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Raspberry Pi adds Arch Linux to downloads

First version shifts "tens of thousands" of units

Early adopters of the now world-famous Raspberry Pi can now add Arch Linux to the Fedora Remix image announced for the low-cost computer on launch day, the project has announced.

The default setup for the Arch Linux port to the ARM architecture is designed to run from the command line without a GUI, but is being offered with instructions to load the resource-efficient Lightweight X11 desktop Environment (LXDE), the same GUI used by for the Debian Squeeze reference OS used during the Pi's development.

Anyone trying out Arch won't be painting themselves into a corner either.

"Arch Linux ARM is on a rolling-release cycle that can be updated daily through small packages instead of huge updates every few months," the Raspberry Pi update explained.

The Raspberry Pi looks as if it could be turning into the biggest UK-based computer launch since the days of Acorn in the 1980s, coincidentally powered by distant descendants of the ARM chips used in the Raspberry Pi.

Only days after going on sale, the Raspberry Pi has now taken orders for "tens of thousands" of units, with its creators estimating the market for the first incarnation in the low hundreds of thousands. The device will go back on sale once stocks have been replenished.

"I firmly believe that what you are seeing in the Raspberry Pi is the future [model] of computing, "said project engineer, Eben Upton. "In the future there will be lots of devices in the $50 range," he believed.

The organisation hopes to have enclosed the device within a case by the end of the summer, he said.

Perhaps the most extraordinary fact to emerge from week one of the Raspberry Pi is that the Project has made headlines across the computing world before it has even taken on its first full-time employee.

According to Upton, the Project would keep within the remit of hardware design, allowing interested third parties to produce software of promote the device inside schools as they saw fit.


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