Got my first chance to work with the Raspberri Pi. The process is relatively painless and involves downloading an iso image for the os and transferring it to the sd card using an application provided for this purpose. This makes the SD card bootable.
Finally attaching network card – hdmi video – keyboard and mouse with the sd card in situ – its time to power on the device. Boot is rapid and output is informative – and obviously familiar to anyone who has booted debian. The first boot carries out some O/S configuration and strangely (but mentioned in notes) hangs on shutdown. As noted it is okay to power off and on and the unit boots and shuts down successfully.
Once started the Pi picks up a dhcp address and in my case has internet access immediately.
More once I have a chance to test out loading some packages.