need to know what you intend to use it for (it all boils down to not trying to hammer a nail with a screwdriver). What should you build first? When will the Gertboards be available (or should you build one yourself)? How many Pis will you ultimately want/need? When will you get the time to put all these plans into action? And just what sort of Pandora's box has the Raspberry Pi team opened here?

It's an exciting device with oodles of potential, but the most exciting thing of all will be seeing all the wonderfully inventive contraptions everybody else builds with theirs.