Real-World Raspberry Pi

Werner Hein | Linux Magazine | April 23, 2013

The single-circuit-board Raspberry Pi computer, only as big as a credit card, makes it easy to gain experience with embedded Linux systems. We’ll show you some hands-on examples of how to use the Raspberry Pi in an everyday environment.

British engineer Eben Upton and a team of like-minded hardware hackers started the Raspberry Pi project as a means for providing affordable computer technology for interested young people. The objective was to develop and market a single-board, credit-card-sized computer compatible with the often-narrow budget of the target group (see the “History” box).

If you find yourself reminded of the first home computers, you are not completely off-target: The explicit goal of the founders was to recolonize basements, garages, and classrooms with the spirit of the generation that had grown up with the Atari 400/800, ZX80/81, or VC20/C64.

Almost one year after the Raspberry Pi appeared, it is appropriate to look back over what has happened between the first series of approximately 10,000 pieces and the present status approaching 1,000,000 pieces delivered: How successful has the project been? What capabilities does the hardware offer? What is possible, and what is not (yet) possible? This article explores the Raspberry Pi system through three real-world projects:

  • a multimedia, video playback system,
  • a wireless access point, and
  • an embedded temperature controller unit.