I received my Raspberry Pi in the post the other day, and of course the first thing that popped into my head: Would it run Maxemail?
The short answer? Yes! The long answer…
The Raspberry Pi uses an ARM processor, and there are a number of Linux flavours that have been specifically designed to work on the Raspberry Pi. I chose Raspbian as it seemed a nice quick way to get started, and indeed it was. Write the image to a spare SD card I found in my desk drawer, plug it into the Raspberry Pi, and away we go!
Here I’m using a spare keyboard from our office PCs, and a video capture device from EZCAP.TV to display the Raspberry Pi’s composite video output on my Mac.
Standard packages are available for this Linux distribution, so it’s easy to install PHP, MySQL, Apache, and Memcache, plus a number of extensions that we use in Maxemail. After installing one of our development versions and setting up the database, it all worked perfectly!
At first, I forgot to set up the caching, and so response times were a rather sluggish 2500ms, but then James reminded me of the missing cache, and with a quick modification, response times dropped to ~500ms.
There are still a number of tweaks that we could do, but I don’t think we’re really going to get to the typical 50ms response time of our own distributed, scalable and redundant system! (Response time is judged by the figure in Maxemail’s ‘About’ dialog box.)
Considering the Raspberry Pi has approximately 1/50th of the CPU power and 1/200th of the memory compared to our live system, I’m very impressed by what this tiny sub-£30 machine can do! You can’t help but support what the foundation is trying to achieve by getting this mini-powerhouse into education!
The Raspberry Pi pictured uses heatsinks and a case from ModMyPi. Raspberry Pi and the Raspberry Pi logo are trademarks of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Emailcenter UK Ltd is not associated with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. The screenshot shows Maxemail running on a Raspberry Pi, but this combination is not a commercially available product or in any way associated with the Raspberry Pi Foundation.