The context

I am trying to use a Raspberry Pi 3 with the official Ubuntu 16.04 Server image for ARM 64, found from this page.

From what I understood, I have to install the OS on the SD card before to use it. I mean, I cannot use a live USB stick plugged in the Raspberry Pi 3 and then install the operating system on the drive of my choice as I used to do on laptops. Here, the operating system has to be installed on the SD card before to plug it in the Raspberry Pi 3.

I know there are images ready to copy to SD card for Raspberry Pi 3 or other systems. But my question is more general. Today I want to do this for a Raspberry Pi 3, maybe tomorrow it will be for another system.

The question

Let us assume we have a Linux distribution .iso image officially supported by either Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora or CentOS (like for example the one in the first link) as the input.

The output should be an operating system installed on a SD card.

What are the steps required to obtain the output from the input?

The working environment is Linux and preferably in command line.

2 Answers 2


There is a Ubuntu image for Raspberry Pi 3. You can get it from here:


You can then use the dd command to get it onto your SD card via Linux. In reply to your comment below, no version pf Ubuntu is officially supported. If you want that then you'll have to go with RHEL or Suse Enterprise Linux and both are more than what you need.

  • As I said I know that there are images ready to copy on SD card but like the one you advise they are not officially supported. I just added more precision about this in my question. Also, I did not mention it but the working environment is Linux. I just edited the question to mention it. The question is more about a general way of installing a Linux operating system on a SD card, if there is one...
    – Mat.R
    Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 1:41
  • I've updated my answer. No version of Ubuntu is officially supported so you aren't going to get that for what you're trying to do. All you're going to get is open-source distros which have been tailored for the Raspberry Pi that anyone can modify and they won't be officially supported by anyone. If you want something with official support then the Raspberry Pi isn't the right choice. Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 2:58

Typically with ARM based stuff the device looks for a kernel with a specific name at a specific location to boot from. You could simply extract/copy files, perhaps based off a preseed image, etc. and it should work. You could also look at something like Pi Bakery - https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/pibakery/ - and see how that does it, although it may start wiht a base raspbian image.

For other architectures and distributions, if you have a running system with matching CPU architecture you could always extract appropriate files and chroot into the new system to finish set up, etc.

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