Why the Raspberry Pi wont ship in kit form

first_imgWhen the Raspberry Pi ships later this year, it will be delivered to your door as a finished unit. The more adventurous tinkerers among you, as well as adept system builders, have asked the Raspberry Pi Foundation why they can’t get them in kit form instead. The reason why that wasn’t considered is demonstrated by the image above.Sitting on the fingertip in that photo is the Broadcom BRCM2835 system-on-a-chip (SoC) alongside the memory chip. As you can see, they are tiny. And unlike a typical system build using an x86 chip that just slots into place, installing these chips requires a very steady hand and just the right amount of solder. The memory chip has to sit on top of the BRCM2835 with a blob of solder required for every dot you see. Even those adept at such things could easily mess up, and if the chips aren’t perfectly lined up it’s game over. So Raspberry Pi did the sane thing and got robots to manufacture the boards in a factory. They can apply solder perfectly, and do so thousands of times over. As well as sharing that great picture, Raspberry Pi have decided to share details about which libraries and codecs will initially ship with the unit. The included codecs are limited to just MPEG4 and h.264. More codecs would mean more licensing costs, which would increase the price of the machine. So those two were settled upon, and for the moment free codecs, such as Xvid, won’t enjoy GPU acceleration. That’s not to say support won’t expand in the future.As for libraries that will include GPU acceleration, Raspberry Pi and Broadcom have settled on a combination of OpenGL ES 2.0, OpenVG, EGL, and OpenMax IL.OpenGL ES 2.0 and OpenVG handle 2D and 3D graphics, meaning the Raspberry Pi can have nice 2d interfaces that render quickly, as well as supporting fast processing of 3D graphics. Both take advantage of the Broadcom GPU which Eben Upton says is the “best mobile GPU available.” EGL offers up an interface for managing OpenGL and OpenVG content, as well as very high performance mixed mode 2D and 3D rendering. Finally, OpenMax IL is what makes multimedia work, allowing the processing of lots of multimedia data including audio, video, and images.If you’re wondering how that fits together as a system, and what classes as open and closed source, Raspberry Pi created this useful diagram offering up a complete breakdown of how it all fits together:Read more at Raspberry Pilast_img read more