Easy Raspberry basics: Project 00d Part 1 Which Raspberry Pi operating system to choose?

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Raspberry basics: Project 00d

Project name: Part1 Which Raspberry Pi operating system to choose?

Tags: Raspberry, Linux, Raspberry Pi, operating systems, best all-around operating system, best OS, Raspbian, Ubintu MATE, OSMC, LibreELEC, OpenELEC, Windows IoT Core, IchigoJam BASIC RPi, RISC OS, Snappy Ubintu Core, Pidora, Lakka, Linutop, Kalli Linux, Moebius, RetroPie, ArchLinux,  OpenMediaVault, FedBerry, Android Things, SARPi, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Xbian, Rasplex, Gentoo Linux, Weather station, FreeBSD, AlpineLinux, PiNet

The Raspberry Pi itself doesn't come with an operating system. For that, you need New Out of the Box Software (NOOBS). It's an operating system manager that makes it easy to download, install and set up your Raspberry Pi. When you first boot up NOOBS, you'll get a selection of OSes to choose from. Which operating systems are available depends on which model of Raspberry Pi you are using.

NOOBS is an easy operating system installer which contains Raspbian and LibreELEC. It also provides a selection of alternative operating systems which are then downloaded from the internet and installed.

NOOBS Lite contains the same operating system installer without Raspbian pre-loaded. It provides the same operating system selection menu allowing Raspbian and other images to be downloaded and installed.

While downloading NOOBS is simple, you can buy an SD card with NOOBS preinstalled. If you prefer to do it yourself the setup process is very straightforward and you'll find a full guide over on the Raspberry Pi site.

Where we can find NOOBS or other operating systems to download?

Most of the common images can be found on the main Raspberry Pi site: http://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads. These are stable and well-tested systems, and the best place to start.

Open source Operating Systems for Raspberry Pi:

Open source penetration testing distribution with a lot of security tools for Raspberry Pi:

Open source  client for  Bitcoin + Cryptocurrencies Client/Node Support for Raspberry Pi:

Open source raspbian-based Web Kiosk and digital signage player for Raspberry Pi:

Open source development platforms for programmers and coders for Raspberry Pi:

Open source media center operating systems for Raspberry Pi:

Open source audio operating systems for Raspberry PI:

Open source retrogaming operating systems for Raspberry Pi:

Educational operating systems for Raspberry Pi:

NAS operating system for Raspberry Pi:

Open source 3D printing OS for Raspberry Pi:

Open source OS surveillance system for Raspberry Pi:

We will make review of all available OSes for Raspberry Pi in this article. Let's start.


There have been lightweight versions of popular Linux distributions before, and it wasn’t long until early builds of Pi-compatible Debian were released to the public. One of the most popular and well supported is Raspbian. One hurdle that was to be overcome revolved around the processor support. The mainline Debian builds only supported ARMv7, whereas the Pi uses the slightly older ARMv6 architecture. Raspbian supports many of the most popular software packages and is a great all-in-one desktop solution for your Pi. Regularly updated and maintained, it offers decent performance while still being fully featured. With a full Graphical User Interface (GUI) and a ton of packaged software there is a lot included to explore. We recommend Raspbian for anyone who wants to get started with the Pi and explore anything from desktop computing to programming or collecting sensor data.

Raspbian is an official operating system for all models of the Raspberry Pi. Download it here, or use NOOBS, an easy installer for Raspbian and other operating systems. You can use official Raspberry Pi installation guide which is published here.

Raspbian comes pre-installed with plenty of software for education, programming and general use. It has Python, Scratch, Sonic Pi, Java, Minecraft Pi, Java, Mathematica, Chromium and more.

The Raspbian with Desktop image contained in the ZIP archive is over 4GB in size, which means that these archives use features which are not supported by older unzip tools on some platforms. If you find that the download appears to be corrupt or the file is not unzipping correctly, please try using 7Zip (Windows) or The Unarchiver (Macintosh). Both are free of charge and have been tested to unzip the image correctly.

Debian with Raspberry Pi Desktop is the Foundation’s operating system for PC and Mac. You can create a live disc, run it in a virtual machine, or even install it on your computer. Raspberry Pi Desktop comes pre-installed with plenty of software for education, programming and general use; including Python, Scratch, Sonic Pi, Java, Minecraft Pi, Java, Mathematica, Chromium and more. You can download it here. You can use official Raspberry Pi installation guide which is published here.


