Some days I think ARM computing belongs in the same category as “the cloud” — both have generated huge amounts of buzz but haven’t always lived up to the hype. Yet the latest ARM product to hit the market, the Raspberry Pi mini-computer, might be proof that there is something to the supposed ARM revolution after all — particularly for the open source channel. Here’s why.
I have to admit that my first thought upon hearing about the Linux-based Raspberry Pi, which is billed as a computer to be “used by kids all over the world to learn programming,” was that it sounded a lot like the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) endeavor — and was probably similarly destined to fizzle out. After all, both ventures are the work of charitable organizations, and both produce minimal-cost computers designed in theory to help ambitious children become programming gurus, but in practice coveted largely by rich geeks. The only real differences between Raspberry Pi and OLPC, I thought, was that the former was built on ARM hardware and has not yet been infiltrated by Microsoft.