Run Raspberry Pi’s PIXEL Desktop on a PC or Mac – an Exton modified Build 180316 with Refracta Tools

NEWS 180316 about Raspberry Pi Debian Pixel – 32bit – an Exton Build
My second Debian Pixel Build from is from 170425 . My third build is from 180316. Study all included packages – latest by 180316. I’ve added NetworkManager and also Wicd, which makes it easier to configure wireless connections. Choose the one which works for you.

Most important changes in Build 180316
This build replaces version 161223 and 170425. I’ve upgraded Raspbian/Debian from Jessie to Stretch – Debian stable. I’ve also upgraded the kernel from 3.16.0-4-686-pae to 4.9.0-9-686-pae.
I’ve also included kernel 4.9.0-9-686, which shall be used on older computers. PAE (Physical Address Extension) increases the physical memory addressable by the system from 4 GB to 64 GB. Firefox have been installed so you’ll have a browser when logged in as root. You can’t run Chromium as root. Another good thing about Firefox is that you can use it to watch Netflix movies.


On December 22, 2016 I read that the Raspberry Pi Foundation had announced the release of a new PIXEL image that can be booted on a PC or Mac. Study this site. I saw immediately that there was no installer included, which I thought was a little disappointing. Come to think of Refracta tools, which work very well in Debian and Ubuntu. I quickly made a “remix” of the Raspberry Pi Foundation PIXEL image. My remix thus include Refracta tools. This means that you can easily install the system to hard drive and you can just as easily make your own remix of the Raspberry Pi Foundation PIXEL image. I’ve added a few packages. Most important Synaptic, which I find essential.

About the PIXEL Desktop
Raspbian had its biggest update ever in September, 2016, thanks to a dazzling new desktop environment called PIXEL. Raspbian with PIXEL (which stands for “Pi Improved Xwindow Environment, Lightweight”) is a huge software update to the desktop environment. It introduces a crisp new interface, and is brimming with new programs and features.

VirtualBox and VMware
My build/image works very well in VirtualBox and VMware. I.e. you can run the system directly from the ISO file and also install it to a virtual hard drive. You can of course also make your own Raspbian/Debian system with the the PIXEL Desktop using Refracta Snapshot (pre-installed).

Kernel 4.9.0-9-686-pae is used in Build 180316. PAE (Physical Address Extension) increases the physical memory addressable by the system from 4 GB to 64 GB. If you want to run the system (which is 32bit) on older computers you shall use kernel 4.9.0-9-686, which also is included.

Login and passwords
Log in to the PIXEL Desktop as the ordinary user pi or as root. The passwords are raspberrypi respectively root. When logged in as pi you can use Sudo to become root. (Command: sudo su). When running Debian Pixel live (from a DVD or a USB stick) you’ll end up (after the boot process) logged in automatically as the user pi in X (PIXEL Desktop).

Runs from RAM
Another great thing is that this build can run from RAM. Use Boot alternative 3 (load to RAM). When the system has booted up you can remove the disc (DVD) or the USB stick. You’ll need at least 2 GB RAM to run the system that way. I.e. superfast!

You may want to install Spotify. Just go ahead. It’s very easy. When running my PIXEL image live or from hard drive you can just install Spotify with the command sudo apt-get install spotify-client. Watch a screenshot when Spotify is running.

Important about Refracta
You can use the Refracta tools (pre-installed) to create your own installable Debian PIXEL system once you have installed my build to hard drive. I mean change everything and then create a whole new Debian live system. Start Refracta from Menu >> System tools >> Refracta snapshot. You don’t even have to install my build to hard drive before you can use the Refracta tools. If you have plenty of RAM you can create a new (your own!) Debian PIXEL system while running my build from DVD or a USB stick. Please note that the whole Refracta process (creating your new ISO file) will only take 20 – 60 min! Please edit the configuration file /etc/refractasnapshot.conf first. Change line 45 and 46. I.e. decide where you want the ISO file to be build. The whole thing is very simple. NOTE: You can also do everything in VirtualBox or VMware. Use FileZilla (pre-installed) to transfer your new ISO file to your server.

Install to Debian PIXEL hard drive
Just start Refracta Installer from Menu >> System tools >> Refracta Installer and follow the instructions. Very simple.

Install Debian PIXEL to a USB stick
You can use Rufus in Windows. Persistence can’t be enabled though. You can also use UNetbootin in Windows or Linux. The best way to do it is to burn Debian PIXEL to a DVD, start up the system from the DVD and then use Refracta Installer for the installation.  Choose to install Grub in MBR on /dev/sdb. (Normally your USB stick, but check it carefully!) I.e. you will get a chance to choose between /dev/sda and /dev/sdb. This method will (of course) give you perfect persistence.

Watch the slideshow below showing the Refracta installation process in Debian PIXEL.

Screenshot 1 – Spotify running
Screenshot 2 – Samba running (reach your Windows computers in your network)
Screenshot 3 – Refracta Snapshot has started
Screenshot 4 – Refracta Installer has started in VMware
Screenshot 5 – Wireless connection with NetworkManager and Wicd (installed in Build 170425 and 180316)
Wifi connection using NetworkManager – in detail

My Debian Raspberry Pi PIXEL build 180316 for free from Fast, secure and free downloads from the largest Open Source applications and software directory.

The ISO file can also be downloaded from the Swedish Linux Society.
md5sum for debian-pixel-32bit-pae-exton-build-1470mb-180316.iso
Raspberry Pi is a trademark of Raspberry Pi Foundation

Read about my Android-x86 Systems – Oreo, Nougat, Marshmallow, Lollipop and KitKat at – latest is AndEX Oreo 8.1!

and about my Nougat, Marshmallow and Lollipop versions for Raspberry Pi 3/2 at – latest is RaspAnd Nougat 7.1.2!

3 thoughts on “Run Raspberry Pi’s PIXEL Desktop on a PC or Mac – an Exton modified Build 180316 with Refracta Tools”

  1. Softpedia 180315: Developer Arne Exton announced today the release of the third iteration of its Raspbian PIXEL remix rebased on the Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” operating system and synced with the upstream changes.

    “Raspbian PIXEL for PC and Mac is a Debian-based operating system created by the Raspberry Pi Foundation for those who want to run the de facto standard Raspberry Pi OS on their personal computers too. Arne Exton did a remix of Raspbian PIXEL a few years ago to include the Refracta tools.

    With the Refracta tools installed by default, users were able to easily install the operating system on their PCs or Macs, as well as to make their own remix of Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Raspbian PIXEL OS. Today’s update brings the latest software versions and rebases the OS on the latest Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” series.”


    1. Hi Exton,
      I have been closely following your excellent development work on Build 170425 and made it working on first my bootable USB stick s then on my bootable USB external HD. Thanks again for your helps on many of my problems in the past.
      To enable my wifi connection point forwarding working with my Frontier (my PIS) router, I need to set up static wifi ip address in my LAN. I tried NetworkManager (both from GUI and nmcli tool) and Wicd, but none of them worked. Your new sreensshot 5 and Wifi connection seemed to only reflect to hdcp settings. I would really appreciate it if you can enlighten our ordinary users on static ip addresses.
      Thank you very much !!! -DC Gao

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