I want a really minimalistic version of linux to run on my raspberry pi. I need nothing on it apart form the tools to make it work. I can then install the things I need such as python, nano, ssh etc.

Is there a version of linux like that? I was thinking ubuntu snappy but wasn't too sure.

Secondly. If I got it configured exactly how I wanted on my system, is it possible to convert it make to a .img file so that I could flash it onto an SD card to use exactly the same settings on 3/4 of my raspberry Pi s?

2 Answers 2


Gentoo linux is what you would want to "build" your OS from a minimal environment, but be warned: it will require quite a bit of time and effort to get from start to end-product. Arch linux is a minimalistic OS from the start, giving you only basic tools and programs. A search of the two will give you more details.

Copying a set up you like to another sd card shouldn't be hard. Just copy your current sd card to another using the dd command (sudo dd if='/dev/sdb' of='/dev/sdf' bs=512k for example), or a tool like win32diskimager Beware: dd has potential to over-write your hard drive! Double check your output path if you use this tool.

  • The distribution of Linux he starts with makes little difference if he is going to customize for minimalism anyway. Commented May 22, 2015 at 15:18
  • @user1133275 Not necessarily true, starting with a distro more fit to your liking means less work digging and removing. PiCore is tiny core's pi distribution, and it is quite different than raspbian.
    – wahoozie
    Commented May 23, 2015 at 17:44
  • Firstly its not likely he actually needs/wants minimalistic it makes no practical difference to a muti GB sdcard. There are multiple minimal versions for every distribution and if he really wants minimal custom/buildroot is the way to go. Any Linux branch will do, Like you say whatever "fit[s] to your liking". Commented May 23, 2015 at 21:31
  • Add a default install size to elinux.org/RPi_Distributions#Comparison if you want to see what's really small Commented May 23, 2015 at 21:37

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