RPi Distributions

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Software & Distributions:

Software - an overview.

Distributions - operating systems and development environments for the Raspberry Pi.

Kernel Compilation - advice on compiling a kernel.

Performance - measures of the Raspberry Pi's performance.

Programming - programming languages that might be used on the Raspberry Pi.

Available Distributions

What is armhf

The Debian Squeeze image originally issued by the Raspberry Pi foundation as the recommended distribution used "soft float" settings. The foundation found it necessary to use the existing Debian port for less capable ARM devices due to time and resource constraints during development of the Raspberry Pi. Therefore, it does not make use of the Pi's processor's floating point hardware - reducing the Pi's performance during floating point intensive applications - or the advanced instructions of the ARMv6 CPU.

The official Raspberry Pi distributions are now optimized for ARMV6 and for "hard float" which should have better performance on certain CPU intensive tasks.

There are some info on the news groups that "hard float" optimization can speed up floating point operating up to 10x, please read detailed discussion on the Raspberry Pi forums.


Operating Systems for Raspberry Pi models A and B
Distribution Latest First Type License Memory footprint armhf Image/Installer Packages Username:Password default GUI
Arch Linux ARM 2013-01-22 2012-03-01 Linux OSI GPLv2 Yes raw image 4,604 root:root none
BerryTerminal 2013-03-21 (beta) 2012-06-02 Linux No Image N/A ltsp
Bodhi Linux 2013-01-25 (raspbian/wheezy) 2012-06-12 (wheezy) Raspbian Core: OSI mixed (GPLv2 BSD etc) Yes img+md5sum 35,000+
(sudo su root/bodhilinux)
Debian ARM 2012-04-19 (Squeeze) 2012-02-16 (Squeeze) Linux Core: OSI mixed (GPLv2 BSD etc) No raw image 20,000+ pi:raspberry ?
Fedora Remix 2013-02-11 (F18) 2012-07-07 (F14) Linux OSI mixed (GPLv2 BSD etc) Yes Fedora RPM: installer
Windows Zip: installer
Other Linux: Python script
16,464? N/A Xfce
Gentoo Linux 2013-02-07 2012-04-27 Linux GPLv2 ~23 MiB Yes Wiki article Quick Install Guide
stage3 tarball
IPFire 2012-06-27 (2.11) 2012-06-27 (2.11) Linux Open Source ~20 MiB No raw image (404 error from their own website) 144 N/A none
Kali 2013-03-11 2013-03-11 Linux ? ? No image ? root:toor XFCE4
Meego MER + XBMC 2012-04-27 (0.2) 2012-04-11 (0.1) Linux (embedded) OSI mixed (GPLv2 BSD etc) ~34 MiB + XBMC No ~320 (core) N/A XBMC
Moebius 2013-05-06 (1.1.0) 2012-08-01 (1.0.0) Raspbian (GPLv2) ~20 MiB Yes Raw Image (core) + Raspbian Repositories root: raspi none
openSUSE 2013-04-07 2012-07-30 Linux 3.6.11 OSI mixed (GPLv2 BSD etc) 279 MiB (inc. X11) No raw image 5000 root:linux icewm via startx
OpenWRT 2012-10-23 2012-08-15 Linux OSI mixed (GPLv2 BSD etc) 3,3MiB No Image Packages first login with telnet
set your SSH pw
PiBang Linux 2013-03-09 2012-10-29 Linux Core: OSI mixed (GPLv2 BSD etc) Yes Latest image (user created at first boot) Openbox,i3wm
PwnPi 2012-06-29 (Squeeze) 2012-05-26 (Squeeze) Linux GNU General Public License version 3.0 No Image 20,000+ root:toor xfce
QtonPi 2012-05-27 (0.2) 2012-05-07 (0.1) Linux No qt 5 sdk + sdcard image root:rootme
Raspbian 2013-02-09 2012-05-28 (Wheezy) Linux Core: OSI mixed (GPLv2 BSD etc) ~30 MiB w/o desktop Yes pi image list
qemu image
35,000+ root:hexxeh
LXDE Openbox
OpenELEC 2013-03-25 (3.0.0) 2012-05-10 Linux 3.6.11 (embedded) OSI mixed (GPLv2 BSD etc) 85 MiB (inc. XBMC) Yes install instructions

build instructions - part 1
build instructions - part 2
official builds
raw image (unofficial)

