Desktop Environment On Ubuntu

Install A Desktop Of Your Choosing

Comments (4)
AdministratorJuly 14th 2016
This tutorial explains how to install a desktop environment on your Ubuntu operating system bundled with a few essentials for the Pine 64.
What You Need
Pine A64/A64+ Board
A Minimum 8GB MicroSD Card
Ubuntu Base Longsleep (3.10.65 BSP)
Step 1 Preparation
This tutorial assumes that you have already installed Ubuntu using the methods described in the Getting Started - Linux guide.

At this point login to your Ubuntu OS by either remotely logging in via ssh or directly with a monitor/keyboard hooked up to your Pine64 (username: ubuntu & password: ubuntu).

Once logged in execute the following:
sudo -i
apt-get update
apt-get upgrade
apt-get install dialog tasksel
Once done you should be greeted with the following screen.
Step 2 Installation
You will notice a variety of options listed for desktop environments. Unfortunately Edubuntu, Kubuntu, Ubuntu Gnome & Ubuntu desktops will not work due to lack of 3d acceleration at the moment. The ones that do work and you may want to use are as follows:

Mate Desktop
Ubuntu MATE minimal installation
Ubuntu MATE desktop

XFCE Desktop
Xubuntu minimal installation
Xubuntu desktop

Use the "spacebar" to select the option you want to use then press "tab" and hit "enter" to start the installation.

Below is an example showing Ubuntu MATE minimal installation as the selected option and the progress screen.
This process will take roughly 1 - 2 hours depending on your connection speed and quality of SD card.
Step 3 Drivers
Once the desktop has been installed the next step is to enable some necessary features like 2d acceleration, video hardware decoding and resolution switching for the Pine64.
apt-get install libump libvdpau-sunxi1 libcedrus1 sunxi-disp-tool xserver-xorg-video-fbturbo
echo 'Section "Device"' > /etc/X11/xorg.conf
echo 'Identifier "Allwinner A10/A13 FBDEV"' >> /etc/X11/xorg.conf
echo 'Driver "fbturbo"' >> /etc/X11/xorg.conf
echo 'Option "fbdev" "/dev/fb0"' >> /etc/X11/xorg.conf
echo 'Option "SwapbuffersWait" "true"' >> /etc/X11/xorg.conf
echo 'EndSection' >> /etc/X11/xorg.conf
Step 4 Addons
These following options are optional but offer some useful features for your desktop.

Midori Browser (Firefox is quite buggy)
Clam Antivirus (Useful Utility)
Gparted (Partition Manager)
Synaptic (Package Manager)
apt-get install midori
apt-get install clamtk
apt-get install gparted
apt-get install synaptic
If you wish to use a lower display resolution (720p) on boot execute the following command.
echo 'optargs=disp.screen0_output_mode=720p60' >> /boot/uEnv.txt
AdministratorJuly 7th 2017
Got everything back up and running again with the site.

If anything needs to be updated with this tutorial please post here and I will make the necessary changes.
JamesRAugust 9th 2016
It would be beneficial now we have a drm kernel to have to appropriate echo strings for mali drivers in step 3, instead of using fbturbo? do we put sunxi?
stevejeppAugust 6th 2016
Every time I do this it hangs at about 25% during the desktop install (preparing perl-modules-5.22). I have followed the getting started guide, I have a 2gb pine64 and a 32gb card. Not sure what to do as I am totally new to Linux and Ubuntu.
CoolishReagentJuly 30th 2016
after i follow all of these steps i am caught in a sign in loop. I type in my password and and returned to the sign in screen. I can make sure i am not typing in the password wrong because if i do i get an error. i can also sing in the terminal by hit cltr + alt + F1. so i know i am using the right login credentials.