Release notes – Ubuntu Budgie 21.04 on a Raspberry Pi 4

Systeminfo
Systeminfo

Ubuntu Budgie v21.04 Raspberry Pi 4 Release: 22nd April , 2021

This is our very first Raspberry Pi image of Ubuntu Budgie. Team member Sam Lane has been actively creating this and we as a team hope you enjoy his efforts and ideas.

In these release notes the areas covered are:

  • Budgie ARM Configuration Tool
  • Raspberry Pi Remote Options
  • FindMyPi
  • Known Issues
  • Where to download Ubuntu Budgie

Summary

Ubuntu Budgie is the sum of many hundreds of developers working together.

21.04 is a large release in itself and we’ll describe the desktop release in separate release notes.

Here we describe what we have done for Ubuntu Budgie on a Raspberry Pi.

We recommend this image for a Raspberry Pi 4 & 400 with 4/8Gb Ram 32Gb SD Card. Whilst the image can be installed on older variants we do not recommend it. Best use other more suited images for these lower powered Pi’s.

Just download and write to a Class 10 SD Card or SSD/NVME (recommended) via Gnome Disks or raspi-imager.

The team recommends using KMS graphics for direct access (attached displays)

Budgie ARM & Pi Configuration Tool

Central to Ubuntu Budgie on a Pi 4 is our ARM & Pi Configuration Tool. This provides key customisation capabilities for the unique aspects of Pi usage.

  • Compact and Mini Layouts – these layouts will optimize the font sizes and menus to allow a full Ubuntu Budgie experience on low resolution screens.
Compact
Compact
Mini Layout
Mini Layout
  • Overclocking – easily switch between 1.5GHz, 1.8GHz, and 2.0GHz CPU speeds. Clock speed and over_voltage will be adjusted automatically (reboot required)
Overclock3
Overclock3
  • CPU temp monitor – shows the current temperature, color coded green, yellow, and red to warn of overheating and throttling

    Overclock
    Overclock
Overclock2
Overclock2
  • Change Pi video modes – select between FKMS (default), KMS (recommended and continually developed), and legacy (llvmpipe) video modes
Display Modes
Display Modes
  • GPU memory adjustment – while typically not needed, you can select between the default 128MB, 256MB or 512MB GPU memory options.
Display Options
Display Options

Raspberry Pi Remote Options

  • SSH and VNC – easily enable VNC screen sharing and SSH to access your Pi via gnome-remote-desktop
  • XRDP service – XRDP can be installed and properly set up to allow remote access. Please note, the same user account cannot be logged in remotely and locally simultaneously, however different user accounts can be
Remote
Remote
Vnc
Vnc
  • Remote tab will display the Pi’s current IP address to provide easier access

FindMyPi

  • FindMyPi – using the configuration app on a machine other than a Raspberry Pi will scan the current network and show a list of IP addresses for Pis detected. Click the "Enable nmap" button to install the scanning tool nmap. You do not need the Arm & Pi configuration app running on the Pi 4 if using nmap.
Findmypi
Findmypi

Look for this in your Menu via the regular 21.04 desktop image (it is preinstalled).

  • For locations or networks where nmap may not be legally used to scan a network (e.g. certain workplaces/government locations), the Configuration Tool running on a Pi can enable a fallback UDP server to allow locating Pis on the network. Thus do use the "Start on login" option if using this fallback option to ensure the Pi can be found on boot.
Findpiserver
Findpiserver

Current known issues

  • the graphics are slightly glitchy using fkms for direct access displays. We recommend using the KMS mode for direct access displays.
  • The Tweak Tool displays tab text states "fkms" is the default. For 21.04 it is in-fact KMS that is the default.
  • using the official Pi touchscreen (the one that connects via the DSI ribbon instead of HDMI) doesn’t seem to work in KMS mode. Budgie DOES load, but you get no display. FKMS mode works fine. This is a known upstream issue https://github.com/raspberrypi/linux/issues/4020
  • when installing on a Compute Module 4, using the Pi Foundation’s IO Board, the USB ports may not be working. This is due to the DWC2 USB2 controller not being in host mode by default. If you are affected by this, it can be resolved by editing /boot/firmware/config.txt from another device, and adding dtoverlay=dwc2,dr_mode=host

Downloads

Our image is located on SourceForge – options to install are found on our Downloads page

Tuxedo Pulse 15

Introduction

Thanks to all of our generous donors the Ubuntu Budgie team has purchased a development laptop for me to continue supporting and developing our distro.

