back to article World eats its 10 millionth Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi has sold over 10 million units and has announced today a new Raspberry Pi Starter Kit to celebrate its achievements. Founder of the Raspberry Pi foundation and CEO of its trading arm, Eben Upton, said the original goal was to create a device that would attract more students to study Computer Science at the …

  1. Chika
    Trollface

    Auntie sulking a bit?

    Well done, RasPi folk. Mind you, it made me giggle a bit when the venerable Beeb ran an article on this very subject today then, towards the bottom of the article, started to gripe about how hard it was to use a RasPi compared with its BBC Micro Bit then talks up the BMB...

    Sour grapes, perhaps?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-37305200

    1. AndyS

      Re: Auntie sulking a bit?

      > "[The Raspberry Pis are] incredibly powerful but they're hard to use," she told the BBC.

      Hard to argue with that, since it comes without any peripherals, connectors or operating system.

      However, it's clearly part of the point. An iPhone is easy to use, and can be made to do many of the same things a pi does, but getting a pi up and running, to fulfill a function, will necessarily teach you about many of the fundamentals of computing.

      Which is exactly what it is designed for.

      1. VinceH Silver badge

        Re: Auntie sulking a bit?

        "Which is exactly what it is designed for."

        Indeed.

        But it's also worth noting where that comment came from - "Bethany Koby, co-founder of education-focused start-up Technology Will Save Us, which helped design the BBC's device"

        That'd be like (in, say, 1982) asking Sinclair what he thought of the BBC Model B or Commodore 64.

        1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          Re: Auntie sulking a bit?

          IIRC he said something like "I will make the same machine for half the price"

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Auntie sulking a bit?

          There's also the line "One million BBC Micro Bit computers were delivered free to every Year Seven student in England and Wales earlier this year" - which is neither news nor relevant to the story about the Pi. When they run a story about a Toyota Prius, do they also include quotes about electric bikes?

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Oh no, they've gone all Apple

    Look at the photo.

    No, not the first one, the second one. The first one would be going all Microsoft.

    1. John Bailey

      Re: Oh no, they've gone all Apple

      Nah..That mouse looks quite usable. And the wall wart is not a choking hazard for small children.

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Oh no, they've gone all Apple

      The first one would be going all Microsoft.

      Microsoft? You mean HP, don't you, and only if there was just one single Pi on that pallet.

      1. Known Hero

        Re: Oh no, they've gone all Apple

        Not the Pi, Just the SD card, the pi is in the 7.5 tonne truck

  3. Individual #6/42

    Pedantry ahoy

    What's the point in providing them with an SD card when the Pi 3 uses MicroSD?

    1. TitterYeNot

      Re: Pedantry ahoy

      "What's the point in providing them with an SD card when the Pi 3 uses MicroSD?"

      It'll be the same as previous RPi 3 kits - a MicroSD card in a SD adapter.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: Pedantry ahoy

        "It'll be the same as previous RPi 3 kits - a MicroSD card in a SD adapter."

        right, you might want to use a PC with an SD adaptor (or an external USB one) to put the Raspbian image on the SD card. not like I don't have a zillion of these micro-to-SD adaptors laying around already...

  4. Flywheel Silver badge

    I thought I'd buy one to try when they first came out..

    And now I have 10 of the things, all working nicely (and quietly economically). Yay!

    1. Mage Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: I thought I'd buy one to try when they first came out..

      10 of them?

      Do they breed like aphids?

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: I thought I'd buy one to try when they first came out..

        10 of them?

        Do they breed like aphids?

        Unfortunately they do.

        I built 3 "outbuilding service kits" beginning of this year. Pi2+ and Model3 - a Pi, 1-2 cameras (due to Pi's own refusing to work with uvc and motion had to use ELP modules), a cell modem on two of them and some storage. Internet gateway + CCTV + some telemetry + heating/aircon remote on/off for an outbuilding/summer house.

