The Raspberry Pi 4 is here - Will the Kano OS work on it?

I’ve just seen the announcement regarding the dual display, 4Gb Pi 4 and I’m very excited. If I buy it today will the Kano OS work on it?


PLEASE make this a priority, even if the software is upgraded and the hardware updates are DIY with an Instructable or similar to get the adapters, etc. My kid’s biggest frustration is the lag the original board had. It is a little better with a 3B+, but this 4 would help keep them from getting frustrated and make Kano perfect!

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Hi @indigo,

I haven’t got my hands on a Pi4 yet, but it looks like it’s optimised for a build of Raspbian (which Kano OS is based on) called Buster - Kano OS 4.2 is based on Stretch.

Given that Kano OS 4.2 doesn’t work 100% seamlessly on a Pi3B+ out of the box, I’d be surprised if the Pi4 is works without issue either.

@kano-y-mano - We have a lot going on at the moment, having just released the Kano PC powered by Windows 10 in S Mode… so this may be something we’ll look at, but not right this instant.

Checked in with our engineering team this morning - Kano OS 4.2 (the newest build), will not run on the Pi4.

It requires a whole new build - which is not something we’re focused on right now (but never say never).

Thanks Chris. I was wondering the same thing.

@chris, A Kano PC powered by windows?! [yawn] That’s sooooo boring!

I’d pay for a Kano OS build and for any hardware adapters whatnot to slap a Pi 4 in my two kanos. Please take our money for this. It’s extremely valuable and would drastically extend the investment we’ve made in Kano.

Wait till you try it out! Such a nice piece of kit, and only $20 more than the Computer Kit Touch - I’ve been using a prototype for email, and managing Kano’s social account. :slight_smile:

It’s a huge amount of work to redevelop Kano OS each time Raspberry Pi change their board design (approximately 3 months for a team of engineers) - right now, we’re focussed on some other really exciting projects, but we may come back to a Kano OS build for Pi 4 at a later date.

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Yall should make a Kano Kit that runs Ubuntu Linux or a customed version of Ubuntu for Kano. I would so buy that!


An interesting idea, but much more niche than we’re looking at for the future.

I understand the investment that would be necessary to support the Pi 4. Don’t think I’m unappreciative of new developments with Kano, but it really bums me out to see you guys ditching the Pi community you’ve built your success on for Microsoft. I love your software, but not enough to switch to Windows. My kids love your stuff, but I’ll have to find alternatives if you’re not moving ahead with future Pi support.


Hi @cloud1494

We don’t have a Raspberry Pi 4 based kit in the roadmap at the moment - and as our OS is free to download, putting financial and engineering resource into new builds without new kits, is not really sustainable.

Never say never, but we’re not currently working on/planning for a Pi4 build of Kano OS.

@chris, that’s too bad. I’ve told everyone who has inquired that it was not worth buying given the current usability of the platform. My kid doesn’t care to use it due to performance, I was hoping an upgrade to Pi4 would prove playful. Given the recent release of the Windows 10 Kano app I’m thinking an entry level laptop would have been a much better investment, hope to save someone else the buyer’s remorse I got with the Kano Touch.

@chris could you ask eng. team to sum-up what’s not working on Pi4 and possibly, have you made CI to build whole thing available somewhere. I would really appreciate if you folks would make possible for community to add their hands on to get Pi4 support.

I understand it might take 3months to get the whole product line to support Pi4, but from my perspective it’s mostly only to get eth/wifi,usb and apps I am interested in to be running. And it certainly will work.

I agree Pi is not long-term HW for KanoOS and investment in new boards affects your progress in the other areas. However some of your today customers bought your products with vision they will be able in future upgrade to “faster” HW.

Worth to say SW and HW platform around Kano is very good. It’s 100% up to you what HW and OS you will decide to run and support in future. But to be understood people here not asking Pi4 just because of faster HW. I am pretty much sure people would use any other HW in reasonable price - in fact, there are no other interesting boards that would be easy to switch.

So it is really desired to have Pi4 or any PC x64 to have some support, otherwise its user base will rather start buying tablets/laptops for their kids, which will for ever destroy the pleasure for kids to build their own computer by hands and possibly hack it one day. One of the most important visions at the beginning.

Hi @epcim,

Unfortunately we don’t have the resource available for the engineering team to investigate Kano OS on the Pi4 at the moment - this might be something we look at in the future, but not something we can do right now.

On your question around “PC x64” support - the new Kano PC is an x64 device, using an Intel Atom processor, and running Windows 10 in S mode - you still build your own device, you still learn about how computers work (maybe even more so!), it just does not run a custom OS, which requires a full rewrite every time the Rpi foundation updates their hardware. :wink:

If anyone is interested I have been able to get Kano OS 4.2.1 running on the Pi 4. You may encounter issues doing this as my Kano OS isn’t standard, I disabled kano-recovery and the kano-updater a while ago to prevent it from changing my non-standard install. I just update on the command line using apt-get.

Here are the general directions that may get Kano OS running on the Pi 4, your mileage may vary a lot. I would back up the card using ddrescue or some other backup method as this could very well break your install.

Run all this on a Pi 3 first:
Update your /etc/apt/sources.list.d/kano-repos.list and comment out this line:
deb stretch main ui

and add this one:
deb [trusted=yes] buster main ui

(leave the other repositories alone)

Run these terminal commands:
sudo apt-get update
sudo aptitude install raspberrypi-bootloader raspberrypi-kernel raspberrypi-sys-mods
Not sure if aptitude is on default install, if last line gave you an error run sudo apt-get install aptitude then rerun the last line

Change your kano-repos.list back to how it was and then run:
sudo apt-get update

Shutdown, and move the card to Pi 4.
Let us know if it works for you, thanks!

Also, it may go without saying but you’re entirely on your own from this point this is not a supported configuration and again this could completely break your install so only do this if you’re backed up or on a copy of your card or on a fresh install.

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Quick heads up:

The Pi4 gets hot… and the enclosures for the Kano Computer Kit Complete, Computer Kit Touch, and Computer Kit were not designed with the heat of the Pi4 in mind.

Be mindful that you may cause damage to other components if they get too hot.

Are you open to having a team of volunteers work on this port? If so I would happily volunteer?

Hi @bcombes,

Something we’ve talked about, but given the level of support we would need to provide to both those porting, and anyone who then used the port, it’s unfortunately not feasible right now.

That is understandable although you could technically open source all the code needed to get it working and remove all branding and references to Kano. With branding removed there should be zero expectation of any support for porting or anyone who used the port. I realize there is a good amount that is already open sourced but it’s not quite enough for a working system.

@bcombes You could use the existing open source code here to create your own fork of Kano:

It would take a lot of work, but I think it would be fun, the Kano internals are quite interesting. I think some major features could be missing but there is probably business reasons that not everything is open sourced.

This does not work for me. The kano didn’t able to boot on Pi 4 Model B following your steps.