10

The original Raspberry Pis had an ARM11 core which used the ARMv6 architecture, and most distribution's ARM hardfloat ports require at least ARMv7-A, the reason for Raspberry Pi-specific distributions (please correct me if I'm wrong about any of that). But the Raspberry Pi 2's CPU has an ARMv7-A architecture, so a Debian armhf installer should run just fine, right? I flash my SD with debian-8.4.0-armhf-DVD-1.iso and put it in my Raspberry Pi 3 and nothing happens (I'm unsure about the exact architecture of the Raspberry Pi 3, but I think it's at least ARMv7-A, but I tried it in my Raspberry Pi 2 and still got no results). So what do I have to do to a Debian armhf installer to get it to run on a Raspberry Pi 3?

  • 3
    Possible duplicate of Which port of Debian Jessie to install on Raspberry Pi 2? – Milliways Jun 3 '16 at 3:28
  • You need the drivers specific to the Pi bundled in there. The standard way of doing this is by compiling the kernel yourself and including the correct modules. – tlhIngan Jun 3 '16 at 18:26
  • Why do you not want Raspbian anyways? If it's the GUI, it can be disabled (command-prompt only) or replaced (proper LXDE, or XFCE are common). – tlhIngan Jun 3 '16 at 18:28
  • Exact same methodology as described here WRT to Fedora: raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/q/27544/5538 I've kept that upgraded and currently use the same card in the 2 and 3 with the pre-compiled kernel from the github repos, etc. – goldilocks Aug 1 '16 at 13:31
1

Debian stretch arm64 works quite well on the Raspberry Pi 3 (which has a 64-bit capable Cortex-A53). However, when preparing an SD card image you have to take certain things into account:

  • an arm64 kernel from stretch-backports is recommended
  • the bootloader/firmware package raspi3-firmware is required
  • the Raspberry Pi expects a certain layout of the SD card

I have prepared a configuration that assembles a minimal Debian stretch arm64 image: https://github.com/lueschem/edi-pi/

It depends on your use case whether pure Debian is a good option:

  • (+) cross compiling works great for pure Debian
  • (-) not all Raspberry Pi 3 features work out of the box with pure Debian
  • (+) pure Debian comes with support for snap packages (e.g. LXD)
  • (-) the desktop experience is a lot more refined with Raspbian

Debian stretch armhf (32-bit) images for the Raspberry Pi 2/3 are also possible but not yet supported by the above configuration.

Please note that the Raspberry Pi 2 is not capable of running an arm64 image.

4

It's not ready for general use, and far too long to describe here, but Bruce Perens has had some success in Installing the Native Debian “armhf” Architecture on Raspberry Pi 3 Instead of Raspbian.

2

Neither Debian 7 (wheezy) or Debian 8 (jessie) support the Raspberry Pi3 in AArch64 mode. Debian 9 (stretch) will very likely support the Pi3 in 64bit mode , though. Progress can be monitored here: https://wiki.debian.org/RaspberryPi3

  • The only thing you'd need to get Debian's Arm64 port working would be a 64-bit Pi kernel -- which has been compiled if you search around, although I dunno if it comes out fully functional. – goldilocks Feb 9 '17 at 14:23

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