The Raspberry Pi has many different operating systems to choose from. Each operating system has been designed for either specific requirements such as media, programming, size, a rich desktop, a cut down version or it can have a general appeal.
The operating system will allow you to interact with your Raspberry Pi by taking your commands such as mouse clicks and command inputs and it will translate this to execute the command. It also manages your system by managing each program and allowing it access to perform its operations.
Raspbian and Pidora are examples of a generalised operating system with various programs that allow you to configure the operating system. RaspBMC and XBMC are examples of media purpose operating systems which are designed to play music, display photos and stream movies.
First time Raspberry Pi users are recommended to use NOOBS, New Out Of Box Software. This will allow you to select an operating from Raspbian, PiDora and two version of XBMC.
Other operating systems include Arch linux, RetroPie which is used to emulate older games, piCore, AROS and Debian Squeeze. There is even an Android version available although it is still under development. This is by no means a full list but it will give you a good grounding of what options are available.
If the instructions below look to complicated or you are really finding it hard, you can always buy a pre-loaded copy on the SD card from Amazon by clicking the link below.
The next thing you need to do is to create the operating system image. In order to do this you will need a blank SD card of approximately 4GB or more.
The first thing you need to do is to download an operating system. Go to the following website and download the Raspbian image file 2014-01-07-wheezy-raspbian.zip from http://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads.
Secondly download Win32 Disk imager if you are using windows from the sourceforge website. http://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/
Extract both the Debian wheezy image and the Win32 disk imager program.
Run the Win32 disk imager.
Insert the blank SD card. The Device drop download on the top right will display the SD card drive letter. Double check the device letter by double clicking Start –>Computer and look for the SD card icon next to the drive letter.
The drive letter used in this tutorial is the H.
Click on the folder icon next to the Device drop down and browse to the extracted image file (img).
Double click the image file and click write.
Win32 disk imager will inform you when the write has been successful. Remove the SD.
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