        Reliability of all 3 ended up being utterly abysmal. The moment something "interesting" like a large transfer happens on USB and half of the devices on the USB bus kick the bucket (usually camera, sometimes cell modem or storage). This is not the usual power supply issue - all 3 have 3Amp power supplies, just the USB and WiFi (on model 3) being utter tripe.

        So they will now have to breed like aphids and the functions will have to be split into "one device, one function" resulting in either 6-8 Pis or more likely 3 Pis and 2-3 Tp Link 3040s to do the "heavy" network lifting. Either that or looking at an alternative SoC - something like MIPS Creator or one of the new Chinese Arm ones which have a proper GigE and/or SATA.

        1. Gerhard Mack

          Re: I thought I'd buy one to try when they first came out..

          If you are doing something that intensive on the USB bus (unfortunately that includes the Ethernet port), the Pi is not for you. I use the Pi for lower end projects but for something involving 2 cameras and a cell modem there are cheap ($80 - $150) fanless x86 boxes on Aliexpress.

          1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

            Re: I thought I'd buy one to try when they first came out..

            $80-$150 x86 - I have one. It has an uptime measure in hours. The Pi's uptime depends on the next power cut, so months.

            1. Gerhard Mack

              Re: I thought I'd buy one to try when they first came out..

              "$80-$150 x86 - I have one. It has an uptime measure in hours. The Pi's uptime depends on the next power cut, so months."

              Bad luck or bad software.. My cheap, fanless PC stays up for months at a time while being used as half my building's firewall (120 MB down / 20 MB up and about 600 GB a month in transfer)

          2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

            Re: I thought I'd buy one to try when they first came out..

            If you are doing something that intensive

            I figured that one out. There is an order of Banana replacements for the Raspberries coming from Germany. Proper SATA and proper Ethernet.

            If these work I will move my entire production "fleet" to tropical fruit and relegating the Pi to prototyping and/or "education" - what it was intended in the first place.

            While x86 seems like a viable option, I am not too keen on them. I have a whole box of old thin clients and via motherboards. The power consumption is quite high, cost per unit if using proper SATA flash drives is too high and reliability if using something cheap for storage (f.e. USB) is pretty bad.

            1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

              Re: I thought I'd buy one to try when they first came out..

              > If you are doing something that intensive on the USB bus (unfortunately that includes the Ethernet port), the Pi is not for you.

              I'm going to give this qualified agreement. But it can be done. I have five hubs and fifteen USB device plugged in right now and working - fortunately there's nothing realtime (I had to drop audio due to packet loss), but otherwise it's long term stable.

        2. Dave Stevenson

          Re: I thought I'd buy one to try when they first came out..

          @Voland's Right Hand

          "1-2 cameras (due to Pi's own refusing to work with uvc and motion had to use ELP modules)"

          Why would a non-USB device conform to the USB Video Class, aka UVC? It's a MIPI CSI2 sensor, so you may as well complain that is doesn't support SCSI.

          And it works perfectly well against motion, so I'm not sure what your problem is there.

          But then again you do like to have the same rant every time the Raspberry Pi is mentioned on El Reg - eg http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2016/05/17/raspberry_pi_zero_gains_a_camera_connector/#c_2867035

          (Still doing volunteer Pi support for camera stuff)

      2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: I thought I'd buy one to try when they first came out..

        @Mage

        Do they breed like aphids?

        Shirley, Rabbits?

        ...RabbitPi

  5. Dwarf Silver badge

    Great product

    Like others, I have a handful of them doing various jobs and generally they are very good.

    My only gripes are

    1. The layout keeps on changing, which makes integrating them to other things a pain (new PCB's and the like)

    2. The Pi Zero is still a pain to get hold of in quantities above 1. If they sorted out the distribution of ALL their products, then presumably they would sell more. The only reasons I can see that the zero is not getting larger production runs are :

    1. The full fat pi costs more, so more profit.

    2. The zero is based on the older generation boards (slower CPU, less RAM), so perhaps there is a "zero V2" in development.

