The cheap Linux-based computer for schools, Raspberry Pi, looks to be getting closer to reality with the news that the foundation behind it has ordered sufficient parts to make the first 10,000 units.

The Foundation reacted to premature reports that it had produced 10,000 completed Raspberry Pi computers by making clear that what had been ordered were “parts kits,” not complete devices.

As they would lack an OS or any of the other software, these would be most suitable for programmers or developers rather than the general public or schools, but would be offered to anyone, the Foundation said.

“In short, those first units will emphatically not be sold to programmers only. If you want one, and you click on the buy button in time, you can have one; they’re being sold on a first-come, first-served basis,” a blog note on the Rapsberry Pi Foundation’s website stated.

Announced in January, the Raspberry Pi is designed to be a TV-centric $25 computer for schools based on a 700Mhz ARM11 chip, with 128MB of SDRAM, USB 2.0 SD card and Ethernet support, running Ubuntu Linux, Iceweasal, KOffice and Python.

Plugging into a TV set via an HDMI port, a $35 version with more memory will also be available, which the Foundation expects to be the most popular model.

The genesis of the Raspberry Pi was the despair felt by British games guru David Braben about the poor state of IT teaching in the country’s schools. What he and his collaborators agreed was needed was an incredibly cheap, simple device running free or open source software that could spread basic computing skills beyond the highly-motivated and affluent.

Last week the Raspberry Pi won a ‘best in show’ award for its hardware design at the ARM TechCon conference. The Foundation believes it will be able to offer the device from its website in December.