avatarby Dan BartramDecember 22, 20160 comments

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has released a lightweight OS for Windows and Mac that can revitalize your old PC.

The Linux-based Pixel OS was originally designed to only run on the Raspberry Pi so has a very low demand on resource. It comes with Chromium web browser and a suite of productivity and coding tools.

“We asked ourselves one simple question: If we like Pixel so much, why ask people to buy Raspberry Pi hardware in order to run it?”

The only requirement for the Raspberry Pi OS is you have at least 512MB of RAM. Founder Eben Upton said “because we’re using the venerable i386 architecture variant it should run even on vintage machines like my ThinkPad X40 (above)”.

Raspberry Pi lists its reason for creating PIXEL OS:

  • A school can now run PIXEL on its existing installed base of PCs, just as a student can run PIXEL on her Raspberry Pi at home. She can move back and forth between her computing class or after-school club and home, using exactly the same productivity software and programming tools, in exactly the same desktop environment. There is no learning curve, and no need to tweak her schoolwork to run on two subtly different operating systems.
  • And bringing PIXEL to the PC and Mac keeps us honest. We don’t just want to create the best desktop environment for the Raspberry Pi: we want to create the best desktop environment, period. We know we’re not there yet, but by running PIXEL alongside Windows, Mac OS, and the established desktop GNU/Linux distros, we can more easily see where our weak points are, and work to fix them.

To try it out, simply download the image, burn it either to a DVD or USB stick, then enable booting of those devices. You need not install anything and you’ll find the OS up and running in no time. You’ll get the option to run “with persistence” to enable changes to files so they’re in the same state for the next session.

Pixel OS is still in the experimental stage so expect the odd bug here and there. On his own modern Mac, Upton said, “the machine fails to identify the image as bootable”.

Ready to try it? Download the image, and either burn it to a DVD or write it to a USB stick. Raspberry Pi recommend Etcher as the tool of choice.

Have you tried out Pixel OS? Drop us a comment below and let us know what you think.

What’s Next?

5 Best macOS Sierra Features – Minor Upgrade, Welcome Additions

Best Mail Apps for Mac: macOS Sierra Edition

The ASUS ROG G701VI gaming laptop offers high VR performance

Best laptop processors – what should you look for?