July 20, 2017

How To Install Ubuntu MATE On Raspberry Pi 2 and Pi 3?

Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distribution around, that has many official flavors – including Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Budgie, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, etc. These Ubuntu flavors come loaded with different desktop environments and packages. Likewise, Ubuntu MATE comes with MATE desktop environment. With its attractive looks and intuitive design, MATE stands as the best desktop environments for Linux.

Ubuntu MATE On Raspberry Pi.

Ubuntu MATE is an excellent operating system for computers, especially those with limited hardware capabilities. This quality also makes it fit for the use with Raspberry Pi 2 and 3.

Raspberry Pi is a popular single board computer that is commonly used for basic computing tasks. Raspbian, based on Debian GNU/Linux, is the officially supported operating system for the Pi. Apart from Raspbian, there are many other Linux distros that perform efficiently. Ubuntu MATE is one such Linux distro. The new processor of the raspberry pi 2/3 made it possible to install the Ubuntu MATE on the single board computer.

Ubuntu MATE is considerably lighter than Ubuntu’s flagship release. The Ubuntu MATE’s Raspberry version is based on Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS release.

How to install Ubuntu MATE on your Raspberry Pi?


  • Raspberry Pi 2 or Raspberry Pi 3. You can buy it at various online stores.
  • A class 6 or 10 microSDHC card (with at least 8GB of storage or greater)
  • A microSD card that is 6GB or greater
  • An HDMI cable and monitor.
  • A USB mouse and keyboard
  • A 3.5 mm stereo audio cable (optional)
  • A micro USB power supply
  • An Ethernet cable to browse the web

Step 1 – Download Ubuntu MATE

  • Firstly, you will obviously need to download the Ubuntu MATE distribution. You can download Ubuntu MATE 16.04.2 LTS image for Raspberry Pi from Ubuntu MATE’s website.

Ubuntu MATE On Raspberry Pi (3)

  • Click on the Ubuntu MATE 16.04.2 LTS tab. From there, look for the Raspberry Pi option. Click on it and you will see the option to download the image via torrent or HTTP download.
  • Once the download is finished, you will need to unzip the .img.xz file so that you get a .img file.

Step 2 – Making a microSD card

After downloading the image, the next step in Ubuntu MATE installation deals with writing the OS image to the microSD card.


If you are a windows user, you will need a program to transfer the image on your microSD card. So, you need to download and install “Win32DiskImager” tool and then unzip it.

Ubuntu MATE On Raspberry Pi (4)

In the field “image file” you’ll need to select the unzipped Ubuntu Image. In the field, to its opposite with the value “device”, you’ll need to select the Drive Letter of the microSD card.

After ensuring that all the selected options are right, press the “Write” button to complete the process. The program will start to write the image to your microSD card.


Writing the image on Ubuntu can be done by manually extracting the file and using dd utility. So make sure that the program dd is installed. Then, you will need to type the following command into the console.

dd bs=1M if=(IMG) of=(DEVICE)

You’ll need to replace (IMG) with the path of your unzipped ubuntu mate image and (DEVICE) with the path of your microSD card. This process might take some time without anything showing up in the console, so don’t worry if nothing seems to be happening.

Step 3 – Loading the microSD card & Booting up the Raspberry Pi

After the image transfer is finished, the next step in Ubuntu MATE installation on Raspberry Pi involves loading the microSD card in the Pi. You can insert the microSD card into your raspberry pi, plug-in your ethernet cable or WLAN, a mouse and a keyboard, the cable of your monitor, etc and turn on the power.

Step 4 – Install Ubuntu Mate on the Raspberry Pi

After a short wait, a system configuration screen will be displayed. Choose the desired language, location, time zone, and the right layout for your keyboard.

You will need to create a user account afterward. Give a username and set a password.

Press Continue button and the installation process will complete on its own. This will take few minutes.

Step 5 – The first login

Once the Ubuntu MATE installation on Raspberry Pi is finished, your device will reboot and you will need to sign in with the earlier defined username and password. A welcome screen is displayed then.

ubuntu mate welcome screen on rasberry pi

Step 6 (optional) – Connect to the Internet via WLAN

If you want to connect your raspberry pi via WLAN with the internet, you should click the WLAN icon in the upper right corner. Every available network will be shown, pick yours, enter your password and connect.

And you’re done! You have successfully installed Ubuntu MATE on your raspberry pi and have a working desktop too.

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