Which Linux is Best for Raspberry Pi? A Comprehensive Guide


Raspberry Pi, a small yet powerful single-board computer, has gained immense popularity among tech enthusiasts and hobbyists. To make the most out of your Raspberry Pi, choosing the right Linux distribution is crucial. In this guide, we’ll delve into various Linux options and help you decide which one suits your needs the best.

Which Linux is Best for Raspberry Pi?

Linux distributions for Raspberry Pi come in various flavors, each catering to different use cases and preferences. Here are some of the top contenders:

1. Raspberry Pi OS (formerly Raspbian)

Raspberry Pi OS, the official operating system for Raspberry Pi, is a user-friendly option for beginners. It offers a simple setup, a familiar interface, and a vast repository of software. This OS is optimized to work seamlessly with Raspberry Pi hardware.

2. Ubuntu

Ubuntu, a popular Linux distribution, has an official version designed specifically for Raspberry Pi. Known for its stability and large community support, Ubuntu provides a wide range of software options and regular updates.

3. Manjaro ARM

If you’re looking for a more cutting-edge experience, Manjaro ARM might be the right choice. Built on Arch Linux, it offers a rolling release model, providing the latest software updates and features.

4. Fedora

Fedora offers a balance between cutting-edge features and stability. It provides a range of spins, including a minimal version optimized for Raspberry Pi. Fedora’s focus on security and new technologies makes it a solid choice.

5. RetroPie

For gaming enthusiasts, RetroPie turns your Raspberry Pi into a retro gaming console. It’s preloaded with emulators and game ROMs, allowing you to relive the classic gaming experience.

Exploring the Options

Choosing the right Linux distribution depends on your project’s requirements and your familiarity with Linux systems. Let’s dive deeper into each option:

Raspberry Pi OS: User-Friendly and Versatile

Raspberry Pi OS, previously known as Raspbian, is an excellent starting point for beginners. It features a user-friendly interface, pre-installed software like the Chromium browser and LibreOffice suite, and tools for programming and hardware projects. Whether you’re a student or a hobbyist, Raspberry Pi OS offers a comfortable environment to learn and create.

Ubuntu: Solid Performance and Support

Ubuntu is known for its stability and extensive community support. The Raspberry Pi version of Ubuntu provides the same reliability, with a wide range of software available through its repositories. If you’re already familiar with Ubuntu on desktop systems, transitioning to the Raspberry Pi version will be seamless.

Manjaro ARM: Embracing the Cutting Edge

Manjaro ARM targets users who want the latest software and features. It’s built on Arch Linux, which is known for its rolling release model. This means you’ll have access to the latest updates without the need for major system upgrades. If you’re comfortable with Linux and enjoy staying on the cutting edge, Manjaro ARM is worth exploring.

Fedora: A Blend of Innovation and Stability

Fedora provides a balance between innovation and stability. It’s backed by Red Hat, a well-known name in the Linux world. Fedora’s minimal version for Raspberry Pi is optimized for performance and resource efficiency. If you’re interested in trying out new technologies while maintaining a stable system, Fedora is a strong contender.

RetroPie: Reliving Nostalgia Through Gaming

RetroPie is a unique Linux distribution that transforms your Raspberry Pi into a retro gaming console. It’s perfect for reliving the golden age of gaming with emulators for platforms like NES, SNES, and Sega Genesis. Whether you’re a fan of classic games or want to introduce the younger generation to vintage gaming, RetroPie provides a fun and nostalgic experience.


Can I install multiple Linux distributions on one Raspberry Pi?

Yes, you can set up multiple operating systems using separate microSD cards or by creating multiple partitions on a single card. This allows you to switch between different distributions based on your needs.

Which Linux distribution offers the best performance for general tasks?

Raspberry Pi OS and Ubuntu are both excellent choices for general tasks. They provide a stable and user-friendly environment, making them suitable for everyday use.

Is Manjaro ARM suitable for beginners?

While Manjaro ARM offers the latest software, it may not be the best choice for beginners due to its Arch Linux base and rolling release model. It’s better suited for users with some Linux experience.

Can I use Fedora’s minimal version for server projects?

Yes, Fedora’s minimal version is well-suited for server projects. Its focus on performance and resource efficiency makes it a good choice for hosting various services.

Does RetroPie support wireless controllers?

Yes, RetroPie supports a wide range of wireless controllers. You can easily connect and configure them for an authentic gaming experience.

Is it possible to install a different desktop environment on these distributions?

Yes, you can install different desktop environments to customize your experience. However, keep in mind that some environments might be more resource-intensive than others.

Can Raspberry Pi 4 run Linux?

Yes, Raspberry Pi 4 can run Linux.

Which Linux is best for Raspberry Pi?

The best Linux distribution for Raspberry Pi depends on your needs, but popular choices include Raspbian (now called Raspberry Pi OS), Ubuntu, and Manjaro.

What version of Linux is on Raspberry Pi 4?

Raspberry Pi OS (formerly Raspbian) is the official Linux distribution for Raspberry Pi 4.

Which Linux to install on Raspberry Pi 4?

You can install Raspberry Pi OS, Ubuntu, Fedora, or various other Linux distributions on Raspberry Pi 4, depending on your preferences.

What OS should I put on my Raspberry Pi?

You should choose an OS that suits your project requirements; Raspberry Pi OS is a common and user-friendly choice.

Which Linux runs on Raspberry Pi?

Multiple Linux distributions can run on Raspberry Pi, including Raspberry Pi OS, Ubuntu, Fedora, and more.

Can Raspberry Pi run any Linux?

Raspberry Pi can run various Linux distributions, but compatibility might vary, so it’s essential to choose a suitable one.

Is Linux necessary for Raspberry Pi?

Linux is the primary operating system used on Raspberry Pi, but other OS options like RISC OS also exist; it depends on your project needs.


Choosing the right Linux distribution for your Raspberry Pi depends on your goals, familiarity with Linux, and the tasks you plan to perform. Whether you’re a beginner looking for a user-friendly experience, an enthusiast eager to explore the latest software, or a gamer seeking a nostalgic journey, there’s a Linux distribution tailored to your needs. Remember to consider factors like stability, software availability, and community support when making your decision.

If you’re passionate about learning, creating, and exploring the possibilities of Raspberry Pi, the right Linux distribution will be your partner in your exciting journey of innovation.

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