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Raspberry Pi Operating System Alternatives

Last Update 28 October 2017

This page will be used to chronicle tests of alternate 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 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. 

Summary (notes/observations below the test table)

  • 25 October 2017 - For yet another RPI project, playing with Q4OS on a RPI3
    Seemed quite responsive on initial tests and a really intriguing "Windows Look'n Feel" sister project.  

  • 23 Oct 2017 - Now playing with Re4son's Kali-PI 
    A preconfigured image that includes PI TFT Touchscreen interface
    (looks much easier than stepping through this myself)

  • 19 Oct 2017 - Here weee gooo ... Install/test #1, works very well!
  • Playing with Kali Linux on a PI.  Security/Pen Testing tool.
    Building a KRACK test gizmo to see how our 'smart' devices do 

  • October 2017 - New Activity, page setup in process

Latest Tests

 Ratings:  A=Perfect (out of box), B=Little Tweak, C=Big Tweak, D=Works/Flaky, F=Total Fail  

General Very Usable on RPI 2!
 In Process  In Process
 Distro Source/Vendor  Kali-PI via Re4son
 Ongoing Evolution/Support    Good
 Community Support
 Discussion Forum
Appears active
- User/support Forum
 Reviews/Reputation  DistroWatch    DistroWatch 
 Cost/$$$      Free  Free  Free/Donation
 Download  kali-2017.2-rpi3-nexmon  armhf (Pi 2/3)
 Image Size      903.3 MB compressed  2.1g compressed  350 MB zipped
Release info (/etc/os-release)      
 Name  Kali GNU/Linux Rolling
   Raspbian GNU/Linux
 Version  2017.2    8 (jessie)
 ID_Like  debian    debian
 uname -a
 Linux kali 4.4.50-v7+ #1 SMP Wed Aug 30 11:08:41 CDT 2017 armv7l GNU/Linux    Linux raspberrypi 4.9.35-v7+ #1014 SMP Fri Jun 30 14:47:43 BST 2017 armv7l GNU/Linux
  RPI Version and Model   RPI 2 Model B*     RPI 3 Model B*
    3.5" TFT TouchScreen*  skipped
    Edimax Wi-Fi USB Adapter*
 n/a (built-in) 
  USB  A    
  Audio output (HDMI)  F    A
  Audio output (3.5mm Jack)      BN
  Ethernet  BN    A
  Built-in WiFi  n/a (RPI 2)
  Built-in Bluetooth  n/a (RPI 2)    
  HDMI  A    A
  Power Management  F    DN
  General usability 
  (project at hand & updating this doc!) 
  Install effort      B    A
  Documentation/Help  A    A
  SD Sandisk 16g Ultra* - Disk Avail
10g after expandN  8g after expandN  
  SD Sandisk 32g Ultra* - Disk Avail      28g after expand 
  GUI/X  XFCEN (had to tweak)
   Trinity (Nice!)
  Network Participant2  F    A
  Stability   B    B
  Performance/Responsiveness      BN
 Apps/Add-ons Availability  B    A
 Automatic Updates (minimally notifications)
 Didn't Notice
This table likely to change!
N See Notes below
2 Ability to access Win/Mac/NAS shares (smb)

Latest Test Notes


  • Overall on Kali - works great, very usable
  • Project-at-hand:  A test device that can be plugged into local net for security testing.  Initially to check our IoT 'things' for KRACK vulnerability.
  • Random observations/notes
    • Performance on RPI2 is remarkably good - testing via GUI, browser with 3-4 tabs and 2 terminal windows.  Very responsive
    • Have used Kali (PKA Backtrack) in the past, excellent pentesting/security distro.
  • Image Name = Kali Raspberry PI w/TFTTried twice and failed to get it to boot - Aborted  
  • Image Name = RaspberryPi 2 / 3:  retried with kali-2017.2-rpi3-nexmon.img image 
    • Much better!  It Booted!  It works!  
    • Default U/P=root/toor, using default config
    • Singing along with
      • Remember to reset root password - passwd
      • reset ssh host keys:
        root@kali:~ rm /etc/ssh/ssh_host_*
        root@kali:~ dpkg-reconfigure openssh-server
        root@kali:~ service ssh restart
      • Important:   apt-get update && apt-get upgrade 
    • Goofy situation after reboots:  All windows restored (Filemanager, wireshark, term, etc), but no menu bar
      • To get panel working again:
        • <alt>F2 to get to application finder, then run "Panel"
        • Settings in Menu
          • Session and Startup, Session Tab -> Clear Saved Sessions
      • Royal pain in the butt
    • Expand Partition to fill SD @
    • Network
      • WiFi worked right out of the box
      • Ethernet:  I had to set up a connection (Settings->Network Connection)
    • Software:  Not much installed by default, but wireshark works!
      • update/upgrade adds quite a few kali tools

StickyFingers Kali-PI 


  • Overall on Q4OS:  I like it A LOT ..... Still testing stuff
  • Tagline from - "Q4OS Raspberry Pi port is a free operating system based on Raspbian distribution, optimized for the Raspberry Pi family hardware, the series of credit card-sized single-board ARM computers. Q4OS is now one of a few distributions offering the full desktop environment on the ARM architecture."
  • My Project at hand:  Replace aging desktop (XP and/or Linux/Lubuntu) with a Desktop PI
  • Install/Setup Instructions @
    • SD setup using Disk Image Writer, DD would work fine too  
    • Very Smooth install! 
      • Forces PI password change
      • Automatically expands file system to fill CD
      • Offers a couple of software 'profiles' that install base set of applications 
  • Very little tweaking to get hardware/software working
    • Network - WiFi, Ethernet, even samba shares worked right out of the gate
    • Power MGT - flaky, but may be raspbian/PI.  Can't seem to get monitor to power off or full suspend
    • Little hiccup trying to change audio source from HDMI to 3.5mm Jack - had to reboot
      • Switched Audio using raspi-config / Advanced Options, worked fine
  • Performance is VERY good .... but ....
    • RPI 3 was heating up (temp warning) with multiple browser tabs open+terminal activity+youtube  

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