~140 (+ 7 via xbmc) root:openelec
(ssh only)
XBian 1.0 Alpha 5 2013-02-20 2012-07-29 Raspbian OSI mixed (GPLv2 BSD etc) Yes Windows installer
Latest images
Install instructions
35,000+ xbian:raspberry XBMC
raspbmc 2013-02-22 2012-06-30 (Squeeze) Raspbian custom Yes linux installer
windows installer
20,000+ pi:raspberry XBMC
RISC OS 2012-11-01 (5.19 RC6) 2012-07-09 (5.19) RISC OS Shared Source No Latest official image
(not applicable) RISC OS WIMP
SliTaz 2012-12-14 (cooking) 2012-05-29 (4.0) Linux 3.2.27 GPLv2 ~10 MiB Yes raw image Packages root:root Openbox ?
Aros hosted on Raspbian Limited Demo 2012-06-14 2012 Mixed Debian6 and Aros Mixed - GPLv2 and APL (MPL derivative) <~50 MiB No Binaries and run ./where/ever/AEROS/boot/AROSbootstrap pi:raspberry Aros Wanderer
Plan9 2012-12-19 2012-11-12 Plan 9 Lucent No raw image Rio
SlaXBMCRPi 2013-02-19 [14.0] 2013-02-19 [14.0] Linux 3.6.11+ OSI mixed (GPLv2, GPLv3, BSD etc.)
BCL For Java SE
No Raw Image (Developer)
Raw Image (Minimal)
Manual Installer
Install Instructions (Windows/Linux)
(+ Official SlackwareARM 14.0 Packages)
root:slaxbmcrpi Fluxbox
, autostart into XBMC
PiMAME 2013-03-09 2012-12-01 Linux Core: OSI mixed (GPLv2 BSD etc) Yes raw image pi:raspberry none


Discuss: Forum at raspberrypi.org

Wiki & Main site

Fedora Remix

The Raspberry Pi Fedora Remix is a Linux software distribution for the Raspberry Pi computer. It contains software packages from the Fedora Project (specifically, the Fedora ARM secondary architecture project), packages which have been specifically written for or modified for the Raspberry Pi, and proprietary software provided by the Raspberry Pi Foundation for device access.

Debian (Squeeze/6.x)


Debian was the default distribution on the Alpha boards. Boot time depends on width & speed of SD-card. Alpha board boot into Debian prompt (no GUI) was timed taking about 34 seconds.

The Debian distro for Raspberry Pi is the Cambridge reference filesystem, which is a fully functional Debian Squeeze installation containing LXDE (desktop) and Midori (browser); development tools; and sample code for accessing the multimedia functionality on the device.


Arch Linux ARM is based on Arch Linux, which aims for simplicity and full control to the end user. It provides a lightweight base structure that allows you to shape the system to your needs. For this reason, the Arch Linux ARM image for the Raspberry Pi does not come with a graphical user interface, though you can easily install one yourself. Please note that the Arch distribution may not be suitable for beginners.

Arch Linux ARM is on a rolling-release cycle that can be updated daily through small packages instead of huge updates every few months.

More information is available at http://archlinuxarm.org


Raspberry Pi + Debian = Raspbian. A project to create a hard float port of Debian Wheezy (7.x) armhf for the Raspberry Pi. The intent of Raspbian is to bring to the Raspberry Pi user 10,000s of pre-built Debian packages specifically tuned for optimal performance on the Raspberry Pi hardware. The project is still in it's early phases, but the major push to rebuild nearly all Debian packages for the Raspberry Pi is expected to be completed by early June, 2012 (only several hundred packages remain as of June 1st). After that, efforts will focus on making Raspbian the easiest to use, most stable and best performing Linux distribution available for the Raspberry Pi.

