TwisterOS is a Linux distribution made specifically for use with the Raspberry Pi single board computer. It’s based on Raspberry Pi OS and uses XFCE as it’s desktop environment. Some of the crowning features of TwisterOS include a theme switcher that includes 8 preconfigured themes to mimic the look and feel of other popular Operating systems. It has themes to achieve the look and feel of operating systems such as Windows 95 through to Windows 10 and some light and dark themes for macOS Catalina. TwisterOS also includes many applications and features to make running x86 applications and games on ARM based processors work without too much struggle. In the video below I flashed the TwisterOS image to an SD card and booted it up on my Raspberry Pi 400.
The first thing you’re greeted with on a fresh install is the TwisterOS welcome screen. This will guide you through setting your password, locale, keyboard layout and more. Here is where you will also interact with the theme switching for the first time. The themes do a decent job at mimicking the operating systems they are designed to but I preferred sticking with the default theme that it shipped with. Out of the box you’ll have a simple two panel solution using XFCE’s panelling system. With a traditional panel at the top then a small dock shaped panel at the bottom with some quick launching icons to a group of different applications.
As far as pre installed applications go you’ll find more than enough for most users to get up and running. Some of these applications include ;
- Chromium Media Edition (For playing DRM protected content)
During my time with TwisterOS I tested out a number of different applications including RetroPie. RetroPie launched without issue and automatically detected the wired XBOX pad I had plugged in via USB. After mapping the buttons for my controller I tested out the gameplay with a Nintendo 64 ROM of Goldeneye that ran absolutely fine on my Raspberry Pi 400. I even managed to play a round or two on Counter Strike 1.6 using Steam which ran a lot smoother than I expected the hardware would allow. I think pushing any further than older and retro games is where you’ll run into issues with performance.
Towards the end of my run through of TwisterOS I also tested out running some x86 Windows applications which was made easier due to the inclusion of WINE and Box86 out of the box. I tested out a few different applications and the only one that really gave me trouble launching was the 32bit version of iTunes however applications like Rufus worked without any additional tweaking necessary.
I was curios to see just how much RAM and system recourses TwisterOS would use at a fresh boot as they haven’t held much back from this powerful little OS. On a fresh boot I was using under 400MB of RAM ranging anywhere from 360-390MB, impressive! It was here where I also noticed it had created us a small swap partition of 100MB.
Overall I’m incredibly impressed with TwisterOS and everything they’ve managed to pack into it while still keeping relatively light on recourses. I like that they include different desktop layouts to make new users switching from other operating systems feel more at home. The default selection of packages is a decent mix though there may be parts where they could lose a few applications here and there without effecting the overall usability of this OS. If you would like to check out TwisterOS for yourself click here.
What do you think of TwisterOS ? Let me know in the comments below!