Raspberry Pi’s milestones and operating system

Raspberry Pi has just reached two milestones: turned one year old and reached one million sold. During the first year Raspberry Pi Foundation were able to match the hype it generated.


When you buy a Raspberry Pi, the $35 computer doesn’t come with an operating system. Loading your operating system of choice (there are several choices) onto an SD card and then booting the Pi turns out to be pretty easy. But where do Pi-compatible operating systems come from?

Arstechnica article How two volunteers built the Raspberry Pi’s operating system article tries to find out how Raspbian—the officially recommended Pi operating system—came into being.

Raspbian is a version of Debian painstakingly rebuilt for the Raspberry Pi. The project required 60-hour work weeks, a home-built cluster of ARM computers, and the rebuilding of 19,000 Linux software packages. And it was all accomplished by two volunteers: Mike Thompson and Peter Green.


  1. raspberry pi computer says:

    Helpful information. Lucky me I found your website unintentionally, and I’m stunned why this accident did not happened in advance! I bookmarked it.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Fedora cooks up new Linux for Raspberry Pi
    Pidora 18 ‘remix’ can reveal a Pi’s IP address by flashing LEDs

    Raspberry Pi users have another operation system option, after the folks behind Fedora Linux changed their recipe and issued a “remix” of the OS for the tiny computer.

    Pidora 18, as the release is known, is not the very first of its kind, as two previous versions are available but weren’t optimised for the ARMv6 architecture. Pidora 18 has undergone that optimisation and is therefore ready to run on the Pi.

    The use of the term “remix” is important because the Fedora folk point out it denotes the release includes “proprietary software provided by the Raspberry Pi Foundation and the SOC vendor Broadcom cannot be included directly in Fedora.” Those who would rather their Pi OS conform to higher standards of OS purity will therefore have to look elsewhere.

    Almost all of the Fedora 18 package set available via yum(thousands of packages were built from the official Fedora repository and made available online)

    C, Python and Perl programming languages available and included in the SD card

    Includes libraries capable of supporting external hardware such as motors and robotics (via GPIO, I2C, SPI)

    The OS can be found here and is a 600MB download

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Vastly Improved Raspberry Pi Performance With Wayland

    “While Wayland/Weston 1.1 brought support to the Raspberry Pi merely a month ago, work has recently been done to bring true hardware-accelerated compositing capabilities to the RPi’s graphics stack using Weston. ”

    Rather than using the OpenGL ES hardware, the new compositor implementation uses the SoC’s 2D scaler/compositing hardware

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Raspberry Pi DUMBS DOWN to target world+dog
    NOOBS tool simplifies setup process for non-techies

    The Raspberry Pi was conceived of as a device so cheap that anyone could buy one, but also just raw enough that putting the computer to work would require users to learn a little about topics like installing operating systems and confronting BIOS settings.

    It turns out that “put some people off” to the extent they shelved their Pis, according to the Pi Guys, as they’ve summoned a new tool called New Out Of Box Software (NOOBS) into existence so that getting a Pi up and running is much easier.

    NOOBS comes as a .Zip file that, once unpacked to a SD card, will allow users to boot their Pi and chose from a list of operating systems they wish to run on the computer.

    Importantly, this can all happen without network access on the Pi (downloading NOOBS on some other machine will need a network, of course).

    NOOBS installs users’ preferred OS onto the SD card and stays on that card so users can continue to access the graphical editor it offers for config.txt.

    NOOBS has taken pride of place on the Pi’s downloads page , where it is now the “recommended” download.

  5. Joseph Mathew says:

    Dear Tomi:
    I installed the new NOOBS_v1_1, (June 18th, 2013) and could not notice appreciable increase in Midori performance (I am on 256MB first model of Rasp. Pi). Can you tell me how I can make out if this system uses Weston/Wayland? I could find and process with names such as weston or wayland.
    Jospeh Mathew

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    RETRO-GASM: The Fuze electronics kit for the Raspberry Pi
    Electronics! Metal! Screws! Resistors! Buzzers! Basic programming! Nostalgia!

