Raspberry Pi OS Software

Two main flavours of Raspberry official operating system (OS), builds are available, with a number of 3rd Party alternatives.

For the most part, HAMKit example code is based on using the standard  Raspbian Desktop image which you can download for free and easily copy to your microSD card, using a PC computer program such as imageUSB , Win32 Disk Imager or Etcher.

Raspbian Stretch with Desktop

  • This is a version of Debian Linux, complete with graphical desktop (GUI)
  • Easier for beginners to navigate
  • Uses more Raspberry Pi’s resources
  • More software applications
  • Python and Thonny IDE preinstalled

Raspbian Stretch Lite

  • This is a version of Debian Linux, with no graphical desktop (GUI) and is command line driven
  • Lite is a minimal version of the Raspbian image for the Raspberry Pi
  • X-server, and its components, are not installed
  • Less software installed and fewer modules will load with the kernel
  • Operating system using a lot less of the Raspberry Pi’s resources
  • Uses less power (current consumption)
  • Perform a little faster for very specific tasks
  • Ideal where you need a Pi and never need to use a monitor

Raspberri Pi Raspbian Downloads

Raspberry Pi Desktop (PC/Mac)

Debian with Raspberry Pi Desktop is the Foundation’s operating system for PC and Mac. You can create a live disc, run it in a virtual machine, or even install it on your computer.

Raspberry Pi Desktop


This is an operating system installer and if you download this image, it will allow you to install Raspbian, and a number of different images.  It is also the default image that is installed on most Raspberry microSD cards.

NOOBS Download

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