Chapter 2 : System Requirements | 1. Supported Hardware
Ubuntu does not impose hardware requirements beyond the requirements
of the Linux kernel and the GNU tool-sets. Therefore, any
architecture or platform to which the Linux kernel, libc,
gcc, etc. have been ported, and for which an Ubuntu
port exists, can run Ubuntu.
Rather than attempting to describe all the different hardware
configurations which are supported for Intel x86, this section
contains general information and pointers to where additional
information can be found.
Ubuntu 10.10 supports three major architectures and several
variations of each architecture known as "flavors”.
Three other architectures (HP PA-RISC, Intel ia64, and IBM/Motorola PowerPC)
have unofficial ports.
Nearly all x86-based (IA-32) processors still in use in personal computers
are supported, including all varieties of Intel's "Pentium" series.
This also includes 32-bit AMD and VIA (former Cyrix) processors, and
processors like the Athlon XP and Intel P4 Xeon.
However, Debian GNU/Linux maverick will not run
on 386 or earlier processors. Despite the architecture name "i386", support
for actual 80386 processors (and their clones) was dropped with the Sarge
(r3.1) release of Debian. (No version of Linux has ever supported the 286 or earlier
chips in the series.) All i486 and later processors are still
If your system has a 64-bit processor from the AMD64 or Intel EM64T families,
you will probably want to use the installer for the amd64 architecture instead
of the installer for the (32-bit) i386 architecture.
The system bus is the part of the motherboard which allows the CPU to
communicate with peripherals such as storage devices. Your computer
must use the ISA, EISA, PCI, PCIe, or VESA Local Bus (VLB, sometimes called the VL
bus). Essentially all personal computers sold in recent years use one
Laptops are also supported and nowadays most laptops work out of the box.
In case a laptop contains specialized or proprietary hardware, some specific
functions may not be supported. To see if your particular laptop works well
with GNU/Linux, see for example the
Linux Laptop pages.
Multiprocessor support — also called "symmetric
multiprocessing” or SMP — is available for this architecture.
The standard Ubuntu 10.10 kernel image has been compiled with
SMP-alternatives support. This means that the kernel
will detect the number of processors (or processor cores) and will
automatically deactivate SMP on uniprocessor systems.
The 486 flavour of the Ubuntu kernel image packages for Intel x86
is not compiled with SMP support.
Graphics Card Support
You should be using a VGA-compatible display interface for the console
terminal. Nearly every modern display card is compatible with
VGA. Ancient standards such CGA, MDA, or HGA should also work,
assuming you do not require X11 support. Note that X11 is not used
during the installation process described in this document.
Ubuntu's support for graphical interfaces is determined by the
underlying support found in X.Org's X11 system. Most AGP, PCI and
PCIe video cards work under X.Org. Details on supported graphics
buses, cards, monitors, and pointing devices can be found at
http://xorg.freedesktop.org/. Ubuntu 10.10 ships
with X.Org version 7.5.
Network Connectivity Hardware
Almost any network interface card (NIC) supported by the Linux kernel
should also be supported by the installation system; modular drivers
should normally be loaded automatically.
This includes most PCI and PCMCIA cards.Many older ISA cards are supported as well.
ISDN is supported, but not during the installation.
Wireless Network Cards
Wireless networking is in general supported as well and a growing number of
wireless adapters are supported by the official Linux kernel, although many
of them do require firmware to be loaded. If firmware is needed, the installer
will prompt you to load firmware. See the section called "Loading Missing Firmware”
for detailed information on how to load firmware during the installation.
Wireless NICs that are not supported by the official Linux kernel can generally
be made to work under Debian GNU/Linux, but are not supported during the installation.
Support for encrypted wireless during installation is currently limited to WEP.
If your access point uses stronger encryption, it cannot be used during the
If there is a problem with wireless and there
is no other NIC you can use during the installation, it is still
possible to install Debian GNU/Linux using a full CD-ROM or DVD image. Select the
option to not configure a network and install using only the packages
available from the CD/DVD. You can then install the driver and firmware you
need after the installation is completed (after the reboot) and configure
your network manually.
In some cases the driver you need may not be available as a Debian package.
You will then have to look if there is source code available in the internet
and compile the driver yourself. How to do this is outside the scope of this
If no Linux driver is available, your last resort is to
use the ndiswrapper package, which allows you to use
a Windows driver.
Support for braille displays is determined by the underlying support
found in brltty. Most displays work under
brltty, connected via either a serial port, USB
or bluetooth. Details on supported braille devices can be found on the
Debian GNU/Linux 10.10 ships with brltty version
Hardware Speech Synthesis
Support for hardware speech synthesis devices is determined by the
underlying support found in speakup.
speakup only supports integrated boards and
external devices connected to a serial port (no USB or serial-to-USB
adapters are supported). Details on supported hardware speech synthesis
devices can be found on the
Debian GNU/Linux 10.10 ships with speakup version
Peripherals and Other Hardware
Linux supports a large variety of hardware devices such as mice,
printers, scanners, PCMCIA and USB devices. However, most of these
devices are not required while installing the system.