“Linux was chosen for Raspberry Pi with a purpose”

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Q. So you are not insecure about these devices?
A. I think we are doing okay. We are doing a lot of volumes. I think the device we offer is more powerful from a multimedia standpoint as compared to the others. We are starting to build a community now and we hope to see a good future.

Q. Which of the available devices is your closest competition?
A. The one I would find interesting would be with a high performance. So, I can think of three classes of competitors. First, the devices that are priced around $60-70 are generally based on Chinese APIs. I don’t find them better because they are more expensive than ours. Then there are devices which are much more expensive than ours and better in performance, like the Beagleboard. It is three to four times more expensive than the Raspberry Pi. The one that I really find interesting is Odroid, which is priced at around $130. It is powered by an Exynos4412 Cortex-A9 Quad Core processor. It is an interesting device because it does things we can’t do, unlike the other devices we are competing with.

Q. How many pieces of Rasberry Pi do you aim to ship?
A. I think shipping 50,000 pieces of the device monthly would be fine but we aspire to reach the level of 100,000 pieces.

Q. But if we look at the current demand for Raspberry Pi, you are not able to meet it. Why have shipments got delayed?
A. I think we are very close to meeting the demand and completing the orders. One of our two distributors made the Raspberry Pi delivery in August. So I think we are able to catch up with the demand. Very soon, we will be able to not only meet the demand but also create a back-up of the stock.

Q. What features do you think are missing in Raspberry Pi just because it is a low-cost device?
A. The one feature that I think could have increased the adoption and popularity of Raspberry Pi is Wi-Fi. Regarding the rest of it, I think Raspberry Pi is a good package as compared to the others. We have good interfacing capabilities. It can have good accelerated multimedia capabilities, which many of these devices offer. Another thing that I really find missing in Raspberry Pi is a camera. If I ever go for a new interface, I would add a camera to it, for sure.

Q. What is the Raspberry Pi summer code contest that you have announced?
A. This contest is for students. I think students should be taught coding not only to get into a job but to program their own machines. They should be given some incentives to get into programming. It is a high-frequency competition. The idea is to provide an opportunity where children are motivated to program. We want students from all parts of the world to participate in this and we are hopeful that we will see some very good apps coming out. The contest is just for students.

Q. Can you provide the software details of Raspberry Pi?
A. Currently we run Debian Linux. Actually, we run a version of Debian Linux called Raspbian, which is customised for the Raspberry Pi. Raspbian introduces more comprehensive support for floating point operations. This is the result of an enormous amount of hard work by the team over the past couple of months and replaces the existing Debian squeeze image.

Q. Small-sized computers and low-cost tablets have become a rage. What is the minimum investment required to develop a proper computing device?
A. It is hard to develop a good computing device for less than $20. The money goes into a processor, which costs around $5; it goes into memory which costs around $4-5; into the PCB and a bunch of connectors which may cost around $5 and putting them together may cost another $5. So a computing machine cannot be made in less than $20.

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