Many boards will offer a variety of Operating Systems options that run on SBCs, but not all of them provide as many identifying markers as others. Sometimes there is a clear choice such as using Raspbian with the Raspberry Pi and other times it is not so clear. Choosing the right OS is very important because some of them may limit which peripherals you are able to use or interact with.

One OS that we have had some really good luck with getting working is Armbian and if it is available for your SBC, it is a solid choice. You can check if your board is supported on the Armbian Downloads page.

If Armbian isn't available, then the next option would be to check if there is a manufacturer recommended OS. The reason why you would want a manufacturer recommended one is because there is likely to be more time put into developing drivers, so getting everything working is much easier.

Once you have selected an OS, go ahead and install it according to the instruction that come with the OS. In this guide, Armbian is available for the Pine64, so we will be using that.

This guide was first published on Mar 17, 2020. It was last updated on Mar 17, 2020.

This page (Selecting an OS) was last updated on Oct 15, 2021.

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