Changes to the Raspbian user interface

I should start by introducing myself. My name is Simon Long, and my claim to fame is that many years ago, when in charge of recruitment at Broadcom in Cambridge, I interviewed some guy called Eben Upton. We thought he was pretty good, so we gave him a job – and the rest is history…

Even more years ago than that, though, I worked for ten years as a software engineer attached to the industrial design team at Cambridge Consultants, responsible for user interface design, simulation and implementation. I’ve designed interfaces for a wide range of products, from medical devices to surveying equipment to mobile phones. I love making things intuitive, attractive and easy to use; my aim is that people shouldn’t need to open the manual.

Unfortunately, moving into management some years ago meant I didn’t get to do all that fun UX stuff any more. I really missed it though, so when Eben offered me the chance to come and do it for Raspberry Pi, I leapt at the chance. I’ve been with them for four months now, and it’s been a blast.

I took a look at the LXDE environment in Raspbian on day one, and, while perfectly functional, I felt it could do with a bit of a tidy up. I’m not about making changes for the sake of change, but a lot of the behaviour was inconsistent and potentially confusing to the user, and I wanted to fix that as a priority.

User interface design is mostly about applying consistency, really – users get used to the way something works, and if something else works slightly differently, it jars. (As a designer, you can use that to your advantage sometimes, for drawing someone’s attention to something, but you don’t want it happening all the time!) A lot of the changes I have made are quite subtle – for example, when you move the mouse pointer over the menu bar at the top, everything now highlights in the same colour – previously, hovering the mouse over something on the menu bar had a fairly random effect, colour-wise.

With regards the move of the menu bar to the top, on which a few people have commented on the forums – in this respect, Apple got it right and Microsoft got it wrong. (I suspect Microsoft got it wrong on purpose, to avoid being sued by Apple when they launched Windows 95…) The reason for putting the bar at the top is simple – we read (in Europe and the US, at least) left to right and top to bottom; because of this, the first place you instinctively look in a UI is the top left corner. Your eyes automatically follow the mouse pointer, so when you click on a menu heading, the menu should drop down, as that way your eyes can then read downwards from the mouse pointer. Hence the menu button is now at the top left, and if you right-click something on the taskbar, its menu drops down. But it’s all about personal choice at the end of the day – if you prefer the menu bar at the bottom, feel free to move it back there; just right-click the menu bar and choose a new position in the Geometry tab of Panel Settings.


People have also commented on the removal of the “Other” menu category. Another fundamental of UI design is MECE – “mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive”. In other words, make sure the menu has everything you need in it, but each thing should only be there in one place. The “Other” category was a huge catch-all that didn’t really hold “other” stuff; it actually held everything, which is why it was so huge. Many things in it had confusing names (and actually, if you tried them, quite a few didn’t even work…) As a UI designer, a great long list of everything is something you avoid like the plague, so the first thing I did was to try to impose some form of MECE-ness on the menu; you’ll also notice that a lot of the names and tooltips have changed in an attempt to make it a bit easier to explain what is actually in the menu.


A final thing I should mention – by default, there are now no icons on the desktop other than the wastebasket. I strongly believe that it is up to the user to customise their own desktop – put the stuff on there that you actually use often, not the stuff that we think you might use, otherwise it just gets cluttered with stuff you don’t need. It’s easy to add a desktop icon for a program you use a lot – just right-click its menu entry and choose “Add to desktop”.


What you have seen is the first release of the modified desktop, but there is a lot more to come. People have already mentioned a new interface for accessing wifi networks to replace wpa_gui – that’s having some final tweaks and testing, but will be available in the next release. I think you’ll like it….

Raspberry Pi is an awesome computer, and I’m thrilled to be working on it. I’m going to do my best to make the user experience as awesome as everything else, but do feel free to comment on the forums about the UI changes. While there is a lot of psychology behind it, UX isn’t an exact science, and it really helps to know what users think. I can’t promise individual replies to every comment, but rest assured I’ll be reading as many as I can and taking what you say into consideration whenever possible.


Dmitry avatar

Great work!

Chorlton avatar

Great touches. But how does this all link to Wayland, Weston or Whatever it is now called: I’m referring to the accelerated GUI.

Liz Upton avatar

We’ve paused work on Wayland for now while we do more work on the web browser – we figured that the browser work will be more impactful for most of you, so it’s where we’re putting resource at the moment. Siarhei’s accelerated X driver has bought enough additional performance that we feel we’ve got a bit of breathing space to wait for Wayland to mature, too.

David L Norris avatar

A working web browser would be amazingly useful. Right now, its really not possible to browse the web at all as you likely know. Full “HTML5” support would go a long way toward making the Pi a versatile general purpose computer. Thanks for all the hard work!

JackTheCoder avatar

If you want a new browser, you can always pick up Chromium or Firefox with sudo apt-get install browser.
They work fine.

tibies avatar

“Siarhei’s accelerated X driver” – is it in the standard raspbian repos? where can I download this?

Eben Upton avatar

Yes – we’ve been shipping this for about a year. It uses the VideoCore DMA engines to accelerate blit operations.

KTWS avatar

Eben, Jamesh’s accelerated hardware cursor ( hasn’t been included upstream yet though (

I’ve been using it for 7 months now and it really does make a huge difference. If upstream don’t play ball, any chance of using Jamesh’s fork by default?

James Hughes avatar

Sorry, partly my fault – a bunch of cosmetic changes were required before it would be accepted upstream, and I haven’t yet finished them off properly. I really must get round to it.

Glad you are finding a performance improvement!

For those who want to try it, it’s available on my github page at

Alex Eames (RasPi.TV) avatar

Excellent. I had a play with the new interface and really like it. One of the things I appreciate the most (which drove me a bit bonkers about LXDE) is the fact that you can click pretty much anywhere in the box containing the ‘X’ to close a window (and it highlights on mouseover). In LXDE it seemed like you had to click right in the middle of that X or it wouldn’t work.

Your version works as it should, and the whole thing looks a lot nicer too. Nice job! Thanks :)

cdo avatar

Great work!

Are you planning to port your improvements to upstream LXDE? So that non-Raspbian LXDE users can also benefit from them?

Thanks :-)

Simon Long avatar

A couple of bug fixes have already been pushed to PCmanFM as a result of the UI work. The vast majority of the look and feel of the new UI was actually achieved just by modifying config files; there are code changes in there, but they are mainly bug fixes and small tweaks. I’m going to look at upstreaming some of those; some are just personal preference on my part and may not be of wider interest anyway.

I’ll be making all the modified source code available on our GitHub repo as soon as I’m back at work in the New Year for anyone who wants to use it.

cdo avatar

Awesome! You’re doing the community a big favour :-) Keep it up!

