Ubuntu MATE project has just announced that Ubuntu MATE 20.04 beta 1 is available for Raspberry Pi Model B 2, 3, 3+ and 4 with separate images for ARMv7 32-bit and ARMv8 64-bit.
Ubuntu MATE for the Raspberry Pi provides a complete, familiar, desktop environment that can be used especially for basic desktop computing. It is also of interest to makers and device hackers who want to target Ubuntu for their projects.
With this latest release the Ubuntu kernel has been performance optimized providing a slick desktop experience, as well as hardware accelerated 2D and 3D video is provided out of the box, including 1080P 30fps YouTube video playback.
Memory pressure on Raspberry Pi is reasonable using the ARMv7 images (~350MB at idle) but quite tight on the ARMv8 images (~490MB at idle). As always, microSDHC I/O throughput is a bottleneck on the Raspberry Pi. Therefore, don’t gimp your Raspberry Pi by cheaping out on poor performing microSDHC cards.
Of course, 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.
Ubuntu MATE 20.04 Beta 1 for Raspberry Pi Features
- Ubuntu kernel is performance optimised by the Ubuntu Kernel team
- VC4/V3D (fkms) driver is enabled by default
- Automatic online filesystem expansion
- Ethernet, WiFi and Bluetooth are available
- Audio out via 3.5mm analog audio jack or HDMI
- Video out via Composite or HDMI
- GPIO access via GPIO Zero and WiringPi
In conclusion, Ubuntu MATE 20.04 has transformed the Pi 4 into a usable desktop computer. In addition, performance is reasonable and there are plenty of easy options for customisation.