DON'T BOTHER trying to get a Raspberry Pi for free from the Raspberry Pi Foundation because no matter how persuasive you are, it just won't happen.
That's the lesson learned by one nutjob who reached out to the Foundation's head, Eben Upton, and asked for a free Raspberry Pi computer over the weekend.
This is not an unusual request, and apparently the Raspberry Pi Foundation people get at least once a day. It might be the best though, if not the most convincing. It starts fairly simply. A chap called Steve emailed Upton with his request. It went like this.
"I wanted to present to my lecturers and administration your computer. I mean the RP And because I am going to visit my high school too I can show it there too so if they will be interested then they may buy thousands of units". To this Upton gives the simple reply, "excellent."
Buoyed by this Steve gets to the nut of his request, which is to ask, "Can you please send me sample of model B so they can see it?"
The answer to this is, of course, no. This is pretty fair. The Raspberry Pi is a cheap computer at around £25 and is being sold by a charity. Charities shouldn't have to give things away for free, but you try telling Steve that.
"But what I do is a free advertisement for you what will I get if they will buy thousands?," he responds. "It doesn't cost you 30 dollars, show me please where will you find free advertisement with potential for thousand units to be sold?"
Upton remains unimpressed, possibly because the Raspberry Pi has already sold around half a million units with or without Steve's help. But Steve won't hear of it. Although he would prefer to go with a Raspberry Pi, he can get his hands on another board and give that the exposure that he was going to give the Pi.
"There is a similar board that is sold and you can make it a computer too. They told me that I will get a free sample for ad purposes. I can give you the name but I am not interested, only because I should get the samples soon their project is similar to yours but offers much more options small board, computer but for large purposes If you decide to send me the free sample that doesn't cost you anything you will get much more," he added.
"If it so difficult for you to send me a sample, to make a post about this on your blog with a video I will do then I will go to your competitors who agreed to send me some free samples."
Upton is unfazed, of course, and would be more than happy for Steve to do this, even considering Steve's threat to publish the details of their conversation.
Steve then ups his game. Saying that the "IT admin" at his college has expressed interest in the Raspberry Pi, and would like to be sent a sample. Why this would encourage Upton to send out a device we don't know. Anyway, it didn't work.
What does work though, is Steve's weight around campus and in a follow up message he tells Upton that he has made a mistake by not playing ball and sending out the free sample. Even Samsung, we learn, has done that. Upton's bad business sense gives Steve and his peers a big laugh.
"I thought I am talking to a company who knows about worldwide standards and treats people who may transfer thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars. We are amused here, all of us," he says
"If you will send me this sample I will show it in my university and high school. Firstly they need to connect it and see what they can do with it. To test it in various laboratories. And to see if it is good enough. If yes, lecturers have grants and they can buy your product."
Steve reckons that a sample unit will encourage sales of around 3,000. Upton though, says that while that is good, so is paying your way, and again will not bend on the whole free sample issue.
This makes Steve, the student, a little angry. "If you will send me a sample they should buy the amount. But you are keeping to be on your position and lose such customers - those who can hear from me about your product," he says.
"I the places I have been to including the army there is a need in such devices, but I am not going to show or tell about your product if I will not get the sample. It's a payment for me to do this."
Alas, this rather unpersuasive argument also fails, leading Steve to suggest that Upton just won't deal with him because he is Jewish, an argument that, again, does little to sway the deal in his favour.
Steve then resorts to that tried, tested, and proved not to work, method of trying to get your own way, which is to suggest that you are a journalist. Whether he is, or not, we can't say.
"I am a journalist who works for a newspaper in New York," he rails. "Do you really want me to post that you refused to have customers and didn't want to grant a good guy who advertised your product? You have taken time from me. Hope my coverage will hurt your sells Maybe then you will talk in a different manner."
It is too early to tell whether Steve's coverage, which we have not been able to trace, has had an impact on Raspberry Pi sales, but we will keep a close eye on its figures. You know. Just in case. µ