Ubuntu MATE for the Raspberry Pi provides a complete, familiar, desktop environment that can be used for basic desktop computing. It is also of interest to makers and device hackers who want to target Ubuntu for their projects. You can prototype homebrew ARMv7 or ARMv8 based IoT devices in a comfortable desktop environment, including building and testing your apps as snaps. The full Ubuntu archive is available to you.

Ubuntu MATE 18.04.2 is available for Raspberry Pi Model B 2, 3 and 3+ with separate images for armhf (ARMv7 32-bit) and arm64 (ARMv8 64-bit). We have done what we can to optimise the builds for the Raspberry Pi without sacrificing the full desktop environment Ubuntu MATE provides on PC.Ubuntu MATE for the Raspberry Pi provides a complete, familiar, desktop environment that can be used for basic desktop computing. It is also of interest to makers and device hackers who want to target Ubuntu for their projects. You can prototype homebrew ARMv7 or ARMv8 based IoT devices in a comfortable desktop environment, including building and testing your apps as snaps. The full Ubuntu archive is available to you.For hobbyist projects, you can stick with Ubuntu MATE for “deployment”, even with the option to disable the X11 display server if it not an application requirement. But, if you have something more professional in mind then the applications and snaps you’ve prototyped with Ubuntu MATE can be used with Ubuntu server or Ubuntu Core (https://www.ubuntu.com/core) on one of the ARM-based reference platforms.FeaturesHigh-level features of these images are:Ubuntu kernel, fully maintained by the Ubuntu Kernel and Security teams.Automatic online filesystem expansion.Ethernet & WiFi (where available)Bluetooth (where available)Audio out via 3.5mm analog audio jack or HDMIVideo out via Composite or HDMIGPIO access via GPIO Zero, pigpio and WiringPi.Support for Python Wheels for the Raspberry Pi.Support for USB Booting.Hardware acceleration:fbturbo driver is pre-installed but limited to 2D accelerated window moving/scrolling on Raspberry Pi (using the BCM2835 DMA Controller).VLC has hardware assisted video decoding.ffmpeg has hardware assisted video decoding and encoding.The experimental VC4 driver can be enabled via raspi-config.Please note, the arm64 images do not feature any VideoCore IV hardware acceleration.Additional software:A port of raspi-config for Ubuntu is pre-installed.Steam Link is available for install.Minecraft: Pi Edition is available for install.

For hobbyist projects, you can stick with Ubuntu MATE for "deployment", even with the option to disable the X11 display server if it not an application requirement. But, if you have something more professional in mind then the applications and snaps you've prototyped with Ubuntu MATE can be used with Ubuntu server or Ubuntu Core on one of the ARM-based reference platforms.


  • Ubuntu kernel, fully maintained by the Ubuntu Kernel and Security teams.
  • Automatic online filesystem expansion.
  • Ethernet & WiFi (where available)
  • Bluetooth (where available)
  • Audio out via 3.5mm analog audio jack or HDMI
  • Video out via Composite or HDMI
  • GPIO access via GPIO Zero, pigpio and WiringPi.
  • Support for Python Wheels for the Raspberry Pi.
  • Support for USB Booting.
  • Hardware acceleration
  • A port of raspi-config for Ubuntu is pre-installed.
  • Steam Link is available for install.
  • Minecraft: Pi Edition is available for install.

Supported Raspberry Pi

These images will work on:

  • Raspberry Pi 2 Model B
  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B
  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ (recommended)
  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ (not recommended)
  • Fails to complete the first boot setup due to insufficient memory.
  • If you have completed the setup on another Pi that card can be inserted in a Pi 3 Model A+ and it will work.
  • Due to only having 512MB RAM the arm64 is not recommended. The armhf version can be very tight on resources.

Unsupported Raspberry Pi

These images will not work on any Raspberry Pi model using an ARMv6 instruction set:

  • Raspberry Pi 1 Model A+
  • Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+
  • Raspberry Pi Zero
  • Raspberry Pi Zero W

Memory pressure is reasonable using the armhf images (~350MB at idle) but quite tight on the arm64 images (~490MB at idle). As always, microSDHC I/O throughput is a bottleneck on the Raspberry PPi so don’t gimp your Raspberry Pi by cheaping out on poor performing microSDHC cards. We used the Samsung 32GB 95MB/s Memory Evo Plus microSDHC cards during the testing of these images and they significantly better performance than most other microSDHC cards we’ve tried. But don’t take our word for it.

