Is it safe to use standard Debian repositories with an Raspbian installation?

The reasons are the following:

  • I'd like to use some software which is only available in backports and there is no raspbian (jessie) backports repository.
  • Raspbian seems to be (sometimes) slower in releasing updates compared to what I see on an Debian server and I thought it might be an option to just use the debian security repository.

When using a complete Debian there seem to be problems with the kernel but I thought this should be no problem as I will be using raspbian as base system. Searching only didn't help because I'm not even sure that the few posts using Debian repos which I found online really used Raspbian. In addition, I have tried installing a package from debian backports and had no issue so far (but I'd like to know if this is an exception or the normal case).

Are there any or what are the risks when using packages from Debian repositories on Raspbian? Either when using some specific packages (as in the backports case) or when using a whole set like in the security update case. (If anybody knows, the extreme case of only using the kernel and Pi specific packages from Raspbian and everything else from Debian might also be interesting)

My setup is a Raspberry Pi 3 with raspbian (I used the SD-card from a Pi 2, if that matters).

1 Answer 1


In short, no.

On the other hand, it might work, provided you carefully pick your packages. Oh, and you can only use packages built for the armhf architecture specific to the Pi since Debian armhf packages target ARMv7+ while Raspbian's packages target ARMv6+ (That's why Jessie works with the Pi 1).

Even after all of that, you may will encounter issues.

So... Still no.

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  • Thank you. The reason that my test worked was then probably because it was a python package (and the python interpreter was from Raspbian).
    – TobiMarg
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 8:53
  • @TobiMarg Correct. Python scripts and the like usually don't care about architecture as long as 1.) A Python interpreter is present on the system and 2.) Their imports are installed and accessible.
    – Aloha
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 13:19

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