OSHUG #18 – Pi and Bone

OSHUG, the UK’s Open Source Hardware User Group, goes from strength to strength so it was a pleasure to attend yesterday.

This was a special edition that included the first Raspberry Pi meetup.  The conversation went round the houses but was none the less useful.  Whilst this device is coming in an an attractive price it is currently lacking in an ecosystem to rival Arduino and MBED.  It is also suffering from an acute shortage in supply; RS guys were on hand to explain how this is being addressed.

The ecosystem discussion was interesting.  It may evolve organically.  However, IMHO some strong leadership is needed to ensure that this happens in a coherent fashion so that a collection or coherent and interchangeable building blocks evolves.

Once #OSHUG proper got started we have 3 great talks:

  • Open Compute: interesting to those who may need to build server farms.  In direct contrast  to Google’s approach of keeping the tech to themselves.   This is more large scale engineering than hacking, even if it started that way. DC power distribution is interesting – that could find wider application. Chris Swan probably works for the smallest kind of company that would need this.
  • Beagleboards, and especially BeagleBone has matured into a really interesting platform now.  Crucially, there is a comprehensive ecosystem around it.   This looks ideal for home hubs and such like projects.  I’m particularly impressed with the IDE options and software that comes with it.  Sorry, Raspberry Pi, but even with the steep cost differential this looks like better value for money, especially if you value your time. Amongst the demos Roger Monk brought along was a BeagleBoard running Android!  Looking forward to getting my hands on one.
  • Henk Muller gave us another talk about XMOS.  This differed from OSHUG #1 in that it was more about concurrent software execution that XMOS’ rather unique hardware.  Interesting if you have the sort of project where highly predictable timing is important.

Thanks again to @9600 for impeccable stewardship of the group and to #C4CC for hosting and the regulars for showing up.