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Raspberri PI Release Announcement (raspberrypi.org)
543 points by aespinoza 1944 days ago | hide | past | web | 255 comments | favorite

I love it how people are pissing on this as though it is a failure. Really, unbelievable. Here is a group of dedicated guys and girls that work their asses off to produce a $25 computer with more punch than you'd ever think possible for that amount of money.

Not only do they deliver, they are sold out in absolute record time with the sites simply collapsing under the load.

I'd chalk this one up as a success, definitely not a failure and I fully expect the second (and subsequent) runs of the RaspberryPi to have a similar effect. Kudos to Eben, Liz and the rest of the team, you guys really rock and I hope that you won't let the sourpusses ruin your fantastic day for you.

I've watched the RaspberryPi saga closely from day 1 and I'm very very happy to see it come to fruit ;)

Not to forget: they all have day jobs. People have been worrying for ages about how Raspberry Pi will deal with the demand and get out of a process of making batches, having them sell out instantly and then using that capital to build the next batch. Eben talks about why the RS and Farnell partnership is a big deal and will help to solve that problem in this video interview:


Indeed. Just to put into perspective what a huge event this launch was: for a short while (about 10 minutes) the RasberryPi outsold the iPhone 4:1.

Of course, Apple moves 250 iphones per minute all the time but there was absolutely no way that a small outfit like this could have anticipated and/or met this insane surge of demand. I sure hope it validates the concept to everybody that was still doubting and I hope that we'll soon be able to mark the 100K, 1M and up milestones of units sold.

Agreed! The $25 price point is incredible, and selling 10K units in 10 mins is a runaway success! I placed my order and will happily to wait until April, until then I will continue my project(s) working on a BeagleBone ($89) and a PandaBoard ($149).

I'm reading Brian Bagnall's "Commodore: A company on the edge" at the moment, and it's quite interesting to compare the early days of the home computer to the increasing capability of charities and hobbyists to bring fairly large runs out the door today.

We've come full circle, from a situations where small companies brought out their own computer only for (some of them) to grow into giants and seemingly eventually put building computers (as opposed to just assembling them) pretty much out of reach of hobbyists as complexity increased, to a point today where more and more small run systems seems to be appearing (though now because support services from manufacturing companies and design houses are getting within hobbyist reach).

RaspberryPi is on the "higher end" in this respect, both in specs and in number of units manufactured, but I find it really fascinating to see this trend in general.

(sidenote: That book is a bit of a tough read, but at the same time it's a very fascinating look at a company that had such a massive impact despite being so incredibly dysfunctional... I knew they had "issues" already when I was a kid and read the odd rumor, but I had no idea just how bad things were)

The R-Pi team is comprised of just 6 people. Most of whom have day jobs! This is really quite an impressive achievement.

This reaction is really surprising to me. The Raspberry Pi charity was set up in order to produce a product that could be used as an education tool. They have managed a spectacular feat, that has been 6 years in the making. This is a very exciting development but not just from a technical point of view. The Raspberry Pi represents the idea that computers are interesting to us intrinsically, that there is real value in providing a platform that allows for the development and satisfaction of a crucial intellectual curiosity. The true value of the Raspberry Pi will not be found in our mailboxes in the next few months. It will be in the possibility that the next generation will have something to hack on that prioritises learning and discovery over walled gardens.

Sorry for the preachy tone (it's not intended), I am sure that most people feel the same way (or something similar), but it feels like we have lost some perspective while getting up at 6am to order some electronics over the internet. This is a great day. (I have a son and the Raspberry Pi feels like the most exciting project I have seen to date)

Education might be the stated aim of the project but its not the limit of the device. This is a device similar to an Arduino except for the fact its got HDMI, USB, is about 700 times faster and in the order of 256 million times more RAM and its only 25% more expensive. Its a hardware hackers delight and a desktop capable computer. It is also a very real competitor for nettops which sell in the millions at a price point 5-10x higher than this.

It may very well be used by students to code, but that will be a niche it falls into right behind becoming the cheapest desktop capable computer ever built that isn't locked down. This could very well start a revolution in portable desktop computers that are really cheap. I personally think it is an exciting device but let down by the narrow vision of its application.

I agree with everything you have said about the potential of the Raspberry Pi. My surprise was at the tone of the reaction on this thread. That these people have spent this long on such a worthy project and have produced something that is probably truly exceptional. We should be grateful and excited. I don't think it has been let down at all. We will all get one, just maybe not immediately.

Right now no one knows when the release will be. What we have here is a limited beta release to 10,000 people or so, not the actual product launch. That will be coming at an unknown point in the future, probably. People are frustrated by this realisation because the makers claimed it would be the real release. But I think its been obvious for at least 2 months that it would exactly what it is today (no one expected the website to die of course but the product selling out in seconds they predicted correctly).

They deserve criticism for getting the launch wrong. Until the hardware gets tested we don't know if that works. My fear is that the hardware shows the same lack of attention and it doesn't work very well. It needs to be called what it is, a potentially great product with a disastrously bad launch.

Really, you're totally misreading this.

They got the product right and there was absolutely no way in hell that they could have done better than this at launch day. If they had sold 10 units I'm sure you would have had your criticism ready as well and to extrapolate from selling out in 10 minutes flat to 'fear that the hardware shows the same lack of attention and it doesn't work very well' is simply stupid.

If you want to criticize the RasberryPi folks then I suggest you show us all how you will do better. I'll be cheering you on, even if you sell out on day one.

Fulfillment by Amazon would be awesome for this. Free two-day shipping and the site wouldn't go down.

Edit: Seriously, you send them a big box, and they mail out all the little boxes. Check it out: http://www.amazonservices.com/content/fulfillment-by-amazon....

Only that Amazon doesn't ship electronics to outside the US, and thus international customers wouldn't be able to get them. Since the Foundation is from the UK, they probably know that.

Maybe they didn't go for the best option, but I always like to remind the US customers (who usually just don't honestly know about Amazon's restrictions) that buying electronics from them is a bad idea for the international market

Amazon has sites all over the world, including the UK, for which it also offers fulfillment services.

I suspect the larger reason this hasn't been done yet is that it allows them to first take the orders and then scale the production run size to that.

All over the world? They've got sites in 9 countries.

