We’re very proud of the community at Raspberry Pi. If you haven’t dipped a toe into the forums here yet, you really should – there are a lot of very smart people talking about very interesting stuff and making some very cool things in there.
We rely on our community to make the Raspberry Pi what it is. While we provide the hardware, the community ports (and writes) the software that runs on the device and supporting materials needed to teach with it, and comes up with some inventive uses of the Raspberry Pi that had never even crossed our minds. Quadcopters and baby monitors, anybody?
The need for help in getting our educational software stack in good order, alongside the materials we need to help teachers use the Raspberry Pi in lessons, is the reason we’re not launching straight into schools. We want the Raspberry Pi to be available for a few months for the community to work on before it’s unleashed on kids wholesale. Our friends at Computing at School are writing teaching and learning materials; early drafts we’ve seen from them so far have been first-rate. You’ve already seen demos of KidsRuby running on Raspberry Pi, and we’ve been running Scratch (here it is in the background of a Raspi pic from the BBC’s Rory Cellan Jones), another kids’ programming tool, ever since we got our alpha boards to play with back in the summer. There will be more of this sort of thing to come; we’ve got partners working on ports of some very exciting tools which we hope will genuinely engage kids at the moment. Watch this space for announcements.
Even though the devices aren’t available to the general public yet, the community has been busy with development using a VM put together by Russell Davis (who posts here as UKScone). There’s an excellent series of video tutorials we are pointing beginners at, which is being filmed and curated by Liam Fraser, who is also working on a GUI (graphical user interface, for the non-technical folk who have got this far) to help beginners easily load their SD cards and get started with the device. The projects and collaboration section of our forums is a great place to look if you have some ideas and you’d like some help or company while you develop them; or if you just want to check that nobody’s working on your idea already.
Paul Maunders, who bought one of our beta boards at auction, has been testing it (note that he’s using a beta distro; things won’t be quite like this with the retail boards and we are aware of a few software kinks which are being ironed out for the final version) and is answering any and all questions about his experience on Reddit. He’s also taking video of his board working and is blogging about what he’s doing with it.
Abishur, one of our forum mods, has been working on hacking a working NES (“Well…I hope it’ll be working when I’ve finish”) to house a Raspberry Pi so he can use it to stream video and play retro games. There is a blow-by-blow account of what he’s up to, alongside a lot of detailed photos, in the dedicated forum thread.
I’ve only scratched the surface here – there’s so much development of cool software, so many exciting hardware plans and such a lot of fan art out there that it’d take me all day to talk about it. If you’ve got a personal project you’d like us to know about, please let us know in the comments.