Pd on Raspberry Pi

Want to try Pure Data on the Raspberry Pi?

Download one of the image files below (they’re the same – just compressed with different tools), decompress and use dd to write to a 8 GB (or larger) SD card.

Version 1:


gzip (use if you don’t have 7zip installed)

Version 2:

(Mostly the same as version 1, but also includes a sample video from the MUS171 class and a copy of Miller’s book, Theory And Techniques Of Electronic Music)


gzip (use if you don’t have 7zip installed)

Both versions have the same default credentials and have the same static IP.

Default account credentials:

  • username: pi
  • password: 3.14159

Static IP address:


How to use dd

dd is a low-level copy program that is useful for making image files of storage devices like SD cards. It is part of Linux and Unix systems (including Mac OS X). There are Windows implementations, but it’s not built in.

If you’re not comfortable with a command line, proceed carefully. You can really screw things up with dd if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Mac instructions

Figure out the mount point of the SD card when you insert it. I recommend you eject all removable devices before doing this to minimize your chance of accidentally wiping an external hard drive or something like that.

Navigate to the directory with the unzipped disk image.

  • $ diskutil list
  • Insert the SD card/reader
  • $ diskutil list
  • Compare the two lists and find what’s  new. It’ll be something like /dev/disk1, and the mounted volume will be something like /dev/disk1s1
  • $ diskutil unmount /dev/disk1s1 (using the actual mount point from above if not /dev/disk1
  • $ dd if=custom-raspian.iso of=/dev/disk1 bs=1m (again using the actual mount point if different)
  • Wait a while, depending on the speed of your SD card. When done, the Mac will automatically mount the boot partition of the SD card.  You can eject it normally or type ‘diskutil eject /dev/disk1′

Linux instructions will be similar, but you would use the mount and umount commands (diskutil is Mac specific). But if you’re using Linux, you probably don’t need dd help.

7 Responses to PdPi

  1. Can you please link alsa mixer to the volume control panel on the desktop.
    I’m not sure what’s wrong exactly but i had to do this to get audio to work:

    First i had to load the soundcard (until i added it to my modules file):
    sudo modprobe snd_bcm2835

    then set some other values:
    sudo amixer cset numid=3 1

    Audio Settings:
    100ms latency
    128 chunk size

    Still artifact-filled in the upper frequencies

  2. Pingback: Running Pd on a Raspberry Pi | Guitar Extended

  3. The latest version (“version 2″) of the PdPi distro provided here does not fit on a standard 8GB card; I’ve tried several cards.

    Also, just FYI, if you provide future images in .img format as opposed to .iso, it becomes a much easier job for Windows users (particularly those using 64-bit platforms such as Vista / 7 / 8) to write the image to SD. The version of dd available for Windows does not work well in a 64-bit environment; the most popular tool for direct image writes to USB, Win32 DiskImager, works very well under the more recent 64-bit versions of Windows but cannot accept .iso files as an image source. dd image capture *and* rewrite should work fine to an .img file.

    • IsoBuster is free (can be upgraded for a license fee) and works flawlessly in both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows installs.

    • I am having the same problem and cannot figure out how isobuster is supposed to help. Win32DiskImager reports that the SD card is a few sectors small for the image. I can’t even find dd on my linux box. It seems as though simply making the image a bit smaller would solve the problems????

  4. Hi, I’ve made stuff with the CCRMA Beagleboards before, but never with a Pi. I’d love to use Pd on the Pi! Is there a way to use it without screen or router? I’m trying to SSH into it (from my macbook pro) but when I do
    $ ssh pi@

    It’s giving me
    ssh: connect to host port 22: Operation timed out

    Some help would be much appreciated :) TIA!

  5. Hi Miller,
    Thanks very much for doing this work. I used the first image on a 1st gen Pi (with 256Mb RAM) and Pd is running quite well using the onboard audio! I’m very pleased =) I managed to track down your Pi externals as well but I can’t seem to get Pd to install them. I shouldn’t have to recompile Pd should I?

    Thanks again

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