Ben Nuttall avatar

Simon’s done a great job! I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Andreas avatar

Hello Simon,

I got a new Raspberry Pi A+ and used the new raspbian image (24-12-2014). I was very astonished about the new look of the GUI presented after start has been called. It’s a great step! I like it!

What will coming next?

Best regards


Simon Long avatar

There is quite a bit more already in the pipeline. The next things people will see are the improved UI for selecting a WiFi network – I’ve been working with the author of dhcpcd-ui on that – and a simplification and tidying of the preferences dialogs. I’d expect both of those to be in the next release – as for what’s after that, you’ll have to wait and see…

Robert Ward avatar

Yeah!! It’s nice to see a top left interface, Apple, Atari, Commodore Amiga(ish) all had or have it in the correct place.

Can’t wait for the wifi interface, it was one of the things that I noticed last night and it isn’t exactly intuitive!

Plus I just received my model b+ and it’s a godsend to be able to plug in a keyboard, mouse, wifi stick and just get on and program without having to worry about setting up a USB hub for the model B.

Top work, keep improving.

Martin Angove avatar

(stirring – sorry!)
Nah, they all got it wrong. Acorn got it right with RiscOS. Taskbar at the bottom (to be honest it could be anywhere) is used mainly for launching apps or opening new app windows.

Application menu “pops up” right where your mouse pointer is when you press the “menu” button. This is because that is where your attention is at any moment. You do not automatically look to the top and then move the mouse, you grab the mouse, look for the pointer and then move it to where you need it. With a pop-up menu, you hardly move it at all and certainly not half a screen away from where it was last, which is likely to be somewhere near the middle of the screen if you were doing anything.

Apple’s changeable menu at the top of the screen is just confusing, particularly when an app has stalled because then even the “apple” menu doesn’t work (for Force-quit) and you have to know to switch to another app to get it back.

The Windows (and most Linux desktop) method of a menu in every window just wastes screen real-estate and forces you to accept every window you click on popping to the top. Admittedly this is less of an issue with the large screens we can have these days, but some of us are still using small screens of 1280×1024 or smaller, particularly with our Pis.

Yes, I’ll admit I’m stirring a little, and I really do appreciate the tidying-up of the desktop (which absolutely did need it) but one of the things that I really miss from RiscOS (and one of the reasons I still have a RO machine in daily use) is the UI. Pop-up menus, the “adjust” button (why has no-one else done that?), windows that stay where you put them. Heaven.

See: Advanced Mousing and The Mouse



CJ Bevacqua avatar

Will there be more features to the OS allowing more customizability? like changing colors to the top bar and changing icons?

J Maverick 16 avatar

Awesome improvements!
It looks much better now ;) .

alecthegeek avatar

Any plans to install synaptic by default?

A simple way to manage software was the glaring omission I noticed and I think a lot of of n00bs will be a find apt-get a little scary to start with.

Nice simple look and feel (but I hardly use X so I’m the wrong person to ask)

Keep it up

alecthegeek avatar

I just installed and tested Synaptic and it worked well. I’d suggest adding it to the next build

(takes ~30Mb of space)

Simon Long avatar

I’ve not used Synaptic, but I’ll certainly give it a try – I do agree that something a bit more user-friendly than apt-get would be a nice addition. Thanks for the suggestion!

Cefn Hoile avatar

If you ship Synaptic, it’s really worth including apt-xapian-index which activates a much more intuitive search facility built-in to Synaptic.

This feature filters the main view according to text matches in package names and descriptions.

Cefn Hoile avatar

Also worth looking at Lubuntu-Software-Centre or the Gnome-Packagekit GUI (might be what someone described as “Gnome Software”, launched as gpk-application) [ ] [ ]

Alex Bradbury avatar

Honestly the last time I surveyed potential graphical package managers I’d found synaptic disappointingly sluggish and with a complex unintuitive UI. We should give it another spin though.

alecthegeek avatar

It’s not great, but AFAIK it’s the most user friendly UI for package management on Debian. c.f. deselect :-)

I’ve just done a bit more testing and when you open the terminal window during a software install you get lot’s of GUI errors displayed, although the install completes fine. Suspect their is missing dependency somewhere.

Jonathan Morris avatar

Except for the Ubuntu Software Center, which I’m pretty sure is specific to Ubuntu. Although, since it uses apt, it may be portable. ?

Ted Kotz avatar

I’ve had some good success with apper, though Gnome Software also looks good, and doesn’t bring in a Qt requirement. They both are available almost everywhere and are very well supported.

sam avatar

Hopefully some updates on Maynard soon. It makes the pi desktop fast and smooth, but lacks important basics like screen lock.

Nicole P. avatar

I beg to differ about Microsoft getting it wrong and Apple getting it right.
Yes, the top left corner is the prime position. So give that to the software I’m actually using, not to a start button or a toolbar that I’m only using to launch applications from.

So thanks for letting me move it back where it belongs.

kneekoo avatar

It’s actually a bit funny because in a way both Microsoft and Apple got it right, because Apple placed that bar on top but used it to place the apps’ menu on it, while Microsoft put the start menu and toolbar on the bottom because the apps had their own window titles and menus on top.

So actually, both of them used the top of the screen properly. :)

ian smith avatar

actually, everybody got it wrong! If you are working on documents, the menu bar needs to be at the side, vertically, to allow the document to stretch across the full height of the screen (I’m not keen on automatically disappearing menu bars at the bottom or top).

This is now more important these days as the bulk of available monitors have been truncated to fit HD movies, 1080 pixels.

I have to pay a premium whenever I buy the older standard of 1200 vertical pixel monitors, >£200.

But at least the menu bar can be moved. Thanks!

James Hughes avatar


Larry avatar

What a lot of people don’t realize is if you have bifocals you want the bar to be at the bottom where your bifocals work best. When it’s not changable to be there I think the developers have a very myopic understanding of other peoples needs.

Martin Williams avatar

I’d say that such developers would definitely not have a myopic view.

This somewhat myopic, bifocal using user will be changing it back to the bottom (probably…).

Jim avatar

As a bifocal wearer I was going to say the same thing.

Since approximately 90% of the OS’s in use in the world have the start button at the bottom left I see this as nothing but a childish attempt to mimic Apple. I guess the next hardware release will be called Apple Pi.

If this project continues down the path of mimicking Apple then I’ll just take my support, donations, and time to the Udroid project where at least they are not infatuated with mimicking Apple.

Ben Nuttall avatar

– Windows has its taskbar along the bottom (by default, but you can move it)
– Mac has its launcher at the bottom (by default, but you can move it) and an application menu along the top
– Ubuntu has its launcher along the left (by default, but you can move it) and an application menu along the top
– There are many alternatives available for Linux distros that default to different sides but importantly you can change it

You can move it wherever you like, or disable the UI mods if you want to stick to the old LXDE style.

