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Raspberry Pi Operating System Can Now be Used with Other Hardware

Dec. 23, 2016
The operating system, called Pixel, has been reworked to run on Apple machines and other personal computers. It aims to make the Raspberry Pi's software as accessible as its hardware.

Eben Upton, the founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, has said that the purpose of making its $35 computer boards was so that everyone, even schools, could afford them. Now, he has a goal of making the Raspberry Pi’s operating system similarly accessible.

Upton announced in a Wednesday blog post that the operating system, called Pixel and originally developed for the 10 million Raspberry Pi’s sold over the last five years, had been reworked to run on Macs and other personal computers.

The release gives people access to “the same productivity software and programming tools, in exactly the same desktop environment,” without using Raspberry Pi hardware, Upton said. The blog post has instructions on how to download the new software.

Pixel was first released in September and overhauled the main desktop interface, which is known as Raspbian, for developers working on Raspberry Pi devices. It is based on a version of Linux software optimized for the Raspberry Pi, which in February entered its third generation.

Upton said that the new operating system was built in the same spirit as the Raspberry Pi itself, which was first released in 2012 as an educational tool for computer programming. “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,” Upton said.

“She can move back and forth between her computing class or after-school club and home,” he added. “There is no learning curve.”

Upton admitted that the software was experimental. He warned that that minor bugs could appear as a result of the wide range of hardware configurations for personal computers. But he said that Raspberry Pi’s developers would continue working out kinks in the new version of Pixel.

About the Author

James Morra | Senior Staff Editor

James Morra is a senior staff editor for Electronic Design, where he covers the semiconductor industry and new technology trends. He also reports on the business behind electrical engineering, including the electronics supply chain. He joined Electronic Design in 2015 and is based in Austin, Texas.

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