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Best Raspberry Pi operating systems

If you've not explored the wealth of operating systems available for the Raspberry Pi then you're really doing yourself - and your board - disservice. Here are five of the best Raspberry Pi operating systems available, with their individual strengths outlined.

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Raspbian
1 of 5 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Raspbian

This is the official operating system of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. It's based on Debian Linux and optimized for the Raspberry Pi hardware. It comes with a full GUI and a whole range of software installed, including Python, Scratch, Sonic Pi, Java, and Mathematica.

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Windows 10 IoT Core
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Windows 10 IoT Core

Yes, you can run Windows 10 on your Raspberry Pi, freeing you from Linux (if that's what you want). It even has the familiar Windows 10 style GUI.

The biggest advantage the Windows 10 IoT core offers is that it integrates with the Visual Studio development tools. The platform supports both ARM or x86/x64 architectures.

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Moebius
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Moebius

This is the platform for those who'd rather have speed or have the most compact operating system installation possible. There's no GUI, so no hand-holding for beginners, which makes it a steep learning curve, but since it's based on Debian, those familiar with Linux shouldn't take too long to master it.

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RetroPie
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RetroPie

Turn your Raspberry Pi into a retro gaming platform! RetroPie works with Raspberry Pi, ODroid C1/C2, or even a PC, and you can choose either to install it on top of the Raspbian operating system, or just have RetroPie running on its own.

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OSMC
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OSMC

OSMC stands for Open Source Media Center, and is how you can turn a Raspberry Pi into a hub for your home entertainment. Not only can OSMC play a wide variety of file formats, it also comes with an app store that lets you quickly and easily download apps to your device.

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