I'd like to install the stable Debian Jessie for ARM, which has 3 different ports to choose from. The 2nd seems to be the most optimized for the Raspberry Pi2, considering that it has a single (or 4?) hard float (FPU) inside the 4 cores. That must be the recommended version of Debian. Debian Wheezy is obsolete now, but I understand Raspberian hasn't been upgraded to Jessie at this moment. (I'd like to have more recent versions of Focuswriter, Thunderbird, TeXLive, Kile, Kate, BASH. Plus optionally LibreOffice and a youtube/facebook compatible browser and KDE Desktop Environment Manager. I suppose I could run one application at a time, possible from a KDE desktop, my preferred way, but even running from a BASH executed GUI would work for me too. I understand that apt-get from BASH will look for the ARM application versions (required?) to download.

Is my plan to install the second port of ARM version of Debian-Stable Jessie the right path to take?

From the Debian Manual:

2.1.2. Three different ARM ports

The ARM architecture has evolved over time and modern ARM processors provide features which are not available in older models. Debian therefore provides three ARM ports to give the best support for a very wide range of different machines:

Debian/armel targets older 32-bit ARM processors without support for a hardware floating point unit (FPU),

Debian/armhf works only on newer 32-bit ARM processors which implement at least the ARMv7 architecture with version 3 of the ARM vector floating point specification (VFPv3). It makes use of the extended features and performance enhancements available on these models.

Debian/arm64 works on 64-bit ARM processors which implement at least the ARMv8 architecture.

Technically, all currently available ARM CPUs can be run in either endian mode (big or little), but in practice the vast majority use little-endian mode. All of Debian/arm64, Debian/armhf and Debian/armel support only little-endian systems.

3 Answers 3


You definitely want the armhf port. However, you can't use it as it, because the pi still requires a special kernel, GPU firmware, and bootloader.

Getting stock Debian ARM to work should be pretty similar to what I've described here with regard to Fedora.

  • The Raspberry Pi foundation now offers Raspbian Jessie for download. The user indicated that they just want updated software. If we want to get technical about the question, Raspbian qualifies as a port of Debian Jessie to the Pi.
    – Hydraxan14
    May 6, 2016 at 0:49

Well you can't use the 64-bit version on the 32-bit Pi.

By the way Raspbian also tracks jessie. I believe it's not the Foundation default because Mathematica only works on wheezy.

Personally I'd download Raspbian wheezy and upgrade to jessie.


I was also struggling with Debian a few months ago on my Pi2. Problems mainly with the browser not allowing me to consult the site I needed. Finally I ended up with Ubuntu Mate for RPi2. I was warned for instability but until now I am very happy with it. The only disadvantage is that the raspberry config tool has not been ported to Mate yet. You miss the typical gateway to specific settings but as far as I saw nothing stopped me of making progress in my project. I use the RPi2 for controlling a telescope mount inclusive running a planetarium software, managing its own network to which I can connect with an Android tablet for controlling everything when I am out in the fields taking pictures of the sky.

Ubuntu Mate is my choice!!!

All the best,


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