How to Load Ubuntu on Raspberry Pi


How to Load Ubuntu on Raspberry Pi - TESLA Institute


The Raspberry pi is a mini computer which is designed in a single board with all the essential components required for running an operating system. The Raspberry pi is designed to be low cost and easy to use. The board has a micro USB port which can be used to supply 5V DC using an adaptor with rating not less than 1A. The board can be powered up from the USB port also but it is not recommended. The board has a HDMI port which can be used to connect it to the HD TV using an HDMI cable. A video input port is also available with a Raspberry pi board which can be used to connect an external camera. The board can also be connected to the PC monitor using a HDMI to VGA adaptor cable. The Raspberry pi board has a Composite RCA (PAL and NTSC) output which enables them to be connected directly to CRT TV screens and an audio output is also available. The board has two USB2 ports where the keyboard and mouse can be plugged in. There is an Ethernet port which can be used to connect the board to a computer network. The board also has a SD card slot and the Raspberry pi is designed to boot from the SD card.

The device using Broadcom controller chip which is an SoC (System on Chip). This controller has all the peripherals like timers, interrupt controller, GPIO, USB, PCM / I2S, DMA controller, I2C master, I2C / SPI slave, SPI0, SPI1, SPI2, PWM, UART0 and UART1. This SoC has the powerful ARM11 processor which runs on 700 MHz at its core. The controller also has a graphical processing unit (GPU) which includes VideoCore, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4. It also has a 512 MB SDRAM.    

The operating systems versions of Windows, Mac and Linux are available which can be installed in the Raspberry pi board. Raspberry Pi foundation introduced a new tool called "New Out Of Box Software" or "NOOBS" which includes a package of Operating systems which the user can select to install on the Raspberry pi board once it boots up for the first time. The operating systems the NOOBS installer includes are only Archlinux ARM, OpenELEC, Pidora, Raspbmc, RISC OS and the Raspbian.


The Raspberry pi is inspired from the old day personal computers which were using the TV screen as the display unit. Now a days since the HD TV is very popular and provide high quality display the Raspberry pi Foundation has decided to use them as their display. The board is provided with a HDMI port which can be used to connect the board with the HD TVs. There is even a RCA video jack which can be used to connect the device to common CRT TVs. They can be connected to the PC monitors using a HDMI to VGA adaptor although it is not recommended.

The Raspbian is the recommended operating system for the Raspberry pi board. All of them works when they are directly connected to an HD TV but even the recommended operating system is not found to be working with most of the HDMI to VGA adaptor cables. Those who don’t have the HD TV the better option is to do remote login from a PC and access the operating system using the PC screen, monitor and keyboard. Since the remote login is disabled in most of the OS included in the NOOBS, the best option is to install the latest Ubuntu version for the raspberry pi in which the remote login is enabled by default. Other reasons to choose the Ubuntu are easy to use, comparatively better online references and help available and the wide variety of software available that can be installed in Ubuntu.  

The Ubuntu image for the Raspberry pi called ‘Soft-float Debian “wheezy”’ can be downloaded from the Raspberry pi website. To use this image file, one has to unzip it and write it to a suitable (2GB or larger) SD card using the UNIX tool dd. Windows users should use Win32DiskImager. Installing Ubuntu in Raspberry Pi using windows is discussed in the following tutorial. The operating system used here is 32 bit windows7.

Step:1 Unzip the wheezy

The first step is to unzip the downloaded zip file into a folder using any default programs installed in the operating system.

The unzipped folder has the image file (.img) of the Ubuntu named “2013-05-29-wheezy-armel.img”


 How to Load Ubuntu on Raspberry Pi - TESLA Institute


Step:2 Format the SD card

Use a memory card with storage capacity not less than 4GB. Before writing the image to the SD card it should be formatted using the default formatting tools installed in the operating system. Most of the SD card are protected from formatting or deleting data when they are accessed using the memory card reader. The easiest option is to use a USB memory card reader which will appear to the OS as a normal USB storage device. Format the memory card into its default FAT file system type.


 How to Load Ubuntu on Raspberry Pi - TESLA Institute


Step:3 Write the wheezy image

Download the Win32DiskImager, unzip it into a folder. Run the executable file Win32DiskImager.exe from the folder.


 How to Load Ubuntu on Raspberry Pi - TESLA Institute

As shown in the above snapshot, use the drop-down button under the “Device” to select the drive in which the memory card is present. Click on the ‘folder button’ to browse to the .img file of the wheezy. Click open and then use the “Write” button to write the image on to the memory card.


How to Load Ubuntu on Raspberry Pi - TESLA Institute




Wait till the writing process is completed.



How to Load Ubuntu on Raspberry Pi - TESLA Institute




Now click on the “Exit” button, safely remove the SD card from the PC and plug it into the SD card slot of the Raspberry pi board.

Those who have an HD TV can directly plug in the HDMI cable with the Raspberry pi board and power up the board using a 5V power adapter and enjoy the Ubuntu. If there is no HD display device one can try with a HDMI to VGA connector cable and connect the Raspberry pi with the PC monitor, but most of the time they won’t work. Those people who have only a PC monitor available as display device can use a simple peer-to-peer LAN cable and remote login to the Raspberry pi board. The remote login can be done in both TUI (Text User Interface) and GUI (Graphical User Interface) using different software and that will be discussed in a later article.