You’ll need a microSD card which is 8GB or greater to fit the image. The file system will automatically resize to occupy the unallocated space of the microSD card.

You can download the latest version of Ubintu MATE here.


OSMC (Open Source Media Center) is a free and open source media player based on Linux. Founded in 2014, OSMC lets you play back media from your local network, attached storage and the Internet. OSMC is the leading media center in terms of feature set and community and is based on the Kodi project.

It's probably the easiest to use media centre available on the Pi. Compared to Kodi (formerly XBMC), OSMC features a clean interface. You get a menu on the left side of the screen that lets you to select media (videos/music/pictures), go into the settings, or check out other programs.

Of course, you can still install Kodi add-ons for media streams and set up remotes so you don't have to use a keyboard. In fact, OSMC has presets for several popular remotes so you don't even need to scratch your head trying to set one up. As for local media, you can play videos and photos from USB storage.

OSMC can play all major media formats out there and supports a variety of sharing protocols so you’re guaranteed to be able to stream from other devices. OSMC can stream media and serve files to other devices as well.

OSMC runs a full version of Debian, so you can set up SSH, FTP, Samba sharing, and plenty more.


  • Clean Interface, easy to use and install
  • Like Windows 7 media centre, it also aligned the menu at the left side in the same style
  • Support all types of common media files
  • Remotely accessible
  • Supports Debian based Kodi plugins
  • FTP, SSH, Samba Sharing, etc.

You can download OSMC here.  It supports all versions of Raspberry Pi 1, 2, 3 & Zero.


If you’ve been looking for info on how to build a home theater PC, you may have heard of the LibreELEC operating system for Kodi. Kodi is the software that LibreELEC was designed to run. It is an open-source media player created by the Kodi foundation. It can play many different types of media, including images, sounds, and videos. Kodi is especially useful for streaming TV shows and movies from the Internet. Because of this, it has become very popular with cord-cutters who seek to eliminate cable TV services and get all of their content online. Kodi can be installed on streaming devices like the Amazon Fire Stick, Nvidia Shield, and Apple TV, or on HTPCs like the ones discussed in this article.

LibreELEC is a 'Just enough OS' Linux distribution for running the ultimate entertainment center application Kodi. 

LibreELEC application is an efficient solution with a tiny disk and memory footprint, and provides cutting edge hardware support to deliver a set-top box Kodi experience.

Officially supported Raspberry Pi Versions 0 / 1 / 2 / 3, including B and B+ variants.

The main advantage to using LibreELEC is that it is a more efficient way to run Kodi when compared to using a more robust operating system like Windows or Mac OS. Because of this, you can generally run LibreELEC on a less powerful HTPC without sacrificing picture or sound. In essence, using LibreELEC gets you better performance from your HTPC without having to spend extra money on equipment.

The main disadvantage to using LibreELEC is that it is nearly useless for running any software other than Kodi. So if you want to surf the Internet, check your email, and play World of Warcraft on your HTPC, this is probably not the right OS for you. If you only want to use your HTPC to watch movies, listen to music, and look at images, then it’s a great choice.

Streaming video always carries privacy and security risks, and using LibreELEC with Kodi doesn’t eliminate these risks. This is why Kodi users should always use a virtual private network (VPN) when watching TV or movies.

When using a VPN, your ISP doesn’t know what websites you are streaming from and streaming services don’t know where you are located. So they can’t use this information to throttle your speed or block you from viewing content.

Not all VPNs are effective though. Some of them keep logs of users' activity, creating a privacy risk of their own making. Others don't have servers in enough countries to get around geoblocking or are too slow to stream the high-def video that Kodi users expect. We recommend IPVanish for Kodi users. It keeps no logs, has servers in over 60 countries, and is fast enough to be buffer-free when streaming 1080p video. It can also easily be installed on LibreELEC. You can download it here.


Windows IoT Core is a Windows OS built specially for the Raspberry Pi as a development platform for programmers and coders. Its aim is for programmers to use it to build prototypes of IoT devices using the Raspberry Pi and Windows 10.

It has an emphasis on security, connectivity, creation, and cloud integration. Unlike other titles on this list, you can’t use it without running Windows 10 on your PC as you need Visual Studio on a Windows 10 setup to work with it.