Hauke avatar

That’s the point, that’s why Apple did it right.

don isenstadt avatar

great work Simon.. I really liked the reasons that you gave for making the changes that we now see on the new UI interface. With respect to the new wifi gui interface better diagnostics as to why a connection did not take place or why a connection just dropped would be greatly appreciated and unique. I really don’t see that on any of the platforms out there now.. thanks again for all your hard work

Peter avatar

I don’t know if it’s possible but … For the A+ … could we have a mouse controlable on screen keyboard by default? … So we can log in and input simple text via mouse …. I’ve got an A+ coming in the new year and am trying to figure out what item is going to use the one precious usb port! … P.S. You have a very easy writing style .. I’ve learned a lot about gui’s without consciously realising I’ve been learning … Please take another turn at this blog soon, You have a real gift for teaching .. regards Pete

W. H. Heydt avatar

The A+, with a decent power supply, can use an unpowered USB hub. You can attach mouse, keyboard, and WiFi dongle. Alternatively, you can use a powered hub and back-power the A+.

The hub I use with an A+ is:

Peter avatar

Good tip …I’ll get on it … thanks!

W. H. Heydt avatar

So…there is (technical) life after HR. Interesting to know.

While you’re looking at wpa-gui, take a look at wicd, a connection manager I find preferable.

InverseSandwich avatar

I think’s he’s chosen dhcpd-ui for the WiFi connection interface

Kent Matsueda avatar

Hi, I’m new to Raspberry Pi and LINUX. I love what you’ve done. I’ve recently ran sudo apt-get update/upgrade, but I’m not seeing that update. Is there something I need to do? Thank you for all your hard work!
– Kent

Ben Nuttall avatar

You need to install a new package which contains the new desktop changes. The instructions were in the previous post:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo apt-get install raspberrypi-ui-mods

Hope that helps!

Ben avatar

You don’t write these commands at the same time, do you? (Sorry, I’m very new to Raspberry Pi too)… :)

Pepijn Koopman avatar

I gave the commands following commands, but the UI-improvements are not visible in my Raspbian installation.
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo apt-get install raspberrypi-ui-mods
Any ideas about what could be the problem?

Ben Nuttall avatar

Did you reboot?

Pepijn Koopman avatar

Yes. After a reboot the UI stays the same, with the start button in the lower left and all the icons on the desktop.

kneekoo avatar

I didn’t have the chance to test this, but I suspect the new package won’t (and it shouldn’t) delete any icons from the desktop, nor change the taskbar position. The design, however, should be updated. Can you provide a screenshot?

By the time I’ll get my hands on my RasPi I guess I should rather try the new image instead of updating my existing setup.

Pepijn Koopman avatar

I tried a new image, and now it works fine. Thanks!

Gaz99 avatar

it didn’t work for me first time around. there was an error with the dist-upgrade. this was caused by me having previously linked /usr/bin/python –> /usr/bin/python3. Apt-get does not like this, so I had to unlink and relink python back to /usr/bin/python2. the upgrade then worked.

the original icons on the desktop were not removed, however the menus changed as expected.

@Simon the changes are great.

Does anyone know when Rasbian/Debian will No longer need python2?


James Hughes avatar

Only when all Python 2 programs are updated to Python 3…which could be some time. It’s a right PITA.

Luke Taylor avatar

How long should that second one take? It’s still pumping out lines of stuff after more than 20 mins…

Luke Taylor avatar

Never mind, it finally finished

AndrewS avatar

Depends on a) how fast your SD card is b) how fast your internet connection is c) how long since you last did an ‘apt-get upgrade’.

Richard avatar

Very nice.

Can you show Canonical how to do a UI? ;)

Ben avatar

WOW! That’s some great touches! I really like the design! :)

Alan Jardine avatar

The presentation of Mathematica is also much improved.

Previously, subsequent notebooks opened after the first one did not quite fit the screen area – now they do.

I don’t know if credit should go to Simon or to Wolfram – but thanks a lot, anyway!


scott avatar

Hello, I love the new upgrade to the UI it makes it feel so much cleaner and the resource use has dropped drastically. I love how there is an actual percentage on the CPU meter along with the flow bar same with the RAM. I am using the adafruit hdmi touch display and i need access to the config file. it seems that the config file lay out is far different in this version of raspbian than in the previous.×480-tft-hdmi-monitor-touchscreen-backpack/raspberry-pi-config those are the changed that i need to make to the file but I no longer have access to it I am just wondering if this is a glitch or I am just doing it wrong.

Thanks for your amazing work


Simon Long avatar

Nothing that I’ve changed should have made any difference to the config.txt file that you are looking at; that is all used to set up the display parameters well in advance of the X environment starting. When you say you don’t have access to config.txt – can you not see the file in /boot/, or is it now read-only?

scott avatar

I am unable to see the /boot folder :/ i may just nuke it and start over again if I cant find it. I love your work by the way this is a small price to pay for perfection :)

AndrewS avatar

If you’re using NOOBS, then the /boot folder isn’t directly accessible when inserting the SD card into a regular Windows PC, you need to use NOOBS’ built-in config.txt editor

(which is of course a chicken-and-egg problem if you can’t see the NOOBS display either!)

Fester Bestertester avatar

Try this:

sudo apt-get install mc

It’s the pre-GUI file-manager. Invoke it with

sudo mc

(use Tab to switch panes), and you can do *anything*! F4 gets the editor… and it’s already su.


Harry Moyes avatar

Posted via a B+ running xrdp, remoted in from my laptop. Using the pi remotely via rdp the browser improvements and the new gui updates really make a difference. Congratulations and thanks, a significant improvement.

Something has munged the symbols though, not sure if it’s xrdp or your keyboard that’s at issue, still investigating.

Cheers Harry

Luke Taylor avatar


kneekoo avatar

Oh, this looks very promising. :) LXDE is quite nice but it always lacked polish. I can hardly wait to test it on my RasPi, in a few days, then I’ll be eagerly waiting for the network manager updates. :)

About Synaptic, it is indeed a very good package management tool but it’s quite stuffed with a lot of options that can confuse regular users. How about giving mintInstall a shot?

I see this more fit as a starting point/inspiration for a RaspberryPi software/package manager. It’s simple and reasonably efficient. And its developers are also active and willing to collaborate, so it could be a win for everyone involved.

kneekoo avatar

Here’s another screenshot of mintInstall:

What I like about it is its simple design and community features. These would be great for the RasPi community.

David Rolfe avatar

Another vote here for ‘mintinstall’ as a packet manager.

I am sure that most users would find it preferable to Synaptic!

andrum99 avatar

Great work. I think that the GUI changes are a definite improvement. The old one looked a bit cobbled together, the new one looks designed – much more professional.

I hadn’t realised that the “other” menu actually included everything. Including a graphical package manager would allow users to see in the GUI what software is available on the system.

Most users of the Pi will probably be coming from Windows so putting the panel at the bottom of the screen would be more familiar. Maybe not a good enough reason to repeat Microsoft’s mistake though.

