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Optimized Raspberry Pi OS Diet Pi Announces New Release

The Diet Pi logo on the processor lid of a Raspberry Pi 4 board
(Image credit: Raspberry Pi Ltd / Diet Pi)

The Raspberry Pi and other single board computers have a plethora of operating systems to choose from. Popular lightweight distro Diet Pi has released version 8.3 which sees fixes, updates and new options added to the Swiss Army knife of Linux distros.

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As the name may suggest, Diet Pi is lightweight with a low impact on the processing cores and RAM of some of our favorite SBCs. It’s Debian Bullseye underneath, but highly optimized for minimal resource usage. 

Compatible boards include the Raspberry Pi 4, on which it operates as a 64-bit OS, along with boards from Odroid, Pine64, Radxa, Allo, Asus, NanoPi and more. You can even run it on a PC or a VM if you want to, with images available for direct installation or ready for a number of popular VM applications. The new version also contains initial support for container systems, though containerized apps have to use the host network interface.

Along with its optimized nature, Diet Pi uses the Whiptail terminal menu system to manage software installation, and system maintenance. Optimized versions of popular Linux apps include Kodi media center, Plex, RPi Cam Control, the Apache web server, and VirtualHere for sharing USB devices over a network. Plus there’s an automated installation process, a full backup system, and the usual smooth Debian updates. 

Diet Pi provides benchmarks and comparisons against other popular SBC OS, which show RAM usage as 58% lower than Raspberry Pi OS, with disk usage 41% lower. The uncompressed image for installation is also half the size of R-Pi OS’s. Against Armbian on an Odroid C4, it sees a reduction in RAM usage of 65%. The only OS Diet Pi loses out to is Debian on an X86 PC, where it uses slightly more RAM and takes three times as long to boot.

The Diet Pi team is active on Github, where you can find images and the latest comments, but its main website is also very useful, with quickstart guides and a blog with posts on recent Linux issues such as the Dirty Pipe vulnerability and why the OS is a good match for the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W.

Ian Evenden
Ian Evenden

Ian Evenden is a UK-based news writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He’ll write about anything, but stories about Raspberry Pi and DIY robots seem to find their way to him.