The Raspberry Pi Foundation has released PIXEL on PC and Mac. PIXEL being the desktop environment that makes the Raspbian operating system look good. This means that anyone can enjoy the same experience even when switching from a Raspberry Pi to a PC or Mac.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation originally launched PIXEL in September 2016 in order to make the Raspbian operating system more aesthetically pleasing and more intuitive to use. PIXEL, for the uninitiated, stands for “Pi Improved Xwindows Environment, Lightweight”.
Eben Upton, the founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, states that PIXEL “represents our best guess as to what the majority of users are looking for in a desktop environment”.
To this end, it offers “a clean, modern user interface; a curated suite of productivity software and programming tools, both free and proprietary; and the Chromium web browser with useful plugins, including Adobe Flash, preinstalled.” It’s also all built on top of Debian, providing users with “access to thousands of free applications”.
Breathe New Life Into an Old Computer
PIXEL can be installed on any PC or Mac with an x86 processor and at least 512MB of RAM. PIXEL can be downloaded completely for free, and then burned onto either a DVD or USB stick. Due to licensing issues, the only elements regular Raspberry Pi users will find missing are Wolfram Mathematica and Minecraft. Even though Minecraft is now available on Apple TV.
Upton is quick to point out that “this is a prototype rather then a final release version”. Which means that “due to the wide variety of PC and Mac hardware out there, there are likely to be minor issues on some hardware configurations”.
We wouldn’t recommend installing PIXEL on your brand new PC or Mac. However, if you have an old computer lying around unused and unloved, the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s new Linux desktop environment could prove to be very useful in breathing new life into an old computer.
What do you think of Raspberry Pi, Raspbian, and PIXEL? Will you be installing PIXEL on one of your old computers? If so, please do let us know what you think of PIXEL as a desktop environment. If not, please let us know what’s putting you off trying PIXEL.