Raspberry Pi 2
The Raspberry Pi 2 is a credit card sized computer. It shares many features that are seen in traditional desktop computers. It supports several Linux based operating systems that can be used for servers, HTPC’s, and desktop computing.
- Quad-core CPU
- 1GB RAM
- 4 USB ports
- Ethernet port
- HDMI port
- Micro SD slot (for the operating system)
- Micro USB charging port
- Analog audio jack
- Various other interfaces for screens, sensors, etc.
The Raspberry Pi uses Linux-based operating systems including Ubuntu, Debian and Fedora. Linux is an open-source, community-driven set of software and kernels. In contrast, Windows and Mac OS are closed-source operating systems that are proprietary works of Microsoft and Apple, respectively.
Reasons to consider using Linux:
- Stability – Linux OS’s are generally much more stable and secure than other systems. Unlike Windows, you install software from dedicated package servers and each package is signed to verify its integrity. This prevents the installation of malicious software.
- Speed – Linux operating systems are generally light-weight and built for efficiency and speed. (boot times, program launching, etc.)
- Small footprint – Most Linux operating systems can be installed with less than 10 gigabytes of hard drive space.
- It’s free – Linux OS’s are released as open-source software which means you’re free to use, modify, and share the software under various licenses.
The Pi can be used in many different projects. Some popular ones include home alarm and security systems, backup servers and robotics.
- Game streaming: You can stream games smoothly from an NVidia/Intel system. Gameplay is smooth with very little input lag in full HD.
- Small size: There are many awesome features that are squished into such a small form factor board. With a keyboard and mouse, you still have two USB ports that can be used for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and more.
- Efficient: The Pi has low power draw and heat output. This makes it ideal for projects that use batteries or require 24/7 runtime with little power usage.
Of course, there are things that cannot be done (or easily done) on the Pi. Here are some annoyances I have had with it:
- Netflix: There is no 2d video acceleration available for web browsers on the Pi yet, so videos will not stream properly.
- YouTube: Because of the lack of video acceleration, YouTube videos will be choppy and unwatchable for most people. However, you can download the videos and then watch them via omxplayer.
- Gaming: Because this is an ARM based computer, you will not be able to play regular games on it unless you stream them from another PC.
- Android support: Proper graphics drivers have not been released for the Android OS. Quote from the Android Pi wiki
“Android is nearly useless without hardware-acceleration. Hardware-acceleration permeates a proper Android port through various subsystems which draw the UI , decode video and enable i.e. 3D games to actually work fast enough. The Razdroid project is still looking for volunteers who know how to develop and integrate those into a new Raspberry Pi port “
This is a limited introduction to the Pi, but hopefully someone will find it interesting. J It’s a very capable little computer!