The Raspberry Pi Foundation yesterday announced the availability of RISC OS for the tiny computer. RISC OS dates to 1987, having been developed for ARM-based personal computers by the now-defunct Acorn Computers.

Acorn helped start the ARM Holdings company which today dominates the market for mobile phone and tablet chip designs. Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton wrote that he’s excited about bringing RISC OS to the Raspberry Pi in part because “its origins can be traced back to the original team that developed the ARM microprocessor.” Although it’s not Linux, RISC OS is being made available for free to Raspberry Pi users on the official download page, alongside distributions of Debian and Arch Linux designed for the Pi.

RISC OS is owned by a company called Castle Technology and the code is maintained on a mostly volunteer basis by a group called RISC OS Open Limited, which is selling SD cards preloaded with the OS and ready for the Pi. So why use RISC OS on the Raspberry Pi? A post in the Raspberry Pi forums explains that the operating system is well-suited to the hardware because it is so lightweight.

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via Ars Technica » Technology Lab