Raspberry Pi, the $35 computer, in New York Times

The Raspberry Pi is a computer the size of a credit card. To use it, you need a keyboard and mouse, a monitor, and an SD card with Linux. The Raspberry Pi is powered by USB. The creator, Eben Upton at the University of Cambridge in Britain, is surprised at how popular the Pi has become in the few short months it's been available.

From John Bigg's New York Times story about Eben and his computer:

The Raspberry Pi Foundation began selling the computers in February of last year. They soon could not keep them in stock.

“We honestly were thinking of this as a 1,000- to 5,000-unit opportunity,” Mr. Upton said. “The thing we didn’t anticipate was this whole other market of technically competent adults who wanted to use it. We’re selling to hobbyists.”

Mr. Upton said he was “blown away” by the reception the Pi had gotten online.

“I’m not aware of a company that has gone from a standing start to a million in a year,” he said. “It’s quite a wild ride. I don’t get a lot of sleep at the moment.”

Matt Richardson, a frequent contributor to Boing Boing and a MAKE staffer, co-wrote this excellent introduction, called Getting Started with Raspberry Pi.


  1. Not to blow any revenue by writers but I just want to remind folks that plenty of info on using Raspberry Pi is out there at their website(s) and wikis. No need to spend $15 on a book if you don’t wish (considering it’s 50% of the cost of the Pi in the first place 8-) )

  2.  You bring up an EXCELLENT point. As a 32 yr old non programmer, the Raspberry Pi has given me a new sense of wonder when it comes to making/hardware hacking.

    One of the mental hurdles for me has been the fact that “add on” products like the gertboard or pi plate are more expense than the pi itself.  I understand the market forces that cause this to be the case, but as a dad of two young kids spending money for me to move beyond relearning python and turning some LEDs on and off has been a tough pill to swallow.

    Good thing the Raspberry Pi was made for my son’s generation, not mine… :)

  3. Is it really a surprise that most of the buyers are adults who want to use it themselves? It would take a seriously focused and mentally adept child (I realize they do exist) to make use of such a thing.

    1. Adult here, Linux newbie, with RPi. Yes, there are mental hurdles to getting the peripherals plugged in, and the operating system up and running. But the Wheezy version of Debian comes with a variety of simple and complex games with Python source code. Many kids are focused enough and adept at starting and dinking with these games. It’s not a stretch for many to change the games’ code to see how they work.

    2. By third grade I was messing with hardware jumpers in my modem, building simple circuits using a logic gate processor, and programming fairly complicated programs (using arrays, subroutines, etc) using BASIC on the C-64.  When I read about this it felt very familiar because if I’d had one of these at that age I would have been assembling all sorts of crazy sh!t.

      1.  For every child like that there are 999 who will chuck it a soon as they see it doesn’t do anything when they turn it on. I still say it is completely not surprising that more adults were interested in it.

      2. Assuming your story is true – which I doubt, it led to a life of what? I have been very successful in tek my whole, long adult life. I have encountered exactly zero prodigies, as you describe yourself. what do you do for a living.

  4. Looked at ordering one on their site,on back order of course, but as there was no mention of shipping cost and Suzy at the help desk couldn’t dig up a price I had to look elsewhere. 

    1. If you had mentioned where you’re located, maybe someone on here can help you. I just ordered one last week (from newark.com) and it arrived yesterday. Shipped by UPS in 1 day from SC to Vancovuer BC for $8.

        1. If you’re in Canada you can also order the Raspberry Pi from Creatron in Toronto, at creatroninc.com.

  5. Reminds me of some of the early training kits from 30 years ago but more economic and with simpler i/o. Instead of shoot-ups let the little tads learn assembly language and machine code. Always a high when your code does what you intended for it to do.

  6. I’ve got a couple and the potential uses are plentiful. I only wish I worked in an industry where these could be used as workstations – you could outfit an office for a few hundred quid, with all the terminals sat in a shoebox.

  7. My only beef about the Pi is that you have to play trial-and-error with chargers… they ought to provide one IMO. And the video outputs are either really high end or really low end (HDMI or composite, really? The screen is barely readable in composite).

    Sure, you have to get all the associated peripherals, but you can still make a really cheap moderately functional system with it. I’m planning on using mine as a home file server.

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