Scratch 3.0, a visual language programming language from MIT Media Lab, can now run on the official Raspberry Pi operating system, Raspbian. But you'll probably need a Raspberry Pi 4 with 2GB of RAM to try it.
Ever since Scratch 3 was released this January, a team at the Raspberry Pi Foundation has been working with MIT to develop an offline, installable version for the Raspberry Pi.
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That offline version is now available, offering students and beginners an easy environment to begin coding with the language's visual 'code blocks', as well as paint and sound-editing tools.
Scratch 3 requires installing the latest version of Raspbian known as 'Buster', the latest version of Debian Linux that was released alongside the Raspberry Pi 4 in June.
Due to the memory requirements of Scratch 3, the Raspberry Pi Foundation is recommending it is installed on a Raspberry Pi 4 with at least 2GB of RAM. The 2GB model costs $45.
"While you can run Scratch 3 on a Raspberry Pi 2, 3, 3B+, or a Raspberry 4 with 1GB RAM, performance on these models is reduced, and depending on what other software you run at the same time, Scratch 3 may fail to start due to lack of memory," notes Raspberry Pi Foundation's Martin O'Hanlon.
The new Scratch 3 support for the Raspberry Pi comes just ahead of the first Scratch Conference Europe, a three-day event at Churchill College in Cambridge that kicks off on Friday, August 23.
There are also new extensions in Scratch 3 for Raspbian that allows users to create Scratch code to control the GPIO pins on the tiny computer as well as a Raspberry Pi add-on Sense HAT. This will let users control other devices from the Raspberry Pi.
The Simple Electronics extension offers a way to use buttons and LEDs connected to GPIO pins. Meanwhile, a new Sense HAT extension includes new code blocks that allow the HAT to sense tilting, shaking and orientation; use the joystick; measure temperature, air pressure, and humidity; and use the LED matrix to display text, characters, and patterns.
Raspberry Pi Foundation is also planning on creating software to enable extensions for micro:bit and LEGO devices with Scratch 3.
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