Sing of Song of Linux, Wouldn’t ya like to try; A tiny debian system baked into a Pi

piOk…so I’m not a poet. Part of the Fundamentals of Engineering and Technology will include an introduction to Linux and all things Penguin. I have several systems running Debian which, to my limited experience, seems to be the most stable and easiest to get started with, Linux distro. (There again…IMHO). The question before the committee tonight is…Does the Raspberry Pi have any place in education? I have one. It’s hooked up to my TV set so when I feel the need to investigate something or am suddenly inspired to write Python code during Duck Dynasty (I know…but it COULD happen) I can just change inputs and there in Linux and the Internet and everything I could want. The issue I am having as far as introducing it into the educational mix is that basically, the performance is not all that great. It is what it is. A tiny system with very little RAM and precious little space. I’m not sure I want my students seeing that as Linux. First impressions being what they are I think I want my kids to see a real Linux desktop first. Does anyone else think that the Pi is basically a curiosity? I know it was designed with education in mind and would certainly be a cheap alternative if you had a Python class you had to run on the cheap but it is just NOT fast. Once again…it is what it is. I view it as more of a curiosity. I intended to pull it into my robot making hobby as a replacement or supplement for my various PIC/Arduino/Netduinos but another drawback to the system is that it requires MUCH more power to run, especially if you use the wireless USB network adapter. You have to have a powered hub etc. All in all, not that useful for a robot if you don’t want it tethered with an extension cord. Just curious to see if anyone else is using these little guys for anything beyond just having a tiny little slightly slow Linux system around. On the plus side, it is a real live Linux distro with a terminal that uses SUDO and all the other commands. I really want these guys to get the idea that there are other things in the world besides Windows so maybe, as a curiosity, the Pi will fill the bill. It is interesting and unique looking, especially in the snappy pink/purple case I have it in with all the LEDs going. At this point in their IT careers, these guys need to have their interest piqued more than anything else. I have to keep them interested to keep them moving forward in Computer Science. Well…I am going to try using it anyhow. Wish me luck. Of course comments and suggestions are always welcome.

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