Simon Walters avatar

I don’t know if you are following the forum thread but one thing that could do with changing is the colour used to indicate CPU usage in the graph – you might be adverse to the old green but we definitely need something a bit more contrasty than light grey on white :)

It only has one job :)


Simon Long avatar

That’s a fair comment – the old green on black was, I thought, rather too jarring, but I can certainly look at including a higher contrast option.

Bill Stephenson avatar

I like the low contrast with the % number overlaid. Perhaps a touch more contrast would be fine, but I like it.

Silas avatar

you should put options on the CPU measurer so you can choose which colours to use or adjust the contrast. I appreciate that this might be quite complex but it would give users the chance to set this so they can see it clearest as different people would set this differently.

Gordon avatar

I have installed the new user interface with the following results:

(1) in addition to the new trash can icon, the previous desktop icons remain, but without their names;

(2) the menu bar remains at the bottom of the screen;

(3) most disturbingly, the dark menu bar at the bottom of the screen completely obscures the clock read-out in the lower-right corner of the screen.

Being completely new to Raspberry Pi and Linux, I would welcome any suggestions to get the new user interface to replace the old one (and especially how to make the time read-out visible once again).

Simon Walters avatar

I imagine your upgrade has gone wrong and I’d suggest the old switch off switch on – do it again – switch off switch on again :)

Gordon avatar

Hi Simon–Thank you for your reply. I assume the suggestion to “switch off switch on again” means to reinstall the ui mods. I tried that, rebooted, and the user interface is unchanged; it remains as I described above in my first post.

Any other suggestions to get the new ui to display as it’s intended? If not, how do I revert to the old ui?

Thanks again; I’m grateful for any assistance as I try to get the raspberry pi to work as it should.

AndrewS avatar
Gordon avatar

I used the apt-get remove command to delete the ui-mods, but the desktop screen is unchanged: trash can still present, application icons without names and dark menu bar at bottom of screen.

Tom avatar

I like the changes, as shown in the screen shot, however not all the changes are showing up after I did a sudo apt-get dist-upgrade. I’ve been able to fix the color of the menu bar, but that’s about it. The LXDE icon background color changed on update, but I’m not seeing the new icon. I’m not seeing the new window design, and I can’t move the menu bar to the top of the screen for some reason.

Is there a reason that only some of the changes would show up after doing an update. Really don’t want to reinstall as I’ve installed a number of programs that took some time to configure.

kneekoo avatar

Not everyone understands the purpose of the RaspberryPi so I ended up defending it against misinformation:

Ambrose avatar

to get the update, is it just sudo apt-get update?

Michael Horne avatar

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo apt-get install raspberrypi-ui-mods

Richard Sierakowski avatar

This is a really excellent consolidation of the UI and makes LXDE as user friendly as Linux Mint Debian is on the PC desktop.

Hopefully the large user base on Raspberry Pi will influence the general acceptance of this version of the UI in the upstream.


markit avatar

Move the menu bar on the top is one of the worst thing that could happen. a) from usability, you loose the facility to push the mouse cursor to the top of the screen without caring about precise movements and then find easily the menu of the applications or the X to close the window. Now you have to carefully step below and try to find if with accurate movements. b) most people is used to task and menu at the bottom (i.e. previous raspberry, lxde, kde, M$ crap, etc).
Sorry to be very negative, but I see no good reasons for such a move and only a lot of troubles.

Ted avatar

I for one, agree, that the menu should be on the top. I’ve always hated it on the bottom. But then again, it is just preference isn’t it. So move it where you want it. It isn’t stuck there like some operating systems. This is Linux, why do we use Linux, oh yeah, because I can customize every little bit of my interfaces, and operating system. So in the end, who cares where the menu is by default, if it is right or wrong by you, just be glad and thankful that someone on the other end is putting some time and effort into something you get for FREE!

Roger Woollett avatar

I like the new interface.

Markit: if you want the panel at the bottom right click the panel and choose “Panel Preferences”. Then you can have it where you like.

There seems to be a small bug, at least on my pi. Help/Raspberry Pi does not work. The file does not exist.

markit avatar

Roger: if you want the panel at the top right click the panel and choose “Panel Preferences”. Then you can have it where you like.
Good defaults are paramount for the target of Rpi, don’t see the reasons behind putting by default the panel on an unusual and easy-of-usage-killer position.

Mike avatar

Hi Simon!

I have to say I very much like the changes, thanks a lot!

I would be interested in hearing your opinion on the following, and perhaps even suggest a feature request or two:

– Why is it so difficult to resize a window by dragging its lower left corner, if it has no status bar? I don’t to point fingers but just to give an example: Xubuntu has 1px wide grab-area and while LXDE adds a few pixels vertically, I still find it a bit uncomfortable. Wouldn’t it make sense to add some sort of large-ish invisible square over the corner, like e.g. MacOS X does? [1]

– Ad consistency: in the whole GUI one can copy&paste by using the Ctrl+[CV] shortcuts, except in terminal. For instance, to copy&paste an URL from browser to terminal I have to hit Ctrl+C and Shift+Ctrl+V. What is the reason for the different behaviors?

Thank you!


James Hughes avatar

Not tried on the new UI yet, but on Ubuntu alt-r-click can be used to resize a window without having the find the single pixel border.

James Hughes avatar

Doesn’t work on Pi LXDE, but does work on my LUbuntu. Odd.

Maciej Korzeniowski avatar

In the Terminal, CTRL+C usually sends a break signal to a running application while SHIFT+CTRL+C copies to clipboard. However, terminals (including Putty under Windows) often have an additional mouse buffer which is filled after a selection is made, and can be pasted by a middle-click (or right-click in Putty). Under DOS, the standard used to be CTRL+Insert and SHIFT+Insert – the latter seems to work in many cases and is my most often used form of pasting.

Simon Long avatar

I agree with you about the difficulty of grabbing a window’s resize handle. I’ve tweaked this a bit, and it is better than it was, but there is definitely still room for improvement, and it is on my “to do” list.

Stu avatar

I’m not sure if this works with LXDE or a Pi, I haven’t used that desktop in a while. On XFCE if you hold down ALT and use the right mouse button to grab any corner/side, you don’t need to be spot on just inside the window you want to resize.


James Hughes avatar

Tied this – doesn’t work, but does on LXDE on Ubuntu. Which is odd.

aremvee avatar

Well Done Simon!
You’ve long realised that design works are not in the realm of democracy.
As much as you can take feedback, comes a point when you have to assert what you’ve done, and hope explanations help people understand. But happily the community is supportive.

Ambrose avatar

Apparently, it is ‘Unable to locate package raspberrypi-ui-mods’ please help.
thank you

James Hughes avatar

Did you do the sudo apt-get update and sudo apt-get dist-upgrade first?

I just tried this and it worked OK.

