As I have mentioned I am a huge fan of the Raspberry Pi. I have owned every iteration including the latest 3 B+ and found that they are great microcomputers. I have always like the Raspbian OS as well which is a fork of Debian. Of courses I tend to use Debian based Linux more than others (huge Linux Mint and Ubuntu fan) so that added to my liking Raspbian. At any rate last year Raspberry Pi Foundation released a version of Raspbian called the Raspberry Pi Desktop geared towards non-Pi systems. I had been meaning to getting around to installing it one a couple older systems but never got around to it until tonight. I have a number of lower end PCs that I use for testing and a lower end i3 laptop that I usually use for pen-testing via Kali-Linux that I figured would be great test beds for the Raspberry Pi Desktop OS.
So far I have only installed it on the i3 powered laptop. The installation was straight forward as is most Debian based distributions. As I have been using Arch lately it is always nice to return to Debian based distributions. At any rate just like the Raspbian installs, the Pi Desktop OS install was very quick and non complicated. Needless to say if you have messed with Raspbian you know that the OS is a very light install. It has basics like Python and related IDE, LibreOffice and a few other light weight apps, plenty for basic computing (and of course you can apt-get anything else you need). Great for a low end PC, similar to other Debian based distros like Lubuntu or SparkyLinux.
I haven’t came across any hardware issues so far on this HP laptop, this hasn’t been the case for most other Linux installs on it. The primary issue I have had on this machine has been the WIFI NIC. But not with Pi Desktop, the WIFI works fine, aside from the fact that the antenna is horrible (but of course that isn’t OS related). Pi Desktop OS boots as fast as any distro I have had on this particular machine, even other lightweight distributions. So far it is certainly the best OS I have had on this machine. Next I plan on installing it on a decade old iMac (1st gen Intel) and a Mac Mini. Both of those machines work (ok) with Mint and Ubuntu respectively however would benefit quite well from the much lighter Pi Desktop.
Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t want to replace Mint on my primary machines but for lower spec machines Pi Desktop I think will be my go to for a bit. It helps that I have a number of Raspberry Pis so I am right at home using it. Even if you aren’t a Raspberry Pi microcomputer user it is still more than worthwhile to install on older desktops and laptops, or even just create a LiveCD/USB to Live boot and play with.