The Raspberry Pi is a single board computer. Basically, the Raspberry Pi is a small computer which is made up of one circuit board. The circuit board contains all of the necessary components to function as a computer. The device is a low-cost implementation to allow it to be used in many ways and with Linux as the Operating System (OS), the cost is extremely minimal. The Raspberry Pi was developed in the United Kingdom by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Raspberry Pi Foundation The Foundation's purpose is to provide a low-cost computer to be used to teach computer skills in schools and in developing countries. The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a charitable organization, found at www.raspberrypi.org, which was formed in 2008 and registered in 2009. The Foundation has support from the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory and many companies The popularity of the Raspberry Pi has exceeded all expectations. In the United Kingdom the Raspberry Pi is the best selling PC with total sales at ten million in September 2016. The popularity is due to the many uses of the device. Raspberry Pi Uses The uses of the Raspberry Pi range from robotics, to programming to PC systems. The uses are endless as can be seen in the tutorials on the Raspberry Pi website at https://www.raspberrypi.org/magpi/tutorials/. Magazines, such as 'The MagPi', are dedicated to its many uses. Content of 'The Magpi' magazine can be downloaded at https://www.raspberrypi.org/magpi-issues. Books abound on Ebay, Amazon and other websites which deal in books. NOTE: To easily download all of the contents of the 'magpi-issues' folder given above, open a terminal in the folder where you wish to save the files and run the command: wget -A pdf -m -p -E -k -K -np https://www.raspberrypi.org/magpi-issues/. Raspberry Pi devices can be used to make servers. These devices can be used to create e-book servers to Minecraft Servers. With the many uses for the Raspberry Pi the hardware is extremely high level for its size and cost. Raspberry Pi Hardware The Raspberry Pi comes in five different models. These models are: Raspberry Pi 1 Model A+ Raspberry Pi Zero Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+ Raspberry Pi 2 Model B Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Let's look at the makeup of each model and what it offers. Raspberry Pi 1 Model A+ The Model A+ can be seen in Figure 1 and the specifications for the Model A+ is: 700 MHz Broadcom BCM2835 CPU 256 MB RAM 40 pin extended GPIO 1 x USB 2 port 4 pole Stereo output and Composite video port Full size HDMI CSI camera port DSI display port (Raspberry Pi touch screen display) 4 mounting holes Micro SD port Micro USB power connector 65mm x 56mm (2.55” x 2.2”) FIGURE 1 The cost of the Model A+ is roughly $23.55 - a very inexpensive PC. Raspberry Pi Zero The Pi Zero is shown in Figure 2, and the technical specifications are: 1 Ghz Broadcom BCM2835 Single-core CPU 512 MB RAM Mini HDMI port USB On-The-Go ports Micro USB power Identical pinout to Model A+/B+/2B HAT-compatible 40-pin header Composite video and reset headers FIGURE 2 The Pi Zero is around $5.00, but usually is sold out quickly. Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+ The Pi 1 Model B+ has the following specs and is shown in Figure 3: 900 MHz Broadcom BCM2837 Arm7 Quad Core Processor powered Single Board Computer 1GB RAM 40pin extended GPIO 4 x USB 2 ports 4 pole Stereo output and Composite video port Full size HDMI CSI camera port for connecting the Raspberry Pi camera DSI display port for connecting the Raspberry Pi touch screen display Micro SD port for loading an operating system and storing data Micro USB power source FIGURE 3 The cost of the Pi1 Model B+ is about $28.00 depending where it is bought. Raspberry Pi 2 Model B The Raspberry Pi 2 Model B is shown in Figure 4 and has the following specifications: 900 MHz Broadcom BCM2837 Arm7 Quad Core Processor powered Single Board Computer 1GB RAM 40pin extended GPIO 4 x USB 2 ports 4 pole Stereo output and Composite video port Full size HDMI CSI camera port for connecting the Raspberry Pi camera DSI display port for connecting the Raspberry Pi touch screen display Micro SD port for loading your operating system and storing data Micro USB power source FIGURE 4 The cost of a Pi 2 Model is roughly $37.04. Raspberry Pi 3 Model B The specifications for the Pi 3 is the same as the 2, but with the following changes: Next Generation QUAD Core Broadcom BCM2837 64-bit processor Processor speed has increased from 900MHz on Pi 2 to 1.2Ghz BCM43438 WiFi on board Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) on board Upgraded switched power source up to 2.5 Amps FIGURE 5 The Pi 3 Model B will set you back around $38.19. Accessories Other accessories are available as well as bundles which include some accessories with the Pi board. The accessories include: cases, touch screens, cables, sensors, an OS preinstalled on an SD card and more. You can even get a kit to make a Pi-Top. A Pi-Top is a laptop based off of the Raspberry Pi as the system board. There is also a Pi-TopCEED which is a desktop system based off of the Pi for about $99. With the cost of the hardware being minimal and the cost of an OS being zero (Linux rules) the Raspberry Pi is an inexpensive alternative to a mainstream system. Operating Systems The Raspberry Pi has its own OS called Raspbian. The Raspbian OS information can be found at http://www.raspbian.org/. The Raspbian OS is based off of Debian Linux and can be downloaded at https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/. The Raspberry Pi Foundation also has other OS downloads. A first time Raspberry Pi and Linux user may want to download the New Out Of The Box Software (NOOBS). NOOBS is an installer to allow the download of other Operating Systems, even Raspbian. The other downloads from NOOBS include: Ubuntu MATE Snappy Ubuntu Core (for developers) Windows 10 IoT Open Source Media Center (OSMC) LIBREELEC (KODI) PINET (classroom management) RISC OS (non-linux) Weather Station (Oracle Weather Station) There are other Operating Systems which can be downloaded from the Internet which I will cover in future articles. For now, look at getting an inexpensive Raspberry Pi and taking it for a test run to see what it can do.