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New release of the Raspberry Pi 3 *unofficial Debian preview* image

Back in June, Michael Stapelberg asked for somebody interested in adopting the unofficial Debian image for the Raspberry Pi 3 family. It didn’t take me long to raise my hand.

What did take me long is to actually do it. I have adopted Raspberry3 image spec repository, with the recipes to build the image using Lars’ great vmdb2, as well as the raspi3-firmware non-free Debian package.

After delaying this for too long, first in order to understand it better, and second because of the workload I had this last semester, I think we are ready to announce…

There is a new, updated preview image!

You can look at the instructions at the Debian Wiki page on RaspberryPi3. Or you can just jump to the downloads, at my people.debian.orgxzipped image (388MB, unzips to 1.5GB, and resizes to the capacity of your boot SD at first boot), verification sha256sum, and PGP-signed verification sha256sum.

[update (06/2020)] I am leaving the above links as they were, as I am kind of a preservation geek. I have moved the images — Now they are generated on a daily basis. Please go fetch them instead from

There are still many things that can be improved, for sure. The main issues for me are:

Other than that, what we have is a very minimal Debian system, ready for installing software!

At some point in the future, I plan to add build profiles for some common configurations. But lets go a step at a time.


Anonymous 2018-12-05 05:25:04


Is this aarch64?

Anonymous 2018-12-06 03:38:24

Thanks. I was recently

Thanks. I was recently looking for a distro for a RPi3 to test some code on aarch64 and could only find a limited set of choices. Nice to know I can use debian next time.

Coucouf 2018-12-04 23:04:24

Hi, thanks for this ! Any

Hi, thanks for this !

Any reason why it wouldn’t work on a raspberry pi 2 ? I guess the image is not arm64 but armhf which should be compatible with version 2.

freeimages 2019-02-11 20:01:00

Great Work

Great Work

gwolf 2018-12-05 07:18:17

You got it right: ARM64

The Raspberry Pi 3 runs on ARM64, so this makes it impossible for the images to run on the Raspberry Pi 2. Again, this is something we might be able to tackle in the future. There is a very large number of 2’s out there. Also, 1 (specially with Zero / Zero W, which I understand are exactly compatible with them). But… Finding whether their firmware works is another can of worms! As I mentioned, I also uploaded an updated version for the 3’s firmware. I haven’t tackled any older firmwares.

gwolf 2018-12-05 07:22:14


Yes. AFAICT, in Debian AArch64 is simply called ARM64.

gwolf 2018-12-15 13:19:55

Minimal Debian install, but full distro available

Hi, What I try to do here is to create a minimal working image, with which you can install all of the missing bits and end up with a completely functional full Debian system.

Konstantin 2018-12-06 00:34:01


Hey, great work! Does it ship with the user land? Including mmal and vcos?