You may want to groan at the title, but a community magazine for the Raspberry Pi is just what is needed. But is one for sorrow?
One of the common problems with any open source, or enthusiast-driven, project is that the documentation is terrible. It is because there isn't anyone in the project who wants to be "demoted" to writing, rather than tinkering with the hardware or the software.
As a result getting started can be very difficult, especially if you are a real beginner and not a highly skilled expert on some similar project.
For the Raspberry Pi - the much talked about $25 ARM- based computer - the problem is particularly acute. The suggestion is that Raspberry Pi could revolutionize or revitalize the education of future programmers the world over. So far the missing component has been the software and the documentation. It is fine for a few experts in education to manage to get a teaching environment like Scratch up and running, but for the non-specialist the instructions, what few exist, are impenetrable.
It is expected that as the hardware becomes more available, the software and instructional problems will become less. As if to prove the point we now have a community driven magazine dedicated to the Raspberry Pi, called MagPi, and the first issue is out.
Unfortunately for a first issue it isn't inspiring. We have mostly filler and "waiting for Raspberry Pi" material.
It starts off with a history and analysis of the situation. A hardware article is next, but it is essentially a review of a USB robotic arm (and I have to agree it is a very nice piece of hardware). Next we have an item on RacyPi, which is a nice Linux GUI, but with no explanation of how to run it on Raspberry Pi, just on a PC. Another article is on on Debian Linux, programming in general and a retro-looking presentation of Python.
So in the whole of Issue One there's nothing specifically on Raspberry Pi apart from references to what to do while waiting for yours to arrive.
While this isn't an official Raspberry Pi publication, the official site is promoting it as being a good thing. Surely someone should have got a promotional Raspberry Pi to the writers so they could make a real contribution to the literature? Some support for the documentation part of the project would pay back in no time at all.
Let's hope that community manages to produce some really interesting material for Issue Two and that it manages to actually get hold of a machine. In the long run it is a venture worth supporting.
On the topic of availability - the latest news is that RS reports having a batch of 4000 boards on their way and this allows 4000 people to be invited into the queue to actually place orders. This sounds impressive until you get to:
"Happily we’re making good progress with volume production quantities, and that will allow us to invite the next 75,000 people in the queue to place their order over the next few weeks so we can deliver your Pi’s during June and into July."
We keep waiting for the robot revolution - no not that robot revolution, the one where robots help around the home. Now an MIT Media Lab roboticist has gone to the crowd for some funds to build Jibo, [ ... ]