I'm working on setting up a kiosk and I'm trying to decide with OS to install on the Pi. I know a full Raspbian install will work, but this site will be hosted locally and updated only a couple times per year. So, I don't want to use a full distro if I don't have to just to minimize maintenance.

I'm wondering if I can open the Chrome browser in kiosk mode without booting to desktop, which would allow me to use something like Jessie Lite or DietPi. Or, do I have to enter the GUI first?

Any suggestions would be helpful.

  • you should try google for a start eg. github.com/MobilityLab/TransitScreen/wiki/Raspberry-Pi or blogs.wcode.org/2013/09/…
    – macf00bar
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 12:34
  • @pastacool I tried both.. they are quite dated.. I followed the steps on the second and I almost managed to get it.. the only problem is that 'startx' command doesn't exist
    – SERPRO
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 20:42
  • did you ever find an answer to your question?
    – Havnar
    Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 12:44
  • I have Jessie Lite installed and can VNC into a blank desktop. I'm still working on how to get Chrome to open without needing the full desktop, but haven't had much time lately.
    – Brian
    Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 16:11

3 Answers 3


I finally managed to find a good guide to get Jessie Lite up and running without booting to desktop as default.

You still need to run Xserver to managed the windows, and you can use LightDM to manage the startup process. There are some other driver installs which optimize video performance on the ARM processor.

The big thing to pay attention to is that the Chromium build offered for Jessie is v45, which will only work on Raspberry Pi 2 or later. You can use a different browser, like Firefox or Epiphany, on an older machine.

  • The linked post mentions nothing about Jessie Lite, and we can see the author is using a full Raspbian Jessie. Did you test with Lite?
    – Meriw
    Commented Aug 31, 2016 at 21:04
  • How about this ? github.com/BillyBlaze/OctoPrint-TouchUI/wiki/… Commented Jan 15, 2017 at 2:00
  • I like your answer yet still do not have the procedure. I have Jessie-Lite installed but need the procedure to make Chromium run in it.
    – SDsolar
    Commented Jul 20, 2018 at 6:17

Try the following URL : http://blogs.wcode.org/2013/09/howto-boot-your-raspberry-pi-into-a-fullscreen-browser-kiosk/

I use it for autorun a web browser when raspbian start

  • In keeping with our policy regarding informationless link-only answers, if this post is not edited to contain information that can stand as an answer, however minimal, in 48 hours it will be converted to Community Wiki to simplify having it corrected by the community.
    – goldilocks
    Commented Jan 14, 2017 at 21:17
  • This is an interesting answer but I must echo @goldilocks comment that this does not actually include a concise procedure to show how to do it.
    – SDsolar
    Commented Jul 20, 2018 at 6:23

There are a lot of different ways you could do this. I know there are some tutorials on setting up Raspbian as a Kiosk, but for your purposes something like Screenly might be the way to go. If you use BerryBoot they have an Premade install for Screenly that is EXTREMELY easy to setup. The only major issue that I saw with Screenly was that it lost any Authentication from stored cookies upon reboot. So if it is an always on situation then Screenly would definitely work. The issue I ran into with some of the Kiosk Tutorials was that eventually the browsers would prompt for updates or would crash etc... requiring user interaction (I was creating a digital signage solution so this was unacceptable). Ultimately I ended up using Concerto for my backend (which would probably be way overboard for your needs) and Screenly as the client on the Pi's... Links to BerryBoot and Screenlys websites are below.


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