Raspbian Jessie PIXEL i386 for PC and MAC

this is the Christmas gift (?) of the Raspberry Pi Foundation: A Raspbian Jessie PIXEL version for i386, so running on PC and MAC!
Fit for an ordinosaures, this version will give a second life to PCs that were thought lost. Suffice it to 512 MB of memory to make it work. ( in my opinion it’s worth testing with 256 MB as 🙂).

this article is a translation of an article published on the blog of the Foundation .

the idea that led to the creation of the Foundation Raspberry Pi was that everyone should be able to use a programmable computer. The goal has always been that the Raspberry Pi should be a desktop computer complete with a price of €35. In support of this, and in addition to its hardware development efforts, the Foundation made substantial investments in the software part. These culminated with the launch of PIXEL in September 2016.

PIXEL represents, for the Foundation, what the majority of users are looking for in an office environment: a user interface clean and modern; A software suite of productivity and programming, both free and exclusive tools; And the Chromium Web browser with useful plugins, including Adobe Flash, pre-installed. And all this is built on Debian, providing instant access to thousands of free applications.

in other words, is the GNU / Linux that we want to use.

during the summer, a simple question arose: If we love so much PIXEL, why ask people to buy Raspberry Pi hardware to run it? There are a quantity of material PC and Mac installed everywhere, which may very well run the x 86 version of Debian. Could we do something for the owners of these machines?

then, after three months of hard work of Simon and Serge, the Foundation has a Christmas gift for us: an experimental version of Debian + PIXEL for x 86 platforms. Just download the image, burn it to a DVD or copy it to a USB key, to start directly in the usual desktop PIXEL environment on your PC or Mac. If not buy this month issue of MagPi magazine, on newsstands tomorrow, because this bootable DVD is stuck on the cover.

you will find all the usual applications, with the exception of Minecraft and Wolfram Mathematica (the Foundation does not license to put them on a machine that is not a Raspberry Pi). And as the venerable architecture i386 that is used, the distribution should work even on old like this ThinkPad X 40 machines, provided that they have at least 512 MB of RAM.

why it worth? The Foundation advances two reasons:

  • a school can now use PIXEL on its existing base of PC, just as a student can run PIXEL on my Raspberry Pi, at home. He (she) can come and go between my computer class – or club – and the House, using exactly the same software and the same programming tools, with exactly the same desktop environment. There is no learning curve, and not need to adapt her schoolwork to use two different operating systems.

  • bringing PIXEL on the PC and Mac the Foundation remains on its line. She wants not just to create the best desktop environment for the Raspberry Pi: she wants to create the best desktop environment, that’s it. They know that they are not yet there, but using PIXEL parallel with Windows, Mac OS and other GNU/Linux distributions, they can more easily see where the weaknesses are and work to solve them.


Remember that it is a prototype and not a final version. Due to the wide variety of PC and Mac hardware, there will probably be minor problems on some hardware configurations. If the Foundation decides that this is something on which she is committed to long term, it will do its best to address them. You can help in this sense by deferring your results in comments


download and burn it to a DVD or transfer on a USB key. In this case, it is recommended to use etch .

insert the DVD or USB into your PC or Mac, then turn it on. On a PC, you must generally enter the BIOS SETUP to enable booting from an optical drive or a USB key. It will also ensure that the optical drive or the USB is placed before all other disks in the boot order. On a Mac, you will need to hold down the C key during startup.

If you have done this correctly, you will be welcomed by a splash screen.

here you can press escape to access the start menu, or doing nothing to boot to the desktop.

small problem with some MAC

there is a problem with some modern MAC (not all): the machine is unable to identify the image as bootable. The Foundation will publish an updated image once the problem is resolved.


If you run the system from DVD, all the files that you create, any changes that you make to the system, will be of course lost when you turn off the machine. If you are using a USB key, the system will default all the available space on the device to create a partition of persistence. This allows the files to persist between sessions. The boot menu provides options to run the OS with or without persistence, or to clear any previously created persistence partition, allowing you to go back to a clean install at any time.


one of the great advantages of the Raspberry Pi is an environment with which you can have fun without fear of serious consequence: If you wreck your SD card, you can simply Flash another. This is not always true on PC or Mac. Remember to back up your system before you try this image.

the Foundation Raspberry Pi (and framboise314) accept no liability for loss of data or damage to a computer system when using the provided image.

PIXEL for PC and Mac


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