A UK GROUP has started shipping a GNU Linux computer powered by an ARM processor for the bargain price of just $35.
After months of hype and speculation, and six years of development work, the credit card-sized device is now shipping from China. Its creators at the Raspberry Pi Foundation have always said that the device, which obviously at this price ships without a screen, keyboard or mouse, is designed to get kids back into computer programming.
But they will need to be very lucky to get their hands on one of the diminutive devices. At the time of writing the Raspberry Pi Foundation web site has fallen over - crashed by hoards of geeks eager to get a bite of Raspberry Pi,
"We've temporarily changed to a static site, while we're experiencing a very high level of traffic for the launch of the Raspberry Pi. The full site will return once traffic levels have subsided, hopefully later on today," the organisation posted.
It added that it is still waiting for units to arrive from China, but we can all now start buying the Raspberry Pi today. Well, at least after the web site comes back up. The Foundation explained that it has set up licensed manufacturing partnerships with two British companies, Premier Farnell and RS Components. They will be manufacturing and distributing the devices on behalf of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
"The Foundation continues to make a small profit from each Raspberry Pi sold, which we'll be putting straight back into the charity," it said.
The first units to ship are the Model B, which are the deluxe "more fully featured versions" including an Ethernet port and two USB ports. Luxury, sheer luxury.
The more basic Model A will begin shipping later this year. "We've been working hard at cost reduction over the last few months, and we've been able to make one significant change to the Raspberry Pi lineup. The $25 Model A has been reworked to include 256MB of RAM - double what we were originally planning to offer - and will be going into production immediately," the foundation reported.
This first launch is aimed at software and hardware enthusiasts, makers and teachers.
The team reports that up-to-the-minute news on what is happening with the project can be found with the tag @Raspberry_Pi on Twitter. Only until about 6pm GMT today, though, "because we're all going to the pub after that!" They sound like our kind of guys. µ