For most people in the US, that it is all over the world! </sarc>

And beyond


Estimate demand, send X% of your initial production run (probably more than half) to Amazon, send the rest to international suppliers.

From my perspective the US is "international"

While it would have been a good idea to distribute some of the devices from the US that wasn't the main problem. A common way to do a launch like this is:

1. Make people register with their e-mail adress. 2. Send order links with unique and expiring tokens in batches. 3. Process payments.

Also, and this is from a naive perspective, I'd imagine the deal they have cut with their distributors gives them a greater share of the profit (the R-PI foundation is a charity remember)

I'd imagine Amazon's services, whilst great, might cost more to use

how would they handle RMA? RMA for such devboards are very common, even the TI folks had several issues with the recent BeagleBone...

Amazon has a complete plan for returns, and handles them for you.

"Returned unit is added to your inventory and designated "Unfulfillable." You can create a removal order to have the unit returned to you."

You can read more here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=2...

Of course there is a cost to having Amazon handle everything, but I'd happily pay a little more for a board I could order through Amazon.

Amazon deals with this too. [1]

The TL;DR is that Amazon will take back units, and if they're marked as bad (presumably by the customer), Amazon holds on to them in their center, and can then ship them back to you.

It's basically exactly the same as normal retail.

[1]: http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_r...

But amazon doesnt make stuff like RS and Farnells do

This is a very inexpensive product produced by a charity. How can they afford what it would take for a launch like this to run flawlessly? I work for a non-profit that does all it can to provide a high quality service at a below market price, so I have sympathy for these guys. If you want first class service from day one, expect to pay a little more than $35. Even Apple with their high profit margins has had difficulty with launches for high demand products.

I agree with this wholeheartedly. It is alarming the sense of entitlement in this thread. Everything we get from these guys is a gift.

I agree about the sense of entitlement. However, these people get paid. They are not gifting anything to us anymore than Microsoft gifts us with Windows.

If they're telling the truth, then I don't think so:

"The Foundation continues to make a small profit from each Raspberry Pi sold, which we’ll be putting straight back into the charity."

Yeah the amount of moaning is really shocking, I'm disappointed too but I'll be able to get a R-PI eventually. Patience is a virtue

With things like this I'd rather wait for the 2nd or 3rd run anyways. They are a small group who are doing this on a shoestring budget for a price point with a tiny profit margin and targeting a highly technical audience; I won't be shocked if there are some small hardware bugs that make it past QA in the first run.

Its worth the waiting a little bit to let them iron all that out.

I was thinking about this, but given they've got an OS running, it is good enough for £20, and I'll replace it when necessary.

You can have an OS running and not have it 100% stable for long term with small latent bugs. I've actually got a prototype board I'm working on right now that runs Linux just fine but will lock up and need to be rebooted every few days.

But as you said, for 20 quid who cares?

Man, I looked at Twitter, replied to someone, and went off to do something else like ONE MINUTE before the "hey you can buy the pi now" tweet. Twenty minutes later both the people ready to sell me one were totally swamped.

Guess I don't get one from the first batch. Woe is me. Somehow I will survive!

You know, as problems for a startup to have go, "demand for your product is so strong the servers selling it go down within twenty minutes" is a PRETTY GOOD PROBLEM.

I was there right on the second. I didn't get one either. It was just server load lottery that determined the winners.

I think you would have to already have an account with one of the distributors to stand a chance. It's hard enough to get one page to load, but I would guess registering and placing an order would involve at least 5 clicks.

I've got one for RS. I was thrilled to see it listed. I thought I'd have an advantage. Nope.

Yes, dying from success is never the desired outcome, but at least they managed to send a first batch, which will be reviewed, will increase the hype, and hopefully give them a second chance to do things right and stock some more units

Or it could tarnish their reputation and kill the whole product. Lets hope the engineering of the actual product is a little better than the sales process. But I still think its kind of important not to give your potential customers a 404 as your first interaction or you run the very real risk of having zero conversions from all that homepage traffic.

  >  you run the very real risk of having zero conversions
  > from all that homepage traffic.
Dear God. Don't use web-y start-up lingo in situations where none of the platitudes apply. R-PI faces demand severely outstripping demand, which is the polar opposite of what conversion rate-optimizing Bla-ly companies experience.

I can see how their product being so wildly popular that it sells out in less than an hour could put a damper on its future commercial success.

Wait, that makes no sense, I can't see that at all, nevermind.

Hey I was also there at exactly 6:00 and the page just never loaded for me.

I am really disappointed about their choice of distributors. Neither Farnell's nor RS Components subsidiaries in Germany and Austria ship to private individuals, you have to be a corporate buyer in order to be able to order from them. And since they "have" local subsidiaries, the "international" sites of both companies don't ship to either country.

In short: in Germany or Austria, you cannot buy the Raspberry Pi unless you go through an intermediary. This seems to be a really bad choice for a platform aimed at education.

And judging by the Twitter comments, at least (potential) customers in Sweden and the Netherlands have the same problem.



I guess what bothers me is how they don't seem to care too much about not being buyable by private entities in a number of European countries, or how they at least didn't bother to check up-front...

Still, I hope I can get one of the next batches somehow

Maybe its different here, but I've been ordering from RS in the uk for years as a private entity. The site is targeted at B2B and makes it seem like you have to be a company but actually you don't really. I think I just put in n/a or something for company name on the registration page. You don't have to have a trade account, they take credit cards. Orders below £50 you pay £5 for delivery.

Private entities can place an order at the Dutch Farnell by email if the total sum is over 50 euros. See for instance [1]. I could not find similar regulations at the German Farnell site.

[1] http://nl.farnell.com/images/nl_NL/pdf/Particulier_voorwaard...

You can use a forwarding service like http://www.ukpostbox.com

I know that there are ways. There is apparently also an intermediary i Austria. I'll have a look at that forwarding site.

I just wanted to point that out, since it gets drowned a bit on Twitter and I didn't see much posted about it.

On one hand, old wisdom creeps in: "if you really want something done well, do it yourself". But on the other hand, if they happened to fail selling at raspberrypi.com, everyone and his dog would be accusing them of hubris and suggesting they should have relied on "verified distributors".

The only thing I'm a bit sad about, is that probably the distro companies will evade any consequences. And even if they didn't, it would probably hit some random guys and not anyone really responsible for the incompetency.

