The Raspberry Pi Foundation just released an updated version of their namesake OS system called PIXEL, which was refined for use on their Raspberry Pi devices (Raspberry Pi 3, the most recent model) by bringing in an updated desktop environment. The Raspberry Pi PIXEL (Pi Improved Xwindows Environment, Lightweight) OS is based on a customized version of Linux which means it smoothly runs on a number of older devices without issue.
With the new update, you can test the PIXEL OS on either PCs, MACs or even old laptops through the use of the ISO which you can download from the link the in the Learn More section below. You can create a Live Disk using the PIXEL ISO which basically means you run the PIXEL OS directly from a CD or USB, without messing up your current operating system or normal files. When you are finished with the PIXEL OS, remove the Live CD/USB and reboot your computer. Everything will be back to normal, no harm done. And don’t worry, if you are a fan of using virtual machines, you can install PIXEL OS on a virtual machine and tinker with that. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has a tutorial to install the OS
Here is what you get from software-wise when you start up the PIXEL OS:
- Programming environments for Python, Java, and a few others.
- LibreOffice – A free Open Source version of Microsoft Office.
- Chromium web browser – YouTube works. Google Apps work as well.
- Other tools and utilities with the capabilities of adding more Linux-based software if needed.
I have 5 reasons why the PIXEL OS should matter to tech (and curious) people:
- Turns an old computer into a modern internet device easily. Most people only use Facebook, YouTube and Google on the Internet anyway. Get a virus? Create a new Live USB!
- Provides an avenue for children to get comfortable with computers without worrying about lasting damage to system files or important data. This is a really handy feature in an education environment.
- If you are trying to learn to code, this is a quick way to get the necessary programs up and running quickly, wherever you are.
- With the Chromium web browser, you can still use most web apps and programs (and possibly online classes) that you are used to. You can access Khan Academy, Google Drive, and Code Academy the same way as you do from your Macbook or PC without missing a beat. With a lot of software becoming web-based, the computing platform you work from becomes slightly less relevant.
- Speed. There are no additional programs or “bloat” in the PIXEL OS. Boot it up and go. If you mess up, boot it up again and start over. No love lost.
The Raspberry PIXEL OS can solve a lot of problems if you are willing to think outside of the box. Even having a Live USB handy is useful for when those times you need a way to copy files off a dying Windows hard drive. Trust me, I’ve been there.