I would like to get Ubuntu Mate 16.04 on the Raspberry Pi 3 B+. According to this thread this should be possible. Here is the summary on how they achieved it:

Copy the following files from Raspbian to Ubuntu Mate:

  • For Booting: copy bootcode.bin, fixup.dat, start.elf, bcm2710-rpi-3-b-plus.dtb and kernel7.img
  • For keyboard/mouse: copy /lib/modules/4.9.80-v7+ (root partition)

  • For network: copy the contents of /lib/firmware/brcm/ (root partition)

If you want to boot from USB:

  • edit cmdline.txt, change root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 to root=/dev/sda2 (boot partition)
  • edit etc/fstab, change/dev/mmcblk0p2 to sda2 and /dev/mmcblk0p1 to sda1 (root partition)

My question is where to copy /lib/modules/-v7+ and /lib/firmware/brcm from the root partition. I was able to get raspian running on the raspberry pi 3B+ and then I copied the /lib/ files/folders to a usb stick. But I don't know where to put them on the sd card with ubuntu mate on it. I would copy them to the same location if I had ubuntu mate running on the pi already. However, I don't get this far.

Other steps I did so far:

  • mount raspian image
  • mount ubuntu mate image
  • copy files from the boot partition (bootcode.bin, fixup.dat, start.elf, bcm2710-rpi-3-b-plus.dtb and kernel7.img) of the mounted raspian image to the mounted ubuntu mate image.

I was then able to boot from this sd card to the point where I got the following error and could not type any commands:

Failed to start Load Kernel Modules.

See 'systemctl status systemd-modules-load.service' for details


But I don't know how to fix this error because I cannot enter any commands. The only thing that works is switching terminals using Ctrl+Alt+F1...

  • I know that there already exists an image that should work. However, I would like to know how to create such a image by mixing the two images (mate and raspian).
    – evolved
    Commented May 8, 2018 at 19:40
  • Copy them to the root fs /lib directory. Linux distros are all identical WRT where kernel modules and firmware go.
    – goldilocks
    Commented May 8, 2018 at 21:49
  • The problem is that I dont get to the root fs because of the mentioned error. Should it be possible to boot the raspberry pi only with the files copied from the boot partition?
    – evolved
    Commented May 8, 2018 at 21:57
  • 1
    The root filesystem is in one of the partitions in the image. It should be pretty easy to recognize because it will be big, at least a few GB, and it will contain a normative linux root fs (/bin, /usr, /lib, /home, etc.). There may only be two partitions, one of which is the small vfat boot one and the other the ext4 root fs; since you've booted it already this is presumably correct. If there is only one partition, you did something wrong.
    – goldilocks
    Commented May 8, 2018 at 22:57
  • 1
    – goldilocks
    Commented May 9, 2018 at 13:06

1 Answer 1


It all depends on where you are starting; the Ubuntu MATE image is very old - 16.04.2 and there have been updates to 16.04.4, but you need a working image to perform the update.

Ubuntu MATE has not had a firmware/kernel update for some time (since Wimpy left?) and AFAIK none are planned; 18.04 should be available in July.

The Pi3B+ NEEDS new firmware/kernel to boot, but this is only a first step; ideally the OS needs to be tested for compatibility. (Ubuntu MATE is still using a 4.4 kernel, and 4.9 had significant changes - Raspbian in now using 4.14.)

You could try rpi-update (although this needs to be used with caution), OR copy raspberrypi-bootloader raspberrypi-kernel from a Raspbian site (I have not tried this), OR copy the new bootloader and kernels PLUS their modules from a Raspbian installation.

Updating is really a job for an expert Linux user.


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