The Raspberry Pi Pico Can’t Run Linux. But It Can Run Fuzix.

The great divide in terms of single board computers lies between those that can run some form of Linux-based distribution, and those that can not. For example the Raspberry Pi Zero is a Linux board, while the Raspberry Pi Pico’s RP2040 processor lacks the required hardware to run everybody’s favourite UNIX-like operating system. That’s not to say the new board from Cambridge can’t run any UNIX-like operating system though, as [David Given] shows us with his Fuzix port.

Fuzix is a UNIX-like operating system for less capable processors, more in the spirit of those original UNIXes than of a modern Linux-based distribution. It’s the work of the respected former Linux kernel developer and maintainer [Alan Cox], and consists of a kernel, a C compiler, and a set of core UNIX-like applications.

The RP2040 port maybe needs a little more work to be considered stable. For now, the multitasking support isn’t quite there and NAND flash support is broken, but it does have SD card support for a proper UNIX filesystem and the full set of core tools. Perhaps most interestingly, it only occupies a single core of the dual-core chip, leaving the possibility of the other core and those PIOs to be used for other purposes.

Fuzix has made the occasional appearance here over the years, but perhaps not as often as it should. If you’d like to learn a little more about the genesis of UNIX, we took a look in 2019.

Header: Michiel Henzler (CC BY-SA 4.0).