Raspbian OS – Everything you need to know

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What is Raspbian OS?

Raspbian is a free IoT operating system based on Debian OS optimized for the Raspberry Pi hardware. An OS is the set of basic programs and utilities that make your Raspberry Pi run. However, Raspbian OS provides more than a pure OS: it comes with over 35,000 packages, pre-compiled software bundled in a nice format for easy installation on your Raspberry Pi device.

The initial build of over 35,000 Raspbian packages, optimized for best performance on the Raspberry Pi hardware, was completed in June of 2012. However, Raspbian is still under active development with an emphasis on improving the stability and performance of as many Debian OS packages as possible.

Raspbian is a Debian-based computer OS for Raspberry Pi devices. There are several versions of Raspbian including Raspbian Stretch and Raspbian Jessie. Since 2015 it has been officially provided by the Raspberry Pi Foundation as the primary OS for the family of Raspberry Pi single-board computers. Raspbian OS was created by Mike Thompson and Peter Green as an independent project.

The initial build was completed in June 2012. The operating system is still under active development. Raspbian is highly optimized for the Raspberry Pi line’s low-performance ARM CPUs.

Raspbian uses PIXEL, Pi Improved Xwindows Environment, Lightweight as its main desktop environment as of the latest update. It is composed of a modified LXDE desktop environment and the Openbox stacking window manager with a new theme and few other changes. The distribution is shipped with a copy of computer algebra program Mathematica and a version of Minecraft called Minecraft Pi as well as a lightweight version of Chromium as of the latest version.

What are the key features of Raspbian OS?

Following are five key and new features of Raspbian:

  1. New Setup wizard:
    With the June 2018 release of Raspbian comes the Setup Wizard, which lets you set your country and language, enter a new password, connect to a Wi-Fi network, and check for updates. Not only does this give you the best possible user experience
  2. Raspberry Pi Hardware Compatibility:
    You can get hold of several different models of Raspberry Pi, and thanks to the efforts of the Raspbian development team, the OS runs well on all of them.
  3. Recommended Software Tool:
    Until June 1018, however, when Raspbian’s image size was reduced. This was done by cutting the number of apps bundled with the OS. Via the new Recommended Software tool, however, these apps can be installed if required, as long as your Pi is connected to the internet.
    After updating your Raspberry Pi, you can add the Recommended Software tool with:

    sudo apt install rp-prefapps

    You will find the new Recommended Software tool in Menu > Preferences.

  4. Chromium-Based Help Files:
    The latest version of Chromium is bundled into new Raspbian builds, and this now includes the arrival of some improved help files.
  5. Improved Appearance Menu:
    The appearance menu now has a Defaults tab wherein you can set screens to 3 categories namely, small, medium, and large.
    You can also choose your preferred font size and icon size, among other settings, so your display will now be more suited for wahtever display size you are working with.


How to download Raspbian OS?

Raspbian is the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s official supported operating system. You can install it with NOOBS or download the Raspbian image directly and follow our Raspbian installation guide.

  1. Raspbian OS comes pre-installed with plenty of software for education, programming and general use. It has Python, Scratch, Sonic Pi, Java, Mathematica and more.
  2. The Raspbian with Desktop image contained in the ZIP archive is over 4GB in size, which means that these archives use features which are not supported by older unzip tools on some platforms.
  3. How to install Raspbian OS?
    Installation of Raspbian OS is very simple. Even novice computer users, students can also easily install it. Here are Raspbian installation steps.



What are the versions of Raspbian OS?

Version Code name Release date Toy Story character
1.1 Buzz 1996-06-17 Buzz Lightyear
1.2 Rex 1996-12-12 Rex (the T-Rex)
1.3 Bo 1997-06-05 Bo Peep
2.0 Hamm 1998-07-24 Hamm (the pig)
2.1 Slink 1999-03-09 Slinky Dog
2.2 Potato 2000-08-15 Mr Potato Head
3.0 Woody 2002-07-19 Woody the cowboy
3.1 Sarge 2005-06-06 Sarge from the Bucket O’ Soldiers
4.0 Etch 2007-04-08 Etch, the Etch-A-Sketch
5.0 Lenny 2009-02-14 Lenny, the binoculars
6.0 Squeeze 2011-02-06 Squeeze toy aliens
7 Wheezy 2013-05-04 Wheezy the penguin
8 Jessie 2015-04-26 Jessie the cowgirl
9 Stretch 2017-06-17 Rubber octopus from Toy Story 3

If you are expert Raspbian user and if you want to try different new and old Raspbian images then you can download all Raspbian images here.

Raspbian OS programming languages supported:

  • Scratch
  • Python
  • HTML5
  • JavaScript
  • JQuery
  • Java
  • C programming language
  • C++

Raspbian OS programming tools:

  • Raspbian 8.0
  • BlueJ, an IDE for Java
  • Geany, an IDE for almost any language
  • Greenfoot, another IDE for Java
  • Mathematica, serious math on an RPi
  • Node-RED – Wiring for the IoT
  • Python, a modern, flexible language for the RPi
  • Scratch, a stepping stone to programming


Suitable devices for Raspbian OS:

  • Raspberry Pi 1 Model B
  • Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+
  • The Raspberry Pi 2
  • Raspberry Pi Zero
  • Raspberry Pi Zero W
  • Raspberry Pi Zero WH
  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B
  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+


What is relation of Raspbian with Raspberry Pi Foundation?

Raspbian is not affiliated with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Raspbian was created by a small, dedicated team of developers that are fans of the Raspberry Pi hardware, the educational goals of the Raspberry Pi Foundation and, of course, the Debian Project.

How to support Raspbian?

Raspbian is a community funded and supported free software effort. Although Raspbian is free software, the development costs associated with it are not free. As a user of Raspbian, you can support ongoing development of Raspbian by making a donation (https://www.raspbian.org/RaspbianDonate).


Raspbian official documentation:

Official Documentation Website


Raspbian Developer Discusion Forum and Tutorials:

Here is the recommended Raspbian OS developers discussion forum.


Other similar IoT Operating Systems:



Raspbian is a Debian based Linux operating system for the Raspberry Pi. This OS has been developed for the Raspberry Pi and it’s features so is the recommended OS to use for your IoT devices.

MeenaG Staff

Internet of Things Enthusiast