Since its release in 2012, the Raspberry Pi Raspbian operating system has undergone several changes, but the desktop environment has remained largely unchanged. Pixel changes that.

Raspbian Pixel Desktop

Available for Raspbian Jessie PIXEL (Pi Enhanced XWindows Environment, Lightweight) brings a stylish new desktop to the Raspberry Pi and is the work of Simon Long. We think you’ll agree that he did a great job bringing a polished user interface to the Pi desktop.

PIXEL Installation

To get started, you’ll need a Raspberry Pi. Any version, from Raspberry Pi 1 to Raspberry Pi 3 including the Raspberry Pi Zero, you can run Raspbian Jessie with your PIXEL desktop computer. While developing this post, we installed it on a Raspberry Pi Model B+

If you want to use the PIXEL desktop for Raspbian Jessie, you have two options.

The first is to update your current system. If you are already using Raspbian Jessie, you can open a terminal window (or exit the command line) and type:

sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get dist-upgrade sudo apt-get install -y rpi-chromium-mods sudo apt-get install -y python-sense-emu python3-sense-emu 

The update process is quite slow, so you will have time to make a hot drink even on a high-speed cable internet connection. Please note that you may be notified when the Plymouth theme is installed — just click Q, to exit and continue with the installation.

Raspbian Pixel Upgrade

Once this is done, restart your Raspberry Pi:

 sudo reboot 

Raspbian will be updated to the new desktop environment on restart.

Meanwhile, if you’d rather start from scratch, you can download the Raspbian Jessie + PIXEL image from the Raspberry Pi website. You can then write this to the SD card in the normal way At this point, you can use the Pi Bakery tool. to tweak aspects of your setup.

Remote desktop with PIXEL

Along with a new desktop environment for Raspbian, the arrival of the Pixel heralds the addition of some new software and features. Depending on how you use your Pi, one of the more interesting additions might be RealVNC support. This is included so you can remotely connect to another system from your Raspberry Pi. To install this use:

 sudo apt-get install -y python-sense-emu-doc realvnc-vnc-viewer 

Note that any existing installation of xrdp will not work alongside RealVNC, so either ignore the above step or remove xrdp from Raspbian first.

Use our previous guide to remote control your Raspberry Pi from your main PC.

What’s new in PIXEL?

The first thing you’ll see when booting up your upgraded Raspberry Pi is the splash screen. This replaces most of the lines of code you previously saw on download and is much prettier. You will also notice the addition of a version number in the bottom right corner, which should help users easily identify which version of Raspbian they are using.

What else is worth paying attention to?

Login Screen Options

If you log in manually at boot (as opposed to booting directly to your desktop), you will see a new welcomer login window along with your chosen desktop background.

Raspbian Pixel Appearance

Awesome desktop wallpaper

A kiss goodbye to boring old Rasbian desktop backgrounds. PIXEL provides a set of 16 background options that can be found in the catalog /usr/share/pixel-wallpaper/ . They were filmed by Greg Annandale himself of the Raspberry Pi Foundation and are downright luxurious. New wallpapers can be set in » Preferences > Appearance Settings where you can also change the position of the menu bar.

Updated icons

The PIXEL desktop environment introduces a collection of redesigned icons for Raspbian, giving the Raspberry Pi a whole new flavor. Meanwhile, the apps menu is cleaner and more readable. In general, things are just more polished… more suited to a modern operating system.

Raspbian Pixel Curved Window


Whether you’re browsing a catalog or launching an application, the window system has been improved to reflect modern design standards. The border is thinner and the corners have a curve. While the design clearly takes a few cues from Mac OS and Windows, it doesn’t attempt to emulate their current styles.


While Raspbian Jessie has been using the Roboto font for some time now, PIXEL offers font rendering software, Infinality. The purpose of this tool is to improve the appearance of fonts when rendered to pixels. Despite its subtle effect, it plays a useful role in the overall «repair» of Raspbian.

New applications and utilities in Raspbian + PIXEL

A number of apps and features can be found in this new update.

For example, wireless and Bluetooth can now be completely disabled using a new menu option. If you are running your Raspberry Pi 3 on battery power, this is very helpful in extending battery life.

Another feature to look for is the SenseHAT emulator, which will prove vital for any app development that has SenseHAT that you don’t already have.

Raspbian Pixel

However, perhaps the most important inclusion in this new update is Chromium. For a better web browsing experience, Chromium for Pi works better on Pi 2 and Pi 3 than on Pi 1 and Pi Zero. although Epiphany remains available if you need it. Chromium comes with an ad blocker, but most importantly, there’s a useful h264ify extension that makes YouTube show videos that the Pi’s hardware can play.

But is it worth upgrading?

It all sounds like a very good collection of tweaks, improvements and apps. But should you upgrade to Raspbian + PIXEL or stay with your existing Raspbian installation? Perhaps now is the time to consider one of the many alternative OSes for the Raspberry Pi, and ?

Raspbian Pixel Desktop again

Well, perhaps it is. But if you’re going to experiment, at least first see what PIXEL brings to Raspbian. You may like it. If you don’t, the Raspbian Jessie Lite distribution will remain available, allowing you to use Raspbian without PIXEL.

But since PIXEL doesn’t cause any performance degradation, it would be crazy not to upgrade forever.

Have you tried Raspbian + PIXEL? Did you like what he brought to the Raspberry Pi experience? Would you like the desktop environment to be added to other distributions? Tell us what you think in the comments.

Похожие записи