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In summary which Linux-based development board is right for you? The answer is, it depends! No single board does everything well, and your needs will dictate which board is best for your project. However, some questions to help guide you to the right board include:
Are you new to Linux or programming?
Stick to a board with a large community of users and good support for programming tools, like the Raspberry Pi. Check out the Learn Raspberry Pi series here on the learning system to get started.
Do you need compatibility with Arduino shields or libraries?
Look into the Arduino Yun since it has the same processor as the Arduino Leonardo. Be careful of using the Intel Galileo as it has some quirks and incompatibilities with Arduino shields--research what's known to work in their support forums.
Do you need to read analog inputs?
Pick a board with an analog to digital converter like the Beaglebone Black, Arduino Yun, or Intel Galileo. Don't forget you can add an external ADC to your development board too!
Do you need real-time control of I/O?
Look at a board like the Arduino Yun or Beaglebone Black, which have a small microcontroller built in for running real-time programs.

For other systems like the Raspberry Pi, you might consider adding a Trinket or other inexpensive microcontroller for real-time I/O control.
Do you need the most performance possible?
The Beaglebone Black showed great performance in benchmarks. The Raspberry Pi is close, and even a little faster with floating point operations.
Do you need WiFi?
The Arduino Yun has WiFi built in, but don't forget a small USB WiFi adapter can be added to most other boards. The Intel Galileo can even support PCI express WiFi chips.
Do you need to run graphics or media applications?
Although this guide didn't cover graphics, the Raspberry Pi GPU is quite powerful and can play games like Quake III or watch movies at full 1920x1080P resolution.
Still not sure?
Don't limit yourself to just one board, consider picking up a couple inexpensive boards! A Raspberry Pi model A and an Arduino Uno are a great combination of boards. The Raspberry Pi has a full Linux environment with great performance vs. price, and the Arduino gives you real-time control of a lot of I/O.

This guide was first published on May 06, 2014. It was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

This page (Summary) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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