Raspberry Point

There are times that I despair of the world. Reading this review of the Raspberry Pi was one of those times.

We fired up Debian (the most beginner friendly of the official options) and the media center and came away slightly bemused. Each suffered from its own strange limitations and collection of glitches that leads us believe they wouldn’t be particularly useful as general purpose machines, even in a classroom.

WTF?

The Raspberry Pi is in no way meant to be a general purpose computer. Engadget are reviewing this thing as if it’s meant to be installed in the history department instead of the classroom PCs. I have no doubt that with a bit of effort it could be customised to do so; but it wasn’t built for that. It was built to be in the science classroom; the design-technology labs. It was meant, in fact, to create people who think less like the engadget moron that wrote this review.

What’s more, on first boot you’re dumped into a command prompt — because apparently it’s the lack of time spent punching arcane commands into a terminal that has killed interest in computer science.

Yes. Yes it was. The graphical terminal that we’re all used to on our computers has reduced the number of computer scientists, not increased it. Catching the interest of a potential engineer is done by showing them how something works, not by hiding how something works.

The author would have done well to read his own closing paragraph.

In the end, it’s important to remember that the Raspberry Pi’s goals are not to be an everyday PC or a media player, but more like a tinker toy.

After writing that, did not an alarm bell start ringing? “What the hell was the rest of my review about, then?”

The Raspberry Pi is an honest attempt to improve the woeful state of computer science in the developed world. It’s unfortunate, but I expect that the attitude of developed world youngsters is sufficiently similar to this reviewer that it won’t make the slightest difference. However; this sort of board will eventually find its way into the hands of some Indian children, some Brazilian children, and some African children. I hope we’re enjoying our time at the top of the technological tree; that time is fleeting.

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