6 light operating systems for the Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi is not like a standard PC. Surely it can also be used to replace our computer, but in principle this is not its purpose.

The Raspberry Pi is a much more versatile device and this versatility has somehow affected its lack of "massive" resources.

Although it must be said that most of the features that are required nowadays on a normal desktop PC with GNU / Linux are not necessary on the Raspberry Pi.

These unsolicited features make it possible to use a lighter Operating System in order to be able to dedicate more RAM and energy resources to the project we intend to create.

Given that the resources that can serve us are never so many, let's see 6 of the lightest operating systems for our Raspberry Pi.

1. Raspbian Stretch Lite

Raspbian Stretch Lite


This is one of the most obvious choices for those looking for a lightweight distribution for their Raspberry Pi.

It has central core Debian but it is basically a minimal image, there is not even the X-server and its modules.

This brings this distro to weigh only 1.2 GB against the 4 GB of the non-lite version of Raspbian.

Therefore this distribution is ideal for server use, especially if we use the Pi as a file server or for headless tasks.

2. DietPi


DietPi is another distribution that has its roots in Debian (in the Jessie version this time).

DietPi is available for several single-board computers, but is primarily designed for the Raspberry Pi.

This distribution is a very compact version of Debian, in fact it weighs only 589 MB, and arrives already accompanied by a set of already optimized applications and tools.

3. piCore / Tiny Core Linux

piCore/Tiny Core Linux

Who surfs in the immense waters of the penguin will have surely already heard of Tiny Core Linux, especially when it comes to light distributions.

The version for Raspberry Pi, piCore, is even faster and lighter and its "weight" is a record.

It weighs in fact only 35 MB.

Although this in this case, given its lightness and logic that most of the tools and software we need must be installed at a later time.

4. Crux-ARM


If we are looking for a highly customizable GNU / Linux distribution, we can stop looking. In fact, Crux-ARM, with only 81 MB of weight, is one of the most customizable distributions for Pi.

As against this high level of customization, however, there is the fact that a lot of experience is required in the use of GNU / Linux systems to be expressed.

Also the process of installing the distro is not as simple as the other distributions available for the Raspberry Pi.

5. Arch Linux ARM

Arch Linux ARM

Arch is probably one of the most popular Raspbian alternatives available for Raspberry Pi users.

This is a pure 32-bit version of Arch Linux, with all the features and functionality optimized to work best on ARM systems.

It is possible to install it manually but alternatively you can always use the comfortable NOOBS installer.

Arch on the Raspberry is fast, efficient and ideal for any type of project you want to develop.



RISC OS is a lightweight operating system but this time not based on Linux. It is a system that comes directly from the past, a style that returns to the future, more precisely from the distant 1987, but today everything is still a useful and quite complete system.

RISC OS with its weight of only 119 Mb is available for different devices.

As for the use, here things are only a little more complex, as you have to learn some new command.

The graphical interface can initially seem a little tricky as there is no dock and no "start" button.

Instead, its applications are grouped into folders and are prefixed with the "!" Symbol.

But once you've got a bit of a hand with its structure, things get easier right away.

After seeing this roundup of light distributions you have no other excuses that the resources of your Pi are not necessary for your project.

So close this page and go to develop your idea.


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