Raspberry Pi 3, released to the public on February 2016, is a quad core SOC that includes 1GB of RAM. This computer from the Raspberry Foundation, along with its version 2 sibling, can run Ubuntu Mate. The Pi 3 has on board bluetooth and wireless features that enhance headless installations.
Installing Ubunut Mate is a simple matter of downloading the image file from the developer and “burning” it to a MicroSD card. There are a number of methods, but I prefer to use DDRescue-GUI because I can check my source or destination disk information to verify I’m targeting correctly. More information about the developer can be found on their website, https://launchpad.net/ddrescue-gui. Installing DDRescue-GUI is a simple command.
sudo apt-get install ddrescue-gui
Getting the image of Ubuntu Mate is done by going to the developer’s website, https://ubuntu-mate.org/raspberry-pi/. The page also contains some useful information.
After getting the Raspberry Pi loaded with the Ubuntu Mate image, there are a few things I like to do to make headless operation easier.
- I prefer to have the account auto login. The reason for this is the wireless network binds after the desktop loads. I’m sure there’s another way.
- Bind the wireless adapter to the wireless network and use static settings.
- Install XRDP, remote desktop control will be useful in order to run headless desktops.
Networking via the wireless can be a bit tricky to get working. First, you’ll need to create a wireless connection then restart. After rebooting, locally broadcasting wireless networks should appear. I prefer to add mine manually at this point. Once I establish a connection, I’ll remove my earlier wireless connection.
Out of the box, SSH will work once a network bind is live. This can be good or bad, but you should decide whether you’ll need this or not. If you do use it, be mindful that session keys get stored on clients. This can break client connections if you rebuild, but use the same IP. To fix this, use this command on the linux clients.
ssh-keygen -R <ip address of raspberry pi mate>
Now that networking is working, run the XRDP installation.
sudo apt-get install xrdp
When that finishes, I would suggest running software updates and installing them.
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get upgrade
When they finish, reboot the Raspberry Pi and verify that remote desktop access works, it should. Now is a good time to make a backup of the MicroSD card. This will be a baseline for any modifications going forward.