Recent versions of Raspbian have been based on Debian Wheezy (the penguin who’s lost his squeaker in “Toy Story 2”), but Raspbian has now been updated to the new stable version of Debian, which is called Jessie. Many of the changes between Wheezy and Jessie are invisible to the end-user. Wasn’t she the cowgirl doll in “Toy Story 2” – you know, the one who got abandoned in a park to that Sarah Mc Lachlan song, resulting in at least one software engineer finding he had something in his eye at that point…? The Raspbian operating system is based on Debian Linux, and the different versions of Debian are named after characters from the “Toy Story” films.
Look and feel The first thing anyone starting the new Jessie image from scratch will notice is that the default behaviour is to boot straight to the desktop GUI, not to the Linux command line.This was a decision taken because this is the expected behaviour for all modern computers; the default interface for a personal computer in 2015 is a desktop GUI, not just text on a screen.It is still possible to set the Pi to boot to the command line for people who prefer that – just toggle the relevant setting in the Raspberry Pi Configuration application described below.When the desktop launches, you might notice some slight tweaks to the appearance of things like menus, check boxes and radio buttons.This is because the appearance of Raspbian is now based on version 3 of GTK+, the user interface toolkit used for the LXDE desktop environment.
The older version 2 of GTK+ is slowly being replaced with version 3 in many applications, so this change was inevitable at some point – the new appearance isn’t a huge change, but does look slightly more modern.Many of the applications in Raspbian are still using GTK+ version 2, but the Pi X theme for GTK+2 has been changed to bring it into line with that for GTK+3.You’ll notice on the menu bar that there is now an eject icon at the top right – this is a new plug-in that allows USB drives and the like to be safely ejected without the risk of losing data.It’s slightly risky to just pull out a USB drive, particularly if you have just copied a file to it, as the system manages the write to a drive in the background, and the write takes a finite amount of time.If you pull the drive out before the write has finished, you’ll corrupt the file and lose data – clicking the eject icon and then selecting the drive to remove waits for any pending writes to complete and then prompts that it is safe to remove the drive.Office applications One of our main aims with regard to Raspberry Pi is not just to make it a great cheap computer for education, but also to make it a great cheap computer in its own right.