We had a great time at the Cambridge Raspberry Jam on Saturday (full report coming soon). We had 4 visitors from the Foundation and it was great to meet them.
One of the Foundation people, Gordon Hollingworth (their Head of Software), announced NOOBS, which is the New-Out-Of-Box-System.
NOOBS is a new initiative (based on BerryBoot) to help users get started with their Raspberry Pi. It’s essentially another ‘image’ that can be written to an 4GB+ SD card (and I’m sure SD cards with pre-installed images will be available) which contains the ability to install operating systems on-the-fly.
We were treated to a preview of a pre-release version of the software, which Gordon hopes will be available from the Foundation site within the next week or so.
You put the card in your Pi, turn it on with a keyboard plugged in and hold down the Shift key. It quickly (very quickly) boots into an interface that lets you choose from a list of operating systems. The system then goes through the process of taking the chosen OS (which is stored on a separate partition on the SD card) and installing it on the main part of the SD card.
This has a few benefits:
- Very easy first-install of an operating system for new users.
- Easy recovery of a workable environment if you corrupt the main part of your SD card (with the caveat that it will wipe your existing data).
- Ability to try out operating systems to find the one you like.
- Fast initial boot-up into something friendly.
It will be possible to manually add new images of operating systems to the card (although the process might be a bit fiddly to start with).
Alex Eames, at RasPi.TV recorded the announcement. You can see the video here.
You can see a video of a Maker Faire hangout with Eben Upton below. Towards the end of the video, he discusses NOOBS.