You Can Now Run Ubuntu Unity on Your Raspberry Pi

Ubuntu Unity Raspberry Pi

The developers of the Ubuntu Unity unofficial flavor featuring the good old Unity interface that Canonical developed a few years ago for Ubuntu, have ported their distribution to the tiny Raspberry Pi computers.

Yes, that’s right, you can now run Ubuntu Unity on your Raspberry Pi, not only your laptop or desktop computer. I know, it may sound impossible to the Unity’s reputation for requiring a lot of memory, but the latest Raspberry Pi models are certainly capable of running the distribution.

“We have tried to optimize the build for the Raspberry Pi without sacrificing the full desktop environment Ubuntu Unity provides on PC,” Rudra Saraswat.

Based on a mix of components from the upcoming Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla) release and Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS (Focal Fossa), Ubuntu Unity for Raspberry Pi promises to provide the community with a complete and rich operating system for basic desktop computing stuff.

While it’s designed and optimized specifically for the AArch64 (ARM64) architecture, the Raspberry Pi flavor of Ubuntu Unity also comes with i386-arm support, which sets up an emulated i386 environment based on Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” to allow you to run 32-bit programs on your Raspberry Pi from the terminal.

Currently supported Raspberry Pi devices include the latest Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, which is the recommended model for everyone who wants to try Ubuntu Unity on the tiny SBC device, as well as Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, which work well but you might experience some slowness.

The Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ is untested at the moment of writing, but the developer said that it might work if you complete the setup on another Raspberry Pi model that has more RAM and then take the SD card and insert it in the Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ device.

The installation is pretty straightforward. You download Ubuntu Unity for Raspberry Pi from the official website, then use either the Raspberry Pi Imager or balenaEtcher software to flash the image on the SD card. If you want to extend the size of the second partition to make space for installing additional software, you can use GParted.

However, since this is the first pre-release version, some things may not work as expected. For example, Wi-Fi may fail to work on the first boot due to a known Ubuntu issue, which will be fixed in the final release. As a workaround, you must complete the setup with Ethernet connection and reboot once you login, after the setup.

Last updated 8 months ago