Why are you using the Raspberry Pi and not…?
I get a lot of people asking me:
"Why are you using the Raspberry Pi and not the X?"
Where X can be any number of Raspberry Pi ‘alternatives’ out there -
They usually argue that the alternative has a much better performance in certain aspects or much easier GPIO interaction.
Now I’m not going to spend this blog post arguing the most appealing point - the price, because the Raspberry Pi is on average much cheaper than all the suggested alternatives for what you’re getting, but that doesn’t make it the best alternative.
The one major thing people need to remember about the Raspberry Pi is that it is all about education.
The Raspberry Pi was built from the ground up to serve as a platform to help educate students in Computer Science. The device was inspired by the BBC Micro, a series of computers built in the early 1980’s to do exactly the same - educate. The low cost is a bonus that supports this aim because it makes it very cost effective for schools.
The community wrapped around Raspberry Pi is also a huge selling point - projects such as my own, Adafruit’s WebIDE and groups like Code Club are all starting to use the Raspberry Pi in their lessons and workshops to help teach.
I think a few people are missing the point with the Raspberry Pi. They’re comparing the specifications of different ARM based micro computers and what they can build with it, not what they’re built for.
People are starting to create projects with the tagline “A much cheaper alternative to the Raspberry Pi” without realising that “alternative” would entail an entire community of developers and teachers eager to use the new device for education.
If you think the Beagle Board is a much better device for building an autonomous drone or the Arduino is far better for building a remote control car - then use that.
The Raspberry Pi has good specifications for the price and if it is the most suitable board for your project then use it.
But when it comes the Raspberry Pi don’t forget that the original aim is education.