The first batch of cheap Raspberry Pi computers, designed to inspire a new generation of programmers, is finally in the hands of British schoolchildren.
Raspberry Pi's founder Eben Upton hand-delivered the first batch of the miniature computer to a group of students.
After delays caused by a manufacturing mix-up and unanticipated safety testing, distributors Premier Farnell announced the arrival of its first batch of Raspberry Pi computers and hosted a 'mastercalss' in Leeds with Upton showing teenagers how the device works.
Upton said "I am really pleased today to have taken these youngsters through how simple it is to use the Raspberry Pi and I can only hope that they will get hooked on it and become the programmers of tomorrow. With all the advice and support available on the element14 Community they should not be shy of trying new things, making mistakes and looking for help.”
Upton explained set-up and showed students how to begin to create applications using the Python scripts that are pre-supplied with the software download.
The two firms that will sell the Raspberry Pi, which costs just £22 and was designed by a Cambridge-based charity, both said they were ready to start delivering to customers.
RS Components said its first batch was also ready to be dispatched from its Corby facility.
“There has been a great deal of anticipation for Raspberry Pi since its launch at the end of February,” said Glenn Jarrett, the firm’s head of electronics marketing.
It completes a rocky path for the device, which it is hoped will replicate the 1980s educational impact of the BBC Micro.
First, manufacturing contractor used the wrong internet connection component. Then, when the time came to import completed hardware to the European Union, the Raspberry Pi Foundation was surprised to learn it had to submit to safety certification. The red tape caused a further delay of almost two weeks.
The glitches have failed to dampen the excitement around the project, however. Schools and Linux enthusiasts overloaded pre-order websites when they first opened in March.
The device, roughly the size of a credit card, consists of a naked circuit board with a “system on a chip” processor that handles all the computing required to run the open source Linux operating system and software coding applications. Its power is roughly equivalent to Apple’s second generation iPhone 3G, which was released in 2008.