Now I got my Raspberry Pi. I am an experienced application software developer, but I've never done hardware stuff or low-level programming before. I want to build a minimal Linux, including drivers for all hardware on my Pi. For learning purpose, I don't want to install any pre-built Linux distribution on my Pi. Where should I start?

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    Have you done any research at all? Do you have any idea of what you would like to achieve, besides something that's minimal.
    – Impulss
    Jan 31, 2013 at 6:17
  • Building a minimal Linux itself on the board cannot be a goal? Does it need to be as big as say, building THE Android killer?
    – powerboy
    Jan 31, 2013 at 6:25
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    And I am asking how to get started, not asking someone to walk me through from start to finish. Why down vote? Beginners are not welcome?
    – powerboy
    Jan 31, 2013 at 6:32
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    @powerboy I've played around with BuildRoot. It's a project to build minimal Linux environments for embedded systems. I'm still not sure if it's a good match for the RPi or not since the RPi is both an embedded system and a regular computer. For example, a BuildRoot system doesn't have a package system like APT on Debian. I've used this customized BuildRoot configuration, customized for Qt5: github.com/nezticle/RaspberryPi-BuildRoot Jan 31, 2013 at 7:10

1 Answer 1


You basically have three levels to choose your starting point from:

  1. Satisfy for something already available and concentrate on doing the hardware stuff. In this case I recommend you Adafruit Occidentalis, a debian based distribution aimed for people interested in HW-modding of the RPi.
  2. Start creating a new distribution. Here's a generic link to get started from: http://www.tuxradar.com/content/how-build-your-own-linux-distro
  3. Create a totally custom Operating System, but then there is no reason to call it Linux. Here's a link for on on-line course: http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/freshers/raspberrypi/tutorials/os/
  • +1 on #3 there. I'm going through it now and its a good insight into ARM assembly and some basic OS operations.
    – tkeE2036
    Jan 31, 2013 at 16:42
  • I am doing the same thing! Nice beginner tutorial!
    – powerboy
    Feb 1, 2013 at 5:34

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