Raspberry Pi is a low cost small board computer (SBC) based on ARM Processor designed by video game creator David Braben under Raspberry Pi Foundation. We wrote about the basics of Raspberry Pi before, here are details of the board. The Processor behind Smartphones and Tablets is ARM Processor and it is highly recommended to read about ARM Architecture if you are used with these processor technologies. The design includes a System-on-chip Broadcom BCM2835 board, which contains a central processor (CPU model – ARM1176JZF-S) 700 MHz firmware including a Turbo mode so that the user can overclock up to 1 GHz without losing warranty), one graphics processor (GPU, VideoCore IV) and 512 MB of RAM (now upgraded from 256 MB). The design does not include a hard drive or a solid state drive because it uses a SD card for permanent storage, it does not include power supply or casing. Model B is usually sold at 35 $. The Model A was sold since February 29, 2012 then the foundation began accepting orders for Model B since February 4, 2013.
The foundation supports for downloads distributions for ARM architecture, Raspbian (a derivative of Debian Linux Distro), RISC OS 5, Arch Linux ARM (derived from Arch Linux ) and pill (derived from Fedora) and promotes learning primarily the programming languages like Python and other languages like BASIC, C and Perl.
Hardware part of Raspberry Pi
The model A initially only had one USB port, no Ethernet driver and was less costly than the model B, which has two USB ports and 10/100 Ethernet controller. Although the Model A does not have a RJ45 port, it can be connected to a network using a USB-Ethernet adapter supplied by the reseller. Furthermore, both models can connect a Wi-Fi adapter via USB, to access wireless networks or internet. The system has 512 MB of RAM for model B. As is typical in modern computers, you can use keyboard and mouse with USB connection, compatible with Raspberry Pi. The Raspberry Pi comes with no real-time clock , so the operating system must use a network time server or prompt the user after booting of the computer. However, it could add a real time clock (like the DS1307) with a battery by using the I ² C interface.
The hardware acceleration for video encoding ( H.264 ) became available since August 24, 2012, when it was reported that the license allows free usage. Also it has the ability to use the MPEG-2 and Microsoft VC-1 encoding-decoding. Power Supply is of 5 V via Micro USB or GPIO header. Obviously has a SD/MMC Card Slot.
CPU is based on version 6 ARM architecture, which is not supported by a lot of Linux distributions including Ubuntu. The digital video resolutions supported are: 640 × 350 EGA, 640 × 480 VGA, 800 × 600 SVGA, 1024 × 768 XGA, 720p 1280 × 720 HDTV, 1280 × 768 WXGA variant; 1280 × 800 WXGA variant; 1280 × 024 SXGA, 1366 × 768 WXGA variant; 1400 × 1050 SXGA +, 1600 × 1200 UXGA , 1680 x 1050 WXGA + , 1920 × 1080 1080p HDTV 1920 × 1200 WUXGA.
Model A and Model B are cultural references to the original models of educational computer from BBC Micro computers, developed by Acorn Computer , who originally developed the ARM processor family (it is the processor architecture of Raspberry Pi) and the operating system RISC OS OS 5, which is capable of operating in Raspberry Pi (revision 5.17).
Software part of Raspberry Pi
Software of Raspberry Pi means both the Firmware and Operating System. Firmware are not all fully compatible with Free Software License. Raspberry Pi mostly use the operating systems based on the Linux kernel. Raspbian is a Debian derived distribution that is optimized for the Raspberry Pi hardware. Intially, GPU was accessed through firmware of closed source, called binary blob that is loaded into the GPU to boot from the SD card. The binary blob was associated with drivers which were also of closed source. The applications made calls to the libraries of runtime which are of open source and these libraries make calls to some open source drivers in the kernel of Linux. The API kernel driver is specific to these libraries.
Alex Bradbury, the Linux development director of the foundation, announced that all drivers of VideoCore GPU running on ARM would be open source, using modified BSD license. The source code is available on a repository on GitHub. On June 3, 2013, the foundation released NOOBS (New Out of Box Software) utility that makes installation of different operating systems for Raspberry Pi. It is distributed as a zip file, booted from the card; a menu appears that gives the option to install one of the various distributions on the memory card or access the internet with a browser.
NOOBS contains general Linux distributions like Raspbian, Arch Linux ARM and pill; mediacenter Linux distributions with XBMC OpenELEC and RaspBMC, and RISC OS 5 operating system. UNIX (NetBSD, FreeBSD derivatives) is supported by ARM Architecture.
Other Ponts of Raspberry Pi
A typical casing is sold for Raspberry Pi – it is a plastic box around $12 in price.
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