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Which operating system (OS) should I use on my Raspberry Pi?

The Raspberry Pi is, at it's core, a simple ARM based Linux machine. There is a plethora of operating systems available. The ambition of this article is to list the popular and tested ones.


Here you can find a list of operating systems for your Raspberry Pi. While basically every distro is possible to be run one way or another, there are a few recommended ones.

  • Raspbian: the official Raspberry Pi Debian Image is Raspbian. The link provided is better than going to the official pages, as you can read about installation details for beginners etc. And also download other supported systems and software
  • Windows 10 IoT Core: you can find the installer and guides to install Windows 10 on the RasPi. If you prefer .NET development, this one is for you. Very performant and well made. Note there might be issues running this from your Windows 7 machine. Maybe time to ask for an upgrade :)

Other Options

You will find a nicely managed list of alternative images at this location. The list contains images which are 'official', however there are many more available. Some are listed below.

OS Choices

  • Ubuntu Mate
  • Snappy Ubuntu Core
  • OSMC
  • LibreElec
  • PiNet
  • Risc OS
  • Weather Station (based on Raspbian)

We are just scratching the surface by the above. If you want more, just Google a bit. Here is an interesting link, if you want fast results: thibmaek OS Images - already sorted out and very extensive.


There are some multi-boot options available. Handle with care - we haven't tested those for you (yet) ...

  • Noobs: one of the few options safe to use. This image can be often bought on a flash drive and contains RasPi approved options.
  • DietPi - a small image intended for setting up your Pi server the way you like it.


  • Setup SD Card - Once you have selected your image of choice, go ahead and flash it to your SD card