I would like to install a plain Debian operating system on my pi without all the software and config that comes with the Raspbian image.

Is there a guide for this?

  • According to the Raspbian FAQ, Raspbian is "just" an unofficial optimized Debian port for ARMv6 CPUs. I know that some additional softwares (such as raspi-config or omxplayer) come with the distro, but it is only to help the user. Nov 22, 2012 at 15:10
  • 3
    Would the downvoter care to share his/her thoughts on why this was a bad question? I can't see any obvious breaches of this: raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/faq#dontask
    – t123
    Nov 22, 2012 at 21:28

1 Answer 1


You will need some of the boot magic and a kernel that work on the board. These don't come with mainline Debian. You might be able to install these on a fresh card from some source (anyone have instructions?) or you might use a ready SD card image, but wipe the root partition to leave just the booting bits.

Then you might be able to use that kernel and a Debian install initrd (maybe netboot versatile?) to boot into the installer. I did this while installing debian on an NSA310 and it works if the kernel is adequate and you can manage the boot process. You might also look at the Raspbian installer kit.

Alternatively, you could use a second machine with a card reader and use debootstrap. If that ends up being cross install (e.g. amd64 installing for armel), you might need a few tricks. There should be several documents around describing debootstrap for arm boards. This I've only tried on i386, but will probably try for arm in the future.


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