Exclusive for Techtime: Raspberry’s next project is eradicating the use of propriety software

28 September, 2016

A week after sale of the 10 millionth Raspberry computer card, Raspberry Pi’s founder Eben Upton reveals the company’s next goal: “in two years’ time, Raspberry will complete the removal of propriety software, making raspberry computers 100% open”

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A week after sale of the 10 millionth Raspberry computer card, Raspberry Pi’s founder Eben Upton reveals the company’s next goal: “in two years’ time, Raspberry will complete the removal of propriety software, making raspberry computers 100% open”

raspberry-uptonRaspberry Pi Foundation’s founder Eben Upton, the driving force behind the development of the popular single board computer Raspberry Pi has only one regret: “We could have launched the card in 2010, instead of waiting until 2011.” Upton met Techtime durimg the yearly DevlopEX convention in Israel, disclosing the next step in the development of a device, which has gained the status of an industry milestone.

Upton: “Moore’s law, wich has led the industry for a long time, enables only two possibilities: adding features at a gives price, or to reduce the price of existing products. With Raspberry Pi 2, we reduced the price to 25$, and with the Raspberry Pi Zreo we reduced it to a mere 5$. Everybody thought this was a limited edition, without any commercial sense. But it actually is a profitable product, we currently produce 20,000 cards, and this is only the initial demand”.

What is your customer base?

“Mainly educational organizations, and technophiles.  Schools and many older folks. We see our product as a gateway the the world of computers rather than a product for commercial use.

What about sales numbers?

“Last week we celebrated the sale of our 10 millionth single board computer. We grow at an annual rate of 40%, and we expect to sell 4 million computers in 2016. Half of than are Raspberry 1 cards, and the rest are Raspberry 2 and 3 cards. In August alone we sold 320K computer cards, excluding Raspberry Zero cards”.

the Raspberry Zero
            the Raspberry Zero

The Raspberry cards were developed in cooperation with Broadcom. All Raspberry cards feature a Broadcom system on a chip wich includes an ARM compatible CPY and a GPU. According to Upton, the close cooperation with Broadcom is here to stay.

What is your main goal today?

“We are very focused on eradicating proprietary software from our system. Mainly, Commercial software bundled with the chips integrated into the card. I believe we could finish the process by 2018, making our system a truly open system.

How do you manage the community wich has evolved around Raspberry computers?

“We don’t try to push them towards the use of specific platforms. We rather leave it to the community. But we have now reached a point where we do have to push a platform because our ecosystem has evolved. We are currently hiring a product manager to help us manage the ecosystem. For us, this is a dramatic move, because until now, we focused solely on the technical aspects of the computer. Now, we have to offer bigger support to users”.

What was the influence of Raspberry on the computer cards market?

“I think, that before Raspberry Pi was first released, people were selling inefficient solutions for a lot of money, for hundreds of dollars in fact. Computer cards were considered a specialized niche, interesting for industry only. We proved, that a better and cheaper solution can be produced en masse. We could in fact make a better toy than any of the industrial solutions available.

“This had a huge impact on pricing. Thanks to Raspberry, people expect more from their computer cards –   more stability, from software and hardware alike. Today, if you want to sell a computer card for several hundred dollars, it has to offer something very special, to justify the price”.

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