[FoRK] Raspberry Pi's Eben Upton endorses Parallella

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Wed Jul 17 08:17:49 PDT 2013



LXF: What do you think about the Parallela low-cost supercomputer that’s been
successfully backed through Kickstarter?

EU: These guys are absolutely amazing. It is amazing. I’ve met the guy, he’s
either very convincing and a fantasist or he’s a stone cold genius because I
think they’re ex-Analog Devices in Massachusetts and I met him and they are
doing amazing stuff. A tiny team.

LXF: Do you think they’ll do it?

EU: I think they’ll do it! I would not bet against them. Had I not been too
disorganised and perhaps lazy I would have subscribed to his Kickstarter. In
general, possibly because we didn’t go down this route, I still take a
slightly dim view of people using crowd funding platforms to build small
computers because we didn’t do that. We did it the hard way. Partly the hard
way out of cowardice, right? We were concerned that we would miss the price
point. That we would just take a bunch of money from people and then it would
turn out to be five bucks more expensive and then we’d be screwed. Because
we’d have all this money and we’d have spent it all at that point and then
we’d be in the shit. So we didn’t do it out of cowardice. We basically wanted
to have made a bunch of them before we took anybody’s money; we wanted to
have made a bunch of them at the right cost, know it’s all good, know it
worked, and then we’ll take people’s money. And that was quite a principled
thing. But these guys are trying to do something which is kind of what I
think crowdfunding is for. I think crowdfunding, and if you read
Kickstarter’s justification of why they exist, they’re whole schtick is that
they’re here to fund riskier projects, and we’re not just here to fund a
fairly conventional project in a way that doesn’t require you to go and raise
capital, we’re here to let you do things that would be outside the range of
normal. And I think this is a great example. I think this is brilliant. I
love it. And to some extent that’s a weakness of the Raspberry Pi, right?
We’re teaching kids to program a single core processor. We’re actually
teaching kids about what computers used to be.

LXF: But this is where you’ve got to start...

EU: Yeah, this is where you’ve got to start, but this sort of thing is a
great stepping stone because in the past computers used to have only one core
now they have four cores and in the future they could be like the Parallela
and why not start programming and get ahead of the curve? So I will buy one
when they’re available and I really should have subscribed to their
Kickstarter and I’m a sap for not having done so.

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