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Raspberry Pi gets dedicated 'Raspbian' OS to boost performance

Tweaks and CPU floating point

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Only days after becoming a conventional retail product for the first time, the Raspberry Pi can at last celebrate the arrival of its own dedicated operating system, 'Raspbian'.

Based on Debian Linux but featuring a range of important performance tweaks to make best use of the underlying hardware, the new OS replaces the Debian Squeeze image that was offered with the board after its first appearance earlier in the year.

The main boost is that Raspbian can address the Pi's floating point horsepower, a benefit across a range of graphical tasks particularly everyday ones such as web browsing.

“Users who are still using Debian Squeeze will definitely want to switch to this, as it contains numerous tweaks and performance improvements to the firmware, kernel and applications,” said Eben Upton of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
“Those who are using the recent Debian Wheezy beta [the Debian image after Squeeze but before Raspbian] will also see a very worthwhile, but somewhat smaller, improvement.”

For a demonstration of the sort of difference this might make, a video has been posted showing an overclocked Raspbian-based Pi accessing Java-intensive websites.

“Raspbian is so much faster than the images we’ve been using so far, and we’re really excited about it; we’ll be encouraging all of you Raspberry Pi owners to upgrade to it as soon as it’s available on our downloads page.”

Earlier this week, the Foundation removed the restrictions on buying the Raspberry Pi that had seen numbers restricted to one per person.  

“Both of our manufacturing partners have been working at building capacity so you we can lift that limit – right now, 4000 Raspberry Pis are being made every day. As of this morning, you’ll be able to buy as many Raspberry Pis as you want from both RS Components and element14/Premier Farnell.”


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