Windows 10 IoT Core is the Microsoft property and doesn’t base on Linux. But it is worth to mention here. This Raspberry Pi OS is a stripped down version of Windows 10 and optimized for smaller devices with or without display. It integrates with Visual Studio and posses similar Windows 10 look like graphical user interface. It runs on both ARM and x86/x64 devices. Windows 10 IoT Core uses Universal Windows Platform (UWP) API for IoT solutions.  This operating system gives a familiar interface and also tools to create IoT solutions outside the Linux environment.

Key Features:

  • Universal Windows Platform (UWP) API allows you to write one application and use it on phone or desktop.
  • Arduino Wiring API
  • Provides free Visual Studio Community Edition
  • Azure connectivity
  • Deploy and debug applications remotely
  • And More…

The target of Windows 10 IoT Core is smart devices like:

  • Robots
  • Automation
  • Trackers

The Windows IoT core supports a wide range of hardware platforms as follow:

  • Raspberry Pi 2 Starter Pack
  • Raspberry Pi 2
  • Raspberry Pi 3

You can download the last version of Windows 10 IoT Core here and find some projects to try here

How to set up your Raspberry PI 3 Model B board with Windows 10 IoT Core? See the article here.


RISC OS is a computer operating system designed in Cambridge, England by Acorn. First released in 1987, its origins can be traced back to the original team that developed the Arm microprocessor. 

It is fast, compact and efficient. It is developed and tested by a loyal community of developers and users.

RISC OS is not a version of Linux, nor is it in any way related to Windows. It has a number of unique features and aspects to its design.


  • Universal Storage Platform
  • Two versions RISC OS and RISC OS Pico
  • Light and Fast
  • Standard version needs 2GB SD card and Lite required at least 16MB.
  • Also offered pre-installed RISC OS microSD cards.

You can download it here.


Ubuntu Core, a minimalist rendition of Ubuntu, is a lightweight, transactionally updated operating system designed for deployments on embedded and IoT devices, cloud and more. It runs a new breed of super-secure, remotely upgradeable Linux app packages known as snaps.

The strict separation between kernel and device drivers, OS and applications means embedded engineers and application developers can easily work in parallel.

It is cloud-based and before installing the Snappy, you need to create an Ubuntu One account. The Ubuntu One account is the single account that can use to log in to all services and sites related to Ubuntu. This Raspberry Pi OS is very light because it is focused on cloud and the perfect host operating system for IoT devices. The installation and uninstallation of apps is much simple than the Ubuntu MATE.


  • Cloud-based
  • Easy to install or uninstall the apps from its App store
  • Automatic updates
  • Transactional over-the-air updates
  • Free to use, customize and distribute
  • Smaller in size
  • Tamper-resistant Filesystem
  • Ubuntu Core wide range of Hardware supports  SoCs and single-board computers, 32-bit ARM Raspberry Pi (2 & 3), 64-bit ARM Qualcomm Dragonboard and Full range of  Intel’s IoT SoCs.
  • And much more…

Hardware requirements: Raspberry Pi 2 or 3.

You can download the Ubuntu Server for Raspberry Pi 2 or 3 here.


IchigoJam BASIC RPi is Raspberry Pi Edition of the software of the Kids PC "IchigoJam". IchigoJam was created to make it easy to enjoy programming in the BASIC language. It can also be used for electronics hobby by using functions such as digital I/O, PWM, I2C and UART.

Basically, it should work with all models of Raspberry Pi. Compatibility is confirmed with the following models:

  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+
  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+
  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B V1.2
  • Raspberry Pi Zero W V1.1
  • Raspberry Pi Zero V1.3
  • Raspberry Pi 2 Model B V1.2
  • Raspberry Pi Model B+ V1.2
  • Raspberry Pi Model A+ V1.1

* For some keyboards, The response of "Zero" series and "Model A+" series is not good for now.

However, Other than that, you can use those same as "Model B/B+" series.

You can download it here.


OpenELEC (Open Embedded Linux Entertainment Center)  is a more direct port of Kodi. Where OSMC is a feature-rich and customisable media centre that can do whatever you want, OpenELEC is built for one thing - to play media. If you have a ton of movies or music already on a hard drive and just want a simple way to play them on your television, OpenELEC is the way to do it.

OpenELEC takes Kodi and cuts out a lot of the customisation options to keep it fast and simple. However, it's not as open as OSMC, so you can't make system level changes like altering the Pi's overclock speed without delving into complex menus. OpenELEC also limits access to certain services, like SSH, so it's not as easy to set up.

