Raspberry Pi OS Alternatives

Last Update:   Feb 2024 -  Ubuntu Desktop RPI5

This page will be used to chronicle tests of alternative distributions and operating systems on Raspberry Pi computers. Simply playing with more and more options for my PIs and decided to log my antics. This page will morph as I experiment and will likely be notes to self, tailored to my world, but may be useful to others.  Expected to be long/slow/low priority project - similar to my AAO OS Alternative quest, will probably be more active in the winter.   Suggestions Welcome



 (Test Notes & observations below the test table)

2024 Tests - Still at it!

2023 Tests - Here we go again!

Backlog (so I don't forget)

Favorites as of Jan 2023


2022 Tests

January 2022 - Current favorites


2021 Tests


2020 Tests

Jan 2020 - New Year!   Favorites as of 1/1/2020


2019 Tests


2018 Tests

Running list of Raspberry Pi IoT/Home Automation possibilities.  


2017 Tests

Test Table/Scorecard

(Now a google sheet with tabs by year.  Sheet is maintained independently from page & test notes)

RPI OS ALternatives


2024 Test Notes

2023 Test Notes


Whoops!  That was bad idea.  Kali now boots into cli. 
I have to "startx" to get to the GUI.  It's OK, this install is probably short-lived - I'm exploring aimlessly 

Overall:  Aborted.  Just curious about what may be next for Mycroft AI ... Sounds like OpenVoiceOS may pickup on the project 

Observations:  Low expectations  This is very early (pre-stable) .... 

Tagline:  "OpenVoiceOS is a community-driven, open-source voice AI platform for creating custom voice-controlled ​interfaces across devices with NLP, a customizable UI, and a focus on privacy and security"   

See Also:  https://github.com/OpenVoiceOS/raspbian-ovos

Install Notes:  

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         | | | | '_ \ / _ \ '_ \ \ / / _ \| |/ __/ _ \ | | \___ \  

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          \___/| .__/ \___|_| |_|\_/ \___/|_|\___\___|\___/|____/  


                    --- Welcome to OpenVoiceOS ---               

                     RASBPIAN-OVOS Edition v0.0.1                   


 ovos-cli-client        Command line client, useful for debugging

 ovos-config             Manage your local OVOS configuration files

 ovos-listen            Activate the microphone to listen for a command

 ovos-speak  <phrase>   Have OVOS speak a phrase to the user

 ovos-say-to <phrase>   Send an utterance to OVOS as if spoken by a user

OVOS Skill Manager COMMANDs:

 osm install <skill|url>   Install mycroft skills

 osm remove  <skill|url>   Uninstall mycroft skills

 osm update                Update installed skills

Overall:  Evolving but Looks REALLY Good!  Turnkey Homebridge?  I forgot abut this one too!   Have been meaning to try for a long time

Observations:  Nice implementation, evolving doc.   I'll revisit this in the fall when I have more time ...
Our HomePi is running fine for now but HOOBS may be the Dashboard I've been looking for, will keep checking in on HOOBS Client Apps

Tagline:  "User Friendly Home Automation for Everyone"  
More: "HOOBS™ makes your smart accessories compatible with your favorite ecosystem. Whether you prefer Apple Homekit™, Google Home™, or Amazon Alexa™,
you’re unlikely to find compatible accessories and services that all work together nicely under one roof."

Motivation:  Stumbled upon this while searching for Homekit/homebridge Dashboard/Control Panel.  May be nice replacement for our HomePi

See Also:  https://9to5mac.com/2021/08/27/hoobs-4-levels-up-homebridge/

Install Notes:  

BUT ... there are no client apps quite yet (24 May 2023)!  

Download the HOOBS™ Client App for your preferred Platform

HOOBS™ Client App for Desktop Computer
comming very soon…

HOOBS™ Client App for Tablets
comming very soon…

HOOBS™ Client App for Mobile
comming very soon…

Overall:   Works Great!   Webcam/Video Surveillance distro - comes as a bootable RPi image .... I forgot abut this thing!   It's nice!

Observations:  OS development stalled, I'll run it under DietPi, they incorporated the latest MotionEye project (Python)

Tagline:  "motionEyeOS is a Linux distribution that turns a single-board computer into a video surveillance system"

Motivation:  Started building a wecbam gizmo to watch for Deer in our backyard ... this is MUCH easier!

Install Notes:  

2022 Test Notes

Overall:   AI/Smart Speaker sort of a thing!   it works, it's easy ... and ... It's fun!   I'll keep playing and probably dissect this thing ...

Tagline:  "Picroft is a ready-made way to run Mycroft on a Raspberry Pi 3, 3B+ or 4 and is provided as a disk image that you can burn to a Micro SD card."

Motivation:  Mycroft AI is an interesting project.  Simply curious and may be interested in some of the underpinnings

See Also:  https://github.com/MycroftAI

Install Notes:  

Welcome to Picroft.  This image is designed to make getting started with

Mycroft quick and easy.  Would you like help setting up your system?

 Y)es, I'd like the guided setup.

 N)ope, just get me a command line and get out of my way!

Choice [Y/N]: Y



How do you want Mycroft to output audio:

 1) Speakers via 3.5mm output (aka 'audio jack' or 'headphone jack')

 2) HDMI audio (e.g. a TV or monitor with built-in speakers)

 3) USB audio (e.g. a USB soundcard or USB mic/speaker combo)

 4) Google AIY Voice HAT and microphone board (Voice Kit v1)

 5) ReSpeaker Mic Array v2.0 (speaker plugged in to Mic board)

Choice [1-5]:2

Let's test and adjust the volume:

 1-9) Set volume level (1-quietest, 9=loudest)


 R)eboot (needed if you just plugged in a USB speaker)


Level [1-9/T/D/R]: 9  

The final step is Microphone configuration:

As a voice assistant, Mycroft needs to access a microphone to operate.

