Debian GNU/Linux, http://www.debian.org

  • Provides the easiest environment for quickly building prototypes and developing applications. Countless runtime and development packages available.
  • But probably too costly to maintain and unnecessarily big for production systems.
  • Available on ARM (armel, armhf, arm64), MIPS and PowerPC architectures
  • Software is compiled natively by default.


  • http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Architectures/ARM
  • Supported on various recent ARM boards (such as Beaglebone Black). Pidora supports Raspberry Pi too.
  • Supports QEMU emulated ARM boards too (Versatile Express board)
  • Shipping the same version as for desktops!


  • Had some releases for ARM mobile multimedia devices, but stopped at version 12.04. Now focusing on ARM servers only.

Embedded distributions

Distributions designed for specific types of devices

  • Android: http://www.android.com/
  • Google's distribution for phones and tablet PCs. Except the Linux kernel, very different user space than other Linux distributions. Very successful, lots of applications available (many proprietary).

  • Ångström:

  • http://www.angstrom-distribution.org/
  • Produces nightly built images for a nice list of ARM and x86 systems (see http: //dominion.thruhere.net/angstrom/nightlies/

Application frameworks

Not real distributions you can download. Instead, they implement middleware running on top of the Linux kernel and allowing to develop applications.

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