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Why Doesn't Ubuntu and Ubuntu Flavors/Remixes Work Better on ARM Computers?

I develop Ubuntu Lumina, which recently has been trying to make noise about ARM. Currently Ubuntu has no Desktop editions for Ubuntu, and most of the flavors don't support or barely support ARM? Yes, Lubuntu has an image made for the Raspberry Pi, and Martin Wimpress (who is a Canonical employee with Ubuntu and Ubuntu MATE) has his desktopify project that turns the Ubuntu server image into a desktop - that being AFTER you installed the server image, connected to the WIFI or Ethernet, installed GIT, then cloned the thing, then FINALLY run the script and have a desktop environment with modifications for a better desktop user experience.

Lubuntu's Pi image isn't great unless you really like 16.04 LXDE, which Lubuntu doesn't support as of 20.04, and LXDE isn't offically supported anymore as a project (in favor of LXQt). Lubuntu and Ubuntu MATE are the only desktops with some outdated ARM support, Ubuntu MATE having 18.04LTS as the latest and Lubuntu at 16.04 at the latest.

However, when I started to fact-check and make sure no stone was unturned, I remembered Ubuntu Kylin was a thing. I checked and they have a 20.04 image for Ubuntu Kylin. Huge TIL (today I learned) for me personally.

This has been a gripe of mine, well before I even had the aspirations to make an Ubuntu remix... even before I used Linux full time when my friend showed me his Pi2 in 2018, a year before I used Linux.

Why doesn't Ubuntu support Raspberry Pi for desktop? Even in 2020, where when the Pi4 released, it had every desire for desktop use. My only possible answer is... laziness, no desire, no want. The reasons don't make sense, even when most light weight desktops like Xubuntu and Kubuntu having no ARM support. It irritates me. Mind you that is SUPPORT! Not including any sort of focus or care (considering the old images).

The title of this article isn't for explanation, it's for question. A question that irritated me so much that I gave in. I decided Ubuntu Lumina remix will have official images built for Raspberry Pi and will be working on Pine64 ARM editions as well. I announced that maybe a week ago.

I can't say if the other flavors or remixes will follow, but I hope they do. ARM is a great architecture, and it wouldn't be difficult to switch. I plan to work with Canonical's tool they used which in the words of Wimpress are "It's all the same debian-cd, live-image stuff the regular image are built from." - and there are alternative solutions as well.

Operating Systems like Manjaro support ARM and have machines that ship with Manjaro ARM. Don't bring in that "well Ubuntu's market doesn't call for it" as unlike with 32 bit systems, the ARM market is growing. So let's support ARM on Ubuntu, and if you want to make community built images, ask permission to use the name and run with it like you got Willy Wonka's golden ticket!

Discussion (1)

bigpod98 profile image
Primož Ajdišek

Simple reason arm is wild west so if there isnt significant usage outside of pi(which you can get using server image most use pu as headless/server machine so it makes little sense realy) all fo this is because you cannot have 1 image for whole arm platform. Well only somehwat successfull desktop focused system line is pine64s pinebook. Amoint of people who use pi as a desktop computer is small and so there makes no real sense to make a specific image beyond the i did it