Edit: I think I would feel some evil (bad, bad me!) satisfaction if R-Pi Foundation would punish the distro corps by not letting them distribute any further batches of R-Pi for as long as possible. But again, that would probably hurt most the common employees, not the management.

One picks their partners. It's certainly not the first time things have gone badly wrong when picking a partner, and you'd think that as a bunch of techies they might have seen this coming.

It's clear they chose their partners based on their manufacturing chops, rather than their retail chops. To be fair, RS Components has a huge customer base in the UK; it's basically The Place You Go when you need electronic components in large quantities.

Arguably what Raspberry Pi could/should have done was use Arduino's model of having licensed manufacturers and they could have sat in front of it, and, as has been suggested elsewhere in the thread, just ship giant boxes to Amazon to actually do all the dirty work. This would have covered the US, Europe and Japan (if you ship to all Amazon's fulfillment centers), which would have been plenty I think.

They're both part of large international companies. This first shipment is disappointing to many people. Hopefully crashing the servers so hard will give both these distributors some idea of what the demand is, and they'll get some large production runs going, and shift some stock to international distribution partners.

> RS Components has a huge customer base in the UK; it's basically The Place You Go when you need electronic components in large quantities.

RS is where you go when you have an account and need small amounts of components on a regular basis. Buying large quantities of components results in a very frustrating experience.

See, for example, the way they sell surface mount components. Buy qty 500 of 0805 SM resistors and Farnell will send you a strip of 500 while RS will sell you 50 little strips of 10 per strip. Or the way that individual parts are bagged.

My guess is that the current batch will stay exclusive to the current distributors, but this mess will encourage the Foundation to add new distributors for all future product.

So the distributors will have some consequences: a smaller share of future orders.

> We are no longer limited to batches of only 10k Raspberry Pis; the Raspberry Pi will now be being built to match demand.

To me this is the key point. No need to fight through the rush tonight, there will enough to go around.

If I'm reading it right, tonight will be the first batch of 10k, the 'later in 2012' release that we will be able to pre-order for will be from their licensed partners and not so limited in quantity.

I could be wrong, I can't seem to access any website claiming to sell it.

By later, they mean a month or so, not Q4 2012:

"Starting in a month or so, you will be able to place batch orders with both Premier Farnell and RS Components for as many units as you want; you’ll also save some money on postage by doing this."

You appear to be right. "We believe Farnell has sold out already. Blimey."

Farnell had a product site up at launch time. When I first clicked "Add to Basket" I got a "Could not determine product stock, please try again" error. The second time just some AjaxError. And then the whole shopping cart crashed. Now they are serving a "Site unavailible" Page. I really wonder if they managed to sell all the stock before the page was DDOS'ed.

This either means that they have passed on inventory risk to their partners or are using a different and more expensive manufacturing process

That is true, for some reason I missed that from the site. Thanks for pointing that out...

Phoned RS and the hold message is great:

"But you don't have to wait. With our world class system you can be confident you can get what you want when want it. Did you know while you listened to this message you could have placed your order online."

Everyone in the US:

The Raspberry Pi is now listed on Newark/element14 (Farnell's US site): http://www.newark.com/raspberry-pi/raspbrry-pcba/dp/83T1943

It's $35, although there's also a 30 day lead time and a $20 handling fee (because it's shipping directly from the UK).

Ouch, it's less than that in NZ from element14!

That's a bit silly - can't they send a big box full to the US and use a US distributor (I'm in the UK FWIW).

I placed an order this morning and just got an email with an expected ship date of May 20th.

The production partnerships are encouraging news. Here's hoping my predictions on the Pi being more of a boutique/hobby venture that couldn't meet demand are wrong. I never thought they had much of a chance 10k at a time with weeks in between runs.

Of course, their servers (at the suppliers) seem to be meeting their little digital Gods at the moment. They just went static at the org.

And after they spent the past couple of weeks cockily batting away concerns about how they'd handle the traffic load, too. "You're all talking like we don't know what we're doing" is the line I recall being used several times.

"We're so frustrated about the DDOS effect - and apparently some of you are VERY ANGRY. We're really sorry; it's out of our hands." -http://twitter.com/#!/Raspberry_Pi/status/174747109046755328

Supplier 1: RS Components redirected to a product interest page - no purchase option

Supplier 2: Premier Farnell redirected to a international region picking page with no US link - no purchase option

Traffic wasn't the real problem. People are familiar with lines and queues- I wait in a slow long line every time I go to the grocery store.

Seems like they simply did not test their launch with either distributer internationally. Combine that with months of hype and last minute server/traffic arrogance for an angry social mob.

They did seem to know what they were doing. They put up a temporary static site to handle the traffic.

However, their suppliers, who are apparently fairly large companies, haven't been able to handle it. They said they warned them that the traffic would be enormous.

Obviously people were only expressing concern because they were interested in purchasing reliably, not because they were worried about Rpi's server uptime numbers. It's a little trollish for them to blame their distributors and say "Our site is fine".

So what are you paying the distributors for then, if not for their infrastructure?

Imagine that you're one of these companies and someone says, "We have 5,000 units for you. We expect that they will sell out in a few hours if you limit them to one per customer."

Do you think that (a) they are being realistic about their customers or that (b) your servers will be unable to handle the load described by that scenario or (c) neither or (d) both?

'We know what we're doing, we'll just palm it off to some random third party to take the heat!'

Seems to me this is a _great_ reason to use Kickstarter. You get a solid core of pre-purchase data (complete with credit card billing info ready to rock) which lets you much more accurately gauge demand _before_ you need to finalise manufacture/logistics.

I'm in the first batch of the ZPM Espresso machines via Kickstarted, which blew out past their expectations by an order of magnitude, and allowed them the opportunity to re-jig production methods and schedules, based on ordering 10 times as many parts as expected.

Sadly, Kickstarter isn't an option for most people outside the US, as you need a US bank account to draw the funds into. A limitation with their Amazon payments system I believe.

True, but I'd bet a person-on-the-ground in the US would have been a fair bit less organisation that the deals they did with RS/Farnell. (See NinjaBlocks for an example - they're a bunch of local-to-me-in-Sydney-Australia guys who got a contact/partner in the US to manage their Kickstarter rego for them)

True, but why bother? US is only 10% of Internet users and 2x smaller than EU.

