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Raspberry Pi Represents the Rise of Freedom-Respecting Embedded GNU/Linux

Summary: Programmable devices running GNU/Linux are selling well and spreading to many areas of computing

Linux has been a star in embedded systems for quite a few years, but rarely were devices with Linux (and sometimes GNU utilities/toolchain on them) hacker-friendly; they were inflexible and locked-down to the point is being single-purpose machines.



Raspberry Pi et al. represent an exciting trend [1]. They are tied to Free languages [2], they are definitely programmable, they enjoy diversity and competition [3], and they do a variety of interesting things, from simple [4] to complex [5] (whole desktop operating systems), impacting every aspect of computing from servers [6] to robotics [7]. Raspberry Pi, which is a British product, is selling very well [8-11] and attracts funding [12], so this trend of affordable hackable computing will hopefully not fade away. The more freedom-respecting devices are out there, the more ethics-aware software will be run in our society, benefiting all. When devices are running secret code that cannot be changed we are simply left with back doors and security holes.

Related/contextual items from the news:



  1. The Rise of Linux in Embedded Systems
    Whereas Raspberry Pi was the pioneer of very small Linux systems, the Arduino is the 800-pound gorilla in the micro-controller arena.


  2. PyPy 2.2 released
    We're pleased to announce PyPy 2.2, which targets version 2.7.3 of the Python language. This release main highlight is the introduction of the incremental garbage collector, sponsored by the `Raspberry Pi Foundation`_.


  3. Meet Gertduino, an Arduino-Uno like board for your Raspberry Pi
    The Gertduino expansion board for the Raspberry Pi computer is now available. Created by Gert van Loo, the Gertduino is a Raspberry Pi add-on and it includes the same functionality as an Arduino-Uno but with some extra features like dual Atmel Atmega MCUs, -328 and -48.



  4. Open-source Raspberry Pi-powered PetBot looks after your pooch
    Pets are great company to have, but they need looking after when you are away. That’s what the Raspberry Pi-powered open-source PetBot aims to do, never leaving your precious pooch alone.


  5. Building Ubuntu for the Raspberry Pi
    As a result of the prior musings about crowdfunding and the rather shaky VAT status of the whole sector I have been thinking quite a bit about crowdfunding and where it might be useful and how we could get involved in some way. For our normal consultancy business we have no need of capital investments and we don’t produce anything that lends itself to the crowdfunding model, however I did come up with a project I have been wanting to do for quite a long time. Allow me to introduce it by way of a little video . . .


  6. Linux distro hosts web services on Raspberry Pi
    A startup called the Citizen Web Project has raised over $23,000 in crowdsourcing funds for an alpha-stage fork of Arch Linux intended for hosting easily-administered web services on low-end hardware. Initially available for the Raspberry Pi, ArkOS is designed for securely self-hosting websites, email, social networking accounts, and cloud services via an open source “Genesis” server gateway application.

    In the same spirit of self-reliance behind ArkOS itself, chief developer and Citizen Web Project founder Jacob Cook is hosting his own crowdsourcing campaign. So far, the project has raised over $23,000 on the way to a goal of $45,000, with 21 days left.


  7. Open source robot kit lets you BYO Arduino or Pi
    RobotBits.co.uk has begun selling an open source mobile robotics kit from Frindo.org available with an Arduino Duo, or as an under-$100 model that lets you add your own Arduino and/or Raspberry Pi. The Frindo robotics platform, which appears to be about 100mm in diameter, is billed as being more robust than most low-cost educational robots, and is optionally available with a motor controller board and sensor bundle.


  8. Sales of Raspberry Pi Linux computer hit two million


  9. Raspberry Pi carves out 2 million sales


  10. Raspberry Pi sells two million units


  11. TWO MILLION!
    It took us almost exactly a year to sell the first million Raspberry Pis. Going on that basis, we calculated that we might, if we were lucky, reach the second million around January 2014, or slightly afterwards – we were confident we’d get there by the end of February 2014. So it was a bit of a shock at the end of last week when we got the latest sales figures and discovered that the 2,000,000th Raspberry Pi was sold in the last week of October. We don’t know who owns it – if you bought one between October 24 and October 31st, it might be yours. (It could even be the one we gave to Prince Andrew when he visited on Halloween.)


  12. How an open-source computer kit for kids based on Raspberry Pi is taking over Kickstarter
    When the Raspberry Pi was developed, founder Eben Upton envisioned that the low-cost computer would do its finest work in the classroom, teaching kids about computing. But as more units sold, Raspberry Pi developed a strong, distinctive niche among adult makers, a fruitful group that nonetheless doesn’t really have much in common with a younger age bracket that can be hard to reach.


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