PIXEL: Raspberry Pi’s desktop environment for PC and Mac released

Raspberry Pi’s PIXEL desktop environment (DE) is now available for PC and Mac. The latest update brings PIXEL to all x86 machines. Previously, the Raspberry Pi team said that this is their best guess as to what the majority of users are looking for in a desktop environment: “a clean, modern user interface, a curated suite of productivity software and programming tools, both free and proprietary.”

PIXEL desktop environment is built on top of Debian. It’s lightweight so that it runs well on Pi machines which are limited by their low spec hardware. To run Debian+PIXEL you need to download the ISO file and boot into your computer. The Raspberry Pi team provided two reasons why they are making this ISO file available.

  • A school can now run PIXEL on its existing installed base of PCs, just as a student can run PIXEL on her Raspberry Pi at home. She can move back and forth between her computing class or after-school club and home, using exactly the same productivity software and programming tools, in exactly the same desktop environment. There is no learning curve, and no need to tweak her schoolwork to run on two subtly different operating systems.
  • And bringing PIXEL to the PC and Mac keeps us honest. 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.

Currently, PIXEL for PC and Mac is a prototype version, so you should expect things to go a bit funky from time to time, given the enormous amount of hardware out there.