NOOBS takes the 'horror' out of setting up Raspberry Pi

A new tool sets up a partition on Raspberry Pi devices and prompts to install the operating system.

Setting up Raspberry Pi devices is getting simpler, thanks to a new software package for the low-cost Linux computers called NOOBS.

"We started this project with the premise that throwing people in at the deep end and making them jump hurdles, to mix my sporting metaphors, is a good way to get them to learn stuff. It is, but it can also put some people off, sometimes terminally. And we don’t want people to put their Raspberry Pi down in horror after five minutes. So with this in mind, we’d like to introduce you to NOOBS. NOOBS is a way to make setting up a Raspberry Pi for the first time much, much easier," the Raspberry Pi Foundation said on its blog.

NOOBS (which stands for new out of the box software) lowers the bar for would-be Raspberry Pi tinkerers, offering prompts that guide them through the operating system setup and which automatically sets up a recovery partition. 

Instead of downloading an operating system, extracting the file and flashing the image file to an SD card, NOOBS contains several OS options that users can select from a graphical interface. OS options include Raspbian, Pidora and two flavours of XBMC. 

NOOBS is currently available as a download that needs to be installed on to a 4GB minimum formatted SD card. However, SD cards with NOOBS already installed are expected to be on sale soon. 

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Upon booting up the Pi device from an SD card that has NOOBS installed, a menu prompts the user to install an OS, such as the regular Raspbian.

NOOBS also creates a recovery partition, which can be accessed by holding Shift when the Pi boots. This lets users switch operating systems, or reinstall the OS if the card is corrupted. It also contains tools to edit the configuration file and a web browser.

Instructions for setting up Pi devices with NOOBS can be found here.