Device Ports

Ubuntu MATE for Raspberry Pi

Ubuntu MATE 20.04 beta 1 is available for Raspberry Pi Model B 2, 3, 3+ and 4 with separate images for armhf (ARMv7 32-bit) and arm64 (ARMv8 64-bit). We have done what we can to optimise the builds for the Raspberry Pi without sacrificing the full desktop environment Ubuntu MATE provides on PC.

Ubuntu MATE for the Raspberry Pi provides a complete, familiar, desktop environment that can be used for basic desktop computing. It is also of interest to makers and device hackers who want to target Ubuntu for their projects. You can prototype homebrew ARMv7 or ARMv8 based IoT devices in a comfortable desktop environment, including building and testing your apps as snaps. The full Ubuntu archive is available to you.

For hobbyist projects, you can stick with Ubuntu MATE for “deployment”. But, if you have something more professional in mind then the applications and snaps you’ve prototyped with Ubuntu MATE can be used with Ubuntu Server or Ubuntu Core. You might want to check out the Ubuntu Appliance Portfolio too.

Features

High-level features of these images are:

  • Ubuntu kernel.
    • Performance optimised by the Ubuntu Kernel team.
    • Regularly security patches by the Ubuntu Security team.
  • VC4/V3D (fkms) driver is enabled by default.
    • fbturbo driver is available if you want it, but limited to 2D accelerated window moving/scrolling on Raspberry Pi (using the BCM2835 DMA Controller).
  • Automatic online filesystem expansion.
  • Ethernet & WiFi (where available)
  • Bluetooth (where available)
  • Audio out via 3.5mm analog audio jack or HDMI
  • Video out via Composite or HDMI
  • GPIO access via GPIO Zero and WiringPi.
  • Additional software:

Ubuntu MATE running on the Raspberry Pi 3+ Ubuntu MATE running on the Raspberry Pi 3+

Supported Raspberry Pi

  • These images work on:
  • These images kind of work on:
    • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B
    • Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ (not recommended)
    • Raspberry Pi 2 Model B (not recommended)
      • Fails to complete the first boot setup due to insufficient memory.
      • If you have completed the setup on another Pi that card can be inserted in a Pi 3 Model A+ and it will work.
      • Due to only having 512MB RAM the arm64 is not recommended. The armhf version can be very tight on resources.

Unsupported Raspberry Pi

Memory pressure is reasonable using the armhf images (~350MB at idle) but quite tight on the arm64 images (~490MB at idle). As always, microSDHC I/O throughput is a bottleneck on the Raspberry PPi so don’t gimp your Raspberry Pi by cheaping out on poor performing microSDHC cards. We used the Samsung EVO Plus 32 GB microSDHC UHS-I U1 and Kingston 64 GB microSDXC Canvas Go Plus during the testing of these images and they significantly better performance than most other microSDHC cards we’ve tried. But don’t take our word for it.

You’ll need a microSD card which is 8GB or greater to fit the image. The file system will automatically resize to occupy the unallocated space of the microSD card. Here is our recommended kit lists on Amazon:

Raspberry Pi 4 with 8GB RAM

Raspberry Pi 4 8GB RAM Argon One Case SanDisk Extreme 128 GB microSDXC
Raspberry Pi 4 8GB RAM Argon One Case SanDisk Extreme 128 GB microSDXC

Raspberry Pi 4 with 4GB RAM

Raspberry Pi 4 4GB RAM Argon NEO Case Kingston 64 GB microSDXC Canvas Go Plus
Raspberry Pi 4 4GB RAM Argon NEO Case Kingston 64 GB microSDXC Canvas Go Plus

Raspberry Pi 4 with 2GB RAM

Raspberry Pi 4 2GB RAM Flirc Case Samsung EVO Plus 32 GB microSDHC UHS-I U1
Raspberry Pi 4 2GB RAM Flirc Case Samsung EVO Plus 32 GB microSDHC UHS-I U1

Download

Run Ubuntu MATE on your Raspberry Pi Model B 2, 3, 3+ or 4 today.

Download

Additional features

Re-size file system

The root partition is automatically resized, on first boot, to fully utilise all the available space. No reboots required.

First boot

NOTE! There are no predefined user accounts. The first time you boot the Ubuntu MATE image it will run through a setup wizard where you can create your own user account and configure your regional settings. The first boot setup takes a few minutes to complete, but subsequent boots are much quicker.

Firmware

The GPU firmware partition is mounted at /boot/firmware. The files /boot/firmware/config.txt and /boot/firmware/cmdline.txt contain the system configuration and kernel command line options respectively.

SSH

The OpenSSH server is not installed by default. Simply install it to to enable SSH.

sudo apt install openssh-server

If you install SSH then you might also want to install sshguard which is highly optimised and well suited for use on the Raspberry Pi to protect from brute force attacks against SSH.

sudo apt install sshguard

The Steam Link app extends Steam Link functionality to the Raspberry Pi Model B 3 and 3+ and uses the same streaming technology as Valve’s Steam Link, allowing you to play your favorite games and even spectate VR games right from your Raspberry Pi.

Can be installed via sudo apt install steamlink

You can learn more about Steam Link for Raspberry Pi from Valve:

Redirecting audio output

The sound will output to HDMI by default if both HDMI and the 3.5mm audio jack are connected. You can, however, force the system to output to a particular device.

For HDMI

sudo amixer cset numid=3 2

For 3.5mm audio jack

sudo amixer cset numid=3 1

Recent Changes

Ubuntu MATE 20.04.1 Beta 2 - 13 August 2020

  • Re-based on Ubuntu MATE 20.04.1.
  • Fixed WiFi on first boot during the initial setup wizard.
  • Dropped gpu_mem from config.txt as the defaults should be sensible.

Ubuntu MATE 20.04 Beta 1 - 12 July 2020

  • Re-based on Ubuntu MATE 20.04.
  • Added support for Raspberry Pi 4.
  • Enabled the VC4/V3D (fkms) driver by default.
  • Firefox uses Basic rendering by default.
    • Based on community feedback and our testing the OMTC (OpenGL) compositing video playback is choppy by comparison.
  • Added rpi-eeprom.
  • Minecraft: Pi Edition is still be packaged.
  • USB Booting is work in progress.
  • Dropped raspi-config; we have something else in the works…

Known Issues

  • The boot following initial setup is a little slow as the file system is automatically expanded and initial system configuration is completed.
    • After this, boot performance is prompt.
  • No USB booting (yet)

Previous Changes

Feedback and Improvements

These images are not official Ubuntu products and are community supported by the Ubuntu MATE team. Please post feedback and issues on the dedicated community forum.