Thomasorus wiki

Raspberry Pi distributions

Despite the hype around the fourth version of the Pi, most desktop distributions run very slowly on it and provide poor user experience. I've tried all the distros listed below and gave them ratings on these topics:

The ratings are:

Raspbian (Raspberry Pi OS)

User Experience
Average It's ugly but coherent and easy to use
Responsiveness
Average Most things are fast but some programs (mostly Electron apps) struggle
Software support
Perfect It's an Ubuntu base and the official OS
Easy to install
Perfect Plug and play and follow the guide

Raspbian excels in nothing but is not terrible in anything. It's too bad it struggles with Electron apps. Supports hardware acceleration.

Dietpi

User Experience
Poor Dietpi proposes ready-made basic desktops (Mate, XFCE, LXQTm, LXDE) that are ugly and sometimes does not work (sound cursor in XFCE).
Responsiveness
Perfect Everything is fast or fast enough, even Electron Apps are usable
Software support
Perfect It's based on Raspbian and comes with it's own list of ready-made software
Easy to install
Poor Small iso but very long install with terminal based menus, takes a lot of time and not everything is clear

Dietpi is probably the best in performance, but only for people with some skills at setting up their own environnement. Supports hardware acceleration.

Manjaro

User Experience
Perfect It's beautiful, coherent and easy to use
Responsiveness
Poor It's still usable but worse than Raspbian, no hardware acceleration support for video
Software support
Average Based on Arch Linux, most things are available but most configuration tweaks are for Raspbian/Ubuntu
Easy to install
Average There's a few terminal screens but it's quick and works fine

If Manjaro was a bit snappier and did not lack some performance tweaks available to Ubuntu based distros (like hardware acceleration) it would be my default distribution.

Ubuntu

User Experience
Average The classic gnome Ubuntu
Responsiveness
Terrible It's so slow for everything it's almost unusable
Software support
Perfect It's Ubuntu so everything is there
Easy to install
Perfect The classic Ubuntu install experience, everything is clear

Ubuntu is so slow I could not be bothered to use it for anything. Also it's strange because hardware acceleration is supported but I could not make it work inside chrome for video decoding.