Make Kano on Ubuntu

This project consists of a build process which install KanoOS software on top of the official Ubuntu Mate (15.04) OS for the Raspberry PI 2.

It relies on xsysroot to expand the official Ubuntu image size, install KanoOS software in it, and generate a bootable image.

At the moment this project is a work in progress, and the apps are not fully working yet.

Build Environment

In order to build kano-ubuntu you'll need a i686 Debian based system with a fast Internet connection. Additionally you need to install Qemu ARM emulation tools along with the standalone tool xsysroot

$ sudo curl -L > /usr/bin/xsysroot
$ sudo chmod +x /usr/bin/xsysroot
$ sudo ln -s /usr/bin/xsysroot /usr/bin/

Make sure you have the base system tools by runnnig xsysroot -t.

Copy the file xsysroot.conf onto your home directory. It is already setup to match the settings below.

Download the official Ubuntu Mate for the Raspberry PI which will link from the xsysroot profile:

$ mkdir -p ~/osimages; cd ~/osimages
$ curl -L > ubuntu-mate.bz2
$ bunzip ubuntu-mate.bz2

Calling xsysroot -l should tell you the profile Make Kano on Ubuntu Mate is available. At this point you are ready to build!


Execute the command below (a remote screen multiplexer is highly recommended, as it will take quite some time to build):

python -u --build-all > build.log 2>&1

Now you can follow the progress by tail -f build.log.

On completion you should get the file UbuntuKanux-0.7.img which you can burn and boot on the RaspberryPI 2.

Download and Boot

The latest build version is 0.7 and is available for download (1.4GB).

The first time Ubuntu boots on the PI it will take you through the basic account creation and localization setup process, after which it will update itself and set things ready. It will take a little while, and you will also go through 2 system reboots, don't panic :-)

The wireless connection applet provided by Ubuntu on the topbar should work with all major wifi dongles, so get networked first thing.

On completion, you will need to execute sudo usermod -aG video YOUR_USERNAME to fix access to the PI Videocore. Install the missing package pip install slugify, and login again.

Finally you should land onto the Ubuntu desktop. On the Applications drop-down you should find Pong and Minecraft on the Education menu.


Currently there are quite a few gotchas integrating the software, mainly conflicting Debian package dependencies, so it is still a work-in-progress. The table below details some of the issues encountered on the apps available on the image.

Package Status Details
Kano screenshot working
Kdesk working Needs customization (kano-desktop). Blur and 3D screensaver working ok
Make Pong working
Kano Desktop cannot install System file clash, provided by other Ubuntu package
Make Minecraft works Issues with screen coordinates, workspace appears displaced
Terminal Quest not working Issue with privileged TCP/IP port binding - permission denied

All of KanoOS public software packages are available on Github.


Make Pong

Make Pong

Make Minecraft

Make Pong


Source code to build the image is available on Github. Contributions for help are very welcome! You can contact me at albert at mitako dot eu.


Albert Casals - September 2015.