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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).

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  • 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 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 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 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 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 at 17:17
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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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  • As it’s currently written, your answer is unclear. Please edit to add additional details that will help others understand how this addresses the question asked. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Oct 17 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 at 17:16

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