"Every revolution was first a thought in one man's mind."
One of the things I love the most about being a "technologist" (whatever that means) is that the professional world I am in is always in a state of change. Many of the changes I witness are evolutionary ("Say hello to the iPhone 4S. Now with tint control!", but I occasionally get to latch on to something that is truly revolutionary in its inception.
And that is exactly what my experience was when I first learned about a small, not-for-profit company called Raspberry Pi that had emerged with the sole purpose of producing a credit card-sized ARM-based, Linux-oriented hardware device that will cost $25 to buy. Yes, you read that right - $25.
This $25 device is no watered down, tepid offering that only allows you to check e-mails with a 28.8 baud modem, either (yes, I just dated myself there). The Raspberry Pi offers the following specs:
- 700MHz ARM11
- 128MB of SDRAM
- OpenGL ES 2.0
- 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
- Composite and HDMI video output
- USB 2.0
- SD/MMC/SDIO memory card slot
- General-purpose I/O
- Optional integrated 2-port USB hub and 10/100 Ethernet controller
- Open software (Ubuntu, Iceweasel, KOffice, Python)
Which brings me to the main point about the awesomeness of this device - it was originally conceived as a way to give kids an affordable hardware platform they could learn to develop software to. And, since most kids are probably NOT going to shell out the big dollars to join the Microsoft Developer Network, they will more than likely be building their apps in freely-available, open source packages like Ruby or Python - these environments only need a small instance of Linux for a kernel and some kind of web server to deliver them.
And getting kids to build software is the REAL point of the revolution, right?