Igor Bubelov About Blog Photos

Ubuntu 20.10 and Raspberry Pi 4

October 30, 2020

As you may have noticed, I’m very excited about Raspberry Pi 4. Many people consider it a toy that can’t do anything serious but this toy is the most stable and reliable computer in my house. How so?

I have two MacBooks, and they are barely working pieces of garbage. I have a Dell XPS 13 laptop running Ununtu and I have many hardware and software issues with it too. All of that fancy hardware is considered high-end and quality stuff. Maybe it’s just laptops? Well, I also have a beefy desktop PC with all the bells and whistles. It runs Windows, and it can’t even keep a reliable Wi-Fi connection. My PlayStation 4 PRO fails to open its store 4 times out of 5, so I’m constantly denied the privilege to buy their overpriced bug-ridden games.

All that expensive hardware with up-to-date software fails miserably at the most basic tasks. That’s why Raspberry Pi feels like a breath of fresh air. It’s simple, it’s transparent, and it’s reliable. It just works, and it’s also quite cheap which makes it hard to regret such a purchase even if you won’t find any use for it.

Raspberry Pi 4 is my favorite piece of hardware, but it didn’t get enough love from the operating systems for a long time. Well, times are changing and Raspberry Pi hardware have got an official support from the Ubuntu developers. Running the latest Ubuntu Desktop and Ubuntu Server is as easy as writing its official image on a USB stick and plugging it into your Raspberry Pi.

That’s a big deal, really. Try finding a desktop or a laptop with guaranteed Linux support. Most of the retail hardware supports Windows, but it’s only the current version of Windows of course. No one is promising that you’ll be able to use anything else on such hardware. Same thing happens with the Android smartphones. The manufacturers don’t care about the hardware they already sold because they’re too busy pushing the new devices as quickly as possible.

Raspberry Pi 2 was released in 2015, but you can still use the latest Ubuntu with it. I’m not even talking about a theoretical possibility, this thing will work, and it will work well. How can we be so sure? Well, Ubuntu had tasked a few of their internal teams to make sure all the Raspberry Pi models announced since 2015 work flawlessly with this distribution.

Ubuntu Desktop tends to be more demanding, thanks to GNOME shell. That means it only works with Raspberry Pi 4, and it requires four or more gigs of RAM. That’s annoying, and it says a lot about the inability of programmers to utilize the underlying hardware in an efficient way. That said, Ubuntu folks had confirmed that they’re trying to optimize GNOME shell for Raspberry Pi, so we might see some improvements here in the near future.

The last thing I want to mention is the long term implications of this new collaboration between Canonical and Raspberry Pi Foundation. The fact that they’re in sync gives us hope that we’ll get a timely support for all the future Raspberry Pi hardware. That makes Raspberry Pi and Ubuntu a perfect match for anyone who wants to have a cheap and reliable computer that “just works”.