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Introducing Bookworm: The Latest Version of Raspberry Pi OS

This year, Raspberry Pi has released a new version of their operating system called Bookworm. While the overall Debian release, on which Raspberry Pi OS is based, doesn’t bring many changes, Bookworm introduces some major architectural updates to the Raspberry Pi Desktop.

One of the significant changes in Bookworm is the transition from using X11 to Wayland as the display system. Wayland offers improved performance by combining the functions of the display server and window manager into a single application. This consolidation also enhances security by isolating applications from each other at the compositor level.

To support Wayland, Raspberry Pi OS now uses a compositor called Wayfire, which works better as a Wayland compositor on Raspberry Pi than the previous Mutter window manager. However, Wayland is currently only the default mode on Raspberry Pi 4 and 5, with older platforms still using the X11 display server and Openbox window manager. The performance of Wayfire on these older platforms is being optimized for a future switch to Wayland.

Another significant update in Bookworm is the replacement of PulseAudio with PipeWire as the audio system. PipeWire builds upon the features of PulseAudio and provides better support for audio accompanying video, reduced latency, improved management of Bluetooth audio devices, and enhanced operation in the secure Wayland environment.

Networking in Raspberry Pi OS has also been updated with the adoption of NetworkManager as the default network controller. NetworkManager offers additional functionality, such as connecting to hidden wireless networks, virtual private networks (VPNs), and using a Raspberry Pi as a wireless hotspot. The networking plugin on the taskbar retains a familiar appearance but now includes an “Advanced Options” item to access the new features provided by NetworkManager.

The extensive changes introduced in Bookworm have necessitated updates to the Raspberry Pi OS documentation. The documentation team has been working diligently to ensure that the documentation reflects the new state of the operating system. If users come across any outdated documentation, they are encouraged to raise an issue on the documentation repository.

While Bookworm brings many improvements, there are a few features and programs that are currently missing or incompatible with the new version. Overscan compensation for displays, the system tray for application icons, and traditional remote desktop access have either been temporarily removed or replaced with alternative mechanisms. Additionally, certain programs like the SenseHAT Emulator, BlueJ and Greenfoot Java IDEs, and Sonic Pi are incompatible with Bookworm and have been removed until they are updated.

The changes in Bookworm align Raspberry Pi OS with the practices of other Linux distributions, as many have already adopted Wayland, PipeWire, and NetworkManager. These updates provide a solid foundation for future development and ensure compatibility with the broader Linux ecosystem.

While Wayland and PipeWire have been extensively tested, there may still be specific usage scenarios where issues can arise. To address this, the Advanced Settings menu in raspi-config allows users to revert to the old X11/Openbox display system and PulseAudio if necessary.

To install Bookworm, it is recommended to re-image the SD card with a clean image rather than attempting to upgrade from a previous version. Raspberry Pi Imager can be used to create an SD card with Bookworm, or users can download a Bookworm image from the Raspberry Pi website and flash it onto their SD card using their preferred tool.

Overall, Bookworm brings significant updates to the Raspberry Pi OS, including the transition to Wayland, the adoption of PipeWire for audio, and the use of NetworkManager for networking. These changes improve performance, security, and functionality, aligning Raspberry Pi OS with industry standards and providing a solid platform for future development.

Source: News - Raspberry Pi.