The Best Raspberry Pi Operating Systems

Posted by Arch on April 16, 2019
Best Raspberry Pi Operating Systems

Raspberry Pi is a small computer that you can use to learn the basics of programming and software. It is a single-boarded, low-configuration device. The Raspberry Pi Charity Foundation launched this computer to bring computing education closer to everyone.

Since it first hit the market in 2012, ten versions of the computer have been released. The latest model has a quad-core 1.4GHz CPU with 1GB of RAM. People use Raspberry Pi to learn about programming, software, hardware, and other computing-related skills. Due to its low specifications and specific use, these devices are affordable to many.

To use your Raspberry Pi, you will need an operating system. The device is open-source and uses Linux-distributed operating systems. This means that you can find a lot of interesting systems which you can run on this device. This article will list some of the best.

1. Raspbian


Raspbian is a Debian-based operating system. It is the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s official operating system, so it is suited to all your needs.

Raspbian already has a lot of pre-installed software. Most of it is made up of programs you need to learn programming. These include Python, Java, Scratch, and others. There is also a pre-installed Minecraft Pi, a version of the popular game that you can play on this device.

Since it is an official operating system of the foundation, it is the most reliable. If you want to use Raspberry Pi for your basic computing needs, you should look no further than Raspbian.

2. Ubuntu MATE

ubuntu mate

Ubuntu MATE is a simple and stable OS that is a good alternative to Raspbian. It is lightweight, so it can also work on older Raspberry Pi versions, especially those that are not able to run a composite desktop.

This operating system comes with some essential built-in software. You’ll get a file manager, image and document viewer, text editor, terminal, etc. Since it is an official Ubuntu release, it comes with Ubuntu-like theme and design.

If you want to install the latest Ubuntu MATE on your Raspberry Pi, you’ll need an SD card with a capacity of at least 4GB.

3. Pidora

Pidora is a remix of Fedora, a well-known operating system. It has all the software packages of the Fedora Project compiled to suit the architecture of Raspberry Pi. Besides the essential software, it also includes the device access programs provided by the Foundation.

Because of its modifications, Pidora is a fast and reliable OS. One of the most interesting features is the ‘Headless mode’, which enables you to install the operating system on a Raspberry Pi that doesn’t have any visual display (TV or monitor).

4. Gentoo Linux


Gentoo is an open-source Linux-based Operating System. It is highly optimizable and compiles the source code according to your preferences. Because of this, the builds of this system are usually optimized for various types of computers. In this case, it’s Raspberry Pi.

It adapts seamlessly and uses software that increases your security. It is user-friendly and easy to install in a few simple steps. However, you will still need to install some things yourself, such as the desktop environment. Just like with Ubuntu MATE, it is recommended that you use an SD card of at least 4GB to install Gentoo.

5. Lakka


Lakka is an operating system for nostalgic gamers. It is a free, lightweight Linux distribution that emulates old video games.

Easy to install and user-friendly, Lakka has a lot of great features such as netplay, shaders, automatic joypad recognition, etc. It will turn your small Raspberry Pi into a monster retro gaming console.

If you want to play good old Crash Bandicoot, Zelda, or Bomberman, you can set it up on your device. Raspberry Pi has strong enough configuration to emulate NES, Sega Genesis, Sony PlayStation 1, and GameBoy Advance.

In addition to Lakka, classic game enthusiasts should also check out other similar emulators for Raspberry Pi like Retropie and Recalbox.

6. Linutop


Linutop has a classic visual design and is simple to install. It is a Raspbian-based OS that you can easily set up on your Raspberry Pi. Light on resources, it will boot in less than thirty seconds. It is smooth and will run on lower configurations too. For example, it runs great on 800MHz and 500MB of RAM.

This OS has some great security features. For example, the “Read-only” option will not allow saving any changes to the system unless you type in your security key. It means that all the hacks, viruses, and malicious software can’t get in your system.

Your Say

Do you agree with the list? Are there some other Raspberry Pi operating systems you think deserve a mention? Let us know in the comments below!


One thought on “The Best Raspberry Pi Operating Systems”

John Robertson says:
people splash out 1000s on their iphones and androids so i dont think the public needs a low cost os like raspberry

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