In my recent series on Encouraging the next generation of Hackers I looked at the concept and ideas behind the (in my opinion) exciting Raspberry Pi project.
For those who don't know the Raspberry Pi is a project to produce a credit-card sized computer (with some pretty decent specs) which will be available for £15/$25. Following my articles on here I saw a number of comments on others sites bemoaning the lack of availability of the Raspberry Pi itself. As one commenter put it "I'm sick of reading about this - when will it be available?"
Good news/bad news
The good news is that now you can buy one! The bad news is you'll need a bit more than £15/$25. Raspberry Pi are auctioning 10 (they have resources for 10000) of their beta boards on eBay. You can read more on this at the Raspberry Pi blog but so far the auctions are raising a lot more than the finished products will cost.At least one of them is currently at over £2000!
This tells me at least two things:
The demand for these boards is there. We could say that curiosity and novelty factor is driving the auction price up but I think there's at least some evidence to show interest in this project is high from a lot of quarters.
As the money raised from these auctions is going direct to the project it is looking more likely that it will be around for the future. I for one think this is great and it again shows that people are willing to support such a project (or at least they don't mind paying so much if the money is going towards it).
Not just for kids?
I am guessing that not everyone bidding on these is doing so with the idea of producing educational computers. The idea of a small form factor - and cheap! - PC like this will be immediately of interest to sectors such as multimedia and portable and/or wearable computing. I don't have an issue with this (nor I suspect do the Raspberry Pi project) but I would like to see the initial vision for this come to fruition.