More information is available at http://www.raspbian.org


A very compact ARM HF debian based distribution, it fits in a 1Gb SD card, has autoresizing features to better adapt to your SD card size and uses Raspbian huge repositories for installing everything you need. A wise configuration and a small memory footprint are ideal for an headless machine or for interacting with real word I/O devices, take a look at Moebius Website

Raspbian Server Edition

It's a stripped version of Raspibian with some other packages

Red Sleeve Linux

Red Sleeve Linux is a Linux distribution that aims to bring the RHEL clone design to the ARM architecture. There are images for several ARM devices including the Raspberry Pi.


IPFire is an Open Source firewall distribution for x86 and ARM-based systems. It turns the Raspberry Pi computer into a small router for home networks and very small businesses. As the Raspberry Pi computer comes with only one NIC, it works perfectly as a 3G router without plugging in additional hardware.

The generally small system that provides essential services for networks can be enhanced by addons which add new features to IPFire. So the system can be turned into a file server and much more.

More information is available at http://www.ipfire.org

Raspberry Pi Thin Client

Thin Client project want to create a very low price thin client over Raspberry Pi board! Microsoft RDC, Citrix ICA & VMWare View


BerryTerminal is a minimal Linux distribution designed to turn the Raspberry Pi mini computer into a low-cost thin client.

It allows users to login to a central Edubuntu or other LTSP server, and run applications on the central server


GeeXboX is a free and Open Source Media-Center purposed Linux distribution for embedded devices and desktop computers. GeeXboX is not an application, it’s a full-featured OS, that one can boot as a LiveCD, from a USB key, an SD/MMC card or install on its regular HDD. The GeeXboX distribution is lightweight and designed for one single goal: embed all major multimedia applications as to turn your computer into an HTPC.



None of the currently available solutions do a perfect job with running XBMC on the Pi, however OpenELEC comes by far the closest, in spite of its locked down nature.

This fork aims to remedy the very few flaws in its implementation and to focus 100% on the Pi, while also sticking to the upstream and incorporating its updates.


•Low idle CPU usage (< 15%)
•Smoother and more responsive
•Built in XBMC addons: iPlayer, custom fixed version of Demand 5, various unofficial repos
•iPlayer, 4oD, Demand 5, ITV Player, SportsDevil all fully tested+working
•Improved wifi connectivity
•Added test-connman scripts for easy wifi setup 
•Added wireless_tools (iwconfig etc.)
•Added rndis_wlan wifi driver (broadcom 4320 chipset)
•Easy SD card installation script for building from source 


OpenELEC is an embedded operating system built specifically to run XBMC, the open source entertainment media hub. The idea behind OpenELEC is to allow people to use their Home Theatre PC (HTPC) like any other device you might have attached to your TV, like a DVD player or Sky box. Instead of having to manage a full operating system, configure it and install the packages required to turn it into a hybrid media center, OpenELEC is designed to be simple to install, manage and use, making it more like running a set-top box than a full-blown computer.


Raspbmc is a minimal Linux distribution based on Debian that brings XBMC to your Raspberry Pi. This device has an excellent form factor and enough power to handle media playback, making it an ideal component in a low HTPC setup, yet delivering the same XBMC experience that can be enjoyed on much more costly platforms. Raspbmc is brought to you by the developer of the Crystalbuntu Linux Distribution, which brings XBMC and 1080p decoding to the 1st generation Apple TV.


XBian is a small, fast and lightweight media center distro for the Raspberry Pi, based on a minimal Raspbian image. It's slogan is "XBMC on raspberry pi, bleeding edge" and thus it's main focus is delivering the fastest XBMC solution for the Raspberry Pi. Thereby making most of the commercial media-center products obsolete...


  • Fits on a 1GB SD card
  • Low RAM usage and low CPU usage
  • Very smooth UI
  • Auto mount USB
  • AFP support
  • NFS support
  • AirPlay support
  • CEC support
  • Lirc support
  • PVR support
  • Kernel 3.6.7 + a lot of modules
  • Performance as the default governor
  • Out of the box support for almost all wlan adapters
  • User friendly configuration tool xbian-config
  • Source code on git
  • Large community
  • Apt repo so updated was never easier!


