Giving Alpine a try on the Raspberry Pi
After trying Alpine Linux on a virtual machine and pretty much falling in love with it, I decided to step my game up and try it on some bare metal, and installed it on my Raspberry Pi model B from 2012. After all, at a single core and 512 MB, it seems to be the right match for it.
I couldn't be more right. Snappy, light and versatile, this distribution is amazing for the resource-slim platform and it seems to run even more smoothly than FreeBSD on it. And the package management is blazing-fast.
There's only one small tricky bit, though: the installation itself. Unlike other Raspberry Pi-oriented distros, where you pretty much burn the boot-ready contents to the SD card, you must pretty much do everything from scratch with Alpine. It's not exactly "hard," just a little more work compared to the others. The steps are greatly detailed on their Wiki, and are roughly as follows:
- Format the SD card to FAT-32. Easily done through the
- Install the
syslinuxand bootloader on it. Involves
dd-ing the MBR image on it.
- Extract or simply copy the contents of the Alpine image to the SD card. Can be done even with a graphical file manager.
- Optional: create a separate partition on the SD card to store things locally, and not on your RAM.
And with that, you can insert the SD card on the Pi and then you'll be ready to
setup-alpine and do an installation on it normally. Just don't forget to
lbu commit at the end of it and you'll be ready to rock after reboot!