Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by janrinok on Sunday March 13 2022, @02:14PM   Printer-friendly

10 years of Raspberry Pi: The $25 computer has come a long way:

This little device has revolutionized computing since it came on the scene. We take a look back at its journey.

The UK in the 1980s was ground zero for the microcomputer revolution. Cheap computers based on 8-bit processors flooded the market, teaching a generation to program using built-in BASIC interpreters. Homes had devices like Sinclair's ZX81 and Spectrum, while schools used Acorn's BBC Micro.

These weren't like today's PCs. They were designed and built to be accessible, with IO ports that could be accessed directly from the built-in programming environments. Turn one on, and you were ready to start programming.

But then things changed: 16-bit machines were more expensive, and technical and marketing failures started to remove pioneers from the market. The final nail in the coffin was the IBM PC and its myriad clones, focused on the business market and designed to run, not build, applications.

It became harder to learn computing skills, with home computers slowly replaced by gaming consoles, smartphones and tablets. How could an inquisitive child learn to code or build their own hardware?

The answer first came from the Arduino, a small ARM-based developer board that served as a target for easy-to-learn programming languages. But it wasn't a computer; you couldn't hook it up to a keyboard and screen and use it.

Eben Upton, an engineer at microcontroller chip manufacturer Broadcom, was frustrated with the status quo. Looking at the current generation of ARM-based microcontrollers he realized it was possible to use a low-cost (and relatively low power) chip to build a single-board computer. Using a system-on-a-chip architecture, you could bundle CPU and GPU and memory on a single chip. Using the SOC's general purpose IO ports, you could build it into a device that was easily expandable, booting from a simple SD storage card.

Work on what was to become the Raspberry Pi began in 2006, with a team of volunteers working with simple ARM SOC.

Can anyone remember the first program that they actually wrote (rather than copied from a magazine or downloaded from a friend's cassette tape)? Mine simply moved an asterisk around the screen 'bouncing' off the edges, and was written in Z80 assembly language. That is all I had on my Nascom 1.


Original Submission

 
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 13 2022, @09:44PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 13 2022, @09:44PM (#1228969)

    And that's why people with any brains used Borland Turbo Basic (already had Turbo C so switching environments was dirt simple). For a $100 basic compiler, I sold my first basic program for $1,500, distributed as an .exe so good luck modifying the source code to remove the customizations for the individual customer.

    With an ordinary DOS/BASIC program, you're giving away the source, the gift that could potentially keep on giving you $$$. And people who pirated the program but needed to change the customizations to remove the original customer's name (stpred encrypted) are great advertising.

    Stallman was full of shit when he said closed source was immoral. An exchange that both sides benefit that is freely agreed upon is no more immoral than paying money for a dozen eggs. Want your eggs for free - get your own damn chicken.

    Paying for the tools gives you confidence in being in the right to charge for your work product. Same as a carpenter or mechanic who invests in their tools, or a chef in their kitchen.

    If our food supply was based on the open source model (a few people produce the food for free, and everyone freeloads), we'd all be starving.

  • (Score: 2) by looorg on Monday March 14 2022, @02:02PM

    by looorg (578) on Monday March 14 2022, @02:02PM (#1229058)

    It took a bit for compilers for BASIC to come about. But yes they had the added benefit of obfuscating and turning it into an executable in that regard. By doing so it also tended to speed it up somewhat since you didn't have to interpret every line in realtime. Still not as fast as hand coded machine code or assembly tho. But a lot faster then just normal interpreted BASIC. Borland Turbo Basic is very late 80's tho and I think most of us here talked about early 80's or even earlier then that so it doesn't really compare. All the Borland products looked the same as I recall it if it was C or PASCAL or whatnot, I don't think I ever saw Borland Turbo Basic.

    Along with compilers tho you tend to also have decompilers. So it's not like you are safe in that regard or did you incorporate some devilish DRM within your EXE? If not that thing was quite open for edit with a simple hex editor or machine code monitor if you wanted to.