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I have several Raspberry PI units, but I always use the customized flavor of Linux (Raspbian) for installs.

Does the Raspberry PI support the installation of an unmodified ISO from the various Linux distributions? (Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, etc.) Can I download an ISO from their website dd it to a USB and then get an installer to work?

Along those lines, are there any other hardware devices (Hummingboard, Arduino, BeagleBoard, etc.) that support unmodified installs? (If this isn't the place to ask that question, what other Stack Exchange site would be more appropriate?)

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    "Unmodified" Debian, like other GNU/Linux binary distributions, is available for a number of different hardware architectures, the most common of which is x86-64, aka. AMD64. However, they're also available in 32-bit x86 versions, and for various other platforms (big endian MIPS machines, older Apple PowerPC machines, etc) -- hence there is no "pure original version" to refer to. They don't have an armv6 port, which is why Raspbian is necessary, but most distros (including Debian) have an armv7 port, since these are much more common (= most mobile devices)... – goldilocks Jan 30 '15 at 21:14
  • ...Many of the newer pi alternatives in fact are armv7 (such as anything based on the A10 SoC), which is why they have Android and some flavour of linux (often Ubuntu or Debian) available. Those are "unmodified" official ports. The root cause of this is really the kernel itself, which is independent of any particular distro and can be compiled from vanilla source for all the aforementioned architectures except, of course, the relatively obscure armv6. – goldilocks Jan 30 '15 at 21:17
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No for at least a couple of reasons.

  1. Distribution ISOs tend to be solely INTEL/AMD CPU based, not ARM as used by the PI.
  2. The Raspberry Pi is an ARMv6 architecture. The major distributions only support more recent architectures (although Debian, at least, support ARMv6 with soft float packages).

Similar reasoning may be applied to the other boards you mentioned.

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