I’ve been watching Raspberry Pi for the last year and I’ve been interested in getting one for a while. Today was my first day with the Raspberry Pi so I thought I would share my initial impressions. I bought the Raspberry Pi from RS and as expected due to demand I had quite a long wait between ordering the board and final delivery.
I ordered the board to include a power supply, blank SD card (they were out of stock of the other SD cards) and HDMI cable. I went to the Raspberry Pi website and followed the instructions to get the SD card setup and the board booting. Although I’m a professional in computers and work to bring up operating systems on hardware I decided to look at this from the point of of a novice. I think if I were a novice setting up the card I would be a bit frightened, the instructions in my view seemed fairly technical and I had to go to several places to get the image and the image downloader, it wasn’t all in once place as I would have expected.
I booted up the Debian image to be presented with the black screen console asking for a password. Panic!! If I were a novice this is like a massive wall standing before you, where do you turn? A lot of people reading this may say oh but you just read the FAQ/Wiki/documentation but to a complete technophobe who is trying something new this is a bit scary. To eBay it goes!
I got the user name and password and typed them in, oh look another command prompt! Searching around finally typed in ‘xstart’ and booted into a fairly dull, uninspiring terminal style environment. All in all at this point I wasn’t very inspired, and after a long days work decided to give up.
Some time later I decided to try and tackle it a bit further and instead see if I could get XBMC using Raspbmc to work. Well of to the downloads section finding a big banner warning you off as the feature wasn’t ready for release, didn’t work, but for some reason was there anyway. From a website design point of view if you know a feature on your website doesn’t work don’t put it there. People have a lot to do and tend to scan through websites looking for the information they want. If you give them the option to click a button which gives them want they want they’ll press it. Truth be told I didn’t read the banner, so I went ahead ran the installer and it didn’t work. As I said if the option is there expect it to be pressed.
Also what I don’t like about the Linux community is that it is seems very negative full of people who think they’re clever and who will flame at you as soon you ask a simple question. This tends to put me off Linux ‘a lot’ and why I tend to steer clear of it, so the comment ‘We on the forums are sick and tired of people complaining that the installed was stopped at “Install will continue from here”’ didn’t put me in a good mood as quite simply the option shouldn’t yet be available.
Overall I haven’t had a good experience, and I still haven’t seen anything which would inspire me to recommend it to anyone. To give the Raspberry Pi teams their due this is still very early days, and there is a ‘long way’ to go before it’s ready to be put in the hands of school children or technophobe parent buying one for there child.