Raspberry Pi is a small single-board computer capable of doing loads of tasks. It is the most popular Single Board computer known around the globe. The Raspberry Pi board has almost all the features which a personal computer or a laptop has. With the Raspberry Pi, we get to see our hardware more closely which gives us a better understanding of the actual process. 

The hardware itself is nothing without a proper Operating System. When it comes to Raspberry Pi, most of the times we choose its official release. There are a lot of other OS options available for Raspberry Pi which we can consider according to our use cases. There are Operating Systems for Raspberry Pi dedicated to the Internet of Things, Media Player, Ethical Hacking, and Gaming.

This article is about the Operating Systems available for the single-board computer Raspberry Pi. All the Operating Systems available are good in their own ways, choosing the best is a hard choice to make with so many options available.

On visiting the official Raspberry Pi download page (https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/) we get Noobs and Raspbian. NOOBS is an OS installer for Raspberry Pi and Raspbian is the official Raspberry Pi OS from Raspberry Pi Foundation. 

Raspberry Pi OS Download

There are some third party operating systems listed on the same page. 

Raspberry Pi OS Download

1. Raspbian 

Raspbian is the compatible, reliable and adaptable operating system for Raspberry Pi. The Raspbian operating systems are fully backward hardware compatible. It is a stable and high-performance operating system suitable for all types of Raspberry Pi users. 


Raspbian comes with the PIXEL desktop (based on LXDE), which makes the Raspberry Pi usable as a daily desktop computer. There are preinstalled applications like Libre Office, Chromium, Minecraft, etc.

2. Ubuntu Mate

Ubuntu Mate is a widely used Linux distribution. Ubuntu MATE 18 is compatible with  Raspberry Pi Model B 2, 3 and 3+. There is 2 separate image for armhf (ARMv7 32-bit) and arm64 (ARMv8 64-bit). More details about Ubuntu Mate installation are available at https://ubuntu-mate.org/raspberry-pi/

Ubuntu Mate


Ubuntu Mate is not the first choice someone makes as its operating system. The reason for this is that it is not fully compatible with all the Raspberry Pi boards. Ubuntu itself is one of the most widely used Linux distribution, we can give it a try to take a break from the Raspbian operating systems.

3. Kali Linux

Kali is a Debian based Linux distribution preferred for penetration testing by ethical hackers. Kali has launched its operating system for Raspberry Pi 4 and other models. The kali Linux for Raspberry Pi is available at https://www.offensive-security.com/kali-linux-arm-images/#1493408272250-e17e9049-9ce8

Kali Linux

 If you want to learn or play with wifi networks, it is perhaps the best choice available. Even if you are not into ethical hacking you can use Kali as your regular operating system.

4. Windows 10 IoT Core

A Raspberry Pi operating system dedicated to IoT. Windows 10 IoT Core provides better support for Azure and SQL server for saving data remotely and locally. The installation instructions and files are available at microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10IoTCore. 

Windows 10 IoT Core

Microsoft launches feature updates every six months. Each feature update release will be supported and offered quality updates for 18 months from the time of its release.


OSMC stands for  Open Source Media Center is the Raspberry Pi OS for music and movies. OSMC is one of the best media player OS which gives a flavor of KODI on the top of Debian. It can play most of the media formats. 

Open Source Media Center

KODI OS is capable of providing support for almost all the media content. You can also stream Netflix and Prime Video, follow this article for more details Netflix and Amazon Prime Video Now Streaming on Raspberry Pi 

OSMC is available at https://osmc.tv/download/


RISC OS Open Limited (ROOL) manages the source code to RISC OS. RISC is customized for ARM devices. RISC OS is the best OS available for retro gaming with Raspberry Pi. 


RISC OS for Raspberry Pi is available for https://www.riscosopen.org/content/downloads/raspberry-pi