I was hoping to install Arch linux via NOOBS because I've read that Arch linux probably has best real-time GPIO handling for a non-RTOS (due to minimal OS processes etc) out of the box, and via NOOBS because it would be the most straight forward way of installing it. But NOOBS does not give me the option for Arch Linux. My other half said she saw something on Facebook saying that it's no longer supported for RPi or something, but I can't find any such information online.

It's for the original Raspberry Pi B model.

  1. Where has the NOOBS option for Arch Linux gone?
  2. What would a good alternative from the NOOBS list be? (No GUI). The list includes RISC OS which the description says is the most light weight and fastest, so I would choose, except this link says it's a full desktop system which I neither need nor want.
  3. If I can find an image for Arch linux for the RPi, what problems might I encounter if I try putting it on the SD card via Windows? (Assuming it was taken off NOOBS' options for a reason)

My current thoughts are that I need to first install some other OS on a separate card, boot the RPi on that, and using a USB-SD card reader follow this link on setting up Arch linux on that.

  • I don't believe that arch is compatible with noobs, because it does not use a disk image. Instead you need to manually create the partitions and copy the files to the new partitions. Sep 17, 2016 at 15:54
  • "I've read that Arch linux probably has best real-time GPIO handling for a non-RTOS (due to minimal kernel processes etc)" -> If that was the explanation you've been reading a lot of telephone game malarky. But plug away...see also the XY problem.
    – goldilocks
    Sep 17, 2016 at 15:57
  • @goldilocks - thanks. I think I hinted at my main goal: to give the most responsive way of controlling GPIO without having to deal with bare metal approaches, e.g. writing my own OS. I have read all over the place that frequent interruptions from OS processes occur in the order of 5-10ms, and I just want to choose an OS that from the word go keeps this as low as possible
    – Jodes
    Sep 17, 2016 at 16:01
  • You can't guarantee yourself freedom from that latency with a multi-tasking OS such as linux. However, if you are only using the system to do one thing and you prioritize it properly, you may be able to do much better in practice; in this case the distro doesn't really matter although you may want to minimize the number of potential background tasks that can pop up. Realistically, there aren't many of those particularly without a GUI, but by using Arch it is more likely you will have to learn stuff about this that you wouldn't have to learn in installing and using, e.g., Raspbian.
    – goldilocks
    Sep 17, 2016 at 16:17
  • RISC is more likely to provide you with a guarantee since I believe process pre-emption is voluntary and not mandatory. However, I'd recommend you just go the easy route first, then if it proves to be a problem, you should have a more fine tuned perspective on the solution. Ultimately very finely grained/high speed control of signals can't be guaranteed in software period. There are various hardware clocks associated with many of the GPIO pins and those can be used instead of software bit-banging -- that's sort of the ideal route, and means timing is independent of anything the OS is doing.
    – goldilocks
    Sep 17, 2016 at 16:17

1 Answer 1


There's a fork of the NOOBs project, called PINN, simply download the latest zip, then per a NOOBs install, expand the contents of the zip to a freshly MS-DOS formatted SDcard, stick it in the Pi, and a few more OS option will present themselves, including Arch Linux.

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