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Old 11-09-2017, 06:37 PM   #1
Registered: Feb 2005
Distribution: Raspbian
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Raspbian on Raspberry Pi

I should qualify that I am not really new to Linux, having used several distributions and became fairly competent with Slackware back in the early to mid 2000's. Even so, I haven't used Linux much lately, forgot most of what I knew, so my skill level is probably at newbie. I recently purchased a Raspberry Pi 3. I tried installing Ubuntu Mate, but it seemed too sluggish. The default Raspbian seems to run fairly well, considering the low power hardware. This has raised 2 questions in my mind.
The first is a practical question: Raspbian is based on Debian. Does this mean that most of what I can learn here about Debian should transfer to Raspbian? Should Debian packages work on Raspbian?
The second may not have a real answer: What is the reason the raspberry org would make their own version or a distro? I can understand that the hardware may need some specific drivers and uses slow processors, but why not just provide drivers for a minimal install debian?

Last edited by dcc; 11-09-2017 at 06:38 PM.
Old 11-09-2017, 07:15 PM   #2
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Raspbian is Debian, so everything you learned in Debian is applicable to Raspbian. There are differences, but the similarities are much more.

Raspbian does not use Grub as bootloader. If fact, the boot sequence and the boot partition and how it is used is different from what you normally do in Debian.

I assume the file system and mountings are optimized for writing as little as possible to the SD card. I also think it has been optimized for minimal RAM use from the time the Pi came with 512MB. Overall, the ARM processor (especially the types used in the Pi and Pi2) is less powerful, so the installation must have been tweaked for less computation intensive applications.

Even if there are large similarities, I would not try to use Debian repositories. Raspbian uses the same apt installer etc. and installation is as easy as in Debian. But using Pi repos.

Dist-upgrade is not supported, but nevertheless I did it and (from Etch to Jessie) it worked.

Old 11-10-2017, 08:45 AM   #3
Registered: Feb 2005
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Thanks jlinkels. I do plan to stick with the Raspbian repositories. I probably won’t do much more than RetroPiee and relearning the shell. I didn’t think about it running from the sd card, but that by itself may have been a good reason to write a Raspberry Pi specif distro
Old 11-10-2017, 10:39 AM   #4
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If you want something really fast, check out Puppy Quirky I can boot mine in less than 20 seconds. And it uses the Ubuntu arm repo.
Old 11-10-2017, 02:12 PM   #5
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If you have a RPi3 you can set the OTP bit & boot from USB media.

They have a dedicated website/forum, it is mainly programming project related, but you can find some useful info there.

Last edited by fatmac; 11-10-2017 at 02:13 PM.
Old 11-10-2017, 02:17 PM   #6
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[ oops, i confused that with armbian ]

Last edited by ondoho; 11-10-2017 at 02:19 PM.
Old 11-10-2017, 06:20 PM   #7
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Raspbian is not Debian. It is debian based and basically a clone. I've run debian on my pi B, the armel version for arm v4 (with a raspbian /boot and kernel). You can run debian armhf for the 3 though which is arm v7, the B is only arm v6. I don't like the raspbian kernel as the NFS stuff is IN the kernel and not a module. Which bloats your ps output for something you might not even use. Plus cpu cycles and ram being used by it. But I'm lazy so raspbian is the current card in my pi B. Which I'll setup as my print server sooner or later. When I need to print something in six or so months probably.


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