The new Pi 3 was announced this morning. It's the first Pi to ship with a 64-bit processor, the ARM Cortex A53. The product page for that chip suggests that it's capable of hardware virtualization. Given that Raspbian is currently a 32-bit only environment, are there any virtualization programs that will run on Raspbian which will allow me to run 64-bit applications?

  • Doubtful as they don't currently have a 64bit host OS yet in one of the announcements they said they are evaluating the move to 64 bit Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 10:06
  • 3
    I've edited your title here to indicate your focus exclusively on Raspbian. Given that there are various 64-bit ARMv8 distros around (including Debian, so 64-bit Raspian shouldn't take long) that should be easily adaptable to the 3 in the same manner generic ARMv7 ones are to the Pi 2, if you wish to change the entire nature of your question to include those, please move it to our larger sibling site Unix & Linux.
    – goldilocks
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 10:47

2 Answers 2


@jason.kaisersmith Docker won't work on the RaspberryPi (regardless of version) without some significant rework. The Docker site indicates that docker requires a 64-bit OS (https://docs.docker.com/engine/installation/linux/debian/).

Some work has been done to make it work on the pi (http://resin.io), though I'm still evaluating how well it actually works in practice.

To answer the specific questions asked, I've never encountered a virtualization engine that would allow you to emulate a higher bit OS/Architecture than was running on the host system. I don't believe that it is possible, and if it is possible, it would be terribly slow.

  • It is certainly possible, that's why software is able to handle numbers of arbitrarily large size. In the case of emulation, it would be horribly, probably unusably slow.
    – Jacobm001
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 18:25
  • @Jacobm001I'm thinking more along the lines of all of the additional instructions, plus the addressable memory space, not necessarily the size of the numbers. That said, I'm not an expert on emulation.
    – Ficertyn
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 18:43
  • How about Mingw-64 - can that not run on a 32Bit Windows platform to compile 64Bit Windows Apps? (I know that it can do the opposite - but I've had something that wasn't fun trying to get a Qt 5.x build environment set up for THAT OS!)
    – SlySven
    Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 14:55
  • 3
    @SlySven Compiling is different than running though. Mingw is a toolchain, not an emulation environment.
    – Ficertyn
    Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 16:39
  • Yeah, thinking about it, you're right! - I guess there is a little overlap in that both need the "foreign" libraries and headers in the right place... 8-P
    – SlySven
    Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 23:56

While not full virtualization, have you considered Dockker on pi?


Docker allows you to host containers, which are lightweight and offer a lot of flexibility. They have advantages (and disadvantages) when compared to full virtualization but depending on what you want to do they can be very flexible.

enter image description here

I've not tried docker on Pi, but do have it on my laptop and if you are somebody who likes to try new things and tinker then it's great.

  • I'm going to stick a pin in Docker for the time being. Some googling is showing up some useful-looking things (particularly for collaboration, where sharing containers looks really easy), but also quite a lot of potential for niggles, moderate oddness and a need to track down suitable containers. I might throw some things at it on a faster, more mature platform however.
    – goobering
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 16:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.