The inexpensive Raspberry Pi computer is incredibly versatile. So far we've seen it turned into an XBMC media centre, a PC in a keyboard and a DSLR camera accessory. Now there are free tutorials from Cambridge University teach us fundamental computer science principles and how to program the Pi.
The series of tutorials currently includes a very basic setup guide, how to connect a temperature sensor to the Pi and add a logging program, how to build a Turing machine using a Pi, and how to develop a basic operating system for the Pi.
Previous programming experience isn't required, but having some would definitely make it easier, according to the Raspberry Pi Foundation's blog post. Still, "if you are smart and persistent", you can learn a lot from the tutorials, particularly the OS-building one:
This is as much a course on bare-metal programming as it is on OS building. It's not easy, and it's not meant to be; we expect you to find this course challenging — and you should find you come out of it with a great deal of skill and knowledge that you didn't have before.
The OS building course shows you how to manipulate the board's LEDs, generate text and random numbers, and eventually build your own command line interface.
More tutorials and projects will be added in the future, so check back with the site to continue on your programming and Pi-hacking path.
Computer Lab Raspberry Pi Tutorials [University of Cambridge]