Thursday, November 03, 2011

From little Acorns do great Raspberries grow

I recently re-discovered an old friend: the great-great-grandfather of the ARM-based Raspberry Pi . It's the original Acorn micro-computer (ca. 1979). Acorn went to on make a succession of machines, including the BBC Micro and the Archimedes.

The Archimedes was based on a proprietary RISC chip which is the grandfather of today's ARM chips. The Raspberry Pi is part-funded by Dave Braben, who wrote Elite (arguably the most famous BBC micro game). Broadcom, who are make the Pi's ARM chip, have strong historic links with Acorn.

I'll try the micro out in a day or two; I still have the (fairly minimal) original documentation, and there is more information on Wikipedia. The micro was arguably one of the best investments made by Cocking and Drury; my colleague Jonathan Barman used it to learn assembler, and went on to master 370 Assembler, through which he landed us a major contract with a national brewery.

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