Up until now, I have been using my own personal laptop since the first 16.04 budgie-remix days. It was showing its age – needing to be shook hard to wake up, freezing at random times and generally just being a pain to use trying to support over three or four releases at the same time all in virtual machines.

We collectively as a team decided to purchase from a Linux friendly manufacturer; we decided on the Germany based company Tuxedo since their range was very competitive. The order was placed back in November 2020 for a Tuxedo Pulse 15. We knew there would be a delay in its delivery due to the world-wide lack of the Ryzen 7 processor. It didn’t help that Brexit hit a hard-exit that caused chaos at the border and a couple of frustrating weeks waiting to clear customs. More problematic was the massive instant tariffs – so for UK based consumers its now more difficult to justify to buy electronics from anywhere other than the UK 🙁

Tuxedo arrival

Well I must say I am impressed. The laptop was delivered really well packaged – it really did survive weeks on the road. Securely fitted in a customised box within a box. Padded with foam there was no chance of this thing rolling around during transport.

Tux1
Tux1

This was a really light, slim machine, with a cracking matte screen with gorgeous contrasting colours and a keyboard that was really responsive. The keyboard is backlit as well. Very stylish.

Unexpected was the sound – the speaker was mounted underneath the laptop – but works perfectly – great stereo separation and sound was loud but without distortion.

Tuxedo OS

The laptop arrived with what is called Tuxedo OS. With trepidation I switched it on knowing from members of our discourse site that this was supposedly based upon Ubuntu Budgie.

Tux2
Tux2
.

Sure enough I spotted our slideshow – to the background said "Tuxedo" … and the words said Ubuntu Budgie.

Then the first "what the…"

Tux3
Tux3

The Ubuntu purple GDM3 login window – what happened with the nice Slick Greeter? Carrying on a welcome message appeared … not our budgie-welcome screen though.

Tux4
Tux4

Oops with the obvious typo but nice to see and "almost ready" message. The budgie panel has moved from top to bottom – with plank now on the left side of the screen.

Clicking OK presented a "In progress" dialog. No idea what was in progress but it seemed to stay visible for 10 minutes. The panel seem to be frozen and nothing was clickable. Then unexpectedly the laptop powered off without warning. Not a good start.

Booting back up – I noticed the boot speed – from pressing the power button to the login window was 18 seconds. Later I found out that 9 seconds was the EFI splash screen – so 9 seconds from grub to logon window. Nice!

Tux5
Tux5

Poking around Tuxedo comes with unexpectedly linux kernel 5.6 – a Tuxedo oem kernel. The rest of the OS is based on Ubuntu 20.04.1 – so not the usual 5.4 kernel. The graphics seemed to be copied from the oibaf unstable PPA – not from the ubuntu repos.

Indeed the repo list was tuxedo all over with other custom tuxedo repos.

Tux6
Tux6

The good…

In the system tray was an icon that display a really nice custom Tuxedo Control Center

Tux7
Tux7

Nicely layed out with various sensors & support information. Bravo!

The laptop comes with a massive battery

Tux9
Tux9

You can real fun with the "Time to empty" figure when letting the laptop go idle! In reality I’m guessing nine or more hours – more than enough to-do a full day of development.

The bad…

Browsing through the menu was lots of non default Ubuntu Budgie apps – snap-store, FreeCiv, KDE Connect, Libreoffice Base, KSysGuard, LinSSID and many others.

Why the number of KDE apps I don’t know – they didn’t really integrate and really felt like bloat.

Brasero disk writer was installed … this machine doesnt come with a DVD drive…

Tux8
Tux8

The theme and icons are Tuxedo branded. I’m guessing its some-sort of Arc based GTK theme with a garish highlight colour. Icons are basically Moka based.

The ugly

Umm – just why the KDE discover? Just so odd to see

Tux10
Tux10

Lots of software to discover via GNOME Software … and duplicated by snap-store as well!

Conclusions

The hardware is perfect. I can only congratulate Tuxedo for producing a really nice machine – powerful, well spec’d at a great price.

