A new super-cheap version of the Raspberry Pi was recently announced. I'd like to stuff these all over my house doing cool nonsense.

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My question is, will I be able to use Ubuntu on them?

  • Even with the new version 2 of the original board, Ubuntu is still not yet there. The new Snappy stuff is ... well, not Ubuntu yet. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Nov 27 '15 at 16:27
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    @ThorbjørnRavnAndersen ubuntu mate is on the rpi2 though. – Mateo Nov 28 '15 at 2:16


The Raspberry Pi Zero runs the same architecture processor as the first RasPi, an ARMv6 arch ARM11. It's clocked faster than the original but it's not the ARM Cortex-A7 that the Raspberry Pi 2 has.

Ubuntu's ARM CPU support starts at the ARMv7 architecture.

You could recompile everything for ARMv6 but it literally would mean compiling and repackaging everything. It would be far more practical to just use Raspbian. This is a Debian redistribution that targets the original Raspberry Pi. Because it's Debian, it's technically very similar to Ubuntu.

Ubuntu's limited ARM support also means that Launchpad doesn't support ARMv6 so you won't be able to use Ubuntu PPAs either (unless they are naturally arch-independent, which some are).

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    +1 I'd like to add to this excellent answer that especially when you start using these things without a monitor (doing cool things around the house), then there isn't much difference between Raspbian and Ubuntu. – Jos Nov 27 '15 at 9:05
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    Right, the most obvious difference between Ubuntu and Raspbian is that the former defaults to Unity, while Raspian comes with LXDE. I instead use XFCE on both my laptop (Xubuntu) and my rpi2, and this way both operating systems feel almost exactly the same even in graphical mode. – leftaroundabout Nov 27 '15 at 17:21
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    The most obvious difference between Raspbian and Ubuntu is Ubuntu has Snappy, which is ideal for embedded applications since it is highly resistant to SD card corruption... – Alistair Buxton Nov 27 '15 at 19:26
  • snappy is getting into Debian so should be in the next release! – IceyEC Jan 15 '17 at 10:39
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    It's worth noting that the new "Zero W" (and Zero v2) has better specs in a number of ways, but still runs the same ARM11 as the other Zeroes - and as the "original" Pi A/B models. – dannysauer Jul 28 '17 at 0:34

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