The Raspberry Pi Report
As with many Linux distros, perhaps the biggest strength of the Pi is the community that surrounds it.
One of the biggest questions I get asked is “why would I want to use a Raspberry Pi over Device X?” Almost always, the other device has a better processor, more USB ports or something else that should make the answer to choose Device X over the Pi.
I’m not going to argue that the Raspberry Pi should always be the device of choice for every situation. Sometimes it just doesn’t cut it and using it in a given situation will cause more work than necessary. Whenever I am asked the above question, I usually get the details of what the person is intending to do, and then talk about the pros and cons of the Raspberry Pi for that use. One of the things I always remind the person is that no matter how good Device X might be, you need to consider the community behind the device. In my opinion, a constantly growing supportive community is what the Pi offers over all other devices.
On the Pi Podcast, every time we interview someone who’s created a business revolving around the Raspberry Pi, we ask why they choose to run harder with it than with other devices. They all give the same answer: the community. This is also my fallback answer for why someone should choose the Pi over another device. Raspberry’s community is beyond vocal and is always bringing something new to the table. The community also makes it very apparent that the device is not going away anytime soon.
I follow several different Pi-like devices. I read and follow blogs about them, own books about them, and subscribe to their newsletters. None of them are putting out as much new material, or as often, as the Raspberry Pi community. Some might say, “Well Isaac, it’s just a bunch of kids making LEDs flash off and on and that’s all the community is talking about every other day.” It doesn’t matter. Regardless of what anyone is doing with the Raspberry Pi, it’s still doing more than any other device to get kids involved with computers.
Here are some great references illustrating why I think the Pi’s community is the best and will, in all likelihood, continue to make the Raspberry Pi the best overall choice:
Pi Weekly: A weekly newsletter put together by Ben Nuttall. Beyond being a great guy, Ben knows his stuff. This newsletter contains great stories and tutorials and keeps you a well informed Raspberry Pi user.
The MagPi: Monthly magazine that has amazing Raspberry Pi articles. You can get it for free as a PDF, get it through most app stores or subscribe to the print edition. It contains tons of great projects, examples and tutorials put together by the brightest minds in the community.
RaspberryPi.org: The official website for the Pi project, which is filled with anything and everything to help you learn all about the Raspberry Pi.
The Pi Podcast: I know, this is a shameless plug, but we do interview prominent figures in the community and cover some of the biggest news and projects. Give us a listen. I’ll be glad you did, and hopefully, so will you.
RasPi.TV: This is a website containing tutorials, videos and reviews that’s put together and run by Alex Eames. Besides the website, Eames is constantly putting together amazing Kickstarter projects that involve the Raspberry Pi.
This is only small list of what the Raspberry Pi community has to offer. I haven’t even mentioned Picademy, Geek Gurl Diaries, Raspberry Pi Pod, Pi Wars, CamJams, and Code Evenings. There are also all of the operating systems that are available for the Pi, as well as the projects people are doing around the world, such as Sonia Uppal and the Pi a La Code project. And did I mention that there’s currently an astronaut using the Raspberry Pi at the International Space Station?
The next time you aren’t sure if the Raspberry Pi is the right device for your situation or project, just remember that there is an ever growing community you can turn to for help or advice when you use the Raspberry Pi.