Best Operating Systems for Raspberry Pi 2 & 3

You are here, means you already got the latest and fastest-in-class little computer – Raspberry Pi 3. Now, what next? Well, you all know that Raspberry Pi 3 does not come with an Operating System in it. But yes, if you got the top Raspberry Pi Kit which comes with preloaded NOOBS on an SD card, then it will make easier to download and install the OS for your PI because the NOOBS is an OS manager needed for an installation and easy setup of the OS on PI device. Today, we will see the best Raspberry PI 3 Operating Systems which will let you getting started in the amazing world of Pi. Check out the list below and get your suitable OS version for your exquisite device.

The Best Operating Systems for Raspberry Pi 3 are:

1) Raspbian OS – The Best OS for Raspberry Pi 3

Yes, it is true, the Raspbian is the best OS for the Pi 3, and it is official too. You just need to dump the image file of the Raspbian on your SD card to install it on Pi 3. Though you may be a little bit confused person while using Raspbian if you are a first time user of Linux, it is the most popular Pi 3 OS in the world in which you will also get an enjoyable experience.

  • The Raspbian is a lightweight OS which is based on Debian distribution
  • It is specifically designed to work for Raspberry Pi devices
  • It comes with pre-installed software like LibreOffice, email client, etc.
  • It also includes a Minecraft special version to help you make something
  • You will easily find the guidelines and troubleshooting for Raspbian
  • There are dozens of videos available on YouTube also for the understanding and using Raspbian OS

2) Windows 10 IoT Core

If you bought the Pi 3 for coding and programming specifically, then the Windows 10 IoT Core is the best option to go with. Don’t get confused with the name because the Pi will not support the same Windows 10 version we use on our desktop PC, but uses a slightly simpler and slimmed down version of the OS.

  • Windows 10 IoT Core is best for prototype development of connected devices
  • Projects like automated robots, home automation system, building smart gadgets, etc. can be successfully completed by the support of this Operating System
  • It also works on Pi 2, DragonBoard 410C, and MinnowMax Boards     
  • Applications like a web server like sensor to a temperature reader are best built with this OS for Pi 3
  • You need to install Visual Studio on your Windows Raspberry Pi PC which is necessary to control and program your device through it if you want to use Windows OS


If you are looking for something different than the traditional Operating Systems for Raspberry Pi 3, then go for the RISC OS Pi. It is not built on Linux and does not support the electronic prototype projects, but it is a whole new concept of OS which works on its own. So, if you are a curious type person and want to play around with your Pi, then you should try this Operating System.

  • It is based on the BBC Microcomputer Systems and is simpler than the traditional
  • It has a super responsive USP (Universal Storage Platform)
  • The minimized version of RISC OS named as RISC OS Pico is suitable for the Pi hackers
  • You will require a minimum of 2GB SD card to run this OS on your Pi device

4) Retro Pi

Anyone here who own a computer and do not have installed any game on it? I think the answer is negative because everyone loves games. Some are addicted to it while some play games just for having some relaxing time. No matter what, but if you want to play games on your Raspberry Pi, then the Retro Pi is the platform you will need to enjoy at full pace.

  • Retro Pi is an all-in-one gaming platform which turns your Pi 3 into a high-class retro gaming machine
  • It is built on Raspbian, EmulationStation, etc. projects, which means you need not to be a scientist of Linux
  • You can directly install it on your Raspbian OS
  • You can configure and customize the inbuilt tools of Retro Pi as per your need


The OSMC (Open Source Media Center) is probably the most feature rich media center software. Currently, it is the easiest software to use with Pi device for a media center option. It is the best for the general users who are beginners in the technical field and who are new to the media centers.

