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The Raspberry Pi Foundation has Announced the Availability of a New Method for Installing an Operating System

 A new installer allows a Raspberry Pi 4 or Pi 400 to download and flash its own operating system on a microSD card that is blank.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has Announced the Availability of a New Method for Installing an Operating System
Image Credit - Raspberrypi.com

Raspberry Pi has unveiled a new way to install an operating system on its single-board computers: a menu-based network boot mechanism that doesn't require the use of a second computer to get started.

Raspberry Pi single-board computers are extremely popular because to their versatility and inexpensive cost, among other factors. The latter functionality, on the other hand, often requires the use of a second computer to write an operating system image to a microSD card — a situation that Raspberry Pi's Peter Harper refers to as "the classic chicken and egg conundrum."

Raspberry Pi claims it has overcome the problem with the beta release of a network installation system. "By downloading the Raspberry Pi Imager programme from the internet via an Ethernet wire, the new Network Install capability may be utilized to launch the Raspberry Pi Imager application directly on a Raspberry Pi 4, or a Raspberry Pi 400," Harper says.

"The Raspberry Pi Imager application, which runs in memory on your Raspberry Pi, may then be used to flash the operating system onto a blank SD Card or USB device in the same way as you would normally."

The network installer, which is presently only available over cable Ethernet rather than the Raspberry Pi's on-board Wi-Fi connection, lets the user to pick from a number of operating systems. After selecting an image, it is downloaded and flashed to the microSD card presently plugged into the Raspberry Pi, erasing any existing data.

Users must update to a beta version of the Raspberry Pi 4 and Pi 400 bootloader with the network installation feature on-board to take advantage of the feature. The idea is that after the network installer has gone through enough testing, it will be loaded into the bootloader at the factory, ultimately eliminating the chicken-and-egg conundrum.

The Raspberry Pi blog offers further information, including how to join the beta by changing your bootloader; the company has not yet disclosed plans to extend the same capabilities to previous Raspberry Pi models.

Credit: Gareth Halfacree

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