I have mini-WiFi and mini-bluetooth dongles patiently awaiting the arrival of a Raspberry Pi. These are listed as Linux-compatible devices.

Are there any concerns with the hardware of the Raspberry Pi compared to a full PC stack, i.e. having a USB channel handling ethernet?

In general, should all Linux-compatible devices work with a Raspberry Pi?

  • 1
    I've had a nightmare with this mini-wifi dongle.
    – Jivings
    Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 23:19
  • If there is a fully Free driver, almost certainly (barring obscure hw issues). If there's a binary from the manufacturer (which is luckily rare), most likely not.
    – XTL
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 5:54

2 Answers 2


It depends which distro you use, whether the distro maker compiled a lean custom kernel ripping out drivers to save space, or whether they shipped a fairly 'standard' kernel.

For what it's worth every USB device I have tried has worked fine using the recent Debian image.

Be aware of the power draw of the device you're attaching though. Chunky things like wifi adapters and webcams will be more problematic, but that's separate from the driver issue.

  • 4
    Also that the modules are available for ARM.
    – Jivings
    Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 23:18
  • 2
    A sure sign of a device drawing too much power are several kernel panics.
    – Joe
    Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 23:28

Not necessarily. The big "but" is that the drivers have to be compiled for ARMv6, which isn't always the case.

Less likely to be an issue, but still possible, is the power draw from the adapter - it's possible that if it's too much, the Pi won't supply enough current and therefore it won't work.

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