Nevertheless, OpenELEC is a powerful media center that might suit your needs if OSMC doesn’t. You can download the latest version OpenELEC-Generic.x86_64-8.0.4.img.gz here, OpenELEC-RPi.arm-8.0.4.img.gz here, OpenELEC-RPi2.arm-8.0.4.img.gz here.


PiNet is a free and open source project for helping schools set up and manage a Raspberry Pi classroom. It has been developed alongside teachers with feedback from over 15 countries across the world. 


Network based user accounts - Any student can sit down at any Raspberry Pi and log in. The students user accounts are stored on the central PiNet server. This means they can log in on any Raspberry Pi in the classroom and no more trying to figure out which SD card belongs to which student.

Network based operating system - All Raspberry Pis boot a single master Raspbian operating system. The Raspberry Pi operating system (Raspbian) stored on the central server, meaning each Raspberry Pi boots up off it each time. This allows you to maintain one perfect master operating system.

Shared folders - Easy to use shared folder system for teachers and students. Easy to setup shared folders to share resources with students and a breeze to set up automated backups for students work to an external drive.

Work collection system - Simple work collection/submission system to allow students to hand in work.

Automated backups - Automatically backup all students work to an external drive periodically.

Many more small features like batch user import, classroom management software integration etc.

The server software is installed on a computer running Ubuntu Linux 16.04 (recommended). Ubuntu is completely free. You must then connect the server and Raspberry Pis together by using a wired network.

PiNet was designed from the ground up to be extremely easy to set up and maintain. 

PiNet is completely free, open source and built upon the work of the Linux Terminal Server Project. This means you can use it for what you want, where you want for no cost and have access to the full source code.

If you want to know more about installation go here.


One great alternative is Fedora, which has fast release cycles with relatively short support terms, so new features are added regularly. There is a Raspberry Pi-specific remix available, known simply as Pidora. Pidora incorporates some of the hardware acceleration features that Raspbian has, so performance is good while still being a complete desktop solution.

Pidora offers a different desktop environment, the lightweight Xfce, whereas Raspbian uses LXDE. Both have their merits but depending on your requirements, one may suit over the other. The other difference is the packages and package manager used to install software: Raspbian uses Apt, while Pidora uses YUM. You can download it here.


Moebius is another Debian Linux OS. Unlike Rasbian, Moebius has no GUI and is optimized for speed and a small install size. If you are only interested in data collection, other Internet of Things (IoT) activities or just like the Linux command line, Moebius is the OS for you.

Hadware requirements: Raspberry Pi 1,2,3 (models B and A) 

You can download it here.


RetroPie combines an operating system with a series of emulators to turn your Pi into a retro-gaming console capable of playing games from over 50 gaming systems. It supports several popular gaming controllers and provides a tool to standardize control input for your controller.

Built on Raspbian, it gives you the possibility to play old games from classic PC to N64 games. RetroPie provides easy setup and a user-friendly interface to start and play your favorites games. Before playing, you have to download ROMs from the Internet, and then upload it to your Raspberry Pi. They will automatically show in the Retropie menu. For a better experience, you can even add a controller like on SNES and enjoy a game as if you were back to childhood.

Hardware requirement: Raspberry Pi 0/1/2/3.

You can download it here.


Lakka is a free, lightweight, and open-source Linux distribution with which you can turn even the smallest PC into a full-blown game console without the need for a keyboard or mouse.

It features a beautiful User Interface and so many customization options you might get overwhelmed. Its PS4-like UX brings style to the Raspberry Pi so pick it if you’re a gamer.

Lakka is the easiest way to setup emulators on a Raspberry Pi. Built on top of the famous RetroArch emulator, Lakka is able to emulate a wide variety of systems and has some useful features such as automatic joypad recognition, rewinding, netplay, and shaders.


  • Free to download on any GNU/Linux distro.
  • Open-source: Lakka is developed by a community of coders, designers, and games on GitHub.
  • Lightweight: Lakka is optimized to run fast even on low-end architectures or PCs with low specs.
  • Supports several USB joypads.
  • Lakka runs seamlessly on RaspberryPi.
  • The official OS of RetroArch and the libretro ecosystem.

Mind you, Lakka is still undergoing heavy development so you might encounter some bugs or missing features. Feel free to report any bugs to the project’s issues tracker in the spirit of open-source.

You can download it here.


Kali Linux is one of the most advanced free and open-source penetration testing platforms ever made with a lot of security tools for all kind of purposes:

  • Wireless attacks
  • Passwords cracking
  • Forensics
  • Web apps attacks
  • Network sniffers
  • Vulnerability scanners
  • and much more

Behind Kali Linux, we find Offensive Security, a major security trainer and pen-testing provider. They have funded and maintained this distribution, formerly know as Backtrack, to become a reference in the security market.

