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Raspberry Pi interview: Eben Upton reveals all

Mar 01, 2012, 12:03 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Gareth Halfacree)

[ Thanks to Linux User & Developer magazine for this link. ]

"What made you decide to found Raspberry Pi as a non-profit charity, rather than as a traditional company?

"I guess the biggest factor is that it?s very hard to deal with really huge companies like Broadcom and our RAM supplier when you?re as small as Raspberry Pi. Typically, if you?re a small organisation like us, you?d obtain components via a distributor because large companies don?t want the hassle of working with you. The problem with a distributor is a distributor comes with a margin, and on small quantities of stuff there are really substantial margins.

"'We?re buying ten thousand RAM chips, but ten thousand is tiny to a big company. You can?t expect them to deal with you unless you have some pitch, and, of course, our pitch is that we're a charity. Nobody?s trying to make a buck. If they think we?re trying to make a buck here, they?ll screw us. Instead, they?ll help us out by not overcharging us for the small quantities we?re buying, so that really helps.

"The other thing is that those of us involved in the charity, we?ve all got other things going on: some of us are academics, and there are people like me who?ve been academics and are now in industry, and none of us need another start-up in our lives. None of us need another money-making start-up, we?ve all done reasonably well for ourselves at all the other things we?ve been doing. So, there wasn?t ever really that incentive to try and turn it into a money-making venture.'"

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