Every time I want to install a OS on a Raspberry Pi I have to check if that version support the model I have.

For example, NetBSD doesn't support RP Zero and RP 4. (it doesn't even boot).

Of course that we don't see the same problem with X86 architecture.

So my question is: Why? What makes them so different that engineers need months for developing a supported version?

  • Don’t ask us - ask the authors of the OS in question
    – Milliways
    Commented Aug 31, 2019 at 10:29
  • 1
    Backwards compability and standardisation is not as important for ARM integrators as it is for x86 integrators (and x86 end-users). It is a totally different market.
    – flakeshake
    Commented Aug 31, 2019 at 15:05
  • I'm sure there are cases where the authors simply state which models they know the distro works on. Unless explicitly stated, that means other models might be fine, but no one has promised anything. The important thing to pay attention to is the latest image release date. If that is years in the past, it could be abandoned but left available online (not uncommon); avoid stuff like that unless you absolutely have to. As joan points out, this is not a task that requires or involves "engineers [working for] months". It simply about when people get around to the drudge of it.
    – goldilocks
    Commented Aug 31, 2019 at 15:19

1 Answer 1


The OS need configuring for each model of Pi which has significant internal differences from the last.

This configuration isn't difficult (e.g. different peripheral base address, different number of processors) but it does require effort. Such things like editing the software, testing the software, documenting the software, releasing the software all take effort.

Raspbian has enough of a community behind it so that the effort is available in a timely fashion. Other distributions may be dependent on the availability of just one or two people.

  • I Still can't see it, if intel releases a new processor with new cores the OS are still able to boot on such machine (maybe won't take advantage of new feature). Why on raspberry is different? Commented Aug 31, 2019 at 12:15
  • I have told you. If you don't believe me then do as @Milliways suggests and directly ask the authors.
    – joan
    Commented Aug 31, 2019 at 12:59

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