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Raspberry Pi For Dummies by Mike Cook, Sean McManus

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Determining Which Distribution to Use

There are several different Linux distributions available for the Raspberry Pi, and you can find an officially endorsed list at www.raspberrypi.org/downloads . As you might expect, with such vibrant communities around the Raspberry Pi and Linux, there are lots of other distributions in various stages of development and availability too. You can find a longer list of distros with brief notes on each one at http://elinux.org/RPi_Distributions .

The officially recommended distribution for beginners is called Raspbian Wheezy. It’s a version of a distribution called Debian, and it has been optimized for the Raspberry Pi by two developers, Mike Thompson and Peter Green. It includes the LXDE graphical desktop software (see Chapter 4), the Midori web browser (see Chapter 4), and various development tools. This is the quickest way to get up and running with your Raspberry Pi, and for most users, this is the one you’ll want to use. In this book, we assume you’re using Raspbian Wheezy.

There is also a distribution called Arch Linux ARM. The guiding principle in the design of this distribution is that the user should be in full control of the software they install, so it only includes the bare essentials. It has no graphical desktop, for example, although you can choose to install one. This distribution is relatively unfriendly, so although it might suit Linux power users, it’s not a good choice for beginners.

Unless you have a good reason to try something ...

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