The Raspberry Pi is a fully functional credit card-sized computer. It was developed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation with the intention of promoting the teaching of computer science and programming in schools. The device is designed to be easy to use and as affordable as possible, with some models costing only $25.
The Raspberry Pi comes as a printed circuit board, but you can buy all the extra stuff needed to make it fully functional. As of August 2015, four models are available:
- Raspberry Pi Model A – it has 256MB RAM, only one USB port and no network connection.
- Raspberry Pi Model B – it has 512MB RAM, 2 USB ports and a network connection.
- Raspberry Pi Model B+ – it has the similar specifications as the Model B, but comes with 4 USB ports, more GPIO pins, and uses less power than the Model B. This model costs $35.
- Raspberry Pi 2 Model B – the latest version of the device, with 900 MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU and 1 GB of RAM.
Here is how the Raspberry Pi Model A looks like (source: Wikipedia):
You can buy your model directly from the official site, from main distributors (Premier Farnell/Element 14 and RS Components/Allied Electronics), or using resellers such as Amazon.
The Raspberry Pi primarily uses Linux-based operating systems, with Raspbian usually the first choice for beginners. Raspbian is based on a popular Linux distribution called Debian and features a GUI similar to the one found in Windows:
The Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, the newest Model B version, will even be able to run Windows 10 IoT!