Available in 32 bit, 64 bit, and ARM flavors, as well as a number of specialized builds for many popular hardware platforms. Kali can always be updated to the newest version without the need for a new download.

Hardware requirements: Raspberry Pi B+ and a Raspberry Pi 2/3

You can download it here.


Linutop OS is a lightweight Linux based Operating System, a secure Raspbian-based Web Kiosk and digital signage player. It is dedicated to professionals with the need to deploy public Internet stalls and digital signage solutions using Raspberries.

This OS is perfect if you run hotels, restaurants, shops, city halls, offices, museums, etc. and it is compatible with Raspberry Pi B, B+ and 2.

The Linutop OS comes with a set of installed applications. All these applications (in fact, the entire system) are open source:

  • Epiphany - A web browser
  • LibreOffice - An office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentation)
  • Linutop-kiosk - A Kiosk Web Browser and a Digital Signage Player
  • Linutop Configuration Panel - An complete system configuration menu tools
  • VLC - A multimedia player
  • Mirage - An image viewer
  • Solitaire - A card game
  • Debian- The Linux operating base system

These applications are integrated in a desktop environment called Xfce. It is the application handling the windows, background, icons, file manager...

Linutop applications Command line:

  • Linutop Kiosk: linutop-kiosk (user)
  • Linutop configuration pannel: lconfeditor (root)
  • Linutop autostart: asrun (user)

You can download it here.


OpenMediaVault is the next generation network attached storage (NAS) solution based on Debian Linux. It contains services like SSH, (S)FTP, SMB/CIFS, DAAP media server, RSync, BitTorrent client and many more. Thanks to the modular design of the framework it can be enhanced via plugins.

OpenMediaVault is primarily designed to be used in small offices or home offices, but is not limited to those scenarios. It is a simple and easy to use out-of-the-box solution that will allow everyone to install and administrate a Network Attached Storage without deeper knowledge.


  • Running out-of-the-box
  • Debian Linux OS
  • Web based administration
  • Easy system updates via Debian package management
  • Volume management
  • S.M.A.R.T.
  • Link aggregation
  • Wake On Lan
  • IPv6 support
  • Email notifications
  • File sharing
  • Extendible via plugins

You can download it here.


FedBerry is a Fedora Remix specifically built for use with Raspberry Pi 2/3 Model B computers.

The Fedberry is advance Linux based operating system for Raspberry Pi and giving tough competition to the Raspbian OS. This Raspberry Pi operating system is based on Fedora and a remix version of original Fedora desktop version. Basically, it is an optimized version of  Fedora Remix.


  • Headless mode
  • Support ARMv6 architecture
  • Intuitive  Interface
  • Required SDcard capacity of 2GB or more.
  • Fully customizable OS
  • Provide software for a specific interest group, like artists, musicians, software developers, educators, craftsmen, etc.
  • And much more…

You can download it here.


Android things for IoT development is an embedded version of the Android operating system for Raspberry Pi 3. To install this operating system you need at least 8 GB or larger microSD card.


  • It is developed for low-power and memory Internet of Things (IoT) devices
  • Can operate devices with 32–64 MB of RAM
  • Support Bluetooth Low Energy and Wi-Fi.
  • Step By step guide available for installation.

You can download it here.


SARPi is an acronym of "Slackware ARM on a Raspberry Pi".

The SARPi Project supports Slackware ARM Linux on a Raspberry Pi. It is one of the best Raspberry Pi Operating Systems maintained by the community of Slackware Linux.  It is easy to use Linux operating system even if you are not very familiar with Linux. Detail step by step guide is available on its website for how to install and use Slackware ARM on Raspberry Pi. You need 8GB SD card to install and use this Pi OS. Supports Raspberry Pi 1, 2, 3.

You can download it here.


SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for Raspberry Pi is an optimized package of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. It provides the SUSE server SP2 pack.


  • Enabled for built-in I/O including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, HDMI, Ethernet, and GPIO
  • Graphical user interface
  • Uses the btrfs filesystem
  • Includes GCC and popular development tools
  • Free, one-year self-service subscription for updates and fixes.

You can download it here.


XBian is a small, fast and lightweight media center distribution for the Raspberry Pi, CuBox-i, Hummingboard and many more devices to come. It is based on a minimal Debian and therefore offers much of the same freedom as Debian offers. 

