Raspbian is designed for the Raspberry Pi and using Pi for desktop computing is a tedious task. It might disappoint you that Raspberry Pi cannot be used for desktop computing. As Raspbian is Debian based operating system, it doesn’t get monthly updates and lacks features.

But, installing Ubuntu in your Raspberry Pi can somehow make your job easy. Ubuntu MATE is something which you can install and run on Raspberry Pi and use it for desktop computing. But, how to install Ubuntu MATE on Raspberry Pi?

1.  Ubuntu MATE image download

Firstly, download the Ubuntu MATE from the Raspberry Pi official website. You can to the website and see the Ubuntu MATE where you can click ‘Download Ubuntu MATE’ button and start downloading it. You can choose your architecture at the next pop up page.  Select the Raspberry Pi option and start downloading the latest release of Ubuntu MATE. For downloading this, you will need Bit Torrent and you can download the file which is up to 1GB.

2.  Extract the Image

Using some decompression software, you can extract the .img file of the downloaded Ubuntu MATE. For installing it on Windows, you can download 7-Zip and install it in your PC. After installing the software, you can extract the file using that utility.

3. Format the SD card in macOS

To make your microSD card compatible with Raspberry Pi, it must be formatted to FAT32 first. For it, connect your microSD card to your Mac. Once the system mounts it, go to the ‘Spotlight’ option and search for ‘Disk Utility’. After ‘Disk Utility’ opens, select the microSD card and click ‘Erase’ after which select ‘MS-DOS (FAT)’ from the ‘Format’ menu. You can also set the names for microSD card and erase it.

4. Format the SD card in Windows

Just insert the microSD card in the PC and click Format Disk, once you get a pop up of format the disk from the PC. You can now choose various options like the format, file system, allocation unit size, and volume label. Format the device and you are ready to go.

5. Install Etcher on your PC

Next step is to write the Ubuntu MATE to a microSD card using Etcher. You can download Etcher for – available for both Windows 10 and MacOS. You can directly run this utility. In Mac, just mount the disk image by clicking DMG file and then launch Etcher. When it comes to Windows, you can simply run the file.

6. Writing in MicroSD card

Once you have downloaded and install the Etcher, open the software. Select an image which is Ubuntu MATE image here. When Etcher is ready to bring the file onto the microSD card, select ‘Flash’ to start the writing process. After 15-20 minutes, the writing will be completed.

7. Write the image to microSD card (Terminal)

To write the Ubuntu MATE image to microSD card, you can also use the macOS or Linux command line. For it, firstly know the location of your file in the microSD card eg. /dev/rdisk1.  For Mac users, you can go to the Disk Utility option and by clicking the First Aid button, you will allow for completing a check on the card. After the check up, ‘Show Details” will come where you can see the address. While for Linux users, it is pretty simple. Just open the ‘Disks’ utility and select the microSd card to know the address.

Now, open the terminal and her the actual show begins. Go to the ‘Downloads’ folder first with the command:

Cd downloads

After that use dd to write the Ubuntu image file to the microSD card:

sudo dd bs=1m if=ubuntu.img of=/dev/rdisk1 conv=sync

Here, ‘ubuntu.img’ & ‘/dev/rdisk1’ must be replaced with the filename of the Ubuntu MATE image and a device address for microSD card.

8. Set up MATE

After ejecting the microSD card from your PC, insert it in your Raspberry Pi. Launch Ubuntu Mate in it and setup screens will guide you for next steps. You can choose options like language, Wi-Fi network, and location and fill in the username and password. After setting it up, you will get into the Ubuntu MATE desktop.

9.  Update Ubuntu MATE

If you see that your Ubuntu MATE is not up to date, you can update it. For checking whether it is updated or not, go to System > Software Updater. It will scan for updates and if you are issued with an update, you can install it and proceed. You can also apply for Developer Jobs to know about this field.


10. Troubleshooting

If you feel any issues with Ubuntu MATE especially with Wi-Fi connections, where the network manager says that ‘device not ready’ and any other issues, you can troubleshoot them. Just open the Ubuntu MATE terminal and run the command:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get upgrade

This will fix all the issues and finally, you will be able to run Ubuntu MATE on your Raspberry Pi.

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