Raspberry Pi Brings Pixel Interface to Mac, PC

If you're interested in trying out Raspberry Pi Pixel on your Mac or PC, now's your chance. The Raspberry Pi Foundation says it's making an experimental version of its Pixel software available for x86 platforms like Windows and macOS.

Back in September, Raspberry Pi unveiled Pixel (which stands for Pi Improved Xwindows Environment, Lightweight) as a response to desktop operating systems. The foundation said at the time that it believed Pixel would deliver everything users actually wanted in a desktop operating system, including a better design and "curated suite" of tools and software. Built atop Linux Debian, the Raspberry Pi Foundation touts Pixel as the "GNU/Linux we would want to use."

The initial plan was for Pixel to run on Raspberry Pi, leaving those who aren't running the platform out of luck. That's changing with today's release of this experimental version of the software, called Debian + Pixel. The software is a full (but not yet final) version of Pixel that you can run in your Windows or macOS machine, providing the full experience of using Raspberry Pi's creation. And since it's a lightweight platform, Pixel should be able to run on legacy devices that have at least 512MB of RAM.

"Remember that this is a prototype rather then a final release version," Raspberry Pi said in a statement. "Due to the wide variety of PC and Mac hardware out there, there are likely to be minor issues on some hardware configurations. If we decide that this is something we want to commit to in the long run, we will do our best to address these as they come up."

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While Pixel likely won't get massive uptick in users, the folks behind Raspberry Pi argue that it might be suitable for a school, where students can go from their computer's built-in operating system to Pixel. Raspberry Pi Foundation added that it also keeps the organization on its toes and looking at innovation.

"Bringing Pixelto the PC and Mac keeps us honest," Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton wrote in a blog post announcing Pixel for PC and Mac. "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 out Pixel, click here to download the image and either burn it to a DVD or write it to a USB stick. You can then insert the image into your computer and boot from it. Follow the prompts and you should be all set. But as the Raspberry Pi folks point out, beware of possible glitches.