One of the major goals of XBian is to balance between being lightweight but still offer all the possibilities for customization. This means that a default XBian installation will fit on a 2GB SD card, uses low RAM and low CPU and has Kodi installed by default. It also offers a rich kernel with includes all important drivers for wlan and such. XBian supports AFP, NFS, AirPlay, CEC, Lirc, PVR and autoconnects USB drives. But XBian also allows you to turn it into a full featured download box, music box, or whatever customization you might have in mind yourself.

XBian has a  great variety of pre-installed packages to give you the best out-of-the-box experience. The most important ones are:

  • Kodi: Full features media center software.
  • Samba: filesharing to windows.
  • CEC and LIRC: controlling XBian with your regular remote.
  • AutoFS: automatically mounting network shares and USB drives.
  • AirPlay: send video to and from Apple devices.
  • VNC Server: remotely control XBian with video sharing.
  • BTRFS–Tools: manage your XBian btrfs snapshots.
  • A great variety of additional packages by XBian

XBian also offers a great variety of additional packages:

  • Couchpotato: Download your DVD Movies as a digital archive.
  • Headphones: Download your Music CD’s as a digital archive.
  • NZBGet: Headless usenet downloader.
  • Sickbeard: Download your DVD TV Series as a digital archive.
  • Transmission: Headless torrent downloader.
  • ZFS: Most advanced filesystem in the world.
  • TV Headend: Watch TV using Kodi.

Just like Debian, XBian incorporates rolling releases. This means that different from other distributions such as OpenElec or Raspbmc, XBian doesn’t release fixed images that often. In contrast, XBian offers new package updates at least once a week. This means that new improvements and bugfixes are delivered quickly and easily. When you keep your system updated, you will also start using new releases automatically. When all packages belonging to a new release are installed, XBian will also increase its own version. So, you never need to reinstall.

XBian incoorporates a quick settings menu in both Kodi and inside the shell. Both programs offer the users a quick and userfriendly way to configure your new or existing system. This includes setting up your network, configuring various boot options, setting.

XBian uses the BTRFS filesystem. Although we could talk about that for hour, the main idea of incorporating it was the ability to create snapshots and to say bye bye to corruption. Snapshots is a fix state of the system at a particular time. It is much like the System Restore Points as found in Windows but then better. Snapshots only take that many space as there were changes since the snapshot was created. So as in Windows, snapshots in XBian allows you so easily restore your XBian installation to a previous point in time with one simple command, or to boot from a previous snapshot.

Another great feature of BTRFS is the ability to track corruption. It does that by storing a checksum of each file. This means that whenever a file doesn’t match the checksum, BTRFS knows a file has gone corrupt. As soon as that happens, it will force the filesystem to become read only to prevent any further corruption. So whenever this happens, it is a great feature instead of a bug. With the previous EXT4 filesystem used in other distrubutions, your installation would become unbootable and you therefore would be unable to bring your files into safety.

Whenever issue occur with your XBian installation, it still offers ways to fix it by presenting the user with an emergency program. This means that XBian is actually two distributions in one. One main distribution you use for normal usage, and one rescue distribution in case of errors. If your system become unbootable, users can use this distribution to do some recovery. This proves to work in 99% of the cases. If you ever end up in this shell, ask us for help and we will get your system up and running in no-time.

Supports Raspberry Pi, Pi 2, Pi 3 and Pi 3B+ .

You can download it here.


A Plex Client for the Raspberry Pi computer. Created from Plex Home Theater and LibreELEC Linux, with automatic updates pushed out as they become available.

The perfect client companion to the Plex Media Server, the Raspberry Pi mini computer becomes the perfect appliance for viewing your media on every TV in your home.

At about half the price of an AppleTV, RasPlex can easily be on every TV in your home. RasPlex runs on the worlds most affordable computer, the Raspberry Pi.

Plex Media Server is required to be installed on your home computer in order to use RasPlex. It will organize your media on your computer for you, automatically get stuff like Movie posters, actors, episode descrptions - you name it! While you're at it, set up some plex channels and a myPlex account. 

Follow the steps to get RasPlex, and set up a RasPlex box on every TV in your home. At the meager cost of a Raspberry Pi, why not get some for your friends and family to share all of your media!

Please note: the first run of RasPlex will always be the slowest, and RasPlex performs better on 1024Mb (Model B2) Raspberry Pi's than on 512MB (Model B and B+).

