Armbian Linux on the Raspberry Pi 4: A First Look - Raspberry Pi Projects, Tutorials, Learning DIY Electronics - Makergenix



Armbian Linux on the Raspberry Pi 4: A First Look

 Armbian, a strong project that provides Debian and Ubuntu Linux environments for ARM devices and PCs, has now released files for the Raspberry Pi 4 SBC.

Armbian Linux on the Raspberry Pi 4: A First Look

People often question when I publish an article about Armbian when I say when Raspberry Pi support will be ready. The Armbian community has now provided build framework support for the Raspberry Pi 4 single-board computer, thus the wait is (nearly) over.

So I had to check out Armbian Linux on my Raspberry Pi 4 Model B SBC with 8GB RAM. Armbian is now offering pre-installed Xfce and Cinnamon desktop environments, as well as a text-based (CLI) variation, based on the future Ubuntu 22.04 LTS (Jammy Jellyfish) operating system series.

First Observations and Installation

Downloading the image (new builds are made every day) and copying it to a microSD card with an SD card flashing software, such as the Raspberry Pi Imager or GNOME's Disks, is all it takes to install Armbian Linux on the Raspberry Pi 4. There will be no gimmicks or trickery!

The filesystem must be enlarged, and hardware optimizations must be implemented, therefore the first boot takes a while. During the first run, you are encouraged to establish a user and set a password for it, as well as input a strong password for the root (system administrator) account and pick the default system shell (Bash of ZSH) (optional).

After you've completed the procedures above, the system will launch the live session, which in this case is Xfce or Cinnamon. Of course, I've put both types to the test to see how they perform.

Note: These are shabbily constructed and come with no warranty. During the above-mentioned first-run setup, you'll also get a warning, so read it carefully and be aware that your system may break in the future.

Cinnamon or Xfce?

Both the Xfce and Cinnamon variants of Armbian for Raspberry Pi 4 share the same theme. Because the changes between the two environments are minor, it's ultimately a question of preference whether you like Xfce or Cinnamon.

Armbian with Xfce 416
Armbian with Xfce 416

Armbian with Cinnamon
Armbian with Cinnamon

Furthermore, they both have the same pre-installed apps, which are organised into the same categories for simple access. Firefox and Chromium web browsers, GIMP image editor, LibreOffice office suite, Thunderbird email client, Transmission torrent downloader, Pinta drawing software, and MPV media player are among the popular apps included in the Raspberry Pi 4 Armbian releases.

However, there is a significant difference between the two editions: the Xfce flavour utilises the Xfce 4.16 desktop environment, whilst the Cinnamon version uses the older Cinnamon 4.8 desktop environment rather than the current Cinnamon 5.0 or the newly released Cinnamon 5.2.

What works and what doesn't when it comes to marketing?

Both editions have no sound, which might be a huge problem for those of you who wish to use Armbian Linux on your Raspberry Pi 4 devices. While the Cinnamon version has a volume control applet in the system tray (which accomplishes nothing), the Xfce edition doesn't have one by default.

The good news is that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are pre-installed. YouTube video playing in HD (720p) and Full HD (1080p) resolutions also works fine, but it's no fun without sound. Apart from that, attaching an external disc or a remote share works, and there are no other big concerns that I've discovered. It's quite excellent for a nightly build!

Finally, some thoughts

Armbian Linux has a comprehensive configuration application that allows you to do a variety of tasks, such as enable IR support, deactivate IPv6 for APT, build a Wi-Fi hotspot, stop Armbian kernel updates (which might destroy your system), alter the CPU speed and governor, and much more.

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