Canonical Launches an Ubuntu Linux Image Optimized for the RISC-V Milk-V Mars Single-Board Computer

Expanding its list of officially-supported RISC-V systems, Canonical brings Ubuntu 24.04 Server to the compact Milk-V Mars.

Gareth Halfacree
1 month agoProductivity / HW101

Canonical is continuing to broaden its support for devices based around the free and open source RISC-V architecture, releasing a version of Ubuntu Linux specifically tailored to the Milk-V Mars single-board computer (SBC).

"Canonical has always been committed to supporting the development community by providing the latest and greatest of open source across various ISAs [Instruction Set Architectures]. We are thrilled to collaborate with Milk-V in enabling Ubuntu on the Milk-V Mars SBC," says Canonical's Gordan Markuš.

"It's truly exciting to see the Milk-V Mars board on the market with its affordable pricing and robust features," Markuš continues, "making it an accessible and developer-friendly solution. This partnership underscores our dedication to democratize innovation together with our partners through open source and open standards."

"Ubuntu is one of the most classic and popular operating systems, and Milk-V Mars is an excellent SBC product for developers, integrating high-performance GPU and rich interfaces," adds Milk-V's vice president Ke Yiran of the partnership. "We are delighted to collaborate with Canonical to deliver optimized Ubuntu on Milk-V Mars, which accelerates innovation and time to market for developers."

The Milk-V Mars was the second RISC-V-based device to be launched by Milk-V, following the high-performance 64-core Milk-V Pioneer. Mimicking the footprint of a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B and delivering roughly equivalent performance, the device uses the StarFive JH7110 quad-core RISC-V system-on-chip — a part already supported by Canonical in a custom Ubuntu image for the StarFive VisionFive 2.

The Milk-V version of Ubuntu, though, is separate to that for the VisionFive 2 — and based on the Ubuntu 24.04 Server distribution. It supports installation to the Milk-V Mars' on-board eMMC module, a Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) drive, or a USB storage device, or can boot from a microSD card — a step that is mandatory for any installation device until the board's U-Boot firmware is updated.

The Milk-V Mars Ubuntu 24.04 image is now available to download from the Ubuntu RISC-V site, along with a live installer; images are also available for the AllWinner Nezha, Microchip PolarFire SoC Icicle Kit, SiFive Unmatched, Sipeed LicheeRV, and StarFive VisionFive 2, along with one for emulating a RISC-V system in QEMU.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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