You can download it here


A project by the official Raspberry organization for the Raspberry Pi Oracle Weather station.

You can download it here.


A version of Arch Linux ported for ARM computers, Arch Linux ARM offers versions 6 and 7 for Raspberry Pi and Raspberry Pi 2 respectively. Its design philosophy promotes simplicity and user-centrism, ensuring that Linux users are in full control of the system.

ArchLinux is a complete but lightweight distribution that includes only the parts you really need. This helps keep it running smooth on the Pi’s relatively modest hardware. Any extra components you then need can be added manually at a later date. Launched in 2002 the primary goal of the Arch development team was to focus on simplicity, in contrast to say the Ubuntu team who focus highly on usability and being fully featured from the initial installation. Its easy to install Arch from any operating system, and there are plenty of software tools to help you out in the process.

Its packages are signed by the build system, and it can be updated through daily small packages, as opposed to huge updates found in other OSs. Most of these packages are improved for the best performance even on low specs. A minimum of 2 GB SD card suffices for loading its latest version. 

You can download it here.


An open source Linux-based computer OS, Gentoo Linux compiles source code locally according to the user’s preferences to uphold performance. For this reason, Gentoo Linux’s builds are often optimized for a specific type of computer, such as Raspberry Pi.

Other than the near limitless adaptability, this Linux distro uses Portage software management that increases security and streamlines performance. It’s also easy to install and update software, and even build custom packages from existing ones. Its website recommend installing it on a 4 GB SD card.

You can download it here.


Released in 1993 as a derivative of the famous Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) – which took the approach of a free operating system for the first time due to its own BSD license – FreeBSD is still one of the most important open source projects today. Around 400 officially listed developers as well as thousands of other contributors actively work on the further development of the FreeBSD software, which is characterized by its security and storage functions, as well as its first-class network features. Thanks to the support of ARMv6 and ARMv7 architectures, the BSD derivative can also be used as a Raspberry Pi operating system. In the future, the third version of the minicomputer should also be compatible with the current FreeBSD version.

Because of its strengths in network functionality and stability, FreeBSD is mainly used in the server environment. As a user, you will also benefit from the speed of the operating system, which is primarily due to the storage subsystem that was revised with version 10.0. Thanks to its well-documented API, the Raspberry Pi operating system can be optimally modified to suit individual needs as well as extended with your own software components. In case of problems or questions, the various FreeBSD community forums and blogs provide support from other users and developers. There’s also a provider who offers commercial support for the system.

For embedded devices and single-board computers (SBC) such as the Raspberry Pi, Beagle Bone Black, Panda Board, and Zed Board, use the armv6 SD card image which supports ARMv6 and ARMv7 processors. Supports Raspberry Pi B, 2 and 3.

You can download it here.


Alpine Linux is a community developed operating system designed for x86 routers, firewalls, VPNs, VoIP boxes and servers. It was designed with security in mind; it has proactive security features like PaX and SSP

Alpine Linux is a security-oriented, lightweight Linux distribution based on musl libc and busybox. This makes it smaller and more resource efficient than traditional GNU/Linux distributions. A container requires no more than 8 MB and a minimal installation to disk requires around 130 MB of storage. Not only do you get a fully-fledged Linux environment but a large selection of packages from the repository. Binary packages are thinned out and split, giving you even more control over what you install, which in turn keeps your environment as small and efficient as possible.

Alpine Linux is an independent, non-commercial, general purpose Linux distribution designed for power users who appreciate security, simplicity and resource efficiency.

All userland binaries are compiled as Position Independent Executables (PIE) with stack smashing protection. These proactive security features prevent exploitation of entire classes of zero-day and other vulnerabilities.

Alpine Linux is a very simple distribution that will try to stay out of your way. It uses its own package manager called apk, the OpenRC init system, script driven set-ups and that’s it! This provides you with a simple, crystal-clear Linux environment without all the noise. You can then add on top of that just the packages you need for your project, so whether it’s building a home PVR, or an iSCSI storage controller, a wafer-thin mail server container, or a rock-solid embedded switch, nothing else will get in the way.

You can download it here. Designed for RPI 1, 2 and 3. 


This article has been written to collect information about all the OSes available for Raspberry Pi in one place and provide the download links.

We have reviewed 28 distros for Raspberry Pi in this article. See the article Part2 Which Raspberry Pi operating system to choose? for the other available Raspberry Pi OS' review.

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Published at 16-04-2019
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