    3. Someone's having a laugh about zero's and one's

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Great product

      "1. The layout keeps on changing, which makes integrating them to other things a pain (new PCB's and the like)"

      The Pi compute module is the one designed for integration, the new one will be along in a couple of months as the production is being scheduled. Its edge connector interface will be consistent.

      1. Dwarf Silver badge

        Re: Great product

        The compute module was ridiculously expensive when it came out, due to its low run rate, so it largely got ignored. I'm glad to see the price has come down a lot since then.

        The problem I see have with it is that the 4Gb flash is on-board and therefore not replaceable / fixable if the FS gets corrupted, plus its quite small for what I need. Then you have to replicate USB ports etc, so it really depends on what you are integrating it into. The Zero is a better fit for my use cases.

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Great product

      @Dwarf

      Someone's having a laugh about zero's and one's

      That reminds - Hornby Zero 1

      http://www.dccwiki.com/Hornby_Zero_1

    3. Chika
      Headmaster

      Re: Great product

      3. Someone's having a laugh about zero's and one's

      Zero's and one's what?

  6. Tromos

    About 20 pounds too much.

    They should be ashamed of the unashamedly premium price. The success of the Pi is largely due to the brilliantly low price for a pretty powerful board. Adding bits at prices that can easily be matched or beaten just results in lessening the reputation for value that the Pi has deservedly built.

    1. Tom Womack

      Re: About 20 pounds too much.

      Or think of it as a collection of bits all arriving at the same time and selected so that you didn't have to go and order another PSU and wait two further days for it to turn up, plus a £15 donation to the Raspberry Pi foundation.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    10 million, but how many owners...?

    In my house, we have:-

    1 Raspberry Pi 2 Model B - running OSMC and TVHeadend to act as a PVR recording to a network disk.

    3 Raspberry pi Model Bs,

    - One running OSMC as a media player and playing *from* the network disk.

    - One is a print server

    - One is in the process of being built into a low power laser cutter

    and 4 pi zeros - used for tinkering, one of which is partially fried (SPI is dead, due to an accident with a NiMH battery, a loose jumper wire and a metal keyboard tray.)

    We've also had a failed Model B, which has been sent off to whatever the council does with electronic waste.

    So, that's those that have been bought for our household alone, and I'd bet I don't have the largest collection there is.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: 10 million, but how many owners...?

      Your collection is relatively miniscule.

    2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      How many users?

      Given its features and price point, the Raspberry Pi is easy to covert and acquire, but how many get bought, mucked around with a bit and now lie unused?

      The War Department bought me one for Xmas a few years back, and I goofed around with it for a bit but after the novelty wore off, it was a solution in search of a problem. It was well over a year before I forced myself to do something with it, bought the camera module, and wrote a little webcam application.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: How many users?

        Well I have several. Two of them run cat flaps with a camera that (generally) distinguishes between a cat coming in with a dead rodent (mouse/rabbit what ever). Cost <<<< grief given to me by loving SO when guts are discovered on the hall carpet.

        1. John Sturdy
          Big Brother

          Re: How many houses per cat?

          There being more Pis than Pi owners is to balance the survey finding that there are many more householders who consider themselves cat owners than there are cats.

          So how many Pis per cat?

          Big brother icon, because the NSA is sure to be tracking your cats via your catflap computers, and sending the results to MI5.

    3. Down not across Silver badge

      Re: 10 million, but how many owners...?

      I really should buy some more and replace my VAXcluster. The savings in electricity would probably more than pay for the Pis.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 10 million, but how many owners...?

        "buy some more and replace my VAXcluster."

        Been done, been documented, several years ago (e.g. 2012) by various folk in various formats, courtesy largely of VAX emulation by SIMH and (usually) the VMS hobbyist program. See e.g.

        http://dectec.info/rasberry-pi-vaxcluster-the-foundations-part-1-preparing-raspberry-pi-for-simh/

        http://www.rs-online.com/designspark/electronics/blog/a-raspberry-pi-vax-cluster

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1577ss-3qM

        (none of them are anything to do with me)

        1. Down not across Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: 10 million, but how many owners...?

          Been done, been documented, several years ago (e.g. 2012) by various folk in various formats, courtesy largely of VAX emulation by SIMH and (usually) the VMS hobbyist program. See e.g.

