The Raspberry Pi Foundation has released an experimental version of its Linux-based Pixel operating system for Windows and Mac PCs. It’s part of the foundation’s intention that the Raspberry Pi should be a full-featured desktop computer with a $35 price tag. Pixel was originally designed to run only on the Raspberry Pi board. It now features the Chromium web browser as well as a set of productivity and coding software.
Pixel has been developed on top of Debian and it’s light enough to be used on most old PCs as long as they have 512MB of RAM. “Because we’re using the venerable i386 architecture variant it should run even on vintage machines like my ThinkPad X40 (above),” writes founder Eben Upton in a post on the foundation’s blog.
Those who want to take the experimental OS for a spin are advised by Upton to back up their PCs if they have important data on it. Once the OS image has been downloaded, prospective users can either burn it on a DVD or a bootable USB drive. That’s all they need to do to get the OS up and running on an old PC.
If the OS is booted from a USB drive users will get the option to run “with persistence,” which means that any changes made or files added will be around for the next session. If this feature is not used, users get a fresh start with every session.
Upton does point out several times that Pixel OS is still in experimental stage at this point in time so it may not work on all machines. More updates will be released down the road to further improve the OS for PC and Mac.