Open Source

Raspberry Pi: are you one of the lucky 57?

If you've been lucky enough to receive your Raspberry Pi, then well done; you've beaten the gauntlet that is the Pi supply chain.

It has been almost three months since the highly anticipated Raspberry Pi launched, and the global queue for the credit card-sized computer currently numbers over 300,000, according to CM Lim, head of electronics marketing, RS Components, which is one of the suppliers of the device.

And as for Australia, there are only 57 units that have been shipped to customers, or are in the process of being delivered. That's less than five per week that have potentially come into the country.


Raspberry Pi: it's an accessory lovers' wonderland.
(Credit: Chris Duckett/TechRepublic)

Some relief will occur for people at the head of the 300,000-strong queue, with Lim stating that 70,000 devices will be available for delivery over July and August. He also said that the company is contacting 15,000 people every two days, to be removed off the waiting list and place their final orders for processing and delivery.

Lim said that the focus of the device remains teaching programming skills, and that the priority is to get the Pi into students' hands after the enthusiast queue has been satisfied.

Nick Heath has produced a number of stories that discuss potential uses of the Pi, but, after seeing it in action, I'd be cautious on many of them.

After my first encounter with the Pi, a fair chunk of its charm has been lost. That moment occurred when it took 20 seconds of waiting to load a rather small movie with gxine.

It's hardly the Pi's fault; it is, after all, only an ARM processor that is sharing its meagre 256MB of memory between the GPU and the rest of the system (64MB for the GPU, 192MB for the rest in the default scenario).

Sorry, folks, I just don't think it's cut out to be a home media centre.

I've wrestled with under-powered Linux computers masquerading as media centres before, and their specs would blow the Pi out of the water — and even they had to be given up eventually, as things like high definition, newer processor-heavy codecs, and Flash reliance took off.

Is the Pi a great toy? Yes.

Can it replace a TV media-centre appliance? Not on your life; for starters, I don't think I could wait the months needed to negotiate the supply chain.

If you have got your Raspberry Pi, I'd love to hear what you are using it for in the comments.

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Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan.During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic advent...

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