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Programming News Hardware

Raspberry Pi For the Rest of Us 170

mikejuk writes "The Raspberry Pi might be a cheap and reasonably powerful but it has a tough learning curve due to the Linux OS it uses. Adafruit, better known for their hardware, are working on a WebIDE which you can use to program the Pi without having to set things up. You write the code in a browser and run it on the Pi using a web server hosted by the Pi. It sounds crazy but if it can make the Pi more approachable then perhaps it could turn out to be an educational powerhouse."
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Raspberry Pi For the Rest of Us

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  • Evil learning (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fisted ( 2295862 ) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @05:32PM (#41404913)
    Oh no, a steep learning curve on a device which is intended to encourage learning. Seriously.
  • Re:Evil learning (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @05:39PM (#41405005)

    If I'm going to teach my nephews python, I don't necessarily need them to learn all the intricacies of building and the device today. It's just an affordable platform.

    I welcome this project, and fart in your general direction.

  • Re:Evil learning (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @05:48PM (#41405101)

    Well and, more specifically, "steep learning curve" != effective learning.

    Most learning is done in order from simple to complex. What you're learning will always be a challenge, but sometimes unrelated barriers aren't helpful.

  • Re:Evil learning (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @05:54PM (#41405163)

    You don't know what you're talking about. If your nephew has any PC built in the last 5 years to use as a client to this thing then they can run a Linux VM on it and use any number of open source tools to achieve the same thing. You don't need a Pi if you're in the west and are going to be just teaching yourself to code. If you're an engineering student and are looking at doing something cool with the USB interface *maybe* just *maybe* thats ok but you can do that with your desktop/laptop already with VM. I assure you that installing a basic Ubuntu OS on a VM is *far* easier and cheaper than purchasing a Pi. Heck - run any modern Python IDE on windows - you get a fully integrated debugger and python console. Pisses all over your fsckin' web interface. Use the Pi for teaching electronics and systems in engineering classes, for hobbyists to connect home automation and robotics, for third world/developing nations that can't afford full PCs - but its not a glorified IDE just cause you can.

    I agree with the previous post - WTF is wrong with learning?

    Unicycles and juggling.. thats all you modern hipster developers want..

  • Re:Oxymoron (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slim ( 1652 ) <john@hartnup . n et> on Thursday September 20, 2012 @06:08PM (#41405319) Homepage

    I don't accept that. The point of the Pi is to replicate the "turn it on and start coding" spirit that us 8 bit kids grew up with.

    What a BBC Micro had, that a modern PC doesn't is this: you turned it on, and 3 seconds later there was a BASIC prompt. Page 1 of the "learn to program" book tells you to type:

    10 PRINT "Hello World"
    20 GOTO 10

    If you screw up, you turn it off and on again, no harm done.

    20 minutes later, an inquisitive 7 year old will have:

    10 PRINT "Hello World"
    20 c% = RND(8)
    30 COLOUR c%
    40 PRINT "Slim is Rad!!!!!!"
    50 GOTO 10 ... and they build up from there until 11 years later they're doing a CS degree.

    There's no "oh, the install is too difficult? Oh bad luck 7-year-old, you've not got it in you."

    And that's what the Raspberry Pi is intending to replicate.

    (But I don't think this browser thing is the way to do it)

  • by slim ( 1652 ) <john@hartnup . n et> on Thursday September 20, 2012 @06:35PM (#41405587) Homepage

    The Raspberry Pi isn't an Arduino either. It's not "embedded".

    The whole point of the Pi is that it's a fully-fledged standalone system (once you add keyboard/monitor/mouse) - but cheap and robust.

    The idea is that a schoolkid -- even one from a family that's not wealthy - can have a Raspberry Pi of their own do mess with as they please. Depending on the distro, it boots to a GUI, you can go straight into an IDE, and if you screw anything up it's easy to start again from scratch.

  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @09:22PM (#41406791)

    embedded as in controller.

    you can boot and run the Pi 100% headless, have it boot right into a control program and then start watching 'pins' for changes of sensors, or spinning motors with an h-bridge or servo.

    does not need even a 'proper' boot media.

    and its small and runs on single voltage.

    to me, that meets enough of the practical def for embedded use.

  • by randomsearch ( 1207102 ) on Friday September 21, 2012 @03:37AM (#41408409) Journal

    One reason people seem not to "get it" is that we have a tendency to underestimate the ability of kids to learn things like Linux. Many primary school children are not at all phased by a Linux shell, and they're already expert in googling things and working stuff out for themselves. Perhaps because older geeks didn't grow up with the tinterweb, we can't imagine how easy it is for kids to learn geek knowledge at a young age.

    All hail the coming Pi generation. I, for one, welcome our young Linux-hacking overlords.


  • by cbope ( 130292 ) on Friday September 21, 2012 @04:55AM (#41408693)


    I means seriously, the Pi is designed to get kids (and adults) to LEARN how a computer works and how to program the device. It's TRIVIAL to download a system image, transfer it to an SD card and boot your Pi. Hell, RS even offered to sell me a pre-formatted SD with the OS pre-installed! How hard is it to click "add one to cart", if you don't want to set up the SD yourself?!?

    Seriously, the Pi is not for the iDevice consumer... it's for people who are interested to learn how things work and how to build and code stuff. Making the device idiot-proof is not the way forward.

  • by maitas ( 98290 ) on Friday September 21, 2012 @06:23AM (#41408963) Homepage

    Only lousy documentation.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson