I just thought you might be interested in the results of my tests of
the Raspberry Pi computer for DHIS.
It works great!
I used the current recommended software (Raspbian Wheezy) and
installed the Chrome browser (apt-get install chromium-browser).
I used the DHIS2.org Demo site (Sierra Leone data).
The site loads quickly, data entry and validation are fast. Reports
run well and are displayed properly.
I also tested offline data entry which works great. I disconnected
the network and it went into offline mode; I entered some data then
reconnected the network; it then told me I was back online and there
was data to upload. I clicked upload and all was good.
In a way, this doesn't surprise me since DHIS is designed to do most
of the work on the server and has very lightweight requirements for
the browser, client computer and network. Good to see that this all
works very well in practice.
The Raspberry Pi is a small (credit card sized) computer based on a
Broadcom ARM chip. It's similar to most tablets and smartphones. It
costs just $35.00. You need to add a keyboard and mouse plus a
monitor (HDMI or composite video). It uses an SD card for program and
data storage (you can also add USB memory).
This would make an ideal low cost computer for data entry. It has
very low power requirements (about 3 watts).
Since it's Linux, you don't have to worry about malware. This is a
great dedicated data entry terminal.
The supply of these has been tight since they were released earlier
this year but supply seems to have caught up with demand recently and
they are available from distributors.
See their web site for more information: www.raspberrypi.org
This computer works great for DHIS but is slow with complex web sites
(gmail does work but is very slow).
It does do a good job with video since it has a nice graphics processor.
Anyway, nice to see there is a good inexpensive option for running DHIS!
Mark Spohr, MD
+1 530 554 2230