The Raspberry Pi foundation announced the very first stable release of the Raspbian distribution, which is based on Debian 7.0 “Wheezy” armhf rootfs in order to take advantage of the FPU in Broadcom BCM2835. This distribution offers up to 40% performance improvement on several tasks, and for some specific tasks such as MP3 encoding is can boost the speed by nearly 6 times thanks to hard-float support. It is now the recommended distribution for the Raspberry Pi, runs LXDE environment, and comes with Midori browser, development tools and example source as per the previous Debian distros. omxplayer by gimli (XBMC developer) is also pre-installed in the image, and will allow you to play videos using hardware acceleration.
You can download Raspbian via:
The default credentials are pi / raspberry.
Adam Armstrong has run some benchmarks to compare Raspbian (armhf) with the previous Raspberry Pi Squeeze (armel) distribution.
Some tasks see little improvements since they don’t use float extensively, but multimedia benchmarks (MP3 decode, x264), see the most benefit from hard-float support. Bear in mind that memcpy and memset have also been optimized for ARMv6 in the Raspbian distribution, so some part of the improvement could be the result of this optimization.
Not everything is perfect though, as Adam also reported a significant decrease in performance (about 15%) when using bc, but as a whole Raspbian should still offer a better desktop experience.