Unlocking New Possibilities: Raspberry Pi OS Unveils the Game-Changing Debian 12 Bookworm Upgrade

Unlocking New Possibilities: Raspberry Pi OS Unveils the Game-Changing Debian 12 Bookworm Upgrade

The latest update of Raspberry Pi OS, known as Bookworm, brings the compatibility for Raspberry Pi 5, making it an advanced and enhanced operating system for the popular single-board computer

The latest Raspberry Pi OS, based on Debian 12 "Bookworm," is now available. It is the first official operating system to support the new Raspberry Pi 5. However, it is also compatible with older Pi models in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. To install this Pi OS release, you can use the Raspberry Pi Imager or download the standalone image and flash it onto an SD card. This upgrade brings significant changes to the underlying architecture of Pi OS. Existing Raspberry Pi users should note that upgrading from a previous image can lead to a non-booting desktop and potential data loss, so it is recommended to re-image the SD card and start fresh.

Anyway, let's dive into the exciting details. The major change to note is the adoption of Wayland, a display system that has been embraced by various other Linux distributions. Unlike the outdated X11 system previously used by Pi OS, Wayland merges window positioning and window content into a single task within a compositor application. Furthermore, Wayland enhances user security by preventing applications from exchanging data with each other at the compositor level.

Unlocking New Possibilities: Raspberry Pi OS Unveils the Game-Changing Debian 12 Bookworm Upgrade

The Raspberry Pi Foundation

The upgrade includes replacing the "slow and cumbersome" Mutter window manager with the Wayfire compositor. Wayfire is a standard compositor for the Wayfire system. Despite retaining its old look, Raspberry Pi OS feels faster with added enhancements like window shadows and animations. However, Wayland and Wayfire are limited to Raspberry Pi 5 and Raspberry Pi 4, while older models can install the "Bookworm" upgrade which still uses X11 and Mutter until Wayland and Wayfire are ported over.

Clearly, transitioning to Wayland and Wayfire required considerable effort. This Pi OS release introduces the all-new wf-panel-pi toolbar, which looks identical to the previous lxpanel toolbar and offers the same plugins (volume control, wireless settings, etc). While most preinstalled applications on Raspberry Pi are already Wayland-compliant, some still utilize GTK and Qt toolkits or make direct calls to the old X11 system. To ensure compatibility with a wide range of apps, Pi OS uses XWayland software to manage outdated applications and transfer graphical data to the Wayland display system. XWayland is activated only when an app attempts to interact with X11.

The "Bookworm" release of Raspberry Pi OS is now available for both 32- and 64-bit models. It offers various enhancements such as the Pi-optimized Firefox browser, a new PipeWire audio system for improved Bluetooth functionality, and the modern NetworkManager network controller. However, remote desktop access now utilizes the more restrictive wayvnc service, which is not compatible with 32-bit systems at the moment. Some issues, like display overscan, may persist, and older applications need to be updated to be compatible with the new Raspberry Pi system tray.

To upgrade to the "Bookworm" release, it is necessary to re-image your SD card to avoid data loss and potential issues. You can use the Raspberry Pi Imager to write the release onto your SD card or download the standalone image if you prefer to flash it manually.

Source: The Raspberry Pi Foundation