Re: And another thing...
People without one are blinkered about the device, but so are those who have it, and those who think it will impact general education in any way.
I have JUST this second posted off a letter to an employee at Broadcom (who make the main chips for the RPi) who is going to send it on to Taiwan where a device driver developer is going to look at the things inside (a bog-standard, fully-working 2Gb SD card) and try and work out why the RPi throws a fit any time it tries to use it. This is pretty much bog-standard basics and SD card interfaces are hardly difficult now. But they literally had to put out a call for "non-working" cards that passed certain criteria (i.e. it wasn't the card, or anything stupid, that was the cause of the problem) to random people with them in the hope that someone would send them a non-working example card so they could post it around the world for someone to tweak device drivers.
I'm also trying to get an answer to why random USB packets are just thrown out of the window which cuts off a lot of high-speed USB devices mid-transaction. Nobody's even bothering to answer that one yet. That's after the hurdles of things like the default setup totally lacking any iptables modules (on a 2Gb install? Come on... scrap some of the junk and install some of the vital components instead), numerous power problems, etc.
I have projects in mind for the Pi, and I'm an IT Manager at a private school in London. The two, currently, are not merging one iota, though. All my projects are personal embedded things as mentioned because I can just imagine the chaos of getting 20+ kids up and running with these things, even if they're cased and powered and SD-card'd properly. Hell, I'm scared to touch it because it's so damn fragile and numerous people have already broken off capacitors (casing will solve some of it but you think kids will be gentle when putting in an SD card or headphone plug? Their big education push is basically to say you can run Scratch on it. Slowly. Under unaccelerated X-Windows. Or you could just run it at five times the speed on your ICT Suite that the government insists you have to have anyway and has done for, what 10-15 years?
Sure, it fills niches but the niche it does not fill is the one it's plugged as filling - education. There's no documentation, few drivers (mostly closed-source), the entire Wiki section for lesson plans, etc. is empty, the demos consist of running the same basic programs as everywhere else (Scratch, Midori, Python, etc.) and there's no sign of exactly what you're supposed to do with it if you're NOT an IT and electronics expert (hell, I can make a circuit that talks I2C with it, but I doubt many others here could and the interface boards that exist and could be made commercial will cost as-much-again as the RPi and you'll have to program that damn things yourself).
The promise was this would be ready for schools in September. Schools would generally order in June/July (or even earlier) for September. As it is, general ordering is still closed. The "prototypes" (because that's what they are) that are in the hands of people like me are going to end up in personal projects, refunds, replacements and shuffling back and forth for several months yet. And in the end, it's NOT a PC, as advertised - far from it. It's an embedded board, no different from the end-users perspective to a STAMP or PIC or Arduino starter kit (without the kit!).
It's going to take AT LEAST a year of constant, vigilant work to get the documentation to the point where even a good IT teacher would be happy to risk more than one lesson on it. Like Intel QX3's and lots of other "fads" in education, at best it will end up in a cupboard somewhere after a year and never be touched again. At worst, there's going to be a HUGE call for refunds, repairs, replacements and, most importantly, resources. And that's the big, expensive, hard bit that you can't just lob an IT guy at if you want teachers to tie it into their lessons and curricula.
The RPi is nothing special. The GP2X was ARM-based, dual-core, integrated OpenGL ES accelerated, touchscreen, ran off two AA's for many hours, had a built-in LCD, ran Linux, had full drivers, stored on an SD-card, was "unbrickable", very sturdy, handheld and used for education in Korean schools. And that was YEARS ago and has had at least two successors in the meantime. The RPi is literally sending us backwards in those terms, not forward.
Personally, I see mine ended up where any other embedded board would end up. Doing one job all day long because it's simple to do and low power and convenient to have TCP access to the device doing it.