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The Raspberry Pi computer aimed at getting youngsters interested in IT and programming is celebrating a year since its launch, with distributor Farnell element14 kicking off a series of initiatives to mark the occasion.
A year ago on 29 Feb 2012, the Raspberry Pi Model B officially went on sale in the UK, and was immediately oversubscribed with huge numbers of advance orders for the £22 ARM-based device.
This caused a long backlog until the Raspberry Pi Foundation was able to work with distributors Farnell element14 and RS Components to ramp up production of the little device.
To mark the anniversary, Farnell element14 has announced March will be Raspberry Pi Month. Visitors to the site will be asked to vote for their favourite Raspberry Pi project, while roadtests of the PiFace and Gertboard accessories will also take place on the element14 Community, culminating in a webinar on 20 March. They also baked a cake,
The Raspberry Pi has had an eventful first year, hitting a million units sold in January and getting a system board redesign and an upgrade that doubled the amount of on-board memory in the Model B to 512MB during 2012.
During this time the Raspberry Pi Foundation has several times updated its default Debian-based Linux build with its mix of built-in developer tools, and announced a 5MP camera add-on for the device.
Meanwhile, the Model A version went on sale for just £19 in the UK earlier this month. The Model A lacks an Ethernet chip and has only 256MB memory.
While the Raspberry Pi has generated a huge amount of interest and many imaginative and off-the-wall projects, it has also spawned some rivals from vendors sensing an opportunity for ultra low-cost hardware.
Most notable among these is the APC from VIA Technologies and the Hardkernel Odroid, both running Android but following a similar bare-bones design to the Raspberry Pi.
However, these rivals largely lack the broad support that is building behind the Raspberry Pi.
A glance at the Raspberry Pi Wiki shows a number of operating system projects under development, including versions of Red Hat, Risc OS, Android and Chromium.
Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.