Raspberry Pi owners, as well as those who want to join the Raspberry bandwagon, should know that a novel interface which comes under the PIXEL moniker is in tow.
The Raspbian operating system will get a visual upgrade thanks to the neatly revamped interface, whose name stands for "Pi Improved Xwindows Environment, Lightweight."
The new interface is only one of the many pluses of the new Raspbian version, which also features a nifty new web browser. The redesigned interface makes the whole experience easier on the eyes, debuting with the new splash screen that appears during boot. What is more, the improved graphics will not hinder performance.
"[T]he time to go from powering on to the desktop appearing is identical, whether the splash is shown or not," says Simon Long, a UX engineer with Raspberry.
UI elements got an upgrade, meaning that all icons, from the file manager to menus to taskbars are revamped with a balance between seriousness and aesthetics in mind. Long touts in the blog post that the visual polishing even sports a tad of "playfulness."
Users will now be able to toy around with wallpapers, and the selection of 16 images is quite impressive. The team behind PIXEL tweaked the fonts and general aspect of windows, embedding contemporary design elements such as rounded edges for windows.
It seems that Raspberry did not save any effort when crafting PIXEL, so the interface is comparable to those from Microsoft and Apple.
Improved Browsing, New Clothes
Users might find that one of the most useful parts of the upgrade concerns the web browser — Epiphany, which was replaced with a first version of Chromium for Raspberry Pi.
One big advantage of using Chromium is that it taps into hardware acceleration when it plays playing streaming video. On the down side, Raspberry points out that the new browser is much more resource-intensive than Epiphany.
This means that the Chromium for Raspberry Pi is a great addition to those running the more powerfully spec'd Raspberry Pi 2 and 3, but not such a good idea for users on Raspberry Pi or Pi Zero.
The new browser embeds two extensions by default. One enables YouTube to deliver videos in a format that makes good use of the Pi's hardware acceleration, while the second is the ad blocker uBlock Origin.
Raspberry piled a number of other apps in the desktop environment, such as RealVNC's server and viewer applications, which makes it easy to do remote operations on your Pi.
Should you already be a Raspberry Pi fan, make sure to download the new version of Raspbian with PIXEL from the official page.