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Raspbian Buster Gets New Features in Big Update

(Image credit: Future)

The latest Raspbian release, Buster, received a big update this week. A recent blog post on the official Raspberry Pi website lists all of the new changes and details about the new features.

Significant changes have been made with the File Manager system. The icons have been updated to make it easier to tell which folder is which at a glance. "Expander arrows" now only appear next to directories that have sub-directories, otherwise they're hidden.

The Raspberry Pi team reached out to an accessibility charity known as AbilityNet to help evaluate the Raspberry Pi desktop environment for improvements. Raspbian now supports Orca screen reader. Orca is compatible with most applications that use GTK or Qt toolkits. Other toolkits aren't compatible and may or may not work. You can also find a new pixel doubling feature in the Raspberry Pi Configuration menu, improving screen visibility for visually impaired persons.

Python games from Eben Upton's newly released book, Code the Classics, are now available for download in the recommended software area. Audio Preferences are also no longer listed under the main menu as an app—they can be accessed from the volume plugin in the taskbar.

There are a few more features you can read about in the full post here. For example, if you're tired of your screen going black, you can finally disable it in the Raspberry Pi Configuration settings. If you're ready to check out these new features, you can update Buster through the terminal or download the fresh version straight from the Raspbian download page.

  • bit_user
    needz moar bits. Like, 32 of them!

    (Raspbian is currently 32-bit; Pi v3 and v4 hardware is 64-bit.)
    Reply
  • AlphaCompton
    bit_user said:
    needz moar bits. Like, 32 of them!

    (Raspbian is currently 32-bit; Pi v3 and v4 hardware is 64-bit.)
    It's still 32bit? Aren't Ubuntu and another distro already 64 bit on the Pi? Wouldn't it make sense for the pi to support 64bit for the 4GB version?
    Reply
  • King_V
    bit_user said:
    needz moar bits. Like, 32 of them!

    (Raspbian is currently 32-bit; Pi v3 and v4 hardware is 64-bit.)

    Yeah, I was kind of shocked about this as well - had no idea.

    Are they, maybe, trying to save a little bit of RAM or something? Though, the one I've used thus far with basic browsing via Firefox doesn't seem to use a ton of memory.
    Reply
  • pug_s
    No updates to Buster lite.
    AlphaCompton said:
    It's still 32bit? Aren't Ubuntu and another distro already 64 bit on the Pi? Wouldn't it make sense for the pi to support 64bit for the 4GB version?

    https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=250730

    You can enable 64 bit, yes they are on the testing phase. Kind of disappointing there's no update to Raspbian lite.
    Reply
  • bloodroses
    bit_user said:
    needz moar bits. Like, 32 of them!

    (Raspbian is currently 32-bit; Pi v3 and v4 hardware is 64-bit.)

    It is not really needed yet until Pi's have more than 4 gig of RAM since that's the 32bit limit without software tricks. Another advantage 64-bit has regards shared resources which isn't very important with Pi's yet since most Pi's are mainly used for a specific task. This is slowly changing though.

    The biggest reason for 64-bit is that it would be easier to stay current with mainstream desktop distro software. The biggest reason against 64-bit is that it may cause low level compatilibity issues with some (usually older) attached hardware.

    Finally, the Pi Zero I believe is only 32-bit. Until they release a new zero that's 64-bit, it'll mean maintaining 2 different distros. At least there's the beta option as pug_s said.

    Give it time.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    AlphaCompton said:
    It's still 32bit? Aren't Ubuntu and another distro already 64 bit on the Pi?
    Yeah, and with Ubuntu and Raspbian being both Debian distros, I think 64-bit is the main reason people run non-Raspbian distros on it.

    AlphaCompton said:
    Wouldn't it make sense for the pi to support 64bit for the 4GB version?
    The Raspberry Pi Foundation wants one distro for all generations of Pi. Eventually, I think they'll drop that notion. Could take a couple more hardware generations, though.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    bloodroses said:
    The biggest reason for 64-bit is that ...
    ARMv8-A is a more efficient and capable ISA. It adds registers, instructions, and guarantees certain CPU features, such as certain SIMD instructions, which are optional on ARMv7-A.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARM_architecture#ARMv8-A
    Most programs will get a free performance boost, just by re-compiling in ARMv8-A mode. The only downside would be using a little more RAM. In some corner cases, you could have a slight performance drop. More power utilization could be a little more common, but that's the price of performance. You can probably find benchmarks where people have run the same thing, on the same Pi, in both 32-bit mode and 64-bit mode, hopefully collecting temperature and even power data, as well.

    bloodroses said:
    Finally, the Pi Zero I believe is only 32-bit. Until they release a new zero that's 64-bit, it'll mean maintaining 2 different distros.
    Yeah, I was thinking about the zero. They definitely need a new zero.

    However, there's no getting away from maintaining dual distros, for some time. The only question is for how long. 5 years? 10 years?
    Reply