Ubuntu 12.04 (and Lubuntu 12.04) images for the MK802 mini PC

Just in case you had any doubt that the MK802 $74 PC-on-a-stick was a versatile computer, the folks at Miniand Tech have compiled several versions of Ubuntu 12.04 Linux that can run on the little computer.

We’ve already demonstrated that the MK802 can handle Android 4.0 (which it ships with), Puppy Linux, and Ubuntu 10.04. But if you want a more up-to-date and full-featured operating system, Ubuntu 12.04 is hot off the presses. It was released in late April.

Lubuntu 12.04 on the MK802

Miniand Tech is currently offering a few different versions of Ubuntu. There’s the standard build featuring the Unity desktop environment and a Lubuntu build featuring the light-weight LXDE environment.

LXDE has a reputation for running well on slower hardware, so I decided to take Lubuntu for a spin, and it booted quickly on the little computer and felt reasonably fast.

No desktop operating system is going to be a speed demon on a computer with a 1.5 GHz Allwinner A10 processor and 512MB of RAM. But Lubuntu 12.04 launched applications pretty quickly and I didn’t have any problems downloading and installing software from the Ubuntu repositories.

Unfortunately, while I was able to connect to my WiFi network in just a few seconds, I ran into some trouble getting the web browsers to work properly. This version of Lubuntu comes with the open source version of Google’s Chrome web browsers, but I couldn’t get any web pages to open in Chromium.

I downloaded and installed Firefox, partly just to see if the MK802 really was connected to the internet. It was, and Firefox was up and running in a few moments — but it wouldn’t load any web pages either.

Your results may vary.

Overall, if you can get the web browser to work, Lubuntu seems like a good option for a Linux-based operating system for the MK802. It offers a more robust set of features (and looks a little nicer) than Puppy, but doesn’t feature all the eye candy associated with Ubuntu’s Unity environment.

As usual, the MK802 refused to output a 1080p signal when connected to my monitor, and instead Lubuntu defaulted to a 1280 x 720 pixel desktop — which causes overscan problems with my monitor. Some menus didn’t fit perfectly on the screen, but just enough of the system taskbar was visible to let me navigate menus and settings without much trouble.

You can actually run any number of Linux-based operating systems to run on the MK802. CNX Software has instructions for preparing your own bootable microSD card with Ubuntu, Debian, or another OS.

But it’s always a lot easier to simply use a pre-built disk image. Miniand Tech’s website has instructions for preparing a bootable microSD card using a Mac, Linux, or Windows computer — but if you’re using Windows, you can pretty much follow the more detailed steps from our Ubuntu 10.04 guide, simply using the 12.04 image instead.

Miniand is a retailer that plans to begin selling the MK802 soon. You can also buy the mini PC from the Rikomagic store at AliExpress for $74.

  • Gregg

    How does Flash video such as youtube play? Will it play higher quality without being choppy? You may have covered this already in other articles but I missed it.

  • monopole

    Having run Linux since 0.9 kernels and Yggdrasil Linux I’d consider the MK802 to be a workstation if not a supercomputer.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RVGGZ4GVYI4H76AJCH25QKHQQI Mike W

    So, I have a question. I think it’s great that there are such cheap and portable computers around, but are people buying this for any other reason than for tinkering with it? After all, I can buy (or soon will be able to buy) an A10-based tablet for around $150 which will likely have double the RAM and an HDMI port, as well as a touch-screen and all the other portability benefits of being a tablet.

    • http://profiles.google.com/michel.memeteau michel memeteau

      But you don’t get the SATA which is in case of the Mele A1000 a big plus

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RVGGZ4GVYI4H76AJCH25QKHQQI Mike W

        Okay — but what would I use it for?

      • Bill Smith

        I may use one to for backing up my family’s shared hard drive to the cloud. I want a dedicated computer for that purpose because our other computers are turned off and on at will. I also want it to be low power, as small as possible (because my study is small and crowded), and quiet.

      • Bill Smith

        But mostly I want to tinker with it. :-)

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RVGGZ4GVYI4H76AJCH25QKHQQI Mike W

        :-D

  • CYOUTH

    How would you says lubuntu compares with puppy as far as performance on the mk802?

  • http://www.facebook.com/simbilodeau Simon Bilodeau

    I would really like to know whether XBMC can run and why it can’t if that happens to be the case. Buying an X86 kit to do it is too expensive and inefficient. And relying on Apple TV jailbreaks is not my idea of tinkering.

  • protaginets

    Would it run better on the 1gb version you think?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=583986195 Jason Grassy Hammond

    Has any one been able to get an output of this hardware (android or ubuntu) of 1080p, i still have bot been able to do it and i have tried 3 TV and 2 monitors

  • Simple Simon

    anyone able to get firefox or chromium working
    Thanks

  • HenryThe8th

    Hi, just want to chime in and say that I got the miniand Lubuntu 12.04 installed and running without the slightest hitch! Awesome! The display resolution is full 1920×1080. Chromium works great and I even used the package installer to get Firefox and it works flawlessly. Websites work fine except those that use Flash, which unfortunately is quite common.

    I have the 1GB MK802 and I used an 8GB microSD as recommended for the Lubuntu image.

  • http://www.facebook.com/maexlich Max Horn

    Got Chromium running seems to be some kind of rights problem. You don’t get network access without root. Starting chromium with sudo chromium-browser –user-data-dir=/root/chrome (or whatever dir) is working without problems ;)

  • blades

    are there any usb ports to connect to a usb webcam?

  • gg

    Hi, what’s the password for the root user? When I power up my MK802 with Lubuntu I have try options for login:
    – Ubuntu System User
    – Guest Account
    – Other…

    For the first option i don’t know the password ( I tried ‘ubuntu’, ‘password’ and also blank field), so I used the second option that doesn’t require password.

    But obviuisly everything I try to do the system ask me the password (I suppose the root one)….
    Anyone can help me?

    Thanks

    • http://www.liliputing.com/ Brad Linder

      miniand

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002748024022 Walther Swarte

    Hi,

    Nice work so far. Thanks!

    Next step: ubuntu server for MK802? I have a Sun Cobalt RAQ (4r) and I want to replace this hardware with the MK802. The server I own is for playing only. Not for serious hosting. But it would be great if ubuntu server will run on a MK802.

    Walther Swarte,
    IJmuiden, the Netherlands.

  • http://twitter.com/Walk_n_C_More WALK

    tried to download both, but error about halfway downloading :-(

  • Ronald

    I think that the password “miniand” I hope this helps couldn’t find it after googleing for a while