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Raspberry Pi OS hits the bullseye

Nov 9, 2021 — by Eric Brown 2,772 views

The latest Raspberry Pi OS release switches to Debian 11 “bullseye” and offers the GTK+3 UI toolkit and the “mutter” window manager, which requires 2GB RAM. Meanwhile, the upcoming Linux 5.16 will include mainline support for the RPi CM4.

Raspberry Pi announced the release of a new version of Raspberry Pi OS (formerly Raspbian), which advances to the Debian 11 “bullseye” release. Debian 11.0 was released in August as a major upgrade from the two-year old Debian buster.

New Raspberry Pi OS release with tabbed widget interfaces using GTK+3
(click image to enlarge)

Raspberry Pi OS also upgrades to the GTK+3 user interface toolkit. GTK+3 has been out for a few years, but the Pi-makers delayed an upgrade so they could provide some workarounds for some of its perceived flaws, such as the for widget customization process.

The move to GTK+3 also prompted a switch from openbox to GNOME’s mutter. This is a compositing window manager, which is said to enable visual effects such as rounded windows corners or shaded borders that were difficult to accomplish with openbox.


Mutter will not work on Raspberry Pi models with less than 2GB, which can continue to use openbox. The good news is that mutter should enable a smoother future transition to the widely adopted Wayland compositing window manager, says the blog announcement.

The Raspberry Pi OS release based on bullseye also offers notifications improvements and an Update plugin, which “is an easy way to be informed about and to install system and application updates.” Other improvements include simplified view options in the file manager and the graduation from experimental to default usage of the open source KMS (kernel modesetting) display driver. The camera driver, meanwhile, has switched to libcamera, the successor to V4L2.

Linux 5.16 to move add mainline RPi CM4 support

The new Raspberry Pi OS build is based on Linux 5.10. The upcoming Linux 5.16 release, which will likely arrive in January, will add mainline support for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4.

The update was noticed by The Register hidden in a merge update from Linus Torvalds. The update should enable RPi CM4 users to run mainline Linux without extra build steps or patches. The update note also shows support for the Apple M1 chip’s PCIe controller “as Linux inches its way towards a full Linux desktop on M1 Macs,” says the story.

Linux 5.5 LTS dropped last week featuring a new driver for Microsoft’s NTFS (New Technology File System). There is also an SMB3 server, and an advanced DAMON (Data Access Monitor), among other enhancements.

Further information

The new bullseye equipped version of Raspberry Pi OS can be downloaded here. More information may be found in Raspberry Pi’s blog announcement.

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