So all your money goes through some random guy in USA? Sounds a bit dodgy and unprofessional…

Setting up a US bank account for a non-US resident isn't all that hard. Worst case for most major US banks is that you might need to get a notarized copy of your passport and the application form, which can cost you a bit (first time I did it, years ago, the local US consulate charged me $65 for it).

Worst case is that your legal product runs afoul of some USA law and all your money gets confiscated, cf. http://cphpost.dk/news/international/us-snubs-out-legal-ciga...

Have you tried this recently? It's practically impossible, thanks to money-laundering paranoia. The closest I got was Western Union, but they said the account couldn't be used for any kind of internet commerce.

I'd love to be proved wrong on this.

Yes, I have, with TD Bank. Didn't run into any problems at all.

If you run into problems, buy an off the shelf Delaware corporation online, with a registered agent, and create the account for that. Bonus, depending on where you do business you can potentially save quite a bit of tax by structuring things properly that way.

Really? Don't they need proof of address in the US or anything? I might get me one, then. What's a good bank?

None that I've dealt with have required that. They do require to verify that you are who you claim you are, and without a US address you might find that requires extra paperwork (such as getting official proof of address and identity document certified by a US consulate or a notary public), and some banks might just not want to deal with the hassle. You also do need to fill out forms to establish your tax withholding.

I've held personal and business accounts with Chase and TD Bank, as well as trader accounts with a couple of brokerages, and the documentation requirements were pretty basic in all cases. I've looked into opening accounts at other banks at various points too.

In some cases the easiest alternative is to simply buy an off the shelf US corporation, and have the company that sets it up register a US bank account for it. That's certainly often less paperwork and hassle than dealing with a personal account, especially if you set up a Delaware corporation.

That's a good alternative, but then I'd have to pay accountants and lawyers and the rest... It does give you flexibility in other areas, though (such as, I will finally be able to open a Stripe account!).

I'm very happy with Harris Bank -- but it's possible that being Canadian helped me there, since Harris is owned by a Canadian bank.

Hmm, apparently they don't have branches in NYC or LA/SF, which are the places I'm going... Thanks for the help, though!

Why do you care where they have branches? I've never been to one.

Hmm, how can you open an account without going to a branch? Don't you have to sign forms, etc?

They sent me all the forms by courier (with a prepaid courier envelope to send them back in, too).

Very nice, I'll send them an email then, thank you. I guess I don't even have to be in the US for that!

You likely have to have identity documents certified, that's about it. A visit to a US consulate (check first if the provide the required services) or notary public should be able to help get the right stamps and/or seals to satisfy them.

I didn't even need to do that; just photocopy and send to them via courier.

Indiegogo offers a very similar service without that limitation.

They don't. They really don't know what a slashdotting is. Well, the suppliers I mean.

RS on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/rselectronics

They tweeted at 6am to link to the page, then not since.

Farnell on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/farnellnews

They at least tweeted at 6.30 to say they are trying to fix the problems.

Given the large amount of worry on this thread about getting one of the first 10000 I'm really looking forwards to seeing hundreds of blog posts and stories about people doing really interesting thing with their hard-fought purchases.

I'm only being half sarcastic. I really would like to see people do cool things with these. And I will be disappointed if it turns out that 9500 of them end up in a drawer after the first weekend.

I would fear more that 9500 of them end up on eBay at $200 per unit until the next batch comes along. I really don't like people profiting from squatting.

Then the eBay buyers would post projects. Eventually the units (or most of them) will end up in the hands of a hacker, regardless of the route taken to get there.

They're not supposed to end up in the hands of hackers for $200+. They're supposed to end up in the hands of kids for $35.

This first run is not the educational release. These are specifically for hackers.

The educational release will be later this year, and will include cases, power supplies, and an OS for the same price. This release is lacking all those.

This early release is for hackers to play with, develop projects, and write tutorials, so that there is an ecosystem already in place for the educational release.

>This early release is for hackers to play with, develop projects, and write tutorials, so that there is an ecosystem already in place for the educational release.

A shame that the GPU specs aren't open, I would love to get in to GPU driver development with something like this.

Here's what I'm getting from Farnell:

  > Site unavailable
  > Our websites are currently unavailable whilst we perform a scheduled system upgrade.
Scheduled? Yeah, if by scheduled they mean "unexpected but seriously needed" then I'll buy in to that. :)

probably it's just a fixed message they have on their system (load balancers?) that pops up when the real webservers are meltin^H^H^H^H^H^H not responding :)

I'll admit that I haven't been following this very closely, what makes this product this craze worthy compared to something like the Arduino?

Arduino, while nice and useful (I used it more than once), it's much less than raspberrypi. Arduino's power comes from the community, nice IDE and a lot of examples that are easy to grasp even for someone who is not a CS major. It is wonderful if you want to make you off-shelf PC communicate with simple engines, many types of sensors, things like that, and it's easy to connect to Processing or puredata, it's basically what you get if you want an interactive art piece and don't want to mess with assembler, bootloaders, and whatever.

However, Arduino is 30 USD for ATmega, 20 I/O pins and a USB you can use to program it. Raspberrypi is 35 USD (1) for ARM as powerful as the one in iPhone, with 256 MB RAM, HDMI output, two USB ports you can use to connect peripherals, allegedly powerful graphic processors (though it's probably going to have proprietary bloby drivers) and an Ethernet ports. Oh, and some I/O pins too.

It's basically a general purpose computer, allegedly as powerful as Pentium III (2), as big as Arduino, and taking slightly more but still incredibly small amount of power.

For further comparison, BeagleBoard has slightly better connectivity but worse CPU and graphics, and is bigger, and is 150 USD (about 4x the cost). PandaBoard is faster but similar and is 170 USD (little less than five times the cost). And yesterdays Arstechnica article speaks about similar computer in shape of a small flashdisk with slightly faster CPU than raspberry and ! GB ram costing 200 USD.

This is like free.fr for ARM development boards. It doesn't mean Arduino is finished or something (it's best thing was always the simplicity - anything you can do with Arduino can be done with plain ATmega and some hacking and they're dime a dozen) but it's nice.

(1): though local prices vary. Here Arduino is listed as about 1 USD less than raspberry.

(2): I can't remember where I read that, and it might've been Pentium II, so don't quote me on that, plese

If anything I think I would expect this to help Arduino by expanding the overall size of the market.