What is RasPlex? RasPlex is an Entertainment Center Solution for Raspberry Pi Simply put, RasPlex lets you turn your TV into a Smart TV. Similar to the AppleTV, but completely free and open source, RasPlex is basically a set-top box. Once RasPlex is stable, it will have support for legacy console game emulation (NES, SNES, etc), as well as Plex Channels (Netflix, Crackle, Youtube, etc). RasPlex is a Plex Home Theater Client More technically stated, RasPlex is a complete port of Plex Home Theater (formerly Plex Media Center) for Raspberry Pi. RasPlex currently runs on OpenELEC for reasons of limited man power, but there is a working raspbian port that just needs some time to be brought up to speed. RasPlex was created on Gentoo linux, but that port has since been abandoned for performance reasons. We regularly merge in changes from Plex Home Theater and OpenELEC. Once things cool off a bit and we are more stable (or we get the man power), we will maintain a raspbian release as well. RasPlex is the Perfect Companion to a Plex Media Server Many people will use expensive computers as Plex Clients, or have to go through the inconvenient of plugging a computer in to their TV every time they want to use Plex. With RasPlex, just plug it in and you're media is always ready. Put one on every TV, and have your media everywhere! You can even put RasPlex on your friend's TV's, and watch your media remotely.


PwnPi is a Linux-based penetration testing dropbox distribution for the Raspberry Pi. It currently has 181 network security tools pre-installed to aid the penetration tester. It is built on the debian squeeze image from the raspberry pi foundation's website and uses Xfce as the window manager


Description This debian squeeze image created to perform "pwn plug" type of attacks using Raspberry pi. pleas look at the wiki for further details Wiki


Kali Linux Features

Kali is a complete re-build of BackTrack Linux, adhering completely to Debian development standards. All-new infrastructure has been put in place, all tools were reviewed and packaged, and we use Git for our VCS. •More than 300 penetration testing tools: After reviewing every tool that was included in BackTrack, we eliminated a great number of tools that either did not work or had other tools available that provided similar functionality. •Free and always will be: Kali Linux, like its predecessor, is completely free and always will be. You will never, ever have to pay for Kali Linux. •Open source Git tree: We are huge proponents of open source software and our development tree is available for all to see and all sources are available for those who wish to tweak and rebuild packages. •FHS compliant: Kali has been developed to adhere to the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, allowing all Linux users to easily locate binaries, support files, libraries, etc. •Vast wireless device support: We have built Kali Linux to support as many wireless devices as we possibly can, allowing it to run properly on a wide variety of hardware and making it compatible with numerous USB and other wireless devices. •Custom kernel patched for injection: As penetration testers, the development team often needs to do wireless assessments so our kernel has the latest injection patches included. •Secure development environment: The Kali Linux team is made up of a small group of trusted individuals who can only commit packages and interact with the repositories while using multiple secure protocols. •GPG signed packages and repos: All Kali packages are signed by each individual developer when they are built and committed and the repositories subsequently sign the packages as well. •Multi-language: Although pentesting tools tend to be written in English, we have ensured that Kali has true multilingual support, allowing more users to operate in their native language and locate the tools they need for the job. •Completely customizable: We completely understand that not everyone will agree with our design decisions so we have made it as easy as possible for our more adventurous users to customize Kali Linux to their liking, all the way down to the kernel. •ARMEL and ARMHF support: Since ARM-based systems are becoming more and more prevalent and inexpensive, we knew that Kali’s ARM support would need to be as robust as we could manage, resulting in working installations for both ARMEL and ARMHF systems. Kali Linux has ARM repositories integrated with the mainline distribution so tools for ARM will be updated in conjunction with the rest of the distribution. Kali is currently available for the following ARM devices: ◦rk3306 mk/ss808 ◦Raspberry Pi ◦ODROID U2/X2 ◦Samsung Chromebook

