The Pi Store opens

Raspberry Pi

Another landmark today for what must be one of 2012's most successful new technology products, the Raspberry Pi. You've seen Apple's App Store, Google Play and Amazon and Windows online shops for apps? Well, now there is a Pi Store.

The people behind the ultra-cheap computer have decided to harness all that geek enthusiasm sparked since the Raspberry Pi's launch in February and create a one-stop shop where anyone can share games, applications and tools developed for the computer.

Eben Upton, the former Cambridge computing academic who came up with the idea for an affordable device that would encourage a new generation to get coding, has just blogged about the new store. He says he hopes it "will provide young people with a way to share their creations with a wider audience, and maybe to make a little pocket money along the way".

If that does happen, it will also provide useful evidence that the Raspberry Pi is reaching the audience at which it was originally targeted. Interest in the device has far exceeded expectations - the team thought originally that they might get 10,000 out this year, but I'm told more than 750,000 are now in the hands of users around the world. One user has compiled a map charting the Pi's global spread.

But my suspicion is that the main buyers so far have been 40-somethings who look back with nostalgia to their teenage years messing about with a BBC Micro or a ZX Spectrum. When I spoke to Mr Upton this morning, he confirmed that this was pretty accurate - "there's a strong bias towards adults who are computer literate" - but said that was changing a bit.

"Schools that are lucky enough to have an enthusiastic ICT teacher - or even a physics teacher - have been getting them."

But he accepts that the Raspberry Pi foundation, having successfully launched the hardware, now needs to focus on its original educational objective. The uncased device and the lack of much educational support is intimidating for teachers who are not particularly techie.

There are big plans to change that in 2013. "The intent is to have something that can go into a generic classroom environment," he said.

By the time Raspberry Pi celebrates its first anniversary at the end of February, more than a million will have been sold - an amazing achievement for what has been a shoestring operation dependent on voluntary efforts and the enthusiasm of the community. The next step is to build a more professional organisation which can fulfil the original vision - to transform the way children use and understand computers.

Rory Cellan-Jones, Technology correspondent Article written by Rory Cellan-Jones Rory Cellan-Jones Technology correspondent

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  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    Now, what is it the Pi can magically do that my computers cannot? What can I learn with a Pi that I cannot learn already? Nothing!
    Err that is the point, it *CAN* do stuff big PC's do, but for a hell of a lot less to buy, the point *IS* to make a computer that many can afford and use and learn with. The whole idea is a cheap launch platform for proper computing not another M$ app.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    @34. giovanna
    There are a few things the Pi manages your desktop doesn't.
    First it teaches people to program useful things in less than 100GB.
    Second it allows those with 30 quid to buy one and then buy a pint with the change
    Third it supports BRITISH industry - they are made in the UK not China :):):)

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    @Giovanna: RPi is largely about improving access: I bet none of your computers cost

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    18. Ricky "Yes its "just" a Linux computer, but it's the ethos and excitement around learning with the Pi that's exciting us."

    Aha, you mean you got caught up in the hype.
    I have several Linux computers - big girl's computers, not a lump of circuitboard.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    @giovanna : I am a no specialist at low-level programming, but for starter you have direct access to GPIOs to create / tinker with hardware goodies, it's cheap enough that you could use it to create your own device around it - more generic than a simple microcontroller.

    and no-one is saying you have to buy the Pi to learn programming, just that you don't have to buy a 150£ for it - get a Pi ...

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    32. Jon

    No - The Arduino is more about electronics & those programming tools for the PC teach you nothing about how it works.

    Ask 1/2 of so called software engineers what a partition table is or the difference between little endian and big endian and they don't have a clue. Half of them will not know what a pointer is let alone a stack! Java and C# are as dumbed down as the PC's they run on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    @24. Piggyback
    Why would someone be foolish to buy a Pi instead of waiting months and buying a 'proper one'.
    First the Pi is a proper computer. Second it depends on what you want to achieve. If you are after surfing porn with no effort get a PC, if you want to achieve something worthwhile or educational buy something that requires thought, effort and reading.
    Put brain in gear and THEN type :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    For all those that "don't get it", then it may not be for you, the aim was to may a "computer" that was cheap, now if you can buy one PC on a school budget @ £300 think how many PI you can get for the same price! you can get a classroom full for less than 3 current gen off the shelf PC's, that alone makes more sense,chuck in the free OS (no licences) and open source nature makes this a dream.

