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back to article WHO ate all the PIs? Sales of Brit mini-puter pass 2 MEELLION

The Raspberry Pi foundation has announced that it has sold two million of the tiny computers. The milestone is remarkable because two million is a nicely large number but more so because the Pi guys have noticed that sales are accelerating ahead of projections. "It took us almost exactly a year to sell the first million …

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Anonymous Coward

And yet how many are in schools being used by kids to learn how to code?

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It could take 3-5 years to get into schools.

Education work on year-ahead schedules. This year it's launched and a few teachers notice, next year it's brought to the attention of the curriculum/exam boards, they consider it for the next year, then they announce it will be an option the year after that, then schools start to buy them.

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They're in my local primary supporting computer club - and teaching some teachers about computing......

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in our school. Learning to code? Not sure. Learning to install Linux onto memory stick? Yes.

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Anonymous Coward

"And yet how many are in schools being used by kids to learn how to code?"

Easy to criticise. Glad to see your cynical type here.

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When I left secondary school in July they had just got half a dozen, my college has around a dozen in use by the IT and electronics departments.

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"And yet how many are in schools being used by kids to learn how to code?"

Plenty. Just not officially.

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When I left school in '82 they had one UK101 (complete with cardboard box case) and one RML 380Z between a fair few hundred kids. Sounds like progress to me 8-)

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Lucky bastard

81-82 was a good year as a senior in High School - best tech I ever saw was the diagnostic machines in auto shop...

;)

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Headmaster

"And yet how many are in schools being used by kids to learn how to code?"

According to Eben Upton, about 200,000 (see video), albeit not as part of a formal curriculum, simply because there are almost no computer science teachers in UK schools (an absolute travesty), there's only those who "teach" that glorified secretarial course called "ICT" (a.k.a. Microsoft 101).

Sadly, although the RPF can build computers, it can't build computer science teachers, nor can it force school boards to employ them.

Of course, the lack of computer science teachers is itself largely due to a lack of computer science being taught in schools.

This vicious cycle was brought to you by the The Department for Education, sponsored by Microsoft.

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Anonymous Coward

@Robert Long 1 21:31

"Plenty. Just not officially."

Ah - no point asking you for proof then, obviously.

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Re: @Robert Long 1 21:31

You can believe or not believe what you like. But there are people out there using lots of Pi's, in schools, and elsewhere. And no, I really cannot be arsed spending time proving it to a cynical AC who really needs to think more before posting.

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Facepalm

Re: "And yet how many are in schools being used by kids to learn how to code?"

@Oh Homer: automatic downvote for the boring yet predictable Microsoft bashing. Even if the school boxes were all Linux, you can bet your bottom dollar that it would still be just how to use LibreOffice, Firefox, etc., etc., without a hint of Java, C or other programming.

Pity really, because once you get past that, the rest of the actual comment in pretty much bang on the money.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Robert Long 1 21:31 @James Hughes 1 10:12

"You can believe or not believe what you like."

Thanks. I was waiting for your permission.

"And no, I really cannot be arsed spending time proving it to a cynical AC who really needs to think more before posting."

You should think about doing so. As I recall you've stated you're involved with the project; since you leap to defend it any time someone isn't squeeing about it (which is what I *am* cynical about - not the project,) you obviously want people to believe you but you're just not a reliable source. Not that anyone has answered the OP's question, of course.

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Re: @Robert Long 1 21:31 @James Hughes 1 10:12

http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/tag/schools

http://rastrack.co.uk/

Above links give some information on RPi in schools and world wide distribution, but exact figures for schools are hard to come across, I don't believe for a moment that this is because they are not there, the evidence shows they are. An earlier post indicates that schools are slow on implementation as it needs to be planned and teachers need to be trained and I agree with this, Rpi was released less than two years ago and the success of the launch caused months of shortage.

The runaway success of the RPi have probably caused the Pi foundation a bit of a headache, on their initial plans, but the upside is more money to invest in the goals of the Pi foundation and I have seen plenty of evidence that shows this is what they are doing, in addition the high profile of the RPi, could assist greatly in the foundations quest to push computer science into schools, it does look however as if overseas schools have stolen the march on UK schools, though sadly, that does not surprise me.

Critics are always 10 a penny, people that see a problem and get up and do something about it are one in a million(probably less).

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Education work on year-ahead schedules. This year it's launched and a few teachers notice, next year it's brought to the attention of the curriculum/exam boards, they consider it for the next year, then they announce it will be an option the year after that, then schools start to buy them.

Spot on. As a tech working in an educational environment, that's exactly right. It takes a while for the people who would want the tech to notice it. Then, before anything can be implemented a plan for how it will be used must be written. You'd be shocked at how long that can take, especially when it comes to anything that's going to need to be budgeted. Finally it has to go to the school board for approval, and you know what committees of elected officials are like.

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Re: "And yet how many are in schools being used by kids to learn how to code?"

Does this mean soon all our children will get an McE instead of O and A levels?...

Yet another worthless certificate from M$ ....