Please ensure your microphone is connected and select from the following

list of microphones:

 1) PlayStation Eye (USB)

 2) Blue Snoball ICE (USB)

 3) Matrix Voice HAT.

 4) Other USB microphone (unsupported -- good luck!)

Choice [1-4]: 4




Linux picroft 5.4.51-v7+ #1333 SMP Mon Aug 10 16:45:19 BST 2020 armv7l

The programs included with the Debian GNU/Linux system are free software;

the exact distribution terms for each program are described in the

individual files in /usr/share/doc/*/copyright.

Debian GNU/Linux comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY, to the extent

permitted by applicable law.

Last login: Mon Nov 28 00:25:28 2022 from

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** Picroft enclosure platform version: Buster Keaton - Pork Pi

2022-11-28 13:51:07.749 | WARNING  | 32690 | mycroft.configuration.config:_log_old_location_deprecation:186 |  


==             DEPRECATION WARNING           ==


You still have a config file at /home/pi/.mycroft/mycroft.conf

Note that this location is deprecated and will not be used in the future

Please move it to /home/pi/.config/mycroft

mycroft-core: 21.2.2 ( master )


Mycroft is your open source voice assistant.  Full source

can be found at: /home/pi/mycroft-core

Mycroft-specific commands you can use from the Linux command prompt:

 mycroft-cli-client       Command line client, useful for debugging

 mycroft-msm              Mycroft Skills Manager, to manage your Skills

 mycroft-start            Launch/restart Mycroft services

 mycroft-stop             Stop Mycroft services

Scripting Utilities:

 mycroft-listen           Activate the microphone to listen for a command

 mycroft-speak <phr>      Have Mycroft speak a phrase to the user

 mycroft-say-to <utt>     Send an utterance to Mycroft as if spoken by a user

Mycroft's Python Virtual Environment (venv) control:

 mycroft-pip              Install a Python package within the venv

 mycroft-venv-activate    Enter the venv

 mycroft-venv-deactivate  Exit the venv

Skill Development:

 mycroft-msk              Mycroft Skills Kit, create and share Skills

 mycroft-skill-testrunner Run integration tests on Mycroft Skills


 mycroft-config           Manage your local Mycroft configuration files

 mycroft-mic-test         Record and playback to directly test microphone

 mycroft-help             Display this message

For more information, see https://mycroft.ai/documentation


In a few moments you will see the Mycroft CLI (command line interface).

Hit Ctrl+C to return to the Linux command line.  You can launch the CLI

again by entering:  mycroft-cli-client


Starting cli

Overall:  VERY Impressed, I'll be back ... Just a quick peek @ beta release, testing here/there as I stumbled around
Popular Linux OS.  Will  test on AAO *and* RPi for the heck of it.  

MX Linux Tagline:  "Midweight Simple Stable Desktop OS"

RPI Version:  This one was listed as an "Unofficial Respin of MX Linux" ... Looks to be active project

Motivation:  Seems to be up-and-coming distro, also interested in Fluxbox.  

Install Notes:  

Overall:  Works OK but still lags behind Manjaro (my favorite) as a day-to-day 64-bit GUI/Desktop.

Tagline:  "Your Raspberry Pi needs an operating system to work. This is it. Raspberry Pi OS (previously called Raspbian) is our official supported operating system."

Motivation:  Haven't spent much time on latest RaspOS desktop, decided to give it a try again.   Secondly, something bad happened to my 32-bit RaspOS (upgraded to Bullseye, I think).  When booted on RPi 4 Ethernet would NOT come up!   Decided to start fresh *and* try 64-bit. 

Install Notes:  

Hardware Tests

Overall:  THIS Looks REALLY Good!  Interesting RPi image designed to help with headless RPi installations (no keyboard or Monitor).  Offers up a web-based WiFi Access Point at a known location (e.g. http://comitup-xxx.local) that can be accessed to connect the image to available WiFi Networks!

Tagline:  "Wifi Network Bootstrap for the Raspberry Pi"

Motivation:  I have a number of Raspberry Pi projects that are used by friends and relatives.  I either have to carefully pre-configure these for other's WiFi networks or sit down with a keyboard and monitor and physically install the contraptions.  My plan was to find code to include in my projects to help with this initial connection conundrum.  Comitup offered a preconfigured Raspberry Pi image - PERFECT for initial investigation!


Overall:  Probably my 2021 Favorite - finally sitting down to note experiences here.he best find of 2021.   

Tagline:  "Retro-gaming on the Raspberry Pi"   

Motivation:  Working on an off-grid entertainment option for our new Camper.   RetroPie ended up as foundation for our CamperPi entertainment gizmo.  Retro video, arcade and dos games plus a Kodi 'Port' (plug-in) that will be used to serve up movies and music when needed while camping.  


2021 Test Notes


Plasma Bigscreen

Arch Linux

NEMS Linux

2020 Test Notes

Endless OS

Manjaro (XFCE)

Manjaro (KDE)


Kano OS


Sugar OS

Raspberry PI OS

2019 Test Notes


FreeBSD 12.0

NetPi Plus


Kali 2019.1

Fedora 29

2018 Test Notes


Mozilla Things Gateway


Raspbian Stretch

Parrot OS

Mozilla Things Gateway