Raspberry Pi / Raspberry Pi Foundation (Profile)

April 1, 2015


The Raspberry Pi is a well-known open hardware device, used in a variety of contexts. It helps kids learn programming, is used as the brain of many DIY/physical computing projects, and because it is so cheap, serves to help people get a computer who otherwise might not be able to afford one. The organization responsible for the device is a registered charity.

Organizational Details

  1. Is the subject of your profile a corporate entity?
    1. Yes.
  2. What type?
    1. A charitable organization (officially registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales, UK registered charity 1129409).
  3. When was it founded?
    1. May of 2009 (Board of trustees was assembled in years prior to this, though).
  4. By whom?
    1. Eben Upton, Rob Mullins, Jack Lang, Alan Mycroft, Pete Lomas, and David Braben
  5. Original founder(s) still active?
    1. Yes, although Eben became CEO of Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd, responsible for engineering and trading activities, so the current CEO of the Raspberry Pi Foundation is Lance Howarth.
  6. Publicly Traded? Since when? Initial Stock Price? Current stock price?
    1. Nope, nope, nope.
  7. Has the company made any acquisitions? If yes, which companies, and what were their core products?
    1. Not that we could find.
  8. Has the company made any investments in other companies? If yes, which ones.
    1. Not in the traditional sense…according to the UK Charity Commission website, they have £0 investment income and £0 investment spending, though they have £1 of “long term investment” assets. They also partner with element14, Egoman, RS Components, and Allied Electronics for distribution of the Pi.
  9. Number of Employees?
    1. 4, according to the UK Charity Commission website, though the same site also lists 6 members on its Board of Trustees.
  10. Where is HQ?
    1. Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom
  11. Does it have any other offices or locations?
    1. No.
  12. Website?
    1. http://www.raspberrypi.org/
  13. Wikipedia?
    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raspberry_Pi
    2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raspberry_Pi_Foundation
  14. Does your organization file any annual reports? Please include links to any relevant documents (i.e. 990, Annual Report, Year in Review, etc…)
    1. Summary Information Return (2013)
    2. Accounts (a.k.a. Trustees’ Report and Financial Statements) (2013)


  1. Does your subject participate in social media? If yes, please list a URL for each account, and reach within that community. (i.e. Twitter: @RedHatNews – 61.9K Followers.
    1. https://twitter.com/Raspberry_Pi (205K Followers)
    2. https://plus.google.com/+raspberrypi/posts (850K Followers)
    3. https://www.facebook.com/raspberrypi (112K Likes)
  2. What communication channels does your subject use to reach their public? Briefly describe and include a URL for each.
    1. Github, educational Github – Software repos…the former focuses on Pi core software, the latter is comprised of educational projects and demos.
    2. YouTube, Vimeo – Promotional and educational videos about the Pi.
    3. http://www.raspberrypi.org/community/ – Links to blogs, magazines, and other Pi-centric media.
    4. http://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/
  3. Does your subject organize or participate in any conferences? If so, list them here, and provide links to any relevant sessions, keynotes, or content.
    1. Raspberry Jam” – Many events are organized by enthusiasts and the community and are endorsed by the RPF, but not organized by the RPF.

Community Architecture

Your subject likely runs or contributes to one or more Open Source products or projects. Choose one (or more) of these and answer the following questions:

If applicable, list and provide links to:

  • The project’s IRC Channel
    • #raspberrypi on freenode
  • Source Code repository
    • Not applicable
  • Mail list archive
    • None
  • Documentation
  • Other communication channels
    • See above links pertaining to Raspberry Pi Foundation
  • Project Website and/or Blog
    • See above links pertaining to Raspberry Pi Foundation


  1. Describe the software project, its purpose and goals.
    1. Primarily aimed towards children looking to learn programming in a risk-free environment. Built to run modern OSs and have advanced graphical capabilities. Hackable. Can be used for a variety of applications.
  2. Give brief history of the project. When was the Initial Commit version? The latest commit version?
    1. The first prototype was built in 2006. The newest model was released in February 2015.
  3. Who approves patches? How many people?
    1. The 6 trustees at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, plus the CEO of Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd.
  4. Who has commit access, or has had patches accepted? How many total?
    1. Not applicable.
  5. Has there been any turnover in the Core Team? (i.e. has the top 20% of contributors stayed the same over time? If not, how has it changed?)
    1. The original people are mostly still involved.
  6. Does the project have a BDFL, or Lead Developer? (BDFL == Benevolent Dictator for Life)
    1. No, although Eben Upton is essentially the godfather of the Pi.
  7. Are the front and back end developers the same people? What is the proportion of each?
    1. Not applicable.
  8. What have been some of the major bugs/problems/issues that have arisen during development? Who is responsible for quality control and bug repair?
    1. Not applicable.
  9. How is the project’s participation trending and why?
    1. The RPF doubled their income YoY last year, so pretty good. The Pi is one of the most popular SoC devices in the world, at a similar level of proliferation as the Arduino.
  10. In your opinion, does the project pass “The Raptor Test?” (i.e. Would the project survive if the BDFL, or most active contributor were eaten by a Velociraptor?) Why or why not?
    1. Yes. Several people were involved in the creation and are Pi trustees. Plus, the concept would survive, as there are competing devices to the Pi.
  11. In your opinion, would the project survive if the core team, or most active 20% of contributors, were hit by a bus? Why or why not?
    1. Yes. There would be some difficultly in replacing them, but since the charity, trading company, concept, and software ecosystem are all established and involve countless individuals, the Pi would live on.
  12. Does the project have an official “on-boarding” process in place? (new contributor guides, quickstarts, communication leads who focus specifically on newbies, etc…)
    1. Yes, at http://www.raspberrypi.org/resources/
  13. Does the project have Documentation available? Is it extensive? Does it include code examples?
    1. http://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/ It is extensive and has code examples, but some of the pages could use expansion.
  14. If you were going to contribute to this project, but ran into trouble or hit blockers, who would you contact, and how?
    1. Not applicable.
  15. Based on these answers, how would you describe the decision making structure/process of this group? Is it hierarchical, consensus building, ruled by a small group, barely contained chaos, or ruled by a single or pair of individuals?
    1. Ruled by a small group for sure.
  16. Is this the kind of structure you would enjoy working in? Why, or why not?
    1. Yes, these people are doing a fantastic deed; enhancing computer education and providing a great tool for DIY hacks in the process.

Technology/Product (Section adapted from EFF Worksheet)

  1. Who invented, created, or sponsored the technology?
    1. Eben Upton, Rob Mullins, Jack Lang, Alan Mycroft, Pete Lomas, and David Braben, plus the University of Cambridge and Broadcom Corporation.
  2. What is the technology designed to do? How is it used?
    1. Provide an accessible and affordable computer to aid in computer education, and inspire/support cool open source projects, often involving physical computing.
  3. Who would benefit from using this technology?
    1. Everyone! Students, teachers, hackers, people who watch videos from their computer.
  4. What kinds of companies or organizations (stakeholders) might have been concerned about the development of this technology? Why?
    1. Schools and universities with computer education programs, because the number of Computer Science applicants was declining YoY. Software development firms are also interested, because of its disruptive potential.
  5. Does/Did an aspect of copyright law play a role in controversies about the technology? How?
    1. Not really. Raspberries are copyright 145-66 Ma nature.

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