In this Raspberry Pi Dietpi tutorial, we will be taking a look at DietPi, a lightweight operating system built for single board computers (SBC).
This operating system is very similar to Raspbian lite but is even more stripped back. The size starts at 600mb which makes it 2-3x lighter than Raspbian lite.
All of our Raspberry Pi projects should still work on the Dietpi operating system. With that said, you may find some projects you may have to install more packages than what is listed.
There is plenty of tools bundled with the OS to make your life easier. For example, a software installer that is capable of installing optimized software packages for the DietPi.
Another handy tool is the DietPi-Backup which allows you to easily backup or restore the DietPi operating system.
The operating system prides itself on being optimized so that you are getting the most out of your Raspberry Pi. Here is a good comparison of DietPi and Raspbian Lite.
We only scratch the surface on what this lightweight operating system can do. If you require more information about the operating system, then I highly recommend that you head over to their official website.
To make everything work in this Dietpi tutorial we recommend the following bits of equipment.
8gb+ Micro SD Card
Ethernet Cord or Wifi dongle (Raspberry Pi 3 has WiFi inbuilt)
Raspberry Pi Power Supply
Raspberry Pi Case
Installing Raspberry Pi Dietpi
1. First, head over to the Dietpi website and download the image for your Raspberry Pi. The current image supports all models of the Raspberry Pi.
Once you have installed a compatible program, unzip the file, it should be roughly 600mb.
3. Next, we will need a program so we can write the image to the SD Card. Again, we will need to install some software, and I recommend using Etcher.
4. Once you have installed Etcher, load the program. Also, make sure you have your SD card inserted into your computer.
5. First, locate and select the DietPi image.
6. Next, ensure that the SD card selected is the correct one. It will wipe the drive clean, so if you choose the wrong one, you may risk losing data.
7. Once you have confirmed all the details are correct, proceed to flash the SD card. This process can take a while so sit back and relax.
8. If you’re using ethernet, then you can skip this step and go to step 12.
To setup Wifi, open the SD card folder and open the file named dietpi.txt
9. In this file change the following.
Save and close the file.
10. Now, open up dietpi-wifi.txt
11. Update the following two lines with your WiFi details. Replace MYSSID with your WiFi name and replace MyWiFiKey with your password.
12. Remove the SD card from the PC and insert it into the Raspberry Pi to prepare to boot for the first time. I recommend having a keyboard, mouse, and screen handy as you will likely need to configure options.
The first boot of Dietpi is pretty straightforward. You will want it connected to a screen, so you’re able to do the initial setup.
1. On first boot, the software will go through the initial setup and then reboot. For example, it will expand the file system, so it fills the entire SD card.
2. Once it has finished going through the first boot steps, you will be prompted to login. Use the default username (root) and password (dietpi).
3. Upon the first login, the Dietpi operating system will automatically update all of its packages. Once it is complete, it will restart.
4. When you login again, you will be prompted to change the default password. We highly recommend that you do this task.
You will also be asked if you want to disable the serial monitor. Disable if you don’t know what it is as you will likely not need it.
5. You will now be shown a screen full of options.
Help! – This option will provide you with links to documents and other useful information.
DietPi-Config – If you’re familiar with the raspi-config tool then this one is very much the same. You might want to go into here and update the language/regional options to your correct language. It defaults to the UK.
Search – Find software to install to the operating system.
Software Optimized – Select DietPi optimized software to install to the OS.
SoftwareAdditional – Find other software packages to install.
File Server – Specify a file server that you want to run; this is important for a network attached storage setup. The default is none.
Log System – Choose the method of how the operating system will store its log files. The default will store the logs to ram that are then cleared every hour.
Web Server Preference – Specify a web server software package that you wish to use. The default will make use of the Lighttpd software.
User Data Location – Choose the location on where you want user data to be stored. For example, a different external drive.
Uninstall – Use this option to remove installed software from your operating system.
6. Once you are finished with tweaking options and selecting software to install, scroll down to the bottom and select install. You would need to do this even if you didn’t make any changes.
You can access the screen again at any time by entering the following command.
7. That’s all you need to know for getting started with the Raspberry Pi DietPi operating system. Check out the section below for a little bit more information on the different features.
As I mentioned earlier, there is a ton of tools that can help you with maintaining the DietPi operating system. I will quickly go into each of the commands below.
As mentioned above, the dietpi-config tool allows you to configure system settings.
Use dietpi-software to install optimized software for the DietPi operating system.
Use the following command to update your version of Dietpi to the latest version available.
The command below will open up a feature-rich drive management utility.
Make your life easier when it comes to backing up or restoring DietPi with the command below.
Sync or duplicate a directory to another by using the command below.
The command below loads a lightweight file manager and explorer.
Use the command below to take control of software services. For example, start, stop, restart and so on.
The following command can be used to tweak system-wide priority levels for software and processes.
Clean up junk from the operating system and free up valuable disk space.
If you run into issues, use the command below to send a bug report to Dietpi.
Specify how you want your Raspberry Pi to start up. Example, boot into the desktop with Kodi running.
Modify the start times of specific cron job groups by using the command below.
Don’t let your logs overwhelm you and have Dietpi clear all your logs.
Use this command to convert a text file into morse code.
Access the frontend for the Letsencrypt integration.
Use the following command to change the audio settings.
I hope that this Raspberry Pi Dietpi tutorial has given you a good overview of what the operating system is and how you can install it. If you want to support the devs of DietPi they have a Patreon where you can donate money.
If you have some feedback, tips or anything else, then please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.