Canonical Launches Ubuntu 19.10, Offers Native Server Version for Raspberry Pi 2, 3, and 4

Official Ubuntu Server images with MicroK8s are now available for the Raspberry Pi 2, 3, and 4, but come with just nine months' support.

Canonical has officially launched Ubuntu 19.10 "Eoan Ermine," the latest release in its long-running Linux distribution — and it brings with it native images for the Raspberry Pi 2, 3, and 4 families of single-board computers, built with an eye on the Internet of Things (IoT).

"In the fifteen years since the first Ubuntu release, we have seen Ubuntu evolve from the desktop to become the platform of choice across public cloud, open infrastructure, IoT, and AI," claims Canonical chief executive Mark Shuttleworth. "With the 19.10 release, Ubuntu continues to deliver strong support, security and superior economics to enterprises, developers and the wider community."

The biggest feature of note for the maker market is native support for the Raspberry Pi 2, 3, and 4 families of single-board computers. While earlier Raspberry Pi models had enjoyed some support, and third-party community-developed Ubuntu spins have gone a step further, 19.10 marks the first release to include official Ubuntu Server system images for all multi-core Raspberry Pis in both 32-bit and 64-bit flavors.

While it's possible to install Ubuntu Server on a Raspberry Pi and turn it into a low-cost desktop, Canonical has a different focus in mind - which helps to explain why there's no matching Ubuntu Desktop download for the SBCs. The company is focusing on using a combination of Ubuntu and the Raspberry Pi for IoT work, including the MicroK8s one-stop edge-friendly Kubernetes cluster orchestration system as standard.

Other more general improvements made in Ubuntu 19.10 include the availability of KUbeflow for machine learning and artificial intelligence development, accelerated drivers for NVIDIA graphics cards as standard, support for AMD's latest Navi graphics cards and Zhaoxin's x86 processors, native support for the ZFS filesystem on the root partition, and the Train release of Charmed OpenStack with the Nautilus release of Ceph.

The Raspberry Pi Ubuntu Server images are available on a dedicated download page, while the more traditional Ubuntu Server and Desktop images can be found on their own download pages. In all cases, the operating system comes with nine months of support; the next release, Ubuntu 20.04, will bring Long Term Support (LTS) status.

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Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin.
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