Are there any good Raspberry Pi distributions that load completely into RAM?

I know a few Linux x86 distributions that do this pretty well, but I want to do the same with my Raspberry Pi.

I would like to be able to boot from the SD card and then be able to remove it without errors.

  • You might want to look at this first: raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?t=48662&p=380872 There might be a module you could rmmod to stop that but OTOH: the source seems to be a hardware interrupt, indicating the pi responds to badly to the missing SD card.
    – goldilocks
    Commented Sep 14, 2013 at 12:18
  • I don't know if you know about the Linux distro "Puppy Linux", but the desktop edition runs completely on RAM. They've made a Raspi version called Puppi, but I'm not sure if that version runs completely on RAM
    – slippery
    Commented Sep 14, 2013 at 20:37

3 Answers 3


Yes there is; my project Nard SDK
does exactly what you want. It's a slimmed OS which runs entirely from RAM and has full support for removing the SD card in runtime.


You might also want to check out this operating system called slack linux. I did not try this with the pi but with a computer with 1 GB of ram. Therefore I beleive it would work on the Pi 2 because of the amount of ram. Here is a site for putting it on the Pi2.


Alpine Linux loads into RAM. In its default configuration, it mounts a squashfs from the SD card for kernel modules and firmware, but you should be able to disable that; you may need to arrange for more modules to be in the initfs (via flags to the update-kernel program) depending on what other hardware and capabilities you are using.

I am currently running it in "data" mode (where /var is mounted from the SD card, but the base system is in RAM) on a Pi Zero W, and it is working well.

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