The official Raspberry Pi Foundation has today announced the availability of the new Raspbian Stretch operating system which is now ready to download and install onto your Raspberry Pi systems.
The tweaks and enhancements Stretch brings with it are mostly under-the-hood optimisations, and users of Jessie shouldn’t notice any differences in day-to-day use of the desktop and applications, the Foundation reports.
Linux Debian releases are named after characters from Disney Pixar’s Toy Story trilogy, Stretch is a purple octopus from Toy Story 3. A few features and alterations you can expect to encounter in the new Raspbian Stretch operating system include:
– Version 3.0.1 of Sonic Pi is included – this includes a lot of new functionality in terms of input/output. See the Sonic Pi release notes for more details of exactly what has changed.
– The Chromium web browser has been updated to version 60, the most recent stable release. This offers improved memory usage and more efficient code, so you may notice it running slightly faster than before. The visual appearance has also been changed very slightly.
– In Jessie, we used PulseAudio to provide support for audio over Bluetooth, but integrating this with the ALSA architecture used for other audio sources was clumsy. For Stretch, we are using the bluez-alsa package to make Bluetooth audio work with ALSA itself. PulseAudio is therefore no longer installed by default, and the volume plugin on the taskbar will no longer start and stop PulseAudio. From a user point of view, everything should still work exactly as before – the only change is that if you still wish to use PulseAudio for some other reason, you will need to install it yourself.
– The default user account in Raspbian has always been called ‘pi’, and a lot of the desktop applications assume that this is the current user. This has been changed for Stretch, so now applications like Raspberry Pi Configuration no longer assume this to be the case. This means, for example, that the option to automatically log in as the ‘pi’ user will now automatically log in with the name of the current user instead.
– In the last Jessie release, we added the offline version of Scratch 2. While Scratch 2 itself hasn’t changed for this release, we have added a new extension to allow the Sense HAT to be used with Scratch 2. Look under ‘More Blocks’ and choose ‘Add an Extension’ to load the extension.
– A couple of months ago, a vulnerability was discovered in the firmware of the BCM43xx wireless chipset which is used on Pi 3 and Pi Zero W; this potentially allows an attacker to take over the chip and execute code on it. The Stretch release includes a patch that addresses this vulnerability.
If you enjoy building Pi projects you might be interested in our comprehensive list of Raspberry Pi displays, HATS and small screens.