Viktor Petersson logo

Podcast

Follow Me

Join Viktor, a proud nerd and seasoned entrepreneur, whose academic journey at Santa Clara University in Silicon Valley sparked a career marked by innovation and foresight. From his college days, Viktor embarked on an entrepreneurial path, beginning with YippieMove, a groundbreaking email migration service, and continuing with a series of bootstrapped ventures.

Podcast Image
Episode 12
Eben Upton

Transforming Tech with Eben Upton: Exploring Raspberry Pi’s Global Impact from Education to Industry

Play On Listen to podcast on YouTube Listen to podcast on Spotify Listen to podcast on Apple Listen to podcast on Amazon music
02 JUN • 2024 1 hour 21 mins
Share:

In this episode of “Nerding Out with Viktor,” Viktor is joined by Eben Upton, the founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, to discuss the origins, evolution, and future of Raspberry Pi. They start by exploring Eben’s background as a software engineer and his early interest in home computers during the 1980s. This passion for computing led Eben to establish the Raspberry Pi Foundation with the goal of reigniting interest in computer science among young people.

Eben explains how, in the 1990s, there was a noticeable decline in the number of students applying to study computer science at Cambridge University. This decline prompted him and his colleagues to create an affordable, programmable home computer to inspire a new generation of programmers. The Raspberry Pi was launched in 2012, and on its first day, they sold 100,000 units. Initially embraced by enthusiasts, the Raspberry Pi quickly found its way into educational and industrial applications.

Viktor and Eben discuss the widespread adoption of the Raspberry Pi in various sectors. They highlight how the platform, while initially targeting education, has become a valuable tool for industrial applications. Eben mentions companies like Screenly, which utilized Raspberry Pi for digital signage, illustrating how the device has helped reduce costs and improve efficiency for many businesses.

The conversation then shifts to the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly the supply chain crisis that affected the availability of semiconductors. Eben describes the difficult decisions the Raspberry Pi Foundation had to make, such as prioritizing OEM customers to keep businesses running. Despite these challenges, they managed to maintain a steady supply of Raspberry Pi units and even continued their engineering efforts, leading to the release of Raspberry Pi 5.

Manufacturing Raspberry Pi in the UK has been a strategic decision, according to Eben. He explains that local manufacturing offers significant benefits, such as better communication with the factory and the ability to quickly implement design changes. Although most components are sourced globally, the final assembly and some parts, like the injection-molded plastics, are produced in the UK.

Looking to the future, Viktor and Eben discuss the potential for Raspberry Pi to adopt RISC-V, an open-source hardware instruction set architecture. Eben outlines the advantages and challenges of moving to RISC-V, including the significant engineering effort required to develop a high-performance, open-source core. While acknowledging the potential benefits, Eben indicates that Raspberry Pi 6 will likely continue to use ARM cores due to their maturity and ecosystem support.

The discussion also covers the evolution of the Raspberry Pi software stack. Eben talks about the shift towards open standards, such as adopting VDPAU for Linux and moving towards a Wayland-based graphics interface. These changes aim to improve performance and compatibility, particularly for applications involving multimedia and digital signage.

Eben and Viktor delve into the reliability issues with SD cards, a common pain point for Raspberry Pi users. Eben explains that while there are many subpar SD cards on the market, high-quality cards like those from SanDisk have proven reliable under rigorous testing. They also discuss the potential for future Raspberry Pi models to include soldered-down eMMC storage, providing a more robust alternative to SD cards.

The episode concludes with a discussion on the importance of mentoring and supporting young people interested in technology. Eben shares a personal story about how mentors played a crucial role in his early development as a programmer. He encourages listeners to become mentors and make a positive impact on the next generation of tech enthusiasts. Viktor agrees, emphasizing that mentoring has been vital in his own career.

Overall, this episode offers a comprehensive look at the past, present, and future of Raspberry Pi, highlighting its impact on education, industry, and the broader tech community.

Found an error or typo? File PR against this file.