          Yes. I know it has been done many times. That's why I said "I should replace", not "should find out if it is possible to replace" :-)

          Anyway, other commentards may well find the links you provided useful.

          And since the subject came up in more detail, I'd just like to thank Bob and anyone else involved for creating and making SIMH available.

    4. Old Used Programmer

      Re: 10 million, but how many owners...?

      Not even close. A rough guess is that I've got at least 30.

    5. Chika
      Trollface

      Re: 10 million, but how many owners...?

      That's nice, dear.

  8. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Happy

    Hardy little buggers

    I used a Pi in a kiosk for a local museum. As they have no internet connection it's just an offline version of their web-site. As they enter and leave all the power is switched on or off at the main breaker. Most of the lights are fluorescent but the Pi is still booting up OK after a year of hard shutdowns.

    Must buy more!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The team estimated that 10,000 units would be sold in their lifetime to students, but were surprised when the pocket-sized computers were a hit amongst adults as well"

    If there was any failing of those behind the Pi it was in completely under estimating its desirability and sales potential. A failing repeated with the Pi Zero.

  10. heyrick Silver badge

    That's their idea of a premium kit?

    Jeez, I was expecting veroboard and a dinky yellow Antex soldering iron...

  11. Haku

    Overpriced starter kit.

    thepihut.com has a £50 Pi bundle 8 or 16gb card with a preinstalled OS, PSU, case, HDMI cable, ethernet cable.

    For £99 the official starter kit has an 8gb card with preinstalled OS, PSU, case, HDMI cable, mouse, keyboard, Adventures in Pi book.

    So how does a £6 keyboard + generic USB scroll mouse + £15 book add up to £50?

  12. saif

    Better bundles for your bundle of cash

    I really have no objections to folk chucking a few quid towards the RPi foundation; they have done a good job. We all know any one can get 7" Touch screen LCD (£40), WiFi keyboard+trackpad (£16), SD Card (£8), Power supply unit (Combined 5V and 12V for £3) and Pi3 (£30) Short HDMI cable (£2) (including VAT and delivery) from Amazon, making for a much more useful kit. The bundlers bundle not to save customers money, but exchange convenience (of not having to shop around, burn the OS onto SD and get a nice box with everything neatly packed inside) for some cash. It is, however, much more fun to make the better bundle yourself.

  13. Old Used Programmer

    Out of date for the headlinme image

    Odd that the lead image is a Pi2B, not the newest, the Pi3B.

  14. Nya

    "in the hands of the right young people"

    Yes yes, we are all young who use them, not looking around here of course but it does bring up wonder on what the actual demographics of those using the RPi actually is.

    1. Wayland Bronze badge

      PI Demografics

      Old codgers who grew up with the BBC micro or whatever home computer they could afford.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SpaceX, I wonder how many Raspberry PI are in use.

    How many of those 10 million were bought by Elon Musk?

    They might not be used in actual Space due to radiation, but I bet there a fair few controlling the launch sequence. Valve, pressure sensor telemetry etc, even the booster stage.

    Would be interesting to know how many Raspberry PI/Arm Processors are in use during a Falcon 9 launch.

    Certainly worth packing a few in an modern day 'Emergency SpaceX repair kit' along with some ducting tape, aka. Houston we have a problem...

  16. Conundrum1885

    re. fried pi

    Got a cheap Zero that way, all it needed was minimal repairs and it still works now.

