Canonical released Ubuntu 18.10 this week. But Ubuntu isn’t just a single operating system: there are also a bunch of official and unofficial flavors.
So this week we also got Kubuntu 18.10, Lubuntu 18.10, Ubuntu MATE 18.10, and Ubuntu Budgie 18.10, just to name a few. They include core Ubuntu updates plus a group of additional changes that are specific to the desktop environment and apps used by each of these projects.
As I discovered when testing the GPD Pocket 2 earlier this year, there are a number of GNU/Linux distributions that you can run on the little laptop. But out of the box some of them will display in portrait orientation instead of landscape. The default display scaling also makes text look pretty small.
The Ubuntu MATE 18.10 images for the Pocket and Pocket 2 address both of these issues, along with a few others.
They add support for display rotation, support for HiDPI displays, and support for the WiFi card on the first-gen GPD Pocket, among other things.
There are still a few issues — the GRUB2 boot menu is still displayed in portrait mode on the GPD Pocket, and it’s not displayed at all on the Pocket 2 (you can either wait for it to boot automatically or hit enter… but that’s not really helpful for multi-boot setups).
Still, it’s nice to see these little laptops getting some love from Linux developers. Ubuntu MATE 18.10 for the GPD Pocket line of devices was created using the gpd-pocket-ubuntu-respin.sh script, which is available from github for anyone that wants to try building their own respin (it’s only been tested with Ubuntu MATE 18.10 so it’ll likely need to be modified if you plan to respin any other operating system).
Oh, and while this particular respin was designed for GPD devices, they seem to work nicely with third-party hardware as well.
I downloaded the GPD Pocket 2 version, and it’s the first Linux distro I’ve tried on my Topjoy Falcon prototype that managed to render the display in landscape mode without any user interventions. The touchscreen, pen input, and WiFi all work out of the box too, which is nice.
GRUB2 was displayed sideways when I first booted the operating system, but at least I could see the menu.
The Ubuntu MATE team also plans to release images built for the Raspberry Pi line of single-board computers in the next month or so.