I am using Raspberry Pi 3 for a surveillance project. In this project I need to use OpenCV 3 with pi camera. When I searched on Internet, some sites say Raspbian is good for this, whilst some say Minibian OR MotionEyeOs is best for such project. I need a fastest OS for opencv image processing functionality.

I am little bit confused, as I am new to Raspberry Pi. Please suggest:

What is the best OS for Raspberry Pi to work on an IoT based OpenCV project ?

  • Best how? Easiset, Fastest? Performance of some task? Why not give one a try and evaluate it against your specific use case? If it is unsatisfactory try the other. Jun 12, 2017 at 8:15
  • Fastest.... It should perform OpenCV task quickly (without hanging too long). Should be real time performance. In my case raspbian hangs after some time, and does not look real time Jun 12, 2017 at 8:23
  • If Raspbian hangs and performance is the main criteria, your question is kind of useless as you have seemingly eliminated Raspbian. Jun 12, 2017 at 9:56
  • @SteveRobillard I am not talking about raspbian only. I just want to find out the better OS among all (like Raspbian, Minibian, MotionEyeOS etc.). I need to get the best OS working with OpenCV functionality with good performance. Jun 12, 2017 at 10:21
  • 2
    Your query is rather vague. I've seen some very impressive openCV projects done with an RPi 3 and a standard Raspbian OS. What kind of performance do you need? What kind of processing are you doing? Do you actually know what you're doing, or are you just throwing code at it? If you're not actually familiar with what you're doing, the problem may not be the hardware/OS, but your understanding of how to best accomplish your goal.
    – Jacobm001
    Jun 12, 2017 at 15:23

1 Answer 1


The real time performance of the OS is going to make an impact on how well OpenCV will work.

From the tutorials I have seen online most people seem to be recommending the use of Raspbian. Raspbian is one of the more popular choices of operating system for the Pi. So one advantage to it is there are a huge number of tutorials for various things based around it. This means if you get stuck on something there is a much greater likelihood of finding an answer.

The downside to using Raspbian is for real time stuff is it simply isn't going to be as quick as a cut down OS like Minibian. However, if you look at the official Raspbian download page you will notice the most recent version of Raspbian is called Jessie. And that you have the choice between Jessie (With PIXEL) or Jessie Lite.

Jessie Lite is essentially a cut down version of Jessie. There is no Graphical User Interface (GUI), and comes pre-installed with less software. Setting it up to work with OpenCV might be a little more challenging than if you had a GUI. But, the benefit is OpenCV will probably run much better.

Having done a quick search for Minibian it doesn't look like there is many tutorials based around it. I'm sure you could still get everything to work, although I'm still inclined to recommend Raspbian Jessie Lite.

  • I have seen some video tutorials which were suggesting minibian. and some other are also suggesting MotionEyeOS. Jun 12, 2017 at 8:27
  • If those OS's have the functionality you are after and there are tutorials for what you need either would work. It depends on how important performance is versus ease of use for setting the project up. For performance either of those OS's could be superior to Jessie Lite. But in terms of just the number and range of tutorials there is going to be more for Jessie Lite.
    – Darth Vader
    Jun 12, 2017 at 8:47
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    I think it is very debatable as to whether Minibian is really better for realtime stuff. The superstitious may presume that based on the superstition that a more normative OS live Raspbian is doing lots of stuff in the background. It isn't. What you want to focus on is looking at your processor usage in, e.g., top, and if it is more than 1-2% when idle, stop the processes that are using the processor (but again, there should not be anything of that sort unless you are using a GUI, and not necessarily even then).
    – goldilocks
    Jun 24, 2017 at 13:26

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