Our readers certainly know that I have followed the evolution of the project Raspberry Pi since the presentation of the project.
I really like the Raspberry Pi, its potential and the ideas that could provoke in the fans, so it is for me an honor and a pleasure to interview its creator Eben Upton, CEO of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
Here we propose my full interview with Eben Upton.
G: Good morning Eben and thanks for agreeing to answer our questions. To begin I would like to ask how born the Raspberry Pi and what inspired you?
E: The Raspberry Pi was inspired by a desire to increase the number of students applying to study Computer Science at the University of Cambridge’s Computer Laboratory. It is intended to fill the same role as 8-bit machines in the 1980s - a cheap computer that a child can have in his or her bedroom.
G: The name Raspberry Pi has a particular meaning for you?
E: Raspberry is from fruit-named computer companies (lots of examples), and Pi is for Python, which we think is a fantastic teaching language.
G: Since the presentation, the Raspberry Pi has been the subject of attention of many fans for its potential, you expect that it would been so successful?
E: Absolutely not. We thought we might sell 10,000 units at best, so to have sold nearly four million is amazing to us.
G: Currently, the major development work on what you're focusing on?
E: We are focusing on improving the GNU/Linux software stack on the Pi, and on developing free educational resources to help teachers deliver a rigorous Computer Science education to their students.
G: In your mind's never appeared the idea to make a Raspberry Pi 2?
E: Not yet. We are still very focused on getting the most out of Raspberry Pi 1 through software optimization.
G: Every day we can read on your website, the articles written by Liz, that show always new ideas and new solutions developed based on a Raspberry Pi. Of these, which you most amazed and what has made you most proud of having created the Raspberrry Pi?
E: The ones I’ve enjoyed most have been the space ones (Dave Akerman ballooning, and the various astrophotography projects), nd the ones where people are using the Pi to deliver services in the developing world (KA Lite and the RACHEL project spring to mind).
G:In many Italian schools, in the computer labs, there are true relic’s computer, witnesses of a time that was.When schools want to modernize the computer labs, the costs are too high. Do you feel recommending the use of the Raspberry Pi in schools? In your experience, how much it cost implement a complete computer lab based on Rasberry Pi?
E: I’d not necessarily recommend modernizing a lab with Raspberry Pi, unless the existing equipment is truly ancient and you really can’t afford a cheap PC system unit. If you need to buy a display for each Pi, this dilutes the cost savings over the PC. Where the Pi comes into its own is at home in a child’s bedroom, so they can continue with what they learnt in school, or in a “parallel lab” which focuses more on physical computing, or in a science class as a data recording device.
G: There may be restrictions in your opinion and what kind?
E: The main restriction on the deployment of the Raspberry Pi as a general purpose PC-replacement is its relatively modest CPU performance. We hope that the software optimization work that we’re doing will help overcome this in due course.
G: In which sector do you expect greater growth of the Raspberry Pi?
E: The industrial sector continues to grow strongly, as people get more comfortable embedding Raspberry Pi (or the Compute Module) into their designs. Education is growing too – more countries are realizing there’s a problem.
G: I would now like to talk a bit 'of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. It is a not-for-profit foundation which, however, is now big business. This is a very important feature, there are not many similar cases. Can you explain what is the purpose of the foundation and how it impacts on your work?
E: From my point of view the Foundation is my shareholder, and it’s my job to make sure the Foundation is well supplied with cash to pursue its educational mission, which is simply to ensure that every child has an opportunity to learn to program, and gets support if they run into difficulties.
G: Thank you for your time and I wish you good luck for your future and all the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
E: Thank you.