This tutorial will take you through the steps to install Raspbian, the official OS optimized for Raspberry Pi.
- Rapsberry Pi (any model)
- SD card (for Pi version 1), or micro SD card (for Pi version 2 & 3)
- SD Card reader (for your Mac/PC from which you will format the SD card)
- A Mac / PC / Linux computer.
Download, unzip and burn the image
Download the Raspbian image
Raspbian is declined in two version. Raspbian Jessie Lite comes as a minimal image based on Debian Jessie without graphical environment. So it is a light version (~308.5MB) and it is a good candidate if you intend to install a server. (Direct download to Raspbian Jessie Lite)
The second variant is Raspbian Jessie with PIXEL. Much heavier (~1.57GB) but comes with some extra features such as X-server and its component. (Direct download to Raspbian Jessie with PIXEL)
Note that, at any time, you can install a desired package with apt-get, and go from the minimal image to the full Raspbian Jessie with Pixel if needed.
PIXEL is not a name but an acronym. It stands for Pi Improved Xwindows Environment, Lightweight, which makes fully sense in that context.
Unzip the image
On Linux, Unix and MacOS platform there is no problem to unzip the image. But if you have a Windows operating system, the specialized forums recommend you to use 7zip to decompress the file.
For this tutorial, I will uncompress the Raspbian Jessie Lite variant and will get:
Alternative way (for BSD or macOS): you can unzip and burn the image in one statement:
unzip -p 2017-03-02-raspbian-jessie-lite | dd of=/dev/sdb bs=1M
Time to use strong acid to cut the metal!
After the installation, select the image, connect the drive (SD card), and burn it. It’s easy and simple.
!! Do not forget to safely eject your SD card !!
When it’s done, you are welcome to plug into your RPi and enjoy your newly born OS.
Alternative tool: I can also recommend you UNetbootin to burn images to USB drives or SD cards.