Alpine Linux 3.20: RISC-V Support and Enhanced Performance

On May 22, a new version of Alpine Linux was released under the number 3.20.0. RISC-V, and also includes KDE Plasma 6 and Gnome 46. Due to the change in the Redis license, Alpine replaced it with the new Valkey database.

Alpine Linux, known for its lightweight, continues to surprise enthusiasts. The default desktop XFCE occupies only 1.1 GB of disk space – about the same as other distributions usually use RAM.

Alpine 3.20 supports eight architectures: IBM Z mainframes, Power servers (64-bit, Little-Endian), 64-bit RISC-V, 32-bit and 64-bit X86, as well as three ARM: ARMHF, ARMV7 options and Aarch64. This covers all Raspberry Pi models, from Pi Zero to Pi 5, and many other single-board computers based on ARM.

Alpine offers three installation modes:

  1. Diskless Mode (Live Mode): loads and works completely from RAM.
  2. Data Disk Mode: works from RAM, but uses the SWAP and Catalog /Var tree from a hard disk to preserve the state of the system.
  3. System Disk Mode: a traditional disk installation, with the ability to configure sections or dual booting with other OS.

Despite the minimalistic approach, Alpine is able to work as a full desktop distribution. The utilities “Setup-Desktop” and “Setup-Xorg-Base” significantly simplify the installation of the desktop environment, such as GNOME, Plasma, XFCE, Mate and SWAY.

Alpine uses OpenRC to minimize the size and consumption of resources instead of Systemd, the Musl C library instead of GNU LIBC, the Syslinux and Busybox bootloader instead of standard tools. This makes Alpine lightweight and flexible, suitable for various devices, from routers to smartphones with postmarketos.

Alpine can be installed on various platforms and devices, including old laptops and single-board computers. The new version fixes errors affecting the use of RAM, which makes the system even more efficient.

Alpine Linux is similar to Arch Linux in terms of the number of manual steps necessary for installing a full desktop, which makes it an excellent choice for educational purposes. However, unlike ARCH, Alpine is easier and more compact

/Reports, release notes, official announcements.