Yesterday my Raspberry Pi arrived, and today I had some time over to set it up and have a first look.
First of all, I don’t see this becoming a desktop machine for anybody, it’s just too slow to be able to even render webpages fast, never mind streaming HD video, at least the Raspbian version, I haven’t tried the media PC oriented distributions yet, but since they almost certainly lack support for Netflix, HBO and the like, I’m not so confident that they will be much better.
Anyhow, where I think the Raspberry Pi will indeed be useful are areas like automation and tasks were you need to interface with the real world. A good example is an low cost stratum 1 NTP server. The Raspberry has more than enough processing power to handle thousands of NTP querys per second, and it’s very easy to interface it with a serial GPS receiver for example.
Another great application would be custom made protocol converters for industry applications, which mostly convert a serial line protocol to something that can be shifted over Ethernet.
I’ll look into the hardware aspects of the Raspberry during the following weeks and get back to you guys with an update. One thing I’d really like to build is a I/O board for it, so we’ll see about that. Or maybe a NTP time server coupled to a big clock of some sort (maybe even the relay clock I’ve been planning to build for years now).