Meet The Lightweight PC And Mac OS You Probably Didn’t Know About

Pictured (and them stylized): The Raspberry Pi 400 kit

The wonderful world of Linux and open source never fails to surprise me. Even as immersed as I try to be, there’s always some new discovery around the corner. Case in point: I always assumed that Raspberry Pi OS was only intended for, you know, a Raspberry Pi. But recently I learned that the company makes a special version called Raspberry Pi Desktop, and you can install it on any traditional x86-based PC. Even an Apple Mac.

Raspberry Pi devices are built with low-power ARM processors and only 1GB to 4GB of RAM, and so the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s in-house operating system for the Single-Board Computers is lightweight. It’s designed to run smoothly on the entire Raspberry Pi lineup.

Most traditional PCs built within the last 15 years rock x86 CPUs from Intel and AMD. And as we know, most of those x86 computers run Windows while a smaller percentage run macOS.

Now, Windows 10 isn’t exactly lightweight. If you bought or built your PC during the Windows Vista or Windows 7 days, chances are high that it no longer meets the hardware requirements to adequately run Windows 10.


That’s where Linux typically saves the day, breathing new life into aging Macs and Windows PCs. And Rasbperry Pi OS is based on Linux (Debian to be exact).

You probably see where I’m going with this.

And that’s the exact selling point (don’t worry, it’s actually free) written on the Raspberry Pi Desktop for PC and Mac page:

“If you have an old computer that is no longer powerful enough to run a modern commercial operating system, try Debian with Raspberry Pi Desktop: it can often make the computer usable once more.”

All this time, I thought Raspberry Pi OS only shipped with an ARM version. I’ve got a 2011 Macbook that’s dying to try this.

I’ve covered the PC gaming and tech industry for more than a decade and am proud to be one of the first 30 podcasters in the world. In addition to covering the exciting