  • It is based on Kodi (formerly known as XBMC) media center but has easier functionality
  • It has a clean interface and a completely different look than Kodi, which will not make you confused
  • The left aligned menu helps you to choose the media to play, change the settings, and to check other programs
  • It supports various Debian based Kodi plug-ins to support DIY projects
  • FTP, SSH, Samba Sharing, etc. are the other forms supported by OSMC for the tinkerers

6) New Linutop OS

linutopBy using the Raspbian base, the Linutop OS can be set up quickly on your Raspberry Pi device. It uses a XFCE classic graphical environment which is lightweight. It comes with the main Linux software. You can download it directly or can get it on an SD card.

  • It comes as ready-to-use
  • It has a boot time of fewer than 30 seconds
  • It is an ideal Operating System for a professional use like Internet Kiosk, Embedded Systems, Digital Signage, etc.
  • The Kiosk software provides security at the time of access and display
  • It will run sufficiently with 512MB of RAM and 800MHz of frequency
  • This OS is compatible with Pi 3, Pi 2, Pi Model A, A+, B+, and Pi Zero

7) Arch Linux ARM

archlinuxArch Linux ARM is a simple port of Arch Linux. It will give you full control over your Pi device. Its simple base structure will provide you with the access of shaping the system according to your needs.

  • It is a distribution of Linux for ARM computers
  • You can update it daily through the small packages
  • The kernel and software support is targeted for hard-float ARMv6 and ARMv7, soft-float ARMv5te, and ARMv8 AArch64
  • Targeted, simple, and user-centralized OS
  • It gives you complete control over the system

8) Pidora

pidoraMost of the Pi users still stick to the Raspbian, but the new and advanced Operating Systems are giving a tough competition to it. Mainly due to its buggy and sluggish behavior. And one of these latest Operating Systems is New Pidora 2014. It is a remix version of the popular Fedora OS for Raspberry Pi.

  • It is based on the latest Fedora build for the ARMv6 architecture
  • It uses Fedora 20 package set
  • The carry forwarded components and applications of Fedora offers greater speed while using Pidora OS on Raspberry Pi
  • The unique feature of headless mode allows you to install it on your Raspberry Pi even if you do not have a display
  • It comes with all the essential software for the Raspberry Pi alongside other useful software

9) Snappy Ubuntu

snappyThe Snappy Ubuntu is aimed at clouds and devices and is a lighter version of the well-known Ubuntu OS. Unlike to Ubuntu MATE, it provides a simple approach for the installation and uninstallation of the applications and updates.

  • It is one of the most recommended Raspberry Pi Operating Systems
  • The transactional systems management makes it faster, reliable, and secure
  • The Snappy Ubuntu Core 15.04 can be downloaded and loaded on an SD card with 4GB storage space
  • It includes the advanced applications from Github and others
  • The updates are made automatically, so you will get the unbroken and fresh app every time you use it on your device

10) SARPi

slackwareThe Slackware Linux Enthusiasts has made the community product named as Slackware ARM on Raspberry Pi (SARPi). It is called as one of the best Raspberry Pi Operating Systems today.

  • You will be provided a tutorial containing a step-by-step, how to install and use Slackware ARM on Raspberry Pi guide
  • You can download and install it on an 8GB SD card
  • It supports most of the applications made for the ARM architecture
  • The easier installation process and tutorial guide will help the beginners to use it without any difficulty


If you want to test out the perfect OS for Raspberry Pi 3, then the best way is to test using with NOOBS. We will recommend testing all of the systems mentioned in the above Raspberry Pi 3 OS list because the choice mostly depends on which kind of Pi project you will be doing and how you feel comfortable with the OS you are using for it. Yeah, there are other options to where you can get readymade projects without the need of NOOBS.

So the choice is yours, you can go to the ready meal available which will give you output but you will never know the ingredients, or you can prepare your own in which you can add taste according to your likes.

Jessica Ward

Hey! I am Jessica Ward. I love to write about technology and learn or thinking about latest techno. And my forever ever love technology project is Raspberry Pi. I do and know more or more for Raspberry Pi.

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