8 New Raspbian Features to Start Using on Your Raspberry Pi

Some 2 years ago, we published an article on the future of Raspberry Pi after millions of sales and the Raspberry Pi Foundation has been doing an excellent job since then. It is used in several of the most complicated projects including big data analysis, A.I research, and making both smart homes and modern robots, to mention a few.

Raspbian, the Raspberry Pi’s official supported OS has received a good number of features over the years and today we’re listing the new features as reasons why you should use it on your Raspberry Pi machine.

1. A Modern Setup Wizard

Before now, it was a bit of a hassle to set up the Raspberry Pi, where you were using NOOBS, PiBakery, or the standard installation technique. With the new Raspbian setup wizard, you can configure your location, language, Wi-Fi, and updates.

If you already have the Raspberry Pi setup but want to check out the wizard for yourself, enter the commands below:

$ sudo apt install piwiz

2. Network Booting

It is now possible to boot your Raspberry Pi over an Ethernet connection via a central server thanks to PXE (Preboot eXecution Environment, pronounced, pixie) – the technology that desktops and servers use to accomplish network booting.

Before now, you could only boot your Raspberry Pi from an SD card or a USB device so you have another option to work with.

3. Chromium Out of the Box

That’s right, you can now work with Chromium tabs on the Raspberry Pi right out of the box and it features cool helpful files with tips that you can take advantage of.

Remember, though, that Chromium is memory-intensive so keep its use to a minimum.

4. An Improved Compatibility

There are different Raspberry Pi models, and although there are apps that wouldn’t run on some hardware with low specs, the OS itself will run smoothly on all models without any compatibility issues.

5. A Better PDF Viewer

Xpdf was the default PDF app that the Raspberry Pi shipped with but it has barely adjusted to the expectations of modern times since its creation in 1995 and it barely handles modern PDF files effectively.

It is for this reason that the Raspberry Pi ships with qpdView, a far cooler PDF app capable of handling all types of PDF, DjVu, and PostScript documents.

If you have an old Raspberry Pi setup:

$ sudo apt install qpdfview
$ sudo apt purge xpdf

6. The Recommended Software Tool

Raspbian currently has a smaller image size because it ships with fewer bundled software. You can, however, get those apps back on your device if you want via the recommended software tool in Menu -> Preferences.

If you don’t have the app on your machine here’s the command that you need:

$ sudo apt install rp-prefapps

7. An Improved Support for Displays

The Raspberry Pi’s display, especially in a Raspbian x86 architecture, can now convert singe pixels into blockier 2×2 pixels thanks to a now supported technique known as Pixel Doubling.

Pixels are typically not impressive on UHD resolution displays but that should not be a problem any longer. Access Raspberry Pi’s Pixel Doubling options in the desktop’s Configuration tool or via the terminal:

$ sudo raspi-config

8. A Revised Appearance Menu

The appearance menu now has a Defaults tab wherein you can set screens to 3 categories namely, small, medium, and large.

You can also choose your preferred font size and icon size, among other settings, so your display will now be more suited for wahtever display size you’re working with.

What do you think about the reasons above? Did I skip some new features in Raspbian? Or maybe you prefer to work with a different OS entirely. Share your experience in the comments section below.

Divine Okoi is a cybersecurity postgrad with a passion for the open-source community. With 700+ articles covering different topics in IT, you can always trust him to inform you about the coolest tech.

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