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    33. Chris "moronic misapprehension that ALL computing ... is about the Web and High-level languages such as .NET."

    Last I heard, the Pi was running Debian Linux. My desktops and laptops all run Debian 6. Therefore, I have the same OS, languages and tools as the Pi.
    Now, what is it the Pi can magically do that my computers cannot? What can I learn with a Pi that I cannot learn already? Nothing!

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    Most people who think the Pi is irrelevant seem to be under the frankly moronic misapprehension that ALL computing these days is about the Web and High-level languages such as .NET. Well, it isn't. We still need people who know about low-level programming and hardware, for future device, driver design and industrial control applications to name but a few.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    I am in my 40s, a software developer by profession and hobby and i dont really get the point of the pi either. As far as programming goes there are masses of applications/ tools available for most platforms. If its a programmable microcontroller you are after for prototyping or controlling hardware the Arduino is lighter, better supported and more reliable. Sorry but i just dont see where Pi fits.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    @Piggyback 24 : Well, you know what ? I give you the 26 £ and you go buy me a PC that could run on 4 AA batteries, can be used as a media center, as a mail or web server, a router, as a display or a cash register for businesses, has inputs / outputs so it can control other devices.

    etc.. etc..

    The problem is not that it can't do much - it seems to be that people are not imaginative enough !

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    6. KickAssAndGiggle
    I'm the lead developer for the country's leading disaster recovery company....
    That is very worrying, if a lead developer and his team cannot work out what to do with a pi the state of the IT sector is worse that I ever imagined.

    Give one of these to an old school software engineer (like me) and they will be like a pig in the brown stuff.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    I'm 50+ and had no trouble finding my way around it, programming it, expanding it. It's far more than a toy or a learning aid -- we use it as a quick interface solution for light industrial purposes. The more people that use it, the merrier -- I want to see this product thrive and stay consistent! A helpful criticism, earlier reports it could do HD video realtime Merry xmas

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    22. rizla28 "you missed the point of the raspery pi , onomatopeia , it not about ease of use, its to bring basic programing back in to our schools"

    And you missed the point of the article. Most are bought by adults to play with. Few, if any, are to be found in schools and few children will learn to programme. Those that wish to would be better off with a desktop/laptop rather than a cheap toy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    @24. Piggyback

    Congratulations on utterly misunderstanding the whole point of the Pi.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    I'm sure the actual usage will be mainly confined to the temporarily curious (90%), the permanently curious - albeit a different definition of curious - (8%) and a few aged people who refuse to move on in life.

    It never will be mainstream; it *was* useful in its time, as were thermionic valves,side valve engines, writing slates and log tables. Best to let it die an early death!

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    24. Piggyback

    You're 25 yet you don't get why most people don't "get it"? Here's a clue: they already have a computer/laptop. And those that don't have one, would be foolish to get this instead of save up for a proper one.


    The problem is that the computer/laptop you refer to is so dumbed down that is is useless when it comes to a learning how it actually works. The Pi removes all that bling.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    19. zack87

    Yes I am a geek, a programmer (not 40 something though - 25yo) but I don't understand how "mainstream" people don't get that it is great for them too,
    You're 25 yet you don't get why most people don't "get it"? Here's a clue: they already have a computer/laptop. And those that don't have one, would be foolish to get this instead of save up for a proper one.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    This is all good stuff. All I need now is for the wife to get me a pi for Christmas - I will need to drop some more hints :-)

    I love messing around with computers and this sound right up my street.

    cd /home/whatmandate
    gcc helloworld.c -o helloworld

    bring it on....


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