British company launch £16 Linux PC

by Dale Wright

Rasberry Pi Logo

After months of delays, one of the most stripped down computers in the world has finally been released. Costing £16 for a non-ethernet version or £30 with an ethernet connector, the Raspberry Pi is affordable and accessible and could be the key to getting more people interested in computer programming.

Despite being little more than a circuit board with ports soldered to the sides, the Raspberry Pi has sparked interest among a diverse range of people, including school children, gadget-lovers and hackers. The computer weighs just 45 grams and fits into the palm of the hand, but it is capable of running the same applications as a basic desktop computer. It runs Linux and has an on-board Arm chip, similar to most smartphones, and has ports for TV, audio, USB and HD video, plus 256mb RAM. The ‘top spec’ model has an additional USB ports and an ethernet port. Rather than using a bulky hard drive, the Pi stores data on tiny SD cards, although a USB hard drive can be added.
Rasberry Pi

The computer is manufactured in China but was designed by a British company. The inventors hope to inspire a new generation of innovators, bringing computers back to a more basic and accessible level, and allowing children to experiment with programming and electronics. The device has also attracted a great deal of interest from Linux enthusiasts and attracted worldwide media coverage.

The first batch of Raspberry Pis were shipped via Leeds company Premier Farnell last weekend. Early adopters who ordered through Premier Farnell should receive their bare-bones computers by the end of the week. It’s also possible to order via RS Components. Those who would prefer to have a case on their device should hold out for the second version which will be housed in a basic box.

If you’re curious about what the computer can do, watch this demonstration video by Liam Fraser.