I have 3 models of Raspberry from ARM-v6 to ARM-v8 and would like to have SD cards that i can exchange among them.

After testing my SD IO have realized that Retropie and RaspberrOS works well on Pi1 and pi3

However other images/SD I have only works in a specific system (librelec, piplay, raspbmc)

  • 1
    The standard PiOS image has kernels for all the models. You can install Kodi and Retropi on top of that
    – Dirk
    Commented Dec 24, 2020 at 14:22
  • thanks @Dirk , I always chose specific distros (libreelec or retropie) because i think that they will be better configured/optimized than a multipurpose linux. Commented Dec 27, 2020 at 13:09
  • @DanielPerez, please edit your post to make this a question. It's good discussion but there's no question. Commented Feb 21, 2022 at 20:02

1 Answer 1


Just use the official supported Raspberry Pi OS. On a running system of it you will find:

rpi ~$ ls -lh /boot/kernel*
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 5.6M Dec  9 21:15 /boot/kernel7.img
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 5.9M Dec  9 21:15 /boot/kernel7l.img
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root  16M Dec  9 21:15 /boot/kernel8.img
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 5.3M Dec  9 21:15 /boot/kernel.img

These are all kernels needed to boot on every Raspberry Pi version. The boot loader will select the right kernel for the hardware that is started. At Boot options in config.txt you will find:

kernel is the alternative filename on the boot partition to use when loading the kernel. The default value on the Pi 1, Pi Zero, and Compute Module is kernel.img, and on the Pi 2, Pi 3, and Compute Module 3 it is kernel7.img. On the Pi4, it is kernel7l.img.

If set to non-zero, forces the kernel loading system to assume a 64-bit kernel, starts the processors up in 64-bit mode, and sets kernel8.img to be the kernel image loaded ...

  • So maybe all distributions are able to be cross compatible after adding all these kernels and configuring the boot option at config.txt. I have to check Commented Dec 27, 2020 at 14:28

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