New Raspberry Pi, new Raspbian operating system

The Raspberry Pi 4 is now available for purchase for $35 and up and along with a faster processor, support for dual dual displays and options for 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB of RAM, the new single-board computer is getting a new GNU/Linux distribution.

While the Raspberry Pi can run a variety of operating systems, the Debian-based Raspbian operating system is the version officially supported by the folks at the Raspberry Pi foundation. And the latest version includes support for a new open source OpenGL video driver, security updates, and a simpler user interface.

Here are a few of the things that are new:

  • Raspbian is now based on Debian 10 Buster (which is due to launch as a stable release on July 7th).
  • The UI includes a flatter design and fewer curves, plus a new default desktop.
  • The eject icon only shows up in the taskbar if there’s a device that you can eject. And the Bluetooth icon is only displayed if you’re using Raspberry Pi that has Bluetooth hardware.
  • Thonny is the default Python development environment.
  • OpenGL driver is used by default on the Raspberry Pi 4.

While the new version of Raspbian is the first to support Raspberry Pi 4 hardware, you can also use the latest release with other Raspberry Pi models. You’ll just end up using the non-GL display drivers by default.

Or you could try your luck with a different operating systems. Users have ported Ubuntu, LibreElec, Windows IoT Core, and many other operating systems to run on Raspberry Pi’s inexpensive computers — you can find some third-party options at the Raspberry Pi download page, although it’s not clear if they all support the Raspberry Pi 4 yet.


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