Kali is specifically tailored to penetration testing and therefore, all documentation on this site assumes prior knowledge of the Linux operating system. Install Download If all you want to do is to install Kali on your Raspberry Pi, follow these instructions:

  • 1.Get a nice fast 8 GB (or more) SD card. Class 10 cards are highly recommended.
  • 2.Download the Kali Linux Raspberry Pi image from our downloads area.
  • 3.Use the dd utility to image this file to your SD card. In our example, we assume the storage device is located at /dev/sdb. Change this as needed. On windows you can use win32 disk imagier Guide how to usewin32 disk imagier

Alert! This process will wipe out your SD card. If you choose the wrong storage device, you may wipe out your computers hard disk.

This process can take a while depending on your USB storage device speed and image size. Once the dd operation is complete, boot up your Rasberry Pi with the SD card plugged in. You will be able to log in to Kali (root / toor) and startx. That’s it, you’re done!


i2pBerry is a Raspberry Pi distribution that comes preinstalled with the i2p darknet software. Once you write it to your SD card and boot it up you will be able to instantly connect to the i2p network. You will also be improving the network by adding some of your bandwidth to help users in countries with firewalls connect to the true internet. With the added benifit of torrenting without your ISP snooping on your downloads.

i2pBerry comes preconfigured with a SSH server for headless operation, it is based on Debian Squeeze and has over 20,000 packages ready to be installed.


Bodhi Linux is a small Linux distribution using the Enlightenment window manager and the ARM build is based on Debian.

If you hit any snags or find bugs with this image please let us know in the R_Pi section of our user forums so we can improve this release.

Alpha Release | Link Alpha Bodhi R_Pi) User/Password: bodhi/bodhi root/raspberry Beta Release | Link Beta Bodhi R_Pi User/Password: pi/bodhilinux Root: sudo su root/bodhilinux

Bodhi Linux moves ARM Branch to ARMHF Download newest Release from Sourcforge The R_Pi Bodhi build is built directly on top of Raspbian and incorporates all of their changes and improvements.


Gentoo Linux is a source based rolling-release distribution which emphasizes choice and flexibility. Gentoo ARM aims to be the most up to date and fastest ARM distribution available.

A Quick Start Guide exists how to install Gentoo on the Raspberry Pi.

Gentoo Section on the official Raspberry Pi forum.

Adafruit - Occidentalis v0.1

http://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-raspberry-pi-educational-linux-distro/occidentalis-v0-dot-1 Occidentalis v0.1. Rubus occidentalis is the black raspberry. It is derived from Raspbian Wheezy July 15 Made a few key changes to make it more hardware-hacker friendly!

  • I2C and hardware SPI support
  • I2C/SPI modules initialized on boot

... Please keep in mind, adafruit is not full time linux distro maintainers - we will try to fix any bugs we find but this distro is not for beginners or people who are new to linux!


RISC OS is a fast and lightweight 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. RISC OS includes BBC BASIC which was primarily conceived to teach programming skills as part of the BBC computer literacy project.


A lot of issues come from people not knowing how to do it right, e.g. just dropping the img file onto an SD card. So I’ve customised a GParted LiveCD ISO and written up a custom script to *hopefully* install a distro straight onto an SD card. This is a very early iteration of this idea, but hopefully will develop into something useful.

At the moment, essentially what it will do is

  • 1. Grab the list of Distros from the RPI Download page
  • 2. Let the user select which distro he wants to install
  • 3. Select the Disk device that he wants to install it onto
  • 4. dd the image onto the disk device.
  • 5. Flash OS from zip file on SD Card:
  • 6. Reset SD Card: This will format an SD Card back to defaults, i.e. one vfat partition.
  • Download
  • Main site

PiBang Linux

PiBang linux is a Raspbian based distribution. PiBang is inspired by Crunchbang Linux, an i686 and x86_68 Debian based distribution. It comes preconfigured with many helpful scripts and pipemenus as well as a fork of Raspi-config with increases functions such as support for changing the user and hostname. PiBang is also one of the heavier Rasperry Pi distributions boasting a complete package set with favorites such as Abiword, OMXPlayer, GIMP, and VLC all pre-installed.


