Raspberry Pi Ubuntu MATE updates to 22.04

Ubuntu MATE, an official Ubuntu derivative that uses a fork of the Gnome 2 desktop environment instead of Ubuntu’s Gnome 3 graphics extravaganza, has unveiled its latest version (opens in a new tab) for Raspberry Pi (opens in a new tab) boards, based on this year’s 22.04 LTS (opens in a new tab) release of the popular Linux distribution.

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“Ubuntu MATE for the Raspberry Pi provides a complete and familiar desktop environment that can be used for basic desktop computing. It is also of interest to device makers and hackers who want to target Ubuntu for their projects,” reads the introductory text on the website, clearly targeting the hobbyist developer demographic with this release “You can prototype ARMv7 or ARMv8 homebrew based IoT devices in a comfortable desktop environment, including building and testing your applications as snaps. The full Ubuntu archive is at your disposal. For hobbyist projects, you can stick with Ubuntu MATE for “deployment”. But if you have something more professional in mind, the apps and snaps you prototyped with Ubuntu MATE can be used with Ubuntu Server or Ubuntu Core.

There are two versions of the new version of the operating system, one for 32-bit Pi boards, mainly older models, and another for those for which a 64-bit operating system makes more sense, such as the Pi 3, 4 and all-in-one. 400 (opens in a new tab). The 8GB Raspberry Pi 4 (opens in a new tab) especially needs a 64-bit operating system to access its full memory allocation. Images are optimized as much as possible for the Pi without sacrificing the full desktop environment. This means GPIO access via GPIO Zero and WiringPi (which could improve HAT compatibility), USB booting, audio can now be routed to the HDMI or 3.5mm jack, and working Ethernet, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth .

Under the hood, there’s a 1GB zswap RAM cache compressed using lz4 by default, and there’s hardware acceleration thanks to the full-featured VC4/V3D KMS graphics driver. Otherwise, there’s nothing particularly special here, it’s Ubuntu with the MATE desktop optimized for the Raspberry Pi, and the world is a better place to have it.

Pi 2 and 3 owners should note that there is an issue with the 32-bit OS booting to a black screen unless changes are made to config.txt as noted on the website MATE. This will be fixed in an Ubuntu update scheduled for August.

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Steven L. Nielsen