Every two years or so Debian releases a new stable version of its operating system, and it's that time again. And since Raspberry Pi OS is based on Debian, the developers release a new version every time Debian receives an LTS version. The latest update is here and it is packed with useful changes.
Debian Linux 11 – codenamed "Bullseye" – offers a number of features that make the latest Raspberry Pi operating system leaner and more functional than ever. Let's take a look at the latest iteration of the Raspberry Pi OS and its notable features.
Switch to GTK + 3
All Linux applications, as well as the desktop, now use the updated GTK + 3 user interface toolkit. Apps use GTK + software to draw certain components like buttons and menus, and moving away from version two means a more consistent look and feel across the operating system.
While the switch is a big change, the developers have tried to make the user interfaces appear as familiar as possible so that the transition shouldn't be too distracting for anyone used to the old style.
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New window manager
Instead of drawing elements individually, the new compositing window manager from Raspberry Pi OS 11 mumble draws all windows to memory to create a complete picture of the screen. It then sends the entire image to the display hardware. This approach to a larger image allows for more advanced window effects such as animation and shading to be used.
Due to the function that requires a large amount of resources for smooth operation, Raspberry Pis configured with less than 2 GB RAM use the previous window manager Openbox.
Integrated notification system
Raspberry Pi OS now includes a notification manager in the system tray that the operating system and other applications can use. You will see notifications in the top right corner of the screen, and by default, each alert will automatically clear after 15 seconds.
Alternatively, you can remove a notification manually by clicking on the appropriate window. You can also configure the timer length in Panel settings, and setting a value of zero causes notifications to remain until they are discarded.
The new updater plugin uses the notification system to notify you when new updates are available. The plug-in included in the system tray offers a faster and more user-friendly way to install updates without having to use a terminal window.
When you boot your Raspberry Pi, the plugin looks for updates and notifies you when they are available. You can then click the system tray icon to install or view a list of available software.
Simplified file manager
In the new Raspberry Pi OS version, the developers have cleaned up the view options of the file manager so that only icon and list views are included. You've removed the thumbnail button that you can now find in the view Menu if required.
If you need to change the icon sizes further, you can do so using the Zooming Options, even in the view Menu.
KMS video driver as standard
The operating system has said goodbye to its Raspberry Pi-specific video driver with closed source and adopted the kernel mode setting (KMS). KMS controls the display connection and the switch to the standardized procedure means that developers no longer have to develop apps specifically for Raspberry Pi when the software needs access to the display.
New camera driver
In a similar step away from closed source software, Raspberry Pi OS is now on top of that libcamera Driver. This change will make it easier to develop new camera-related software and hardware for the Raspberry Pi.
Enjoy the latest Raspberry Pi OS update
The features of the latest "Bullseye" version add functionality and versatility to the Raspberry Pi operating system, and new tools such as the notification system and updater plug-in contribute to a more user-friendly experience.
As with any other Linux-based system, you can easily upgrade your existing Raspberry Pi to the latest version.
Here's how to update your Raspberry Pi to the latest Raspbian operating system
Do you want to keep your Raspberry Pi up to date? How to update Raspbian with a standard update or by upgrading to a new version.
About the author
(33 published articles)
Matt is an Australian freelance writer with a degree in creative and critical writing. Before his studies, he worked in technical support and gained valuable insights into the technology and its users. His real passion is storytelling and he hopes one day he will be able to write a well-published novel.
By Matt Moore
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