Andy McMullin avatar

Hi Simon,

Love the new interface. Looks much cleaner and easier although I agree about the usage graph not really showing up in grey on grey :-(

How do I add an application to the menu system now though? I use the application “Xastir” which used to add itself to the “Other” group on a clean installation — now it doesn’t add itself anywhere and I’ve not found the instructions to add it manually.

Any hints where to look?

Simon Long avatar

This is something that I need to look at providing a nice interface for, perhaps by adding one of the menu editors. In the short term, you can add an application to the menu by editing its .desktop file, which are usually in /usr/share/applications. has all the details; just change the “Categories=” line to add one of the categories which are displayed in the menu. There’s a short list of valid categories on that page, and a link to the full list at

Andy McMullin avatar

Cheers Simon. I’ll give that a go.


Fester Bestertester avatar

Created a desktop file as described for xastir, with
Categories=Ham Radio
It didn’t show in the menu, so I copied it to ~/Desktop and it showed up there and worked!
As overlooked, I changed Categories to Network;HamRadio and it showed up under Internet (there’s much more to Networking than just Internet, maybe Internet should be a sub-category of the recommended Network?). I’d like to add either HamRadio (as recommended) or Amateur Radio as a category in the menu, to which I can add others (gpredict etc). I’ve done this in my Kubuntu main machine, so HowTo add not just apps but Menu Categories here?

Simon Long avatar

Off the top of my head, you need to edit /etc/xdg/menus/lxde-applications menu to add new categories – just copy and paste one that is already in there and set the category name as you want it.

Fester Bestertester avatar

Hi Simon
Found the file There was a too, so I edited that. Had to put the SD card into the Kubuntu machine and use Kate as root – how do you block-mark/copy/paste in nano? Anyway, what I did largely demolished the menus. The file seems to be some sort of cryptic HTML/SGML/XML, and I’m not conversant with that. Roll on a half-way-sane Menu Editor! No worries, but… (a bit of ‘Strine’ there). Undid the edit and all back OK :)
Where to next?

Jason avatar

Is there a way to rename something that I put on my desktop. I have Iceweasel set up as my google calendar. I was hoping I could rename it Calendar, and maybe change the icon to a Calendar icon.

Simon Long avatar

Yes, you should be able to do this. Off the top of my head – and I don’t have my Pi in front of me, so this may be slightly inaccurate – look in /home/pi/Desktop; there are a bunch of files with the extension .desktop, one for each program with an icon on the desktop. These are just plain text, so you can edit them in your editor of choice. There are entries in each one for Name and Icon – change them to whatever you want, and the icon on the desktop should change to match.

Nick avatar

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, and it wasn’t broke. You **** about with GUIs at your peril.

James Hughes avatar

Fortunately, the LXDE GUI is broken in a number of interesting ways, so we are in the clear.

But thanks for the comment. It’s always useful to have constructive critism, especially with ****’s in, because they add so much.

jbeale avatar

New GUI looks nice! The grey-on-grey CPU monitor is rather subtle, but readable on my screen.

Stephen Guy avatar

did a new install on a fresh SD card and thought I had done something wrong as the interface had changed. Maybe people used to Linux will like this but for someone with limited experience it is not helpful. I can’t do things that were straight forward on the old version. There are no programs other than the ones you have added few of which I am interested in. There is no obvious way to configure Bluetooth so I can use my BT Keyboard. The graphical interface is used by people with limited Linux experience and who are used to Windoze – there is no point in having it if it means you have to start to customise (not even sure how!) it in order to do things that were very obvious on the older version. As one person says it ain’t broke – maybe from a UI “expert” perspective it was broke but it worked for me where the new version leaves me stumped – I was getting somewhere with the PI with the old version, if it stays this way I am not sure I will continue using the PI.


Simon Long avatar

Out of interest, which programs that you used from the menu in the previous version are you not able to access now? I (along with our education team) did a careful review of programs that were in the menu, and only removed those that either didn’t work or whose function was so obscure that it seemed unlikely they would be used. If there are programs that are missing from the previous version, I can add them.

On the subject of configuring a Bluetooth keyboard, I am pretty sure there was no GUI Bluetooth utility installed on Raspbian by default, because if there had been, I would have left it in there!

Liz Upton avatar

Bluetooth: yeah, there wasn’t. Carry on.

Carl Johnson avatar

I like the look of the new desktop after spending time to reconfigure the desktop arrangement and file manager settings back to the way I had them previously. So far I only found two items that need “fixing”:
1. There is no Screen Lock button available for the panel. I used this function a lot. Like my Windows systems, I lock the screen when I’m away from them.
2. There is no way anymore to set the display preferences for the panel digital clock mouse-over display.

Simon Long avatar

You can add the screen lock back easily enough – it’s just a panel plugin. Right-click the menu bar and choose the option for “Add/remove panel items” – select the screen lock item and choose where you want it to be.

My intention in removing the unnecessary clutter from the menu bar was to simplify the appearance by removing plugins that weren’t likely to be used by all (or at least most) users. But there’s nothing preventing “power users” reinstalling any of the plugins; they are all still in the system.

Carl Johnson avatar

Simon, I’m not sure what the problem is, but the Screen Lock is not a panel applet that displays under either the “currently loaded plugins” or Available plugins” lists on either of the two Raspberry Pi systems I upgraded. The only way I can now lock my screen is to go Menu/Preferences/Screensaver/File/Lock Screen Now which is a lot more cumbersome than clicking the icon , plus when unlocking the screen the Screen Saver preferences window has to be closed. I have Bacula backups of my “old” system and maybe if I hunt around I might find the Screen Lock applet somewhere.

Simon Long avatar

Apologies, Carl – I gave you incorrect information there! Looking again, the screen lock icon is not a dedicated plug in; it is an application launch bar plugin with a screen lock application added to it.

You’ll need to create an lxde-screenlock.desktop file and add it to an app launch bar that you add to the menu bar – follow the instructions on this page –

Greg Beal avatar

In previous Wheezy release in Sept 2014, I was able to auto start applications within the Desktop by doing the following:
$ sudo nano /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE/autostart
Then adding the required program to autostart, in this example DecoderPro from JMRI
In the new Wheezy release (24/12/2014), this doesn’t want to work. Have I done something wrong or has something been changed with the new GUI?

Simon Long avatar

There is one small change with the new GUI – the default LXDE profile used for it is now called LXDE-pi rather than LXDE. Everything you describe will still work perfectly, but you need to edit the file /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE-pi/autostart instead.

