Rapberri Pi/clone(s) most ruggidizable for OLPC fieldwork?

Adam Holt holt at laptop.org
Sat Feb 6 15:35:13 EST 2016

Dogi & All,

You are the expert here (on the low end especially, with $5 Raspberri Pi
Zeros!) leading OLE refugee camp deployments across many countries.
Whereas most OLPC-like schools I talk to want to spend $100 (or more) for a
mini-server that's truly resilient for years in tropical environments,
against rodents/humidity, untrained-operators especially, and oh yeah kids
smacking them around, stealing SD cards etc ;)

(Yes some of us proudly confess we use XO-1.5 and similar mini-servers on
the low end, e.g. in many after-school programs, despite Tony's friendly
fundamentalism that XO's should not be allowed to serve others nearby,
recycling these XO-1.5's into family/mentoring learning environments is a
huge win, but more about that another day :-)

Looking into the future, so many of these community deployment leaders want
something beefier right now.  Sometimes even a hard disk drive "for just
$50 more" (that's the fantasy anyway!)  Even now that 4 or 8 GB RAM appears
essentially free--it does not fit on most of these tiny motherboards.  Nor
does a 1TB hard disk drive fit, that many of these groups dream of (and are
generally happy to shove in a live/spare HDD inside, when the prior one

So, in conclusion we're exactly 4 years into RPi era (began February 2012)
and showing a lot of maturity^h^hgrayhair now :)  I assume there are a
gazillion Raspberry Pi clones -- the central question is which ones we
should narrow down upon, now that push has come to shove in 2016, serving
educational microserver applications (school and non-schools) across those
~4 billion "offline" people now asking us for that:

   - Will the $15 http://pine64.com (which just raised $1.7M) become
   genuinely productizable for truly hassle-free field use with 128GB MicroSD
   cards by late 2016?  On the bright side, it accommodates 128GB maximum,
   which is exactly what we need on the high end in 2016.
   - Or are traditional RPi 2 clones, such as Banana Pi's and this $40
   Korean unit more practical in the short-term?
   - Understanding full well this is as much a plastics / industrial design
   question / economies-of-scale question first-and-foremost, more than a
   computer specs question per se.  Still today, few people appreciate (or
   even understand) how much OLPC's contribution a decade ago was a revolution
   in plastics/maintainability/droppability.  When Apple/Google are daily
   throwing gigahertz specs at us, that marketing-centric misunderstanding is
   of course only natural :/

*Etc, Thanks in advance to those who've done so much more RPi field
research and can share!!*
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