Raspberry Pi Gets ‘More Visually Appealing’ Pixel Desktop OS

The operating system aims to be more visually appealing than Raspbian

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has unveiled Pixel, an operating system for the Raspberry Pi microcomputer built upon the Unix-like operating system Devian.

Pixel does not replace the Raspberry Pi’s previous bundled Raspbian desktop, but will instead be shipped with the Raspberry Pi in order to offers a bevvy of features that make getting started with the system-on-a-chip device an easier process.

Pixel for Pi

raspberry-pi-pixelBuilt on top of Raspbian, Pixel is more visually compelling, with built in wallpapers, reworked icons and tweaked fonts and windows with a few nip and tucks.

Menus have also been decluttered and information about the Pi’s temperature and voltage has been made clearer to view.

“The latest set of changes are almost entirely to do with the appearance of the desktop; there are some functional changes and a few new applications,” said Simon Long, the designer of the user interface for the Raspberry Pi. “But this is mostly about making things look nicer.”

“We wanted something that looked businesslike enough to be appropriate for those people who use the Pi desktop for serious work, but with just a touch of playfulness,” he added, noting that Pixel also brings with it a few new applications.

“RealVNC have ported their VNC server and viewer applications to Pi, and they are now integrated with the system.”


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Pixel 1

Long also noted that the Epiphany browser is on its way out for the newer Raspberry Pi models and is being replaced by Chromium with the goal of bringing hardware acceleration for the playback of streaming video.

“Chromium is a much more demanding piece of software than Epiphany, but it runs well on Pi 2 and Pi 3; it can struggle slightly on the Pi 1 and Pi Zero, but it’s still usable,” explained Long.

The Raspbian + PIXEL release can be downloaded today from Raspberry Pi’s website in the form of an 4GB uncompressed image of the operating system.

The official camera module for the Raspberry Pi, the Pi Camera V2, was recently refreshed with an upgraded eight megapixel sensor and costs $25.

The Raspberry Pi 3 was released on the fourth anniversary of the launch of the original device, adding integrated Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a more powerful processor. So far, eight million units have been sold to educational institutions, hobbyists and businesses. It is hoped the additional connectivity will boost the popularity of the computer for IoT applications.

A range of official and unofficial accessories, such as cases, screens and hard drives, have been released since the original Raspberry Pi debuted in 2012.

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