Greg Beal avatar

Great news. Thanks Simon. Greg

John Davies avatar

I’ve had a few problems after adding the new desktop.First Minimal Kiosk Browser 1.6.2 would not work. I solved that problem quickly by downloading it again. Secondly my read/write USB stick is not recognised when the Pi is started. It is recognised when I take it out and then put it back in again I get the “Removable Medium is inserted” and then click on “Open In File Manager” . I can then access the USB Stick’s files but the problem reappears when I switch on the Pi again. I do not know whether the problem is being caused by using two words in titling the USB Stick and needing to put double inverted commas around them i.e. “USB DISK”

Mihai Anghel avatar

Hi guys,

I think the new UI get better and better. But I still have a question. I installed Raspbian’s image, but when I am not able to see the menu bar at the top of the screen. Has anyone encountered this problem before?

Many thanks in advance for any advice.

AndrewS avatar

Maybe the menu is being displayed off the top of your TV screen, and you need to fiddle with the overscan settings in config.txt ?

Simon Walters avatar

em-Houston we have a problem

We have this blog
We have a technical forum

I don’t know about the rest of you but I only have 24hours in the day to circle round information sources and checking blog comments isn’t very efficient

Can we direct to the forum for tech stuff and just leave the lovey dovey/its terrible stuff here

SimpleSimon :)

James Hughes avatar
Brian Bowman avatar

I love it!
I have to say it reminds my of my Atari days with a GEM desktop!

Well done and thank you :-)

aremvee avatar

More reminds me of the replacement GEM desktop, I don’t think that was NeoDesk. I think it was called ExtenDOS, the one with the folded donkey ear corner. Written by a German or Dutch crowd. Might have been a crew associated with MINT.

Bob Mallett avatar

I love it!

Really well done, it looks so much fresher than the previous interface. It feel much more RPi than we had before.

Bill Stephenson avatar

Great work Simon!

I went though this when I made the Raspberry Office Kit and ended up with something pretty close to what you have, except you’ve done a noticeably better job of it.

I know this kind of bloats up the disk image, but I’ve found these a worthwhile addition for making setting up printers a much easier process:


# sudo apt-get install cups

add lpadmin group to pi user to enable administration of printers.

# sudo usermod -a -G lpadmin pi

# sudo apt-get install cups-pdf

To access CUPS Web Based tools open epiphany and enter this URL:


Install GhostView

# sudo apt-get install gv

Install Printer Config:

# sudo apt-get install system-config-printer

This improves PDF support while CUPS and system-config-printer make adding printers very easy. “system-config-printer” is not a very descriptive name, but the UI is well designed and very easy to use.

I’m not sure you have to install all that to get it working, but this is what I ended up with after going through the process myself for the Raspberry Office Kit.

Simon Long avatar

I have CUPS installed on my Pi image, and I like it – thanks for the tip on the system-config-printer GUI; I’ll have a look at it.

etbryant avatar

Can you design into the OS a printer interface without having to deal with cups?

Jim Manley avatar

As Unofficial Resident Curmudgeon, Ubergeek, Historian of Computing in SillyCon Valley, STEM Educator, and Reminder of Why We’re Doing This, I will paraphrase the Foundation’s purpose for creating the Pi: Education. It was not developed for us hard-core geeks to perform high-end calculations at the maximum level of performance (pretty obvious, huh?), or satiate Ubernerds’ desires for The Way Things Have Always Been (which they haven’t BTW, or the Pi would be a rock if you really want to go all the way back to literally the Stone Age).

The Prime Directive is to ease students (of all ages, it turns out) into the Wonderful World of Computing – not just hardware, nor software, but in all its forms, including sensing and controlling stuff in the Real World. As Einstein put it so eloquently about the mathematics underlying his physics concepts, “Things should be as simple as possible, but no simpler.” So, every time the Foundation makes a change for the sake of the children (again, of an amazingly wide range of ages, as some behavio(u)r here indicates), don’t get upset and go stomping off Stage Left, rapidly even (as Snagglepuss would say), threatening to take all of your marbles with you. We won’t really miss you as there are now millions of Pii Out There (many of them appearing increasingly in schools with nascent support in the form of already very harried teachers), and therefore that many votes as to How Things Should Be. As that number seems to keep climbing To Infinity and Beyond, more accommodations will need to be made to Those Less Educationally Well-off Than Thou. As has been pointed out, it’s a pretty straightforward matter of copying and editing some configuration text files in order to get Things to the Way They Were.

“I complained I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.” Be careful what you wish for – you just might get it.

Bill Stephenson avatar

Jim, you old rapscallion, I’ve been missing your ramblings!

I’m with you, this work on the UI is darn sweet. The only thing I changed was putting the Wastebasket in the lower right of the desktop. I guess it’s a “Mac” thing, but I had to move it :D

I think it’s time I updated the ROK image. This will sure make it a lot easier!!!

Jim Manley avatar

Hey Bill – I’d wondered if the deer ticks had carried you off on one of your treks through the Ozarks and apologize if I’ve missed replying to e-mails. The new edumacation gig has been lots of “fun”, dealing with adminiweenies and other In-DUH-viduals bent on Keeping Things The Way They Are (He Who Touches the Cash First, Keeps the Most).

It’s become apparent to me that we need a variant of the ROK for educators – the REK, if you will (despite the homonym for “Wreck” :D ). I’m going to use the new interface as a starting point with the relevant icons for The Tools We Educators Really Need organized in folders (gee, what a concept) on the desktop, instead of a plague of icons. Yes, the trash can is going in the lower right corner where it belongs, too! When you have the ROK updated, I will probably heavily borrow from it, since you already have things like CUPS working nicely.

Keep on keepin’ on, Bruddah!

FreakHavoc avatar

Hey, nice new layout.

This has likely been suggested before, but why not add the following to the raspi-config software:
– wlan setup
– mounts setup (as in fstab file)
– camera led off

Also, in the startx gui, there should be an integrated option to move the mouse pointer with the keyboard arrow keys or similar.

Martin O'Hanlon avatar

Great work guys (and particularly Simon).

A real improvement. Much sharper.

One minor niggle, I get why you would rename IDLE and IDLE3 to Python 2 and Python , but it has created an inconsistency between the raspberry pi and every other OS and I do worry that it will create confusion ‘hang on – a school this program is called IDLE?’, why is it called ‘Python’, or where’s IDLE gone? Could an alternative be “IDLE (Python 2)” “IDLE (Python 3)”

Thanks again,

p.s. I dont like default desktop icons either :)

Clive Beale avatar

Hadn’t thought about the IDLE thing myself Martin but I agree. Not too worried about the inconsistency (we shouldn’t do what everyone else does if everyone else is wrong :)), it’s just too much of an abstraction for me. Pedagogical objection: It’s a synecdoche that interferes with the concepts / understanding of IDEs vs programming languages :D

Ian Binnie avatar

But a very important link to Eric. New users need a reminder of its inspiration.

Gert avatar

I can’t agree with that at all. When I tried to write my first Python program on the Raspberry-Pi I could not find it. (Even the Python logo was unknown to me.)
The name and logo only make sense if you already know what it is.