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Re: @Robert Long 1 21:31 @James Hughes 1 10:12

""You can believe or not believe what you like."

Thanks. I was waiting for your permission."

Hmm, I wasn't giving permission, just stating a fact.

"And no, I really cannot be arsed spending time proving it to a cynical AC who really needs to think more before posting."

You should think about doing so. As I recall you've stated you're involved with the project; since you leap to defend it any time someone isn't squeeing about it (which is what I *am* cynical about - not the project,) you obviously want people to believe you but you're just not a reliable source. Not that anyone has answered the OP's question, of course."

On the other hand since I do all this for free (volunteer), why on earth should I do research on a subject for an lazy arse AC who cannot be bothered to look it up himself. All this stuff is freely available - just check the Raspi website.

At least I have a cause to defend, that I believe in and am willing to put my name to. Try it sometime.

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Re: "And yet how many are in schools being used by kids to learn how to code?"

Not true.

My class mates were taught how to program at school for computer science classes, the fact that we had BBC Micros did not mean that the lessons consisted of how to use Acornsoft View or open a spreadsheet in Viewsheet.

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Re: @Robert Long 1 21:31

"Ah - no point asking you for proof then, obviously."

You could just go and look. Schools have these things called "extra curricular activities" or "clubs" where a lot of unofficial things happen - like skateboarding, singing, chess, and computing - under the eye of teaching staff who are interested in the subject. Yes, even in comprehensives!

So it might not be "official" in the sense of centrally collated data at the DfE but it's hardly secret either. Maybe you should try leaving the house once in a while.

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Some context

Over it's 5-8 (?) year life the BBC micro sold 1.5M units, almost all to schools and pretty much only in the UK.

The Spectrum sold around 5M mostly in the UK, while the international Commodore 64 shipped 12-15M.

Not a bad start for a device that is less than a year old and pretty much sold only to geek hobbyists.

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Re: Some context

The above made money though. Shame the PI couldn't have had £1 added for future R+D purposes.

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Re: Some context

From the Foundation's accounts at the Charity Commission they have taken in over a million quid and we are yet to find how much Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd has made. According to the FT they made $4m in royalties from licensee manufacturers on the back of 1.6m sold; roughly $2.50 / £1.55 per Pi.

There should be plenty of money for future R&D and ongoing improvements.

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Re: Some context

"According to the FT they made $4m in royalties from licensee manufacturers on the back of 1.6m sold; roughly $2.50 / £1.55 per Pi."

Hmm, maybe in a few year that would be even enough to get your own SoC, one that's not as restricted as the current one. In fact you could even try to make it attractive to small smartphone makers in China which would then churn out Foos-friendly devices.

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Re: Some context @Christian

Very unlikely. The cost to develop an SoC even as capable as the one in the Raspi now is in the multiple 10 of millions, and would take years. These things are complicated with a capital F.

The ARM side is pretty easy (!), but to duplicate the media features - well, there are 1000's of man years of work in that GPU.

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Re: Some context @Christian

This is a problem, because the world - well, the geek world - badly needs a proper open hardware platform.

The Pi is possibly the closest thing so far. Multiply the power by a factor of ten, increase the cost by a factor of two or three, keep the culture, and you have something that really can compete with PCs/Macs and maybe even iThings/Droids.

This would be a very good thing. Something with the power of a modern PC but moving in the opposite direction to the closed efforts of Apple, MS and Google would be immensely appealing.

So I hope the Pi F is thinking long-term. There's a real opportunity here.

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Re: Some context @Christian

Yes, there is, and yes, they are.

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Anonymous Coward

Call me when they have sold approximately 3,141,593 units

That is all

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This post has been deleted by its author

They're in my class

I use them with my electronics students as a means of showing them how to use digital I/O.

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i thought it was amazing when that sold 3.1415 units

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Anonymous Coward

Pi in the sky?

"i thought it was amazing when that sold 3.1415 units" (caution: rounding error?)

The 0.1415926536 (etc) piece of a unit was probably the remains of one shipped via Yodel. The rest is probably now Pi in the sky.

Meanwhile:

ARGGGGHHHHHHH.

Who let a talking Microsoft Dynamics advert (with a weird accent) on the page?

Do that again and I adblock you again, El Reg, only this time it'll be for months not weeks. These things are not just intrusive, they are COUNTER PRODUCTIVE.

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This post has been deleted by its author

FAIL

"were the company watching every penny"

Which part of "Foundation" did you not comprehend?

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Coat

Re: "Which part of "Foundation" did you not comprehend?"

Well, the second book dragged on a bit...

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Childcatcher

Money, money, money

"The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a charity founded in 2009 to promote the study of basic computer science in schools"

Just thought I'd spell it out for our money-obsessed fiends friends.

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Re: Money, money, money

A charity still has to pay it's bills, especially if they want to continue developing, promoting and selling the Pi and getting it into schools.

To do that the bottom line still needs to be black, even if the the margin (profit) is not important.

