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Launch of Raspberry Pi huge success

The Raspberry Pi computer is just a small green circuit board about the size of a credit card - but it is hoped that it will get thousands of school children interested in programming.

New device can encourage children to understand coding

The Raspberry Pi computer is just a small green circuit board about the size of a credit card - but it is hoped that it will get thousands of school children interested in programming.

Created by a group of scientists and developers who wanted to improve the state of Britain's computer science curriculum, the device contains a processor similar to the one used in many smart phones, a memory chip, an Ethernet port to connect to the internet and a couple of USB ports.

The first 10,000 units costing £22 excluding VAT, have sold out, having been funded largely out of the pockets of the scientists behind the charitable Raspberry Pi Foundation.

After plugging in a keyboard, mouse and screen, children are able to use the Raspberry Pi's open-source software to write their own code.

The device is by no means unique; there are already a range of cheap, bare-bones computers available. But none has generated the buzz around Raspberry Pi, which among others enjoys the backing of David Braben, a British programmer best known for creating the 1980s space adventure video game Elite.

He and the Raspberry Pi team are sincere in their aim to inspire a new generation to take up programming. The question is whether, once the Raspberry Pi reaches the education market it was originally created to serve, the early enthusiasm among Linux hackers will be replicated among schoolchildren more familiar with touch screens than command lines.

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