In September 2016, Raspberry Pi launched Pixel (Pi Improved Xwindows Environment, Lightweight) Pi’s new Debian based desktop environment. Later in December they released an experimental x86 version called Pixel OS ,so now you can install it on your PC, Mac, or laptop.
“Our vision in establishing the Raspberry Pi Foundation was that everyone should be able to afford their own programmable general-purpose computer”
– Eben Uptonen
Raspberry Pi Founder
Like many Linux distros, the OS runs smoothly on old hardware and is a great way to give a new life to that old Windows machine that you gave up on years ago. Specific to Pixel OS you’ll need at least 512 Megabytes of RAM, a requirement that any PC built in the last decade will easily clear.
- Programming environments for Python, Java, Scratch, Sonic Pi, Node-RED, and the Sense HAT emulator
- Chromium (Flash included) and Epiphany web browsers
- The LibreOffice office suite
- Many other tools and utilities
You won’t find the following in the x86 version of Pixel OS:
- Wolfram Mathematica
- raspi-config utility
SETTING UP PIXEL OS ON A PENDRIVE / SD CARD
Pixel OS has native support for persistence, which makes setting it up on a portable flash drive is relatively easy, no need for partitioning, just flashing your image.
- First, grab the official Pixel OS ISO here. (~1.3GB)
- Get your pendrive /SD card ready. Theoretically, anything above 2GB would do, though 4GB would be a more comfortable start as Pixel OS’ will use any space left as persistence.
- Flash your image using Etcher , officially recommended for writing Pixel OS on your flash drive.
Boot up your PC and select your Pixel OS flash drive from your boot screen and you’re good to go.
For those who are used to UNetbootin , you might be tempted to use it to flash your image. Well , I was . It’s small ~4.5MB package size compared to Etcher’s ~66MB got better of me while in a rush to download. But I also learned that the native persistence does not work when flashed with UNetbootin , so better stick to Etcher as recommended .
You can also run a live session of the OS without persistence by burning the image on a DVD and booting from it, or run Pixel OS in a Virtual Machine .