Obviously they're not on the verge of bankruptcy or they'd be squeezing every penny, but as it is the thing is selling itself and they're evidently not having to pore over the sales figures to closely.

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Re: Money, money, money

In fact, they do get the sales figures from RS and Farnell, but there isn't much point in analysing every detail as long as sales are OK.

The Foundation get a fixed royalty on each sale, so there isn't much 'penny pinching' to do even if sales did drop off. The manufacturers are able to penny pinch by changing components etc to make the board cheaper to construct, but the Foundation royalty stays the same I believe.

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Re: Money, money, money

Yes the Raspberry Pi Foundation is a charity but Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd is not, and they are responsible for engineering and trading activities related to the PI.

It is like Help The Aged saying; "it would be great if we had a cheap mobility buggy to help get older folks out and about". Someone saying yes, forming a trading company, building and selling such a buggy, handing profit over to Help The Aged and paying them royalties for having come up with the concept.

Money is important. Both to keep the company going and for creating the next generation buggies, and to deliver money upstream to help the charity achieve their charitable aims. The more of it the better.

This trading company is not a charity, is not limited to any charity remit, but is helping a charity. Selling under the banner of "The Help The Aged Buggy", rather than "8% of purchase price goes to Help The Aged", makes for good marketing. This charitable association can secure better component sourcing deals than competitors, making the price achievable and gaining wide appeal. It is a win for both the trading company and the charity. Not so good for competitors who cannot claim such charitable associations and the benefits which come from that.

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Windows

How many in education?

Well, I have it on good authority that a professor is using them in his IT classes here in Oulu University (Finland).

But I don't think they use Scratch...

As an aside, I think most of the Pi's success comes down to the incredibly active community. I considered a BeagleBone Black, not much more expensive and far better suited for my project(s) - RAM, I/O superior by far. But IMO disjointed consensus on which Linux distro. to focus on (Raspbian seems the winner with Pi), and the 'community' it's spawned seems sparse and divided by comparison. I'll stick with the Pi for now...

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"That bespeaks strong cash flow as were the company watching every penny it would surely be looking at this kind of data rather more often."

After what we now know about the skills, interests and priorities of the former Chair of the Co-operative Bank, who knows?

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Sadly, it seems that The Sun's description of him as a "Crystal Methodist" is not original, but it is funny!

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Anonymous Coward

new hardware not required

Teaching computer programming (not electronics) in the classroom today has never been hamstrung by a lack of appropriate hardware in the classroom or, to some extent, kids houses. This was the case in 70s but not today. The BBC Micro and its ilk worked for kids because they were the only computers available to them. Not because of their specific hardware architecture or programming language choice. We don't need a new type of computer to teach programming.

Since computers have been common place in the classroom, as a society, we have only lacked the will to teach programming. We need a curriculum that includes programming, ICT teachers who have training in programming education and engaging and fun lessons and projects.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: new hardware not required

If everything worked rationally, you might be correct. But when they buy a PC these days it comes locked-down with Windows 8 installed. Teacher cannot or is too scared to install a different OS. There is no more GPIO and the school does not have money to buy a USB-to-GPIO device. M$ will exert pressure that schools run exclusively Windows/Office/Visual Studio stuff. Intel will help with more bribes and pressure, as they are in the same corrupt boat.

So, having a cheap piece of hardware where you can essentially run anything (including a simple realtime OS pupils might build themselves) on, is to be welcomed. Just wiring up a few LEDs and a few switches to GPIO and then building something like a toy traffic light control system would in my opinion be a very useful project.

One could actually combine that with physics education - let pupils calculate what LED and which resistor they have to use. Then let them build it with the soldering iron.

When they have built the toy, one could even scale it up to the "real" thing and have pupils design and build the signal amplification stage to run 100 Watt bulbs. Have them also build the entire mechanical enclosure. Then make them dig a hole into the ground, mix concrete and emplace the mast/light.

That would teach pupils who to plan, design and build a useful system. It would demonstrate to them why it is actually important to go to school, do their homework and don't sleep through physics, chemistry, math.

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Overtaken Beeb, gunning for Amstrad

ZX80 - 100,000

BBC microcomputer - 1.5 million

ZX81 - 1.5 million

Raspberry Pi - 2 million

Amstrad CPC464 - 2.5 million

Sinclair Spectrum (original) - 5 million

Amstrad PCW8258 - 8 million

Commodore 64 - 12.5 million

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Alert

MEELLION ?????????

What the F*** is a MEELLION?

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Go

where are all the Pies?

Sales in Germany, Holland and environs are going well.

As proof, 1278 results today on searching for Raspberry Pi in ebay.de.

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Anonymous Coward

Well, dayum

I seem to own a millionth of their output, good stuff :)

(I wanted a quiet low power always-on machine to sit on my network, and there was a courier cockup, so I ended up with who.. the second one is plugged into the telly, doing XBMC stuff and other crash and burning.. fun)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well, dayum

"there was a courier cockup, so I ended up with who.."

TWO, dammit.

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