Raspbian is a Linux-based operating system optimized for the Raspberry Pi, a low power, inexpensive mini-computer with a 700 MHz ARM11 processor. Up until recently, the folks behind the little computer had recommended using Debian Linux for an operating system. But benchmarks show Raspbian to be up to 40 percent faster at some tasks.
That’s because Raspbian is basically Debian optimized to take advantage of the features of the Raspberry Pi’s processor. That includes support for the ARMv6 instruction set and for hard float math operations.
While the chart above shows speed improvements ranging from 7 percent to 41 percent, overall performance is going to depend on exactly what you’re asking the computer to do. It turns out you can actually encode MP3 audio files nearly 6 times faster on Raspbian and decode media more efficiently. But some activities actually appear to be slower with Raspbian than Debian.
The developers of the Raspberry Pi recently announced that 4,000 units are being produced every day, and the order limits that had been in place are now gone. Up until recently customers could only order one Raspberry Pi at a time. Now you can order as many as you like for about $35 each.
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