    Back in the day of the board computers of the late 1970s – your Scrumpi, your Nascom 1, your UK-101 et al – it was customary to build a case for it out of wood. If you were a better equipped “constructor” – what we used to call “makers” in those days – you’d build a box out of metal.

    Skip forward 30-odd years and history is repeating itself. The Raspberry Pi is a board computer just like those 1970s offerings, only more powerful, more compact and with better programming facilities than the machine code monitors of yore. Some people even make their own cases, though there’s no shortage of plastic off-the-shelf offerings.

    The Fuze is, quite simply, a large, keyboard-equipped case for the Pi that’s aimed less at kids learning to code

    The whole thing looks a late 1970s/early 1980s micro. It’s a large, metal box with full-size chiclet-style keyboard built in

    Inside the case you’ll also find a 4GB SD card pre-loaded with an OS that boots straight to the desktop and guides you to – get this – a Basic interpreter. So even if you’re not particularly interested in electronics, you can spend endless hours reliving your youth by hacking away in Basic.

    Fuze Basic is a commercial version of Gordon Henderson’s Return to Basic interpreter. If you’ve used the popular WiringPi system, you’ll be familiar with Gordon’s work

    The WiringPi connection is handy, because it means Fuze Basic is ready equipped with a number of GPIO-related commands for reading and writing to specific pins, both digital and analog. That allows you do control electronics projects prototyped on the Fuze’s breadboard right in Basic.

    I’d also have liked to see the GPIO breakout board marked with more information than pin numbers. It really should make clear which are the I2C, UART, SPI and CLK pins, for instance.

    Merely as a Pi-less case, the Fuze will set you back £70; £90 if you get it with the breadboard and a PSU too.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Raspberry Pi sales pass two million
    ‘Bit of a shock’ say Pi guys

    The Raspberry Pi foundation has announced that it has sold two million of the tiny computers.

    The milestone is remarkable because two million is a nicely large number but more so because the Pi guys have noticed that sales are accelerating ahead of projections.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Raspberry Pi Hits the 2 Million Mark

    “the project has sold more than two million boards. Raspberry Pi is anything but alone in the tiny, hackable computer world (all kinds of other options, from Arduino to the x86-based Minnowboard, are out there, and all have their selling points),”

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Putting the Wolfram Language (and Mathematica) On Every Raspberry Pi

    “Working with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, effective immediately, there’s a pilot release of the Wolfram Language — as well as Mathematica—that will soon be bundled as part of the standard system software for every Raspberry Pi computer.”

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Stephen Wolfram
    Putting the Wolfram Language (and Mathematica) on Every Raspberry Pi

    Today I’m pleased to announce a step in that direction: working with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, effective immediately there’s a pilot release of the Wolfram Language—as well as Mathematica—that will soon be bundled as part of the standard system software for every Raspberry Pi computer.

    In effect, this is a technology preview: it’s an early, unfinished, glimpse of the Wolfram Language. Quite soon the Wolfram Language is going to start showing up in lots of places, notably on the web and in the cloud. But I’m excited that the timing has worked out so that we’re able to give the Raspberry Pi community—with its emphasis on education and invention—the very first chance to put the Wolfram Language into action.

    And with Raspberry Pi there’s something else too: immediately being able to interact with the outside world. Being able to take pure code, and connect it to sensors and devices that do things.

    I think it’s pretty amazing that we’re now at the point where all the knowledge and computation in the Wolfram Language can run in a $25 computer.

    The command-line Wolfram Language is quite zippy on the Raspberry Pi. The full notebook interface to Mathematica—requiring as it does the whole X Window stack—can be a trifle sluggish by modern standards (and we had to switch a few things off by default, like our new Predictive Interface, because they just slowed things down too much). But it’s still spectacular: the first time Mathematica has been able to run at all on anything like a $25 computer.

    And it’s the whole system. Nothing is left out. All 5000+ Wolfram Language functions. All capabilities of Mathematica and its notebook interface.

    For me, one of the most striking things about having all this on the Raspberry Pi is how it encourages me to try a new style of real-world-connected computing.


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