Tuxedo OS is a missed opportunity – weird defaults such as a purple GDM3, snap-store plus non integrated KDE based apps with several I’m wondering why they were included. The vendor seems to miss the elegance motif and thrown in a full grab-bag.

Running an update I was hoping the ancient kernel would be at least updated to the supported 5.8 HWE kernel. Unfortunately not.

I would acknowledge I am biased – at the end-of-the-day I didn’t buy this for the operating system – I bought it for the hardware and I warmly recommend it.

Needless to say – after 30 minutes I purged Tuxedo OS and installed both 20.04.2 Ubuntu Budgie & 21.04. Boot speed for 21.04 is 6 seconds from Grub to login window. Both variants of our distro work perfectly demonstrating installing Linux on a friendly Linux vendor based machine really makes sense.

David (project lead)

Development update on Window Shuffler

The history

Ubuntu Budgie’s first edition of tiling tool Window Shuffler was written during spring of 2018. The general tendency to add tiling features to the desktop environment is obvious, and we were pleased to get reports that shuffler also works well on Mate and GNOME Shell.

The tool was initially mainly oriented on -and written around- the grid- GUI. Much of the functionality could be called from the keyboard (quarter/half tiling etc.) or from hot-corners via custom commands, but options to do so were not obvious to the average user. You had to read the Release notes to find out the correct keyboard combinations or cli commands.

While generally all worked fine, there were a few weak spots to consider:

  • Due to the fact that it was written in Python, the code potentially suffered from a cold start, and the tool was kind of sluggish in some cases.
  • Having to call a GUI to arrange windows, shuffler presented itself as a separated tool rather than an integrated feature, and the GUI was an extra step in the workflow.

New Shuffler 2020

At the end of 2019 – beginning of 2020, the code was completely reorganized and rewritten in Vala. In the new design, a number of "satellites", executables performing their different tasks, are situated around the heart of shuffler: shuffler-daemon. This daemon takes care of all procedures that would normally suffer from a cold start, like pre-loading libraries, initiate calculations and maintain information to be available instantly via dbus calls. The separate executables furthermore share their functionality where possible and useful. The result is a prompt response on the keyboard, and a more flexible and scalable Shuffler. New Shuffler furthermore solved discover-ability by a new and easy to understand Shuffler Control Center via the menu, including an overview of all keyboard shortcuts.

From a user’s perspective, instead of being created around the GUI, the tool is now mainly oriented on controls by keyboard. The grid GUI (also redesigned and simplified) is an extra option on top of it, and a quick shortcut to define grid sizes.

Along With the rewrite, a number of new options and improvements was introduced, such as resizing in all directions from the keyboard, swapping window size & position, show warnings on attempts to resize below a window’s minsize, "sticky neighbors" (resizing adjacent windows), options to use margins & padding etcetera.

Current development

Current development again includes major extents to Shuffler’s features. While Shuffler so far was mostly about straightforward tiling, moving & resizing, two of the latest additions make a slight flirt into the direction of automation:

Both of these features are already programmed into shuffler, and can be manually managed (configuring files). Next challenge is to design a new control center, simple enough to understand quickly what is what, but still with all possibilities under the fingertips.

Community input!

Exactly the latter is where we’d love to have some input from the community. Although in general it might be safe to assume that mostly advanced users will be using more complex possibilities of tiling tools, we’d like to think it could save many users quite some time and effort to arrange their work environment. The aim of a new Shuffler Control Center is to make options and possibilities as obvious as they can be. We are inviting you to join us in the discussion on the outline of a new Shuffler Control Center. Please join us on Discourse to do so!

To follow latest development on Shuffler on 20.04 and 20.10, add the ppa of Budgie extras daily:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntubudgie-dev/budgie-extras-daily
sudo apt-get update

Digital Ocean and Ubuntu Budgie history

It’s the year 2014, and the Ubuntu Budgie project had just begun to kick off under the name Budgie-Remix.

Shortly after that, joining the team to take care of any web technology-related tasks, we ran the site by leveraging the WordPress.com service (giving us free hosting). As time went on, we had found that the service did not come without limitations compared to running the service independently on our own.

Continue Reading “Digital Ocean and Ubuntu Budgie history”