Let's assume that I am dropped into a room with a Raspberry Pi running either Debian or Raspbian. How do I find out if it has hard float support or if it is just using soft float?

3 Answers 3


Check for the existence of the directory:


the soft-float version do not have this directory, they have:


instead, or you can list the packages installed using:

dpkg -l

and see the platform in the third column (all/armhf/armel)

  • 7
    Since someone just misinterpreted this, to make it absolutely clear: If you have a /lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf, your system is hard-float.
    – goldilocks
    Mar 25, 2015 at 16:16

The accepted answer is correct, but a really simple method is:

dpkg --print-architecture

If your system is using a hard float architecture, you will then see:


ARM Hard Float. :-)


Issue the command:

readelf -A $(which dpkg)

On a hard-float (hf) system, you will see this as part of the output:

Tag_ABI_VFP_args: VFP registers

See http://www.cnx-software.com/2013/04/22/how-to-detect-if-an-arm-elf-binary-is-hard-float-armhf-or-soft-float-armel/

  • 1
    This also works on custom, non-Debian, non-Raspberry systems. I like that. Dec 12, 2018 at 8:59

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