Resuscitate your old PC or Mac with Raspberry Pi's new x86-based Pixel OS

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

The Raspberry Pi Foundation earlier this year updated and subsequently released a refreshed version of Raspbian, its open-source operating system designed specifically to run on the foundation’s line of popular micro computers.

It also got a new name, Pixel, which stands for Pi Improved Xwindows Environment, Lightweight.

Now, the Linux-based OS is ready for action on the big stage.

Raspberry Pi founder Ebon Upton in a recent blog post said Pixel represents their best guess as to what the majority of users are looking for in a desktop environment. Simply put, he said, it’s the GNU / Linux they would want to use which ultimately led to one question: if they like Pixel so much, why ask people to buy Raspberry Pi hardware in order to run it?

Indeed, there’s an army of older PC and Mac hardware in the wild that is perfectly capable of running Debian which spurred the creation of a version of Pixel for x86 platforms. So long as your machine has at least 512MB or RAM, it should be capable of running Pixel. Best yet, it’s absolutely free of charge.

To give it a shot, simply download the image and either load it onto a USB flash drive or burn it to DVD. Upton says users will find all of the applications they’re accustomed to seeing with the exception of Minecraft and Wolfram Mathematica (they don’t have licenses to put those on non-Raspberry Pi hardware).

Given its experimental state and the wide variety of hardware configurations out there, don’t be surprised if you run into a few hiccups along the way. Should the foundation decide it’s something they want to commit to over the long haul, Upton said they’ll work to hammer out bugs as they come up.

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Kibaruk

TechSpot Paladin
If they make a live distro you could run out of a memory stick or card, it would be even better.

The only problem with these are the "hicups" as they call them, it's ok I get it, but if I want to use a distro -or a computer for what matters- I do not want hicups or issues.
 

Igrecman

TS Maniac
That's good for people looking for a lightweight Debian distro. Otherwise, Lubuntu or Xubuntu might be a better choice.
 

IAMTHESTIG

TS Evangelist
Ehh I'm bored of Linux.... so many distros out there and this is just another one in the end. Someone needs to design a new OS from the ground up, GUI and all. Sure there is MacOS, which frankly is just a closed source Unix based distro as far as I'm concerned. And then Windows, but Microsoft is going a crappy direction if you ask me.

I know it is not a simple task, but I think it needs to be done. Imagine the possibilities...
 

IAMTHESTIG

TS Evangelist
hate to tell you, but EVERY OS is boring (and should be). IMO, you're looking for another GUI front-end.
That is probably more accurate... but starting over with modern computing architectures in mind I'm sure would yield some pretty incredible response. Or perhaps not, I don't have any knowledge on the subject... just wishes.
 

IAMTHESTIG

TS Evangelist
Was this meant for me? If so I've already used most major distributions within the last couple of years and currently have three favorites installed and MacOS. No matter what though for any advanced "power user" customizations every distribution requires terminal use. That isn't necessarily bad but I feel it defeats the purpose a GUI in the long run. MacOS is probably the best at not needing it, to a similar level that Windows provides but it isn't even close to hire flexible Windows is. However I still feel an more complete OS GUI can be done. No one seems to have any interest in trying though. There is no true full scale innovation in this area. This is just a hope, something I would like to see....
 

jobeard

TS Ambassador
Hmm; I've worked on Mac, Win, Lunix, 5 flavors of Unix and the Big Blue mainframe and can tell you the GUI is more challenging than most other things. Tell us your feelings on the touch Smartphone GUI and your experience at creating a user interface.
 

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
Is this an alternative to Chrome OS or something more?
It's an alternative to Linux, which is in turn, an alternative to another distro of Linux, which is an alternative to,......yadda, to yadda, to yadda, you get the picture.

hate to tell you, but EVERY OS is boring (and should be). IMO, you're looking for another GUI front-end.
Oh, I don't know. I think M$ really hit their stride with Windows 7's "Aero". I got bored the other night and scoured the web for "fantasy landscape" type wallpapers. so far I've up-rezzed, color corrected, and basically optimized about 50 of them for background slide show use.

Given that I'm into imaging more than any other use of my computer, and well into my second childhood, Win 7's GUI doesn't bore me in the least.

I've also started to work on a background slide show for my vertical monitor, which will most likely feature Japanese race queens, and the finest erotic/art models the Ukraine has to offer. (With of course, a big nod to the Russian girls as well).

So I amuse easily, what of it? :p.

I thought this was a good start on a desktop background



It needs blacker blacks, a healthy dose of midnight blue color shift, a bit of flesh tone in her legs, a touch more contrast, and last but not least, more red in the apple.

Silly, I know. I'm sure Windows 8's touch toy blocks were a much better idea than this, just ask Steve Ballmer. I know, you're thinking, Steve who? :D
 
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jobeard

TS Ambassador
GUYS; the OS IS boring and totally invisible as it has no GUI whatsoever - - remember using the CMD LINE???
If you're showing a picture then you're in the upper layer called a Graphical User Interface. Best wishes :)
 

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
GUYS; the OS IS boring and totally invisible as it has no GUI whatsoever - - remember using the CMD LINE???
If you're showing a picture then you're in the upper layer called a Graphical User Interface. Best wishes :)
Well JB, I'm completely aware what the "gooey" is. In fact, I remember monochrome monitors in either green or yellow(?) lettering. (I know I remember green, but I am prone to flights of fancy).

I also looked up command lines for Windows a couple of times. I remember, "ipconfig_flushdns", and maybe 1or 2 others, at most. I think it goes like this..., BIOS, abstraction layer, OS, GUI. The GUI is why M$ is so hot to include, "Visual C++ redistributable", right inside Windows.

As a reality check, I'm pretty sure nobody running around with a smartphone realizes or cares that the basic OS is separate from the GUI. Which pretty much makes a GUI indispensable in 2016, and choice of equipment is somewhat dependent on whether or not, you like the OS's "looks".

Since all of the Linux distros in your link focused on what type of "desktop" (GUI), the distro displayed, I'm pretty sure part of the reason for a low adoption rate of Linux, is the command line BS like the, "sudo apt get" nonsense which still accompanies it. :D

You didn't like my demon girl? Just for laughs I've nicknamed her, "Cortana".;) (That's because I tend to equate Windows 10 with a "poison apple").

EDIT: Linux is around and "invisible" in many places. For example, a lightweight version powers my surveillance DVR, with just simple text box check off function selections.

I'm sure you're aware of this, I just thought I'd add it to the general information about OSes in the thread.
 
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jobeard

TS Ambassador
Well JB, I'm completely aware what the "gooey" is. In fact, I remember monochrome monitors in either green or yellow(?) lettering. (I know I remember green, but I am prone to flights of fancy)..
I'm sure YOU KNOW, but imo, clearly some do not, remember there are other readers of our postings :sigh: