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I’ve had my eye on the section of the Raspberry Pi forum dedicated to “bare metal” programming of the popular $35 computer platform. Bare metal programming is the practice of writing code for the CPU without an operating system (like Linux) on board. Bare metal didn’t look exactly inviting to an intermediate programmer like me, but that just changed. In this online course from Alex Chadwick of the University of Cambridge Computer Lab, you can learn how to use assembly code to write your own mini-OS for the Raspberry Pi. Going this route means basic things become quite a bit more difficult to do, but if you’re interested in how operating systems work with memory and the CPU, this looks like a great way to learn.

Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson is a Brooklyn-based creative technologist, Contributing Editor at MAKE, and Resident Research Fellow at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP). He’s the co-author of Getting Started with Raspberry Pi and the author of Getting Started with BeagleBone.



  1. Matt Richardson says:

    I was posting this article to my G+ profile with some additional commentary and I thought I would leave it here as well:

    I find myself so excited by the prospect of learning how to program the “bare metal” of these embedded systems and I imagine that there are many others out there like me. Perhaps we’ll start to see a resurgence of people learning assembly code? It looks like it’s challenging yet gratifying. How cool would it be to be able to write your own OS to do just what you want? Perhaps this is perfect for the future kernel developers out there.

    The next Linus Torvalds might be starting his or her journey from this very tutorial.

  2. fonz says:

    if you want to go bare metal why not pick one of the thousands of cpus where you can actually get a real datasheet?

  3. ccase says:

    Was curious about this as well, but got turned off since the embedded system is very closed and there is no documentation about it. How does one interface with the hardware directly if the drivers are closed? Can’t even find a block diagram :(

    1. Bill says:

      Just Googling I found this:
      That page has a lot of links to technical data for the hardware.

  4. [...] about programming for Raspberry Pi!.   Introduction page of the original author can be found at… and the free cource provided by University Cambridge is [...]

  5. [...] Baking Pi: Free Course in Basic “Bare Metal” Raspberry Pi Development [...]

  6. Bosstiger says:

    Reblogged this on Gigable – Tech Blog.

  7. Bosstiger says:

    Reblogged this on Gigable – Tech Blog.