I have created SD card with Ubuntu Desktop 21.10 using Pi Imager on Raspbian. It boots fine but when I interact with desktop environment, e.g. re-arrange the icons on the sidebar, the desktop environment freezes. When it's frozen, I can still ssh into it from another device on the same network and use anything that does not require graphical environment (e.g. I can use htop to see that the system is actually running as usual and the issue is with GUI).

Initially, I used the default DE this Ubuntu image comes with (Gnome shell) and when it got frozen, I was able to ssh into Pi and kill gnome-shell process which got me back to log in screen. I was also able to change some display-related settings (resolution, scaling, etc.) without it freezing but eventually some interaction with the environment is always making it unresponsive.

I figured that maybe a different desktop environment would solve the issue so I installed MATE desktop through tasksel. After re-boot, I started using MATE, but it was even worse: I wasn't even able to change screen resolution, because when I clicked on the menu and then "Preferences", it froze. In this case I was not able to locate the process which I could kill to restore the environment without a reboot.

In both cases, I can use GUI apps as long as I launch them from terminal (in the case of MATE, I was able to right-click on the desktop and select "open in terminal", in the case of the default Gnome shell, I was even able to launch terminal from the usual menu and "Add to favourites").

It's challenging to determine what exactly triggers the freeze because when I use GUI applications launched via terminal, I will eventually click something that freezes everything.

What could be causing the issue? Is it more likely to be Raspberry-specific or an issue with ARM port of the desktop environments?

Raspbian 32-bit and its LXDE environment work just fine (so the issue is Ubuntu-specific and not related to power supply or SD card reader) but I need 64-bit system, preferably Ubuntu, for better performance and some software which only runs on 64-bit systems (e.g. Sublime Text 4).

  • Ubuntu 21.10 uses Wayland, which I dunno what the state of that is for the Pi. Although if that were a widespread issue you'd think we'd have heard of it here already... someone here says the opposite: forums.raspberrypi.com/viewtopic.php?t=313685
    – goldilocks
    Oct 16, 2021 at 19:38
  • @goldilocks This forum post refers to an earlier release of Ubuntu. 21.10 was released just a few days ago it seems, so probably not many people tested it yet, much less on a Pi. On GUI login, I am able to select different options (Wayland, Xorg, etc.) and I have tested them all and they all exhibit the same behaviour.
    – Rafal
    Oct 16, 2021 at 23:55
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    I have the exact same thing happen on a RPi4B 8GB, running off an SSD. Seems worse with MATE than with regular Ubuntu desktop. I think this is a problem with the graphics driver; on crash, there is always a kernel exception recorded in /var/log/syslog. Looks like a null pointer access to me. Have you noticed any dependency on screen resolution? Maybe this hasn't been tested with odd resolutions (mine is 2560x1600) Oct 22, 2021 at 3:41
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    Not enough reputation here, so I guess I'll have to answer in the comments!?! This is a bug that is actively being worked on, see here: bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux-raspi/+bug/1946368. More likely to happen with higher resolutions, there is a workaround available, fix expected Nov. 8, 2021. Oct 22, 2021 at 4:11
  • @JanSchiefer I was only testing this on 4K TV which was the only one I had at hand at the time.
    – Rafal
    Oct 23, 2021 at 17:17

1 Answer 1


I have the same problem with Ubuntu Raspberry Pi Desktop 21.10 on both a Pi4 and a Pi400 using an SSD created as above. I have had no problems at all with the 21.04 version on the same hardware, so I suspect a lack of testing may be at the root of this problem

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    – Community Bot
    Oct 17, 2021 at 8:51
  • @SteveK DId you install 21.04 using an image for the desktop version or used the server image and then installed desktop environment on top of it?
    – Rafal
    Oct 23, 2021 at 17:16

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