It's not really directly comparable to an Arduino - it's a full-blown ARM Linux computer, with HDMI, ethernet, and a couple of orders of magnitude more RAM than an Arduino.

It also has some limited IO available, if you're prepared to solder headers onto the board.

An Arduino is basically a whole bunch of IO, including PWM output and analogue input, that you can wrap up with some glue logic or send straight to a computer.

If you want to interface with a range of sensors/motors in a self-contained unit, a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino actually make a good combination - you can write your logic code in whatever language you like in a Linux environment, and use the Arduino to interface it with the real world.

Yes, the combination would be interesting. Lot of projects in our new media/intermedia/interactive art lab use Arduino for interfacing with buttons, ultrasound sensor, pressure sensors and similar gizmos, while using normal PC for logic or video playback on projectors or something. Raspberry is capable enough for that (though I'm not sure the artists would be happy hacking it in python instead of Processing ;) ), pc's are big and ugly and having two miniature computers doing the whole thing would be really cool.

It would also make sense for (noncritical) monitoring systems, where Arduino can interface with pretty much anything, and raspberry could either display things on monitors, or make a web page for remote monitoring, no problem. (you add ethernet to Arduino and run web server on it, sure, but I would never do something that horrible to the little ATmega.)

I'm not sure why they'd need to use Python, Java's available for Linux on ARM, isn't it?

The fact that it's a personal computer, probably.

People might have some luck with their telephone ordering

    RS Online: +44 8457 201201
    Farnell:   +44 8447 111111
(Although I have been on hold with RS for a while now...)

After 25 minutes on hold with RS, I spoke to an agent. She was (understandably) a bit flustered, so this might not be correct, but what I gathered was:

    * She couldn't take an order
    * They weren't going to be able to take an order today
    * What I should be doing is "registering an interest" online when the website comes back up
    * Noone had ordered anything today, although a few had managed to register an interest before the website melted

The one I just spoke to said they are waiting for managers to come in to sort out what's going on, so far they don't even have stock numbers and all they know about this product is what's shown on their own website.

01536 201201 a cheaper number for RS - but yeah, the wait could be a while..

BBC Radio Four's "Today" programme are talking about Raspberry PI right now. They haven't mentioned server problems yet, or the fact that it's sold out already.


(7:45am Wednesday 29th Feb)

7:51: Now they have. Right after thought of the day. With a laugh.

It made it to television, too, fove minutes ago, in the BBC News.

What a tremendous failure. Why check with your distributors before going live? It's not even the traffic; RS never sold any and for the rare moment that you could get to Farnell, they were already (or always have been) out of stock from minute one.

The tweets from the foundation make it look more like Farnell actually took about 10 minutes to sell what they had. Nobody's quite sure whats up with RS yet.

Then I blame their fucked up shop system with yet another site for every other region? All I can say is that one minute after launch, the product page on Farnell was showing "out of stock". After that, the site never loaded again.

Apparently the only way you could actually get one is through some back of the woods partner site of them in Australia. Hooray.

So $35 turned into $50

That's Australian dollars.

The $AUD is worth more than the $US, but tech goods always cost more in Australia than they should.

Are those US or AU $, and did you include shipping and taxes etc in that?

Weirdly that link lists prices for more than one board; RaspberryPI made it very clear that the initial batch was "one per customer".

The $50 record is clearly erroneous, there is another for $38 that has the specifications/photos and has a 1 per order limit.

Demand skyrocketed.

I couldn't even find it on the Australian site. I got it into a shopping cart on the UK one, but it died while trying to create my account.

I managed to get a confirmation for an order of two through the Australian Element14 site - it took a dozen or so reloads to get the product into the cart, then almost an hour to get through the payment process (I was already registered from previous purchases).

According to the blog at raspberrypi.org (currently offline) they are limiting orders to 1 per customer. So it will be interesting to see if this order goes through.

They underestimate what it takes to audit 10,000 orders for fraud (breaking their business rules, not laws).

Yep - will be. I know a bunch of other local (Sydney Australia) people who placed orders for more than one via Farnell (Element14 here in .au), both online and by phone. I suspect if they've billed my credit card they'll honor the order/confirmation whatever the RPi org tells them.

I keep getting 'No price was found for product 2081347. Item was not added to basket.' on the au site now.

Who is this a tremendous failure for? RaspberryPI, or Farnell and RS?

I think this is a great success for RPi. Demand exceeded expectations. They always said the first batch would be 10,000 in size, and that's been eaten up in minutes (or probably seconds).

I would rather they had a small initial run first, that didn't take so long to get to market, and allowed them to test the waters tentatively. The alternative would have been to take a much larger risk, longer lead time, and bigger upfront cost to make a bigger batch.

We're always advocating that companies should ship small and early and then iterate to refine their product. This is a MVP from them. If I was involved I would be extremely proud and overjoyed at this.

all the complainers should take a step back and relax. What's the worst that has happened because you couldn't get you hands on this just yet? It's not as though you have lost money, missed deadlines, or anything else. Just give the consumerism a rest for a while.

As for RS Components' and Farnell's reputation as businesses...

PS. I did get up at 6am to try and order a board, but wasn't too disappointed when I couldn't get on the RS website. I can wait another month or so.

The distributors tbh.

I'd imagine traffic to their website on a normal day is relatively low. Even though they're worldwide companies, their market is pretty niche.

It might seem niche to you but these two companies keep a whole industry going in the UK!

The electronics suppliers are not used to this kind of traffic. I remember Ti's website grounding to a halt when I was first in college when they released a new kit for free, and in the past when they have done coupons for half off certain high value items. Interesting side note, Ti for its free samples uses Digikey to process them (same address, same exact boxes, packaging and onetime when I ordered a free sample I got Digikey note rather than a Ti note :P)

The traffic for those websites generally is very low, I can't imagine that they are ready for anything to what they are seeing right now.

I do wish they had also launched with Digikey my favourite electronic parts distributor. Their shipping is always top notch and their service is absolutely fantastic.

That wasn't the case for my last order from TI. I ordered there EZ430 launchpad kits and according to the shipping label it came from a TI office in malaysia. I was originally going to go through Digikey but they wanted 5x ($20 instead of $4) the price.

