Saturday, 3 December 2011

Raspberry Pi supporters - own a bit of history

A few days ago I found an old friend - an Acorn Microcomputer dating back to the late 1970s. You might know it by its later name of Acorn System 1.

It's arguably the great-great-grandfather of Raspberry Pi ( though several orders of magnitude less powerful). Acorn fathered ARM, whose design lies at the heart of RasbPi's processor; the processor is made by Broadcom, who also trace their ancestry back to Acorn.

The Acorn Microcomputer has an led display, a keyboard, a 6502 processor, 512 bytes of rom and an amazing 1k of ram. The monitor (a minimalist operating system) lives in rom; programs can be saved and then reloaded using a cassette recorder. It will run off a 9v battery. Somehow I've managed to hang on to its documentation, though you'll find a lot more information, and an emulator, on Mike Colishaw's website.

I've done nothing with this early micro for years, and I'd pretty much decided to give it to a museum. I suspect it still works, though I haven't tried to apply power yet.

Then I read about the latest batch of  RasbPi boards and the plans to auction some, and wondered if the Raspberry Pi project would care to auction this fore-runner to raise more money for the project.

If you would like to own this bit of computing history, head over to the Raspberry Pi forum and encourage the RasbPi team to get in touch and auction it!

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