Revive Your Old PC Raspberry Pi-Style With PIXEL

You might have heard about PIXEL, the new Raspberry Pi desktop environment, that comes as part of the Raspbian Jessie operating system. Basically it offers a slick, new user interface to the low-spec hobbyist mini-computer, and the results are stunning.

Given the spec of the Raspberry Pi (we’re talking ARM processors without much RAM and no hard disk drive) it would be rather great if this OS could be ported to Intel and AMD 32-bit and 64-bit processors, to pump some new life into older PCs, wouldn’t it?

Well, as fortune would have it, this is exactly what has happened. The Raspberry Pi team has released a version of PIXEL for x86 and x64 computers, which means that there is a good chance that your old, low spec PC or laptop could be persuaded to run, and run well.


Clean and Modern

The Raspberry Pi Foundation was formed with a vision that “everyone should be able to afford their own programmable general-purpose computer.” The provision of this operating system for free beyond the confines of the $35 Raspberry Pi computer, proves just how much faith the developers have in it.

Delivering a clean and modern — not to mention quick — user experience, PIXEL isn’t just a great way to revive some old hardware: it’s pleasing, too.

PIXEL has various benefits beyond a usable user interface too. If you’re already using a Raspberry Pi(for projects at home, school, or your local maker space) then time wasted tweaking things, perhaps running a virtualized environment at home and so on, is eliminated. The learning curve has gone, and you have a continuation of your project between the two devices. You can load up your scripts with the same software, as PIXEL for x32/x64 devices features all of the same utilities and programming tools as the Raspberry Pi version (with the exception of Minecraft and Wolfram Mathematica.)

What Old PCs Will PIXEL Run On?

It isn’t just any old PCs that PIXEL will run on. At the same time, it probably isn’t all. Your mileage may vary, but in short, if your computer will run Debian, then it should run PIXEL.

That doesn’t just mean standard PCs and laptops — if you have a netbook, for instance, you should gain considerable mileage from running a low-footprint operating system and its desktop environment. We recently looked at how five lightweight Linux distros could be installed on an old netbook, and PIXEL offers the same advantages.