You purchased them from TI. I was referring to their samples.

All the stuff I've purchased from TI has indeed been shipped directly from TI itself and not through Digikey.

If I remember right, last time I got samples from TI they shipped from them and not from digikey. Its been a little bit.

Location might play in to it some, I live about 15 min away from their headquarters.

That is entirely possible, but with over 20+ sample shipments over a year while living in Phoenix I only received samples shipped from Digikeys facilities.

What do people plan to use their Raspberry PI for?

Given the nature of HN I'm intrigued to see what unique and innovate ideas people here may have...

I was thinking wireless doorbell. I can hook up the GPIO pins for power and the doorbell signal and plug in a USB wifi stick. It can then buzz my phone (maybe via Jabber) to wake me up in the mornings when there's an early delivery.

Even though the RasPi is hugely overqualified, it looks like it will be easier and cheaper than using a Arduino with a wireless shield. I'm also tickled by the idea of using a such a powerful computer for such a trivial task :)

Port scratch jr & DrRacket.

It is capable of doing 1080p decoding. I no longer need a Blu-ray player, Boxee box, Roku box, anything. I have an HDTV, I plug this into it with XBMC installed. Boom. I can stream anything from anywhere. It's also AirPlay enabled. Any TV just became a very smart TV for $35.

If you're not familiar with XBMC, prepare to have your mind blown.

Not having Wifi kills this option for me personally.

Buy a WRT54gl, put dd-wrt on it, set it up as a client-bridge, now you can network your xbox, HTPC, PS3, etc. easily.

This is what I did to move the big blue ugly cable running across the entrance hallway. Wife loves the change :)

Granted, I'm playing content off the same box.

Coudn't you get wifi via usb?

Wifi sucks in my apartment, http://www.netcomm.com.au/netcomm-products/powerline/np504 solved the problem for me.

stick a dongle on it.

Really? I'm fortunate that my parents recently built a house and wired ethernet everywhere (I'm tired of helping my dad try to configure transcoding servers to stream to broken DLNA implementations that vary between the 3 different Samsung LCDs he bought within 3 months) and I'll be doing the same.

According to their tweet 4m ago, Farnell has already sold out! How people got on the site is a mystery.

I got an order in this morning at Farnell Finland, and just received an order confirmation by email.

The delivery date is quoted as "week 16", which is mid-April. Oh well.

Curious as to why they chose 6AM UK time to launch. I wonder if RS or Farnell tech staff are actually at work ready to handle the server problems?

The first batch was limited to 10K units. Their logic was probably that the most devoted fans would take the time to get up early, and the rest would buy from the subsequent batches.

Maximize the amount of publicity throughout the day perhaps?

A recurring theme in these comments has been the hassles of doing things like fulfillment (can't use Amazon) and payment-processing (can't use Kickstarter) across national borders.

If you want to build the killer app for the 21st century, figure out how to help people route money and physical objects globally, with all these obnoxious borders abstracted away. ;-)

From the tweets. "We believe Farnell has sold out already. Blimey."

It is sad... I wasn't able to even get to see the site... let alone buy one.

I was able to see RS and "register my interest", but apparently that doesn't equate to buying one. Then of course the Raspberry Pi team tweet that we're "on the wrong page" without even investigating the issue first.

Most annoying.

> without even investigating the issue first

I think they've been a bit busy...

They've used a classic software engineering technique to solve a manufacturing problem — just add an additional abstraction layer. I'm thrilled they'll have more capacity but also a little sad I can't pick a few up at the Jameco will-call desk tomorrow.


That's from RS's Twitter feed. Not exactly the praises I'd sing right now.

I'm sorry, but I don't know what Raspberri PI is. The site literally doesn't tell me anything about the actual product. I see an image of an arduino-like board -- is that it?

Not being snotty or anything, I just literally can't find any information on the site.


There's usually more at their site, they went static about a half hour ago because of the load on their servers.

> The $25 Model A has been reworked to include 256MB of RAM – double what we were originally planning to offer

So the extra $10 will only buy you an ethernet and spare USB port now; makes the $35 a harder sell (but not tonight, of course).

I dont think so, if you need ethernet connection you need to buy an external lan/wifi card, spend at least a couple of bucks (3$ if you are lucky?)), lose one usb port (or use an usb hub), hope it will work in your OS, just to save some bucks (10-3 = 7$). For me, no way

However WLAN beats LAN, especially if I chose to build a small case and use this as a HTPC that I can use to watch.

Different people have different use cases. Apparently yours fits the Model B better.

is the wifi powerful enough for full HD streaming? I think the typical sub-10$ chinese WLAN card is just b/g

Eh, you seem to be able to get dirt-cheap USB b/g/n adapters too these days, though they're presumably 2.4 GHz only and who knows what the ARM Linux support is like for them.

I can't say I can hold zero blame for the rPi gang on this clusterfuck.. offloading the task was never going to help, it should have been obvious RS/Farnell were not ready- Amazon were the only retailer that could have handled it. But I don't see why they couldn't have handled the orders themselves (Amazon again?).

Apparently someone from RS sales has now said they aren't selling any until the end of the week! How insanely disorganised.

And 10K was also clearly never going to be close-- there were even far more forum members than this. I wouldn't be so grumpy if they didn't make me get up at 6AM for this crap.

They didn't exactly make you get up at 6AM. To be honest even if everything had gone smoothly, it should still be obvious given the hype that everyone individually had only a small chance of getting one from the first 10K batch.

And I think they were entirely justified to make a small (if you call 10K small) production run ahead of everything else. It's not like they're an established manufacturer and retailer.

It dismays me that people are so quick to criticize others when they haven't been in their shoes and are blessed with hindsight. I understand it's 6AM and you might be a tad more grumpy than usual, but... really. Some of the comments on Twitter make it sound like people were owed one of these.

"They’ll be manufacturing and distributing the devices on behalf of the Raspberry Pi Foundation"

I dont think Amazon is in the business of manufactoring hardware for others.

Yes, but this was the launch being done with boards that were already built in China. What they really wanted to have happen today was to get the 10,000 units into the hands of their fans as quickly and painlessly as possible, get a polite apology to those who didn't get one, and then hit the PR bell with their big brass "sold them all in 10 minutes" hammer.

"Nobody knows what the hell happened but I didn't get one" is probably not the takeaway they were hoping for on launch day.

