Experience with Ubuntu 18.04 arm64 and Navio+

Dear all,

I managed to run Navio+ into a Raspberry Pi 3B+ with Ubuntu LTS 18.04 Server Arm64.

It is quite straightforward to install ubuntu into an sd card. I recommend you to check on ubuntu website: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ARM/RaspberryPi

Regarding the changes with respect to the standard version, please edit /boot/firmware/config.txt
to include settings for spi and i2c as follow:



Given this setup, you can install build-essential from ubuntu:

apt install build-essential

Fetch the navio+ demo code from git: https://github.com/emlid/Navio

In order to detect the correct raspberry pi board, edit the file C++/Navio/gpio.cpp
go to the last function (Pin::getRaspberryPiVersion()) and replace the return value under
unknown case with 2, i.e.:

int Pin::getRaspberryPiVersion() const
char buffer[MAX_SIZE_LINE];
const char* hardware_description_entry = "Hardware";
const char* v1 = "BCM2708";
const char* v2 = "BCM2709";
char* flag;
FILE* fd;

fd = fopen("/proc/cpuinfo", "r");

while (fgets(buffer, MAX_SIZE_LINE, fd) != NULL) {
    flag = strstr(buffer, hardware_description_entry);

    if (flag != NULL) {
        if (strstr(buffer, v2) != NULL) {
            return 2;
        } else if (strstr(buffer, v1) != NULL) {
            return 1;

/* defaults to 1 */
fprintf(stderr, "Could not detect RPi version, defaulting to 1\n");
return 2;

Then you can build and run all the examples without issues.

A minor note for the Emlid guys, please consider to include ubuntu support in your roadmap, because:

  1. it uses arm64 architecture which guarantees higher performances for RPi3 or newer boards;
  2. ubuntu will support RPi4 in their development, hence a quite large audience of developers;
  3. it generally make life easier when ROS/ROS2 or robotics framework have to be used (without the Ardupilot)

It also will be nice to write, even as reply on this post, a guide to configure or set the kernel params even in case of the Navio2, as unfortunately Navio+ (which so far has no software issues), is out of production. For example the navio-rcio is portable? could we compile the kernel module for people like me interested in the hardware functionalities rather than the entire Ardupilot/ROS stack?

Kind regards,


Also, do you think it is possible to run also the updated navio2 GitHub code? Apparently the demo code supports both boards… But is it necessary to install additional kernel modules such as rcio?

Hi Vincenzo,

Thank you for sharing it with us and for your suggestions!

You can find our kernel source code and the guide on how to compile it here.

RCIO manages a lot of Navio2 components such as PWM or RC input, so I don’t recommend excluding it.

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