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Canonical has been busy porting Ubuntu to run on devices with RISC-V processors. This summer the company released builds of the popular GNU/Linux distribution for the StarFive VisionFive, Allwinner Nezha, and SiFive Unmatched.

Now Canonical has announced the launch of Ubuntu builds for the SiPeed LicheeRV, a tiny single-board computer with a RISC-V chip and a $17 starting price.

That makes the LicheeRV one of the most affordable RISC-V computers available at the moment, although it’s certainly not the most powerful.

At the heart of the Sipeed LicheeRV is a 1 GHz Allwinner D1 XuanTie C906 single-core processor based on RISC-V architecture. The computer also has 512MB of 792 MHz memory and a microSD card reader for storage.

While the board isn’t exactly a speed demon, you can run a command-line version of Ubuntu by downloading and flashing an Ubuntu 22.10 image to an SD card. From there, you can install a desktop environment of you want a graphical user interface, just don’t expect the same level of performance you’d get from a computer with a more powerful processor.

The LicheeRV measures about 46 x 25mm (1.8″ x 1″) and looks a bit like a stick of RAM, since it’s designed to work with an optional dock that adds more ports and optional support for WiFi and Bluetooth. But you don’t need a dock to use the LicheeRV for headless computing, thanks to its USB-C port and microSD card reader.

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  1. It works!
    I downloaded the Ubuntu server for my LicheeRV and flashed it with Etcher for Raspberry Pi. It booted and I installed the wireless driver package then Mate desktop. Hardinfo benchmarks the Allwinner D1 as about as fast and powerful as the Pentium(R) from twenty years ago.

  2. Optional Wifi? That’s a dealbreaker for me. I want Linux with native Wifi support right out of the box, or it’s No Deal!

  3. They need to run these OS, from high-priority to low-priority:
    – Debian v11 (big milestone)
    – RHEL v9 (easiest port)
    – Arch v2022 (easy port)
    – Android 12 (with Google Play services)
    – Windows 10 (experimental, low-likelihood, mostly requires Microsoft’s cooperation)