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Ubuntu 20.10 release showcases Raspberry Pi support

Oct 23, 2020 — by Eric Brown 1,690 views

Canonical released Ubuntu 20.10 with optimized Raspberry Pi images for all major Pi SBCs and modules, including a full Desktop version that runs on higher-end models. There is also improved micro cloud support, including the Pi-ready MicroK8s 1.19.

With last October’s launch of Ubuntu 19.10, Canonical improved on the Linux distribution’s Raspberry Pi support by supporting the Raspberry Pi 4. The release included Pi support for a new version of MicroK8s — Canonical’s single-node Kubernetes environment — that provides “strict confinement” to enable easier deployment of k8s containers on edge gateways. This June, Canonical launched Ubuntu Appliance for container-like apps based on Ubuntu Core snap packages that run on the Raspberry Pi. Now, with Ubuntu 20.10, Ubuntu extends its support for the Pi with several optimized images.

Ubuntu 20.10 with GNOME 3.38
(click image to enlarge)

Raspberry Pi support is the highlighted feature of the 20.10 “Groovy Gorilla” release, which also advances to Linux Kernel 5.8 and the GNOME 3.38 desktop, among other improvements. Images are now available for all the 4GB and above variants of the Raspberry Pi 2, 3, and 4, including the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 and 3+. For the first time, Raspberry Pi 4 models with 4GB or 8GB RAM can load the full Ubuntu Desktop version. For most IoT projects, Canonical recommends the smaller Ubuntu Core based Ubuntu Server release. For the Desktop, we would recommend the 8GB Raspberry Pi 4 .

All the Raspberry Pi models with new images — 12 in all — have been added to the list of Ubuntu certified hardware. The new RPi CM4, which also has its own Server and Desktop images, will join the certified list soon. Other certified computers from companies such as Dell and Lenovo are getting additional support for features such as biometric identification and touchscreen keyboards.

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 (left) and Raspberry Pi 4 with 8GB RAM
(click images to enlarge)

Ubuntu 20.10, which follows the long term support (LTS) 20.04 release, also offers improved micro cloud support for “small clusters of servers providing VMs and Kubernetes on demand at the edge, for remote office, branch office, warehouse and distribution oriented infrastructure,” says Canonical. The release advances to the LXD 4.6 system container manager and MicroK8s 1.19 and also includes Metal-as-a-Service (MAAS) and the Ceph storage platform. The micro cloud stack can “deliver resilient pocket clouds hardened for mission-critical workloads in 5G RANs, industry 4.0 factories, V2X infrastructures, smart cities and health care facilities,” says Canonical.


Both LXD 4.6 and MicroK8s support the Raspberry Pi. A tutorial on MicroK8s on the Pi may be found here.

The latest MikroK8s 1.19 is now ready to deploy commercially. As we explained in our Ubuntu 19.10 report from a year ago, with the strict confinement feature and the ability to be deployed via snaps, MicroK8s can more easily be used as an edge computing platform. Using snaps, users can securely deploy MicroK8s add-ons on edge devices with a single command.

On Oct. 15, Canonical announced MicroK8s with autonomous HA (high availability), thereby improving resiliency in cloud and server deployments. “High availability is enabled automatically once three or more nodes are clustered, and the data store migrates automatically between nodes to maintain quorum in the event of a failure.”

Ubuntu 20.10’s Linux 5.8 support means Ubuntu users can tap new kernel features like a Kernel Event Notification Mechanism, improved IPv6 Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) features, and support for Intel 11th Gen Tiger Lake’s Thunderbolt (USB 4.0) technology. For more details on the desktop features of Ubuntu 20.10 with GNOME 3.38, LinuxJournal offers a good overview.

Stated Eben Upton, CEO of Raspberry Pi Trading: “From the classic Raspberry Pi board to the industrial grade Compute Module, this first step to an Ubuntu LTS on Raspberry Pi with long term support and security updates matches our commitment to widen access to the very best computing and open source capabilities.”

Further information

Ubuntu 20.10 Server and Desktop are available for download here, with the Raspberry Pi images available here.

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