Yeah, not getting one is one thing. The probably inevitable emails of "Yeah, you know we charged your credit card and said we'd ship you a Raspberry Pi... well, we're not... please wait 4-8 weeks" are far, far worse.

Thank you for this clarification, and nicely said would've been nice to get an update a few hours ago stating they weren't taking U.S sales, same thing happen for the eBay auction, forgive me HN just needed to vent

This is somewhat embarrassing for them, especially since they so confidently claimed to have everything under control. Kind of makes you wonder if there's any flaws in the device itself. I guess it those will have time to surface before most of us can get one though :)

Handling a launch like this isn't very hard if you don't ignore the problem.

They ignored a lot of experienced advice given to them freely to get to this point. Its a shame really as this could have been a magically moment where they shifted a million devices in a week. Instead we are looking at 404 pages and there are no devices available if you do get through. A lot of potential customers have just been gone and will never return.

I've just ordered one over the phone, Farnell adds a surcharge so the grand total is a little over £36. Surprisingly no wait time on the phone whatsoever! The number is 08447111111.

I just called them on that number and was told they've sold out, next batch available in 4 to 5 weeks. Bummer :(

FYI, if you order through Farnell, the total comes to £31.86 with free delivery. The device is actually £26.55 but then there's VAT to add in the UK.

Probably no more than a curiosity, but http://cn.element14.com/jsp/search/productdetail.jsp?id=2081... (Farnell's China site) will show you the product page. Even Google Translate seems to be slashdotted, so I'm not going to try to get through that checkout process.

Too late to have someone change the typo in the product's name in the title? It ends with a 'Y', not an 'I'. Aaargh.

Capitalisation too: Raspberry Pi

I'm sure they will be on ebay -- for $300

Why downvote this guy? He's right.

I'd wager that a non-insignificant % of the people scrambling to order want to get their hands on one to flip it on eBay. Watch what happens when they start shipping.

And if someone needs one this week instead of waiting 2-3 weeks, then they're free to spend $300. Otherwise the seller is just playing to buyer's stupidity. Oh well.

I think it's going to be longer than 2-3 weeks to get one.

Regardless, I don't see what the urgency is. If there's something you need to develop on an embedded ARM SoC, there are plenty of other more available (and less publicized) options.

predictions about the future are always uncertain

I'm expecting some Farnell group employees will get a nice "bonus"? Perhaps I'm too cynical?

Edit: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Raspberry-Pi-Model-B-Ethernet-700M... ; $999 on buy it now ...

Edit 2: There's also this, http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Raspberry-Pi-Model-B-Ethernet-700M..., which is interesting - must be against ebay policy to sell things you don't own?

Anyone have a link to the product pages for either of the suppliers? I can only find an "interest in" page.

These are supposedly the links, though both sites are down. The third was just an "express an interest" page, as the supplier didn't yet have the appropriate page up.




I wish, both sites appear down at the moment, probably due to heavy load

I believe this is the one for farnell (there were two search results, this is the one which loaded): http://uk.farnell.com/raspberry-pi/raspbrry-pcba/sbc-raspber...

however It seems to be a 'coming soon' product.

Check new tweets from Rpi on their account, maybe they'll give some hint http://twitter.com/raspberry_pi (btw it looks like the Raspberry Pi release has "slashdotted" their sites)

All I get is: Oops! Google Chrome could not connect to uk.rs-online.com

The Farnell product page came up briefly for me: http://uk.farnell.com/raspberry-pi/raspbrry-pcba/sbc-raspber...

(but the servers are still melting, so the buy links weren't working)

The hard link that RS had given out on their twitter was here: http://uk.rs-online.com/web/generalDisplay.html?id=raspberry... if anyone wants to keep trying...

That gives me, in the UK, "Register here to express an interest in Raspberry Pi". Which I did.

Farnell then tell you:

"By providing your contact details you are agreeing for your details to be used for marketing purposes by companies within the Premier Farnell Group."

Which I find rather off-putting.

And since they are, in theory, business to business you don't get the already weak UK legal spam protection.

Both sites slashdotted in under a minute. Nice. No one can say they weren't warned.

It's reasonable to assume that even though both companies were warned that traffic to their sites would skyrocket they probably wouldn't have invested in any new infrastructure to just support one new product - probably more of a 'take note, grin and bear it' stance.

No, but there are a lot of other things they could've done. EC2 anyone?


Goods Subtotal: £26.55 Basic Shipping: £0.00 VAT: £5.31 Total: £31.86

--->>> Further stock available in 30 days

I'll believe it when I have the board in my hands though!

Order confirmation email just come in:



Qty Ordered 1

Qty to Follow 1

Estimated Delivery W/C 12/03/2012

That's 12th March for our foreign friends -at least I hope its not 3rd Dec!!

At work now (an electronics/tech company) - just been passed a message from our Farnell accounts manager; they're talking mid April for orders placed now. Looks like I may get my personal one (as above) first.

Waiting for info from our RS accounts manager - RS seem a little less briefed about the whole thing - hmmm.

Oh, yes - it bears repeating that RS are (and always have been) trade only and are very unlikely to take orders from individuals - for many, Farnell will be the better bet.

Finally got one in the shopping cart at Farnell but checkout/registering a no-go.

They did not need new hardware, just a super-streamlined single-product order page for the Pi.

Just got a broken CSS site, now says;


Availability: Awaiting Delivery

... so back to work...

Gosh - this person on ebay ships in 5-6 days and has already sold 28.


/Ya think?

Raspberry Pi are recommending that people don't buy them from e-bay.


I don't know how he can get away with this. To have that many he must have a deal with RS - the 5 - 6 day shipping date must be first class after he receives however many he's ordered through RS as a sub-distributer otherwise this goes against the 1 per person completely.

What he says he has, and what he has in reality are possibly quite different. He's sold 28 - not sure how many have been delivered

Edit: From the RasPi Twitter feed - they said it... @Raspberry_Pi EVERYONE! Stop posting that ebay item!. He is a scammer and getting more sales from here. Pic posted is the Alpha proto board

Hit the "Report This Item" link

What cool plans do people have for these if they can get their hands on one?

Probably not quite what the designers intended, but...

I plan to put one in an aluminium box with some SRAM and an anti-tamper switch, store keys in the SRAM and use it to back up TrueCrypted thumb drives.

