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I was thinking about buying a Raspberry Pi, and running Ubuntu on it. I have looked around the web, and a lot of stuff says that it's difficult for it to work on ARM processors. Has anyone figured out how to get a Raspberry pi to run Ubuntu?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 33 down vote accepted

From the Official FAQ Page at Raspberry Pi:

What Linux distros will be supported at launch?

Fedora, Debian and ArchLinux will be supported from the start. We hope to see support from other distros later. (Because of issues with newer releases of Ubuntu and the ARM processor we are using, Ubuntu can’t commit to support Raspberry Pi at the moment.) You will be able to download distro images from us as soon as the Raspberry Pi is released, and we will also be selling pre-loaded SD cards shortly after release.

Source: My answer on Raspberry Pi SE


It seems that since the launch of Raspberry Pi 2, Snappy Ubuntu Core can be run on RP2.

Thanks to a very successful collaboration between the Raspberry Pi Foundation and Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, we are pleased to announce that Snappy Ubuntu Core is available for the Raspberry Pi 2, the latest Raspberry Pi family member.

-- https://insights.ubuntu.com/2015/02/02/snappy-ubuntu-core-on-raspberry-pi-2/

However, it should be noted for the anxious that this is not a desktop version of Ubuntu.

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Thanks. I hope they make it work for the Raspberry pi soon. I know a lot of people would be in favor of that. –  Jordan Nov 6 '12 at 16:26
Or they will move on to a board that supports it. cubieboard.org –  Mateo Feb 1 '13 at 0:54
See the answer below by @0xF2 for helpful details (which would be worth adding to this answer....) –  nealmcb Apr 30 '14 at 22:13
@Jordan Raspberry Pi 2 has been launched. I should run Ubuntu Core –  Archisman Panigrahi Feb 2 at 11:30
Snappy Ubuntu is an incompatible sibling to the traditional Debian-based Ubuntu. –  Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Jun 6 at 8:40

Currently not - Canonical only support ARM's ARMv7 processor architecture and the Pi has an ARMv6 chip.

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The complications you refer to regarding ARM are a common issue for all distributions, they are not Ubuntu-specific. They stem from the fact that ARM has a number of different architectures, offering limited to no compatibility between each other.

The leading Linux ARM distributions are the following (excluding Gentoo which by definition is compiled to the exact target), and I am listing the corresponding target architecture:

Ubuntu: ARMv7 and up, thumb 2 (32 bit)
Debian: ARMv4t and up (armel) ARMv7 and up (armhf)
Fedora: ARMv5tel (arm) ARMv7hl (armhf)
Arch Linux: ARMv5te or higher

To your specific question, the Raspberry PI runs a BCM2835 (ARM1176JZF-S) Broadcom CPU. This is armv6k architecture, which is not compatible with recent builds of Ubuntu, which are optimized for performance at the expense of compatibility with older chip designs like this Broadcom's.

The obvious choice is to run the armel architecture of Debian -- you will feel almost at home as if you were on Ubuntu.

Revisiting this a couple of years later, there are now multiple models of R.PI available on the market:

Raspberry PI A, B, A+, and B+: These are not compatible with Ubuntu ARM builds, as they use the BCM2835 Broadcom CPU.

Raspberry PI 2, model B: this runs a BCM2836 Broadcom CPU. This is ARMv7 architecture, a Cortex A7 to be precise. This board (and presumably all subsequent "series 2" R.PI boards) will run Ubuntu just fine.

Canonical has released Ubuntu Core (aka "Snappy") for the R.PI 2, this is already available, but it bears noting this is a server distribution with no desktop environment.

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Then what older builds of Ubuntu do run on the Pi? –  Mathias Lykkegaard Lorenzen Jul 31 '13 at 22:16
I expect 9.04 would work fine, but I am not sure why you wouldn't just use a current Debian instead. –  0xF2 Jul 31 '13 at 23:44
I need compatibility with a specific WiFi dongle that I know works with Ubuntu. I haven't bought the dongle nor the Pi itself yet, but I just want a Whole setup that's guaranteed to work. –  Mathias Lykkegaard Lorenzen Aug 1 '13 at 9:10
It is easier to head to Sparkfun or Adafruit and purchase a dongle compatible with Raspbian, the default os for Raspberry PI (a Debian derivative). Looking for "Ubuntu compatible" hardware when you are thinking of using a 5-year-old distro is not going to end well. –  0xF2 Feb 14 at 15:44

protected by Community Apr 24 '13 at 3:53

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