    Maybe some of the fried Pis can be fixed, a lot of the time its the regulator not the BCM ot even the video output chip/eprom.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: re. fried pi

      well, if you have a pi plugged into an embedded device via the connector, a fried pi would be easy enough to swap out. low cost of new Pi is actually a very good design aspect, and a reason TO use the RPi "that way". Also easy to image the SD card for a backup, or just use the old one in the new Pi. [Pi zero, with solder-in wiring, would be harder to replace in the field, or on a bench for that matter].

      but having the layouts change, yeah, that causes potential difficulty, since the holes don't line up. I just hope they don't stop selling the older models...

  17. David Roberts Silver badge

    Ironic

    They looked back at all the people who learned to tinker with computers in the '80s and thought "Hey, I bet the kids of today would love to do that!"

    Completely forgetting that any form of computer was a fascinating novelty then but computers are ubiquitous now.

    Result?

    Most of the Pis have been bought by old geezers nostaligic for the wonerful times of the '80s.

    Or retired with too much time on their hands.

  18. Kevin Fairhurst

    There's half a dozen in our house

    One in each bedroom plus one in the lounge, all running OSMC/Kodi. And a Pi Zero that I got free with a magazine, that sits on my shelf in the bedroom gathering dust!

  19. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Most educational

    The Pi has many lessons to teach. The most important (and, apparently most ignored) is the importance of an active user community.

    Since its inception the Pi has, more-or-less, held its price point. A feature almost unknown in the tech world. Yet, it is still the go-to product, with seemingly unfaltering popularity, for people wishing to explore the complexities of making an LED blink.

    Why would this be, when there are many, many, alternatives. Some at a quarter of the price of the Pi? (the Nanopi Neo springs to mind - not least because I have a couple on the bench beside me). The secret of the Pi's success is that users do not feel the product has been "tossed over the wall" to them. There is a lot of support available - although most comes from the community, rather than the vendor. And that support is vital: both for newbies flashing their first LED, through to those trying to push the envelope without making smoke.

    Although the Pi is a venerable institution, hardware-wise many suppliers have blown past it. However, those suppliers have failed to take the Pi-killing step of investing support in their products. Whether that is supplying anything more advanced than a buggy and limited Linux 3.4 kernel, documentation for how to map the IO, or libraries, utilities and advice to ease the learning curve.

    For that reason, I feel the Pi is on rather thin ice. All it takes is for a single far-eastern supplier to fill those support voids with Pi-compatibility, documentation, code and a half-modern distro and the Pi could find itself in an existential crisis with smaller, faster, cheaper and smarter products leaving it standing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Most educational

      "All it takes is for a single far-eastern supplier to fill those support voids with Pi-compatibility, documentation, code and a half-modern distro "

      All pigs counted and ready to fly, eh :)

      Yes it's possible in theory, and in time Pi may well start to lose its gloss and its volume appeal. Lots of things do. But it may not happen for a while, and in the meantime Pi is on a roll,

      "smaller, faster, cheaper and smarter products "

      Some commercial SBC (etc) vendors already do that (as you are clearly aware). Are they providing documentation, code and a half-modern distro ? Not that I've seen, not even when their commercial customers are paying them a commercial price to do it. How are those vendors going to do it for free without massive community support? Are (e.g.) Beaglethings a relevant comparison, not in technology terms but in go-to-market terms?

      Pi isn't going to go on forever, to believe it would would be irrational. But it's got a helluva start out there, and that is something that lots of people should thank the Pi Foundation for.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just Brilliant

    It's for education. They expected 10,000 tops. Now they are mediaservers, mediaplayers, robots and god knows what else. They can even be an ad-blocker, should you wish.

    So maybe the USB doesn't work properly. Or you have to be careful with the powersupply, But that teaches you a bit about how low power devices work. And also the trade-offs made in consumer devices.

    I'm hoping some 10 year old is developing a life-long love of technology that goes beyond being able to use powerpoint.

    1. TimNevins
      Thumb Up

      Re: Just Brilliant

      Pi-Hole alone is one of the best reasons to buy a Pi since its audience is anyone surfs the web.

      All those adverts being blocked improves browing performance and saves on on-line traffic.

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