Should be more secure than mounting them on an internet-connected PC just to back them up.

This all seems like a pricing problem. If you don't have enough product to meet demand, you charge more.

I guess in the end it is worth it though. The amount of hype that surrounds selling out is great.

If your goal is to maximize profit, sure. But Raspberry Pi is a registered non-profit organization.

But in this case, the price-point is highly sensitive. The reason there is so much demand is because it is insanely cheap. It's exciting because of what it signals, and even modestly raising the price changes the narrative.

Competition in the computer education space is nice.

OLPC comes with: screen, case, power supply, battery, cam, Source Code, wifi, training, & doesn't require £400 TV that can run code already.

I'm a little peeved. I signed up for the email notifications and did the confirmation and everything, and never got the email saying they were opening up for orders. :-/

Ordered two from Newark (I'm in the US); the order confirmation email has an Expected Ship Date of 5/10/12.

I've got a BeagleBoard C2 and a BeagleBone to play with until then...

I managed to buy one in Australia, I had it in my cart at about 4:10PM, took till 2 mins ago(5:08PM) to finish checkout. No word if its a backorder or not...

Also, weird that Farnell had 2 product pages, one for $38AUD, another for $50 - both were listed as model B.

RS are apparently refusing to sell to private people - business orders only according to several people on Twitter who got through on the phone. Nice job.

They are a trade supplier, usually you can just invent a company name for the purposes of the order though. They don't check your VAT registration or anything.

It looks like the RS site is coming back online - but their Raspberry Pi product page still only says "register to express an interest"...

What kind of casing is there for holding the board? It would nice to have a case, like the Marvell wallplug computer.

What's the prices in USD (I'm seeing $50.45 from Farnell)? Has anyone from the US officially ordered one? Shipping?

I believe in eating your own dog food but it's fine if @Raspberry_Pi use someone else's tech for their ecommerce.

Was anyone here able to order?

I've registered my interest with RS components but I doubt I'll be quick enough to get one when they go on sale

I got one.

It seams neither of their distributors where shipping these to the US?

What's the max resolution on the gpu?

Maybe I'm clueless, but why would you order one if you already have a PC?

Why would you get a smartphone if you already have a PC?

Why would you get an iPad if you already have a PC?

Why would you get a games console if you already have a PC?

Why would you get a media centre if you already have a PC?

Why would you get a second PC if you already have a PC?

It's a credit card sized computer that can run Linux, has got graphics+display out, and a few programmable I/O pins. If you're a hacker and let your imagination run wild, only the sky is the limit what this baby can do :) This could probably power lots of interesting household hacks or hobby projects.

Because you want a teeny tiny Arm development board? Because you want to make a fanless media server? Because you want to learn programming and your elder brother is hogging the PC surfing for whatever teenage boys surf for?

So it's a minicomputer without the disk, keyboard, mouse, screen, and speakers, which quickly adds up to $250 with cheapest components if you want to use it as a general-purpose computer.

At the same time, it runs linux and the same linux distro runs also in qemu, so you can do most of the develompent without actual hardware. So where's the rush, why does everybody have to get it right now?

No. $250 is ridiculous, even for buying everything new. I just spent 2 minutes googling:

  Amazon Class Class 10 8 GB SD Card: $9
  Best Buy 20" LCD: $90
  Keyboard: $15
  Mouse: $7.54
  Speakers: $10.54
  Total: $132.08
If you go to your local thriftstore, you could get all of these for <$50. Not sure if you have ever been a poor kid or not, but take it from me, this computer WILL bring computing to kids who would not otherwise have access.

As a former middle class kid at rather pricey private schools... will bring computing to plenty of kids whose families could afford much more, too.

OK, living in Norway, prices are "somewhat" higher. On the website of a popular computer-shop (digitalimpuls.no), the cheapest screen I found was Iiyama LCD 24" for 1100 NOK =~ 200 USD. (All other screens, also smaller, were more expensive.)

Ah ok. That makes sense. As an American, I take it as my god-given right to jump to conclusions based on American conditions ;)

I also had the thought that at many American schools/libraraies I bet you could find a sympathetic IT guy to give ya some old parts that are on their way to the scrap yard. And I know of at least one computer non-profit recycler in my city that would hook kids up.

Point is, the peripherals of computers, including monitors to a certain extent, are abundant. Tiny, relatively fast computers capable of putting out 1080p are not.... Or I guess I should say weren't!

I'm not sure why there's such a rush. It's a really neat device. I haven't been excited by a gadget for a few years, and this is quite exciting. But I'm happy to wait for some months before I get one.

I guess there's some kudos or cachet or whatnot tied up with owning one of the first batch; with being one of the first 10,000 people to have blogs up about programming the device.

The intent is that it's a hackable little computer that you can plug into the monitor/tv/keyboard/peripheral you already have. Then you can experiment with programming or Linux internals or minimum viable products or whatever using a less than 50€ computer without the risk of turning your expensive need-to-do-day-job computer into a brick.

It is not supposed to be a customer item sold to be used as the only computer someone uses. It does not even have a power supply or a casing around the circuit board!

And it certainly isn't a minicomputer like the PDP-11 was :)

Really, can't you think of any use for a powerful, small, dirt cheap ARM computer?

Baby monitor?

Man... I currently work in the same company as Ian Livingstone and he promised a couple of us some boards to use in our next project. I hope he comes through. I started off on the Beeb and the ZX Spectrum and it's be great to come full circle 30 years later :D

Waiting for this.

The one thing you can say about incompetence is that its ignorant of its own condition.

This does not bode well to the quality of the product itself, the lack of basic skills and forethought is frightening. After all that "we know what we are doing" talk I guess we can now point and laugh.

They're a charity, they're not obliged to do anything for any one.

They anticipated the launch issues so they brought on two distributors who have networks and infrastructure in place to distribute these sorts of products to customers all over the world.

The problem is (and judging by their website design) these distributors probably don't get that much traffic on a day to day basis. Their products seem very niche. The distributors were warned and this is what happens.

Don't blame the Raspberry Pi foundation for this.

Yeesh, relax. Have you been injured by this? When they say they know what they're doing that's written from their perspective. It's not a declaration that they're going to live up to the expectations of every manchild who feels entitled to one of these devices.

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