Plan 9

Plan 9 is a distributed operating system originally designed and implemented by Ken Thompson, Rob Pike, Dave Presotto, and Phil Winterbottom @ Bell Labs. It is a lean operating system that has been ported to super computers such as IBM's Blue Gene down to tiny boards such the RaspberryPi.


NetBSD is an operating system based off 4.3BSD and is geared towards embedded systems. There has been an unofficial public release here comments about the release here


Details of the FreeBSD port Dowload here


SlaXBMCRPi is a minimal Linux distribution based on Slackware ARM that brings a full featured XBMC solution to your Raspberry Pi. It allow the user to exit from XBMC to the Desktop should he need to perform typical desktop tasks (browsing, text editing etc.).
There are two pre-built images available:
 Developer: It is 3.2GB and contain all development packages required to compile the Linux kernel, XBMC and other XBMC related (or not) packages
 Minimal: It is 1.8GB and contain only the packages required to run XBMC. (Does not include firefox and other GUI apps)


Raspberry Pi distribution geared towards emulating video games. Maintained by Shea Silverman

Announced distributions

The following distributions have been announced and may have been publicly demonstrated but distributions are not generally available quite yet.


https://en.opensuse.org/Portal:ARM OpenSuSE Arm Port exist quite of many Years .
Since July 2012 it been avalible as well for The RPI.
The Image Status are currenty betta still , but works . The OpenSuSE RPi image are made Minimalistic , without Yast !!
Install required Software are quite simple with zypper , same as on x86.

Current Infomations gathered at the RPI Forum http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewforum.php?f=87

Chromium OS

Details about the work Chromium OS is Google own version of linux os

Meego MER & XBMC

The MeeGo MER project provides a Linux-based, open source software platform for the next generation of computing devices. The MeeGo MER software platform is designed to give developers the broadest range of device segments to target for their applications, including netbooks, handheld computing and communications devices, in-vehicle infotainment devices, smart TVs, tablets and more – all using a uniform set of APIs based on Qt. XBMC is an award-winning free and open source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub for digital media. Meego TV 1.2 uses XBMC as a reference GUI (that is, a starting point for creating a custom GUI).


Puppy Linux is designed to be a small tiny Linux distribution (<100MB). One distro version of Puppy for ARM is SAP6 Debian6 armel binaries and another PuppiPlan all under the Puppy initiative. Puppy Linux is going back to his roots. Designed to run from 256MB ram. Making every bit count. Join the Puppy geek adventure for 2012. Woof Woof


OpenWrt is described as a Linux distribution for embedded devices. The Rpi is now supported by the Attitude Adjustment (12.09-beta) release available here:


OpenWrt Wiki for R_pi http://wiki.openwrt.org/toh/raspberry_pi

Related links:


RPi-Buildroot is a set of Makefiles and patches that make it easy to generate a complete customized embedded Linux system for your Raspberry Pi. This distro is based on Buildroot so it's perfect for somebody looking to build a trimmed down or task-specific system.

Please note that this distro is intended for advanced users.

Aros Hosted on Linux

Aros is an open source Amiga like operating system (OS) at the api level. This version runs as a task under Linux to take advantage of the drivers available inside the GNU Linux OS core.

Related links

Other Distributions

These are other popular distributions that are often asked about for Raspberry Pi but are not available.


Ubuntu was initially planned to be the default distribution, but the current version of Ubuntu only supports ARMv7 onwards, not the ARMv6 architecture used by the Raspberry Pi's processor. Therefore Ubuntu does not work on Raspberry Pi, and there is no further information about this changing in the near future.

A bug report on this subject was submitted to Ubuntu's bug tracker. The responses to that bug include an unofficial viewpoint from a Canonical employee, outlining the amount of work required to support ARMv6 (and therefore, potentially, Raspberry Pi). See Bug 848154