The Raspberry Pi is an inexpensive mini-computing platform that is designed to enable computing for everyone. The board is very scalable from a programming powerhouse to a multimedia workhouse using XBMC software. Although usually sold with a operating system called Raspi, the board can be purchased as a standalone unit where the user supplies their own operating system. The Raspberry Pi is an open source platform which means that many operating systems are supported on the board. This is where the new NOOBS software comes in.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has produced a quick zip file that contains 6 different Operating System options. This file will run when you first power on your Raspberry Pi system. You can choose from several different options to pick the best operating system. The best thing about the NOOBS file is that you don't need to know any programming. You can take a formatted SD card and unzip this file to the card. When you power on the Raspberry Pi, you will be presented with a menu option to select the operating system you need.
The NOOBS software then stays resident on your system. That means if you want to change your operating system, it is as easy as holding down the "Shift" key when you power on your system. This allows you to switch to a different operating system, or overwrite a corrupted card with a fresh install of the current one; it also provides a handy tool to let you edit the config.txt configuration file for the currently installed operating system, and even a web browser so you can visit the forums or Google for pointers if you get stuck.
MCM will be providing cards formatted with NOOBS in the near future but until then please download try it out and let us know what you think.
Check out this video provided by Geek Gurl Diaries on how to set up your Raspberry PI with the NOOBS software.