Your Raspberry Pi single-board computer may finally start using the 64-bit version of the Raspberry Pi OS.
This week, Gordon Hollingsworth, director of software engineering at Raspberry Pi, announced that a 64-bit version of the Raspberry Pi OS is being made available in beta form after a year of testing. This brings the end of nearly a decade of focus on 32-bit, but that change isn’t without good reason.
As Hollingsworth points out, “maximizing compatibility” has always been the focus for the OS because it avoids customer confusion and doesn’t necessarily mean which Pi board you choose, the official OS will run as expected. However, the advantages of adopting 64-bit are for now sticking to 32-bit builds only.
Those benefits include allowing for greater compatibility with software that is only available for arm64, taking advantage of the performance benefits of the A64 instruction set, and allowing applications to access more than 3GB of RAM for a single process, Which would potentially be very useful. Anyone with a 4GB or 8GB Raspberry Pi 4.
Running a 64-bit OS on Raspberry Pi is not a new idea as third-party operating systems have been offering alternatives for some time. Boards from 2016 (Raspberry Pi 3) have been able to run 64-bit OS, but now the official Raspberry Pi OS is available in 64-bit form if you visit the download page.