Clive Beale avatar

“The name and logo only make sense if you already know what it is.” As does notion of “Python”… etc etc ;)

Would you call Geany “Python” if it was on the desktop? Or call “Ninja” Python? Where do you stop? Sonic Pi called “Ruby” (or even “Digital Music”)? Mathematica called “Maths”? It’s a crazy bag of worms to call a program after what it does instead of its given name!

But if potential confusion is a genuine concern then Martin’s suggestion makes sense.

Simon Long avatar

To be honest, what I would like to do is to get rid of IDLE completely, and find a nicer Python IDE to use instead. (There is no shortage of alternatives – IDLE is a really good example of how not to design a UI – and it seems that even the author never really intended it to be much more than something to get you going before you found something better, if Wikipedia is to be believed.

I can understand the potential for confusion with people looking for IDLE and not finding it, so I’ll have a think about how I can name the menu entries, along the lines of Martin’s suggestion. But it will have to include “Python” as well as “IDLE”, as “IDLE” on its own is a completely uninformative name. (Not to mention including inappropriate capitalisation – it really ought to be IDlE, but that’s just the grammar pedant in me coming out… ;-) )

Clive Beale avatar

Completely agree about getting rid Simon — I’ve been looking at possible alternatives in the last few weeks… Chat in the new year perhaps? :)


Guenter Kreidl avatar

No, don’t play around with Idle; it’s part of every Python installation on any system (which has a GUI).

It’s not a designer’s decision.

All GUI programs installed in /usr/share/applications should appear in the application menu and also by the name defined there. Again, it’s not a designers decision, which programs are shown and which are not and how they are named.

Jim Manley avatar

Guenter – you apparently don’t understand the difference between design and engineering. What we have in most distros is the result of engineering with little, if any, thought to design, let alone being educated in design, and user-centered design specifically. There are really horrible examples of things that are put up with solely because “that’s the way we’ve always done it”. Some developers actually relish in making things arcane and difficult to create an artificial sense of superiority over others coming to the game later and that’s not just wrong, it’s evil and has no place in today’s world. It’s much more important for developers and designers to spend the time to make things as consistent and intuitive as possible than for upwards of millions of others to suffer needlessly repeating ridiculous incantations and performing uninformed manual acrobatics.

Simon Long avatar

Jim, you are clearly a man who knows what he is talking about – that is a very accurate summary of the issues with interfaces designed by software engineers.

Usability engineering / UI design is all about looking at the perspective of the end user rather than the person writing the code. Interfaces designed by code authors invariably contain usability compromises purely for the purpose of making the code easier to write, and LXDE out-of-the-box has numerous examples of this. I’m somewhat limited in how much I can change – I’m constrained by the underlying GTK and X systems – but I intend to do my best to make it something designed with usability as a priority.

John Davies avatar

I’ve had to rewrite the above since it missed out a number of words because I did not read the HTML tags and atributes information. I think I have solved more of the problems I had when I installed the new user interface. I could not access the two USBs I have The first contains media files taken from my PC and is read only while the second is a read/write one formatted for use on the Raspberry PI. An underscore symbol (_) has been added to the USB title on the Directory Tree. To download from get_iplayer. i had to change from get_iplayer –get 1947 -o /media/”USB DISK”/Downloads to get_iplayer –get 1947 -o /media/”USB DISK”_/Downloads to download a short test programme to see whether it worked or not. Is there any special reason why this underscore symbol (_) has been added to the USB title?

AndrewS avatar

Tricky problems like this are generally much easier to resolve, if you’re able to rename things to get rid of any space characters in the first place.

Sometimes underscores get added to create a new “unique name” if the original name (or directory in this case) already exists.

Jez avatar

Why move the menu bar to the top (Suspect you come from a Gnome background as also have gnome icons) should be left where >90% of computers have it, at the bottom.
If you make a dark background to everything digital clock stays black text. Raspberry logo ‘Start’ button looks cheap would be better with 3D look

Ben Nuttall avatar

Did you read the article? He did explain why it’s at the top.

Jez avatar

Yes that’s the reason that Gnome gives but it does not change the fact that the majority of computers in the world run windows which has the start menu bottom left.

Simon Long avatar

…which as I explained, was a decision Microsoft largely took to help reduce the possibility of being sued by Apple for too closely copying the MacOS look and feel (which gets it right) when they launched Windows 95. I’m not going to repeat Microsoft’s error just because they’ve got a large market share – as a UI designer, I’m going to make this UI the best I can make it; I’m not going to be compromised by what other people have got wrong – sorry!

The default location for the bar on Pi is at the top. If you don’t like it, it takes around 2 seconds to move it and never have to think about it again.

(And for what it’s worth; I don’t come from a Gnome background – I’ve had very little involvement with Linux before this; most of my career has been spent working on Windows systems, with a bit of Mac.)

Ian Binnie avatar

In general I like the improvements and simplifications, but after trying I have moved my Panel back to the bottom. I am not sure if this is possible, but I would like the Application Menu on top (á la Apple) NOT on the Application Window and the Dock on the bottom.

MOB avatar

I’ve installed the new GUI according to the instructions and rebooted. I tried to change the position of the panel to down, but it quickly jumps back up. I use resolution 720×576 (PAL) and the GUI is Swedish.

MOB avatar

I discovered if I start X as root using sudo startx I can change the position of the panel to bottom, but that only affects root and not the user pi. How can you change the panel to bottom position? I have the most updated system.

Simon Long avatar

From memory the panel position is set in the file /home/pi/.config/lxpanel/LXDE-pi/panels/panel. Check the Global section at the start of the file; the line starting ‘edge=’ should read ‘edge=bottom’.

Make sure you have the right permissions to write in that directory; save the panel file, and enter ‘lxpanelctl restart’ in a terminal window. That should force the panel to the bottom. If it moves back up, something on your system is overwriting that file…

MOB avatar

Thanks, this worked. I (pi) have writing permissions for this file and all enclosing directories. I think it is strange that I can’t change it from the existing GUI invoked using right click on the panel and choosing Panel Settings.

MOB avatar

Now it works to move the panel using the GUI, but now I have installed it using the latest NOOBS and not just upgraded the old Raspbian.

johnke7cw avatar

I want to thank Simon for all the work he has done.

Perhaps the others could write their own UI and submit to the fourms and those who wish to use it can follow the links.

I am not a power user just an appliance user and find the whole concept of Raspberry Pi facinating. I am for all education and try and expose any one interested in computers to have a look at Rpi. I don’t think that any others have come up with a better plan.

I have noticed that a number of clones have come on board and and number of evaluation kits have come down in price, some drastically. That is nice to see.

I liken Rpi to KhanAcadmey as ablolutely necessary to the education of children.

Best of Luck in the New Year.

sincerly John

buckyb avatar

Some great changes. Thanks Simon.

When upgrading the wifi, would it be possible to include the option of a static address for the RPi instead of dhcp?

Martin avatar

Hi, nice UI.

How do I save a desktop layout

matrix807 avatar

I am RaspberryPi user since 24-11-2014 ~

Sub: UI Changes is a complete mess (Sorry Simon Long) Why you are looking it as a consumer platform rather than a developers platform? RaspberryPi is a developers platform.ok.


1. All installed applications should be shown at the start menu (like the one before you made the changes to the UI). And logically, Start menu should show all the installed apps because RaspberryPi is a developers platform & not a consumers platform like android or something else… So don’t think that amateur developers will get confused. Sorting it in correct category-wise should have been done actually. U should show all webBrowsers,IDE’s,etc…

2. “Opening current folder as root” from the Tools menu was so ease to use feature. which has now been removed. It was so ease of use. & now its cumbersome to type command for that.

3. when “windowKey+D” is pressed, it allowed us to access desktop icons with keyboard itself, but after UI changes when “windowKey+D” is pressed, only start menu opens and we are not able to access desktop icons with only keyboard.

4. And warm colours should be used for UI (like Ubuntu does it) Colours should not poke ur eyes and make you blind… colours should be soothing to your eyes.(If u want to know what i mean by warm colours, try Ubuntu14.04LTS with “Forever by Shady S” wallpaper) warm colours will never harm your eyes.

James Hughes avatar

I’m afraid your initial premise is wrong. The Pi is not a development platform, its an educational platform. That means particular choices are made to help with that particular aim.

1. Prior to the changes, the start menu didn’t show all installed applications, and never has done. There are hundreds of installed apps on a Linux distro. Only a tiny percentage are actually on the menus.
2,3,4. All points that can be easily addressed if necessary. I believe better icons and graphics are underway. This is just a first go.

Jim Manley avatar

+1.0 x 10^6 to what James said about the Pi being about education first, and if others also find it useful, so much the better, but the tail can’t wag the dog. We educators are introducing computing to students as young as five and while they can eventually handle an unbelievable amount of new information, we have to ease them into it (adult students take even longer). The wonderful thing about computing is that you can tweak it to whatever purpose your imagination can conjure up, so have fun doing that as a side effort.

For those complaining about how things are, well, if you really do believe it’s a developer platform, then start really being a developer, create variants, and post them in The Cloud. Don’t just offer images though, that’s the easy way out – create scripts that execute deltas to the Foundation’s images as they will be much, much smaller to download.

Mike avatar

The reasoning for moving the panel location is completely flawed – Microsoft got it correct. Why would you want your eyes drawn to the main system menu, everytime you glance at the screen, no matter what application you are using?

I want the application I am working with in the top left hand corner. I want that application’s menu at the top of the screen.

I don’t need the taskbar/system menu taking prime screen real estate. If anything, it belongs at the bottom – out of the way – because I generally don’t care about it when working within an application – only when switching or opening.

So thanks for changing the default. I will be changing it back after any new install. #baddesign #poorusability #hci101

James Hughes avatar

Clearly, everyone has an opinion, which is why its a simple job to put the menu wherever you want it. I personally think MS got it wrong, as did Apple, but hey ho. I’m a Unity fan, there has to be one.

Kurt Dally avatar

I’m ssh X-forwarding into my pi from my laptop and the new desktop is not present, just the older version. When I use vnctightserver and vncviewer it shows up as the new.

I prefer x-forwarding, is it possible to use that method and have the new desktop?

Simon Long avatar

I suspect you are X-forwarding into the wrong profile somehow – it sounds as if your connection is accessing the old LXDE profile and not the new LXDE-pi profile. I’m not an expert in X-forwarding though…

Bill Stephenson avatar

Among all the things that Simon has done that seems to have been overlooked here, but really shouldn’t be, is that he’s made it a lot easier for us to change the UI. Perhaps a walk through of how to do some of that would be appropriate.

Simon, maybe you could do a quick and dirty “Pimp My Pi” video :D

Simon Long avatar

I will gladly do that, but not quite yet – one of the things I am hoping to get into the next release is a much simpler means of configuring and customising the desktop than the current mess of multiple preference dialog boxes and configuration files.

Once that is in, I’d hope it will become a lot more self-explanatory, but will of course provide any explanations necessary!

Joe Channing avatar

I was just wondering if I could get a graphical login. I don’t particularly like logging into a terminal. I’m kind of a security freak though so I don’t like booting straight to the GUI. It would be great if I could but if I can’t, hey-ho.


David Bower avatar

I have been playing with the new layout. At first there was no changed, but then panel at the bottom was flashing on and off, and then the icons disappeared, several reboots did nothing, same for power off.
So the took the bull by the horns and deleted the panel and then recreated it, had some problem getting it to stay at the top for a while but now all appears to be well and I have everything back.
I have several other PI’s and will be changing them to the new layout as well soon.

Nathan Law avatar

I love the new update but I have a few suggestions (please correct me If these things can be done). I made the whole top panel transparent because I think it looks much better but the menu and window boxes contrast my dark-ish wallpaper too much. I would like the ability to change the colour of the menu box as well as the background of the open windows.

Thanks for all the hard work that has been put in! I was an early adopter of the pi and Raspbian and it has been so exciting to watch everything transform.

Also, I’m loving the new browser!


Daniel Phelps avatar

I like the changes for the most part, but I would like to know how I can add icons such as Minecraft to a panel. Can anyone tell me how?

Justin Ramey avatar

Great new U/I….love the changes and I always support the Pi! One question though…is there a way to change the clock format to 12 hour from 24 hour? Thanks for the time and keep up the good work!

Simon Long avatar

Yes, there is, but it’s not 100% satisfactory yet…

You need to edit the file /home/pi/.config/lxpanel/LXDE-pi/panels/panel. Near the bottom of the file is a clock settings section, which sets the clock format to “%R”. If you change the %R to %I:%M, you will get a 12 hour clock, but without an AM/PM indicator. You can add the AM/PM indicator by putting a %P on the end of the string, but you won’t currently see it as the clock display is hard-coded to a fixed width at the moment. (The reasons for this are very tedious – it shouldn’t be necessary – but in order to get the clock to scale properly vertically with the size of the menu bar, I’ve had to modify the sizing code, and I have not yet worked out how to get it to automatically resize in the x direction. Like many things in the GTK toolkit, what ought to work doesn’t, and I haven’t yet found the workaround that does!)

I’m going to look further at the clock plug-in in the new year and see if I can get it to behave itself properly…

Justin avatar

Thank you for the answer and keep up the good work man…looking forward to seeing what comes next!

Jim avatar

Is there anyway to get my question regarding the clock settings being reset and the digital clock settings being greyed out approved and hopefully answered, or are you only approving posts that fit your pre-defined agenda?

I THOUGHT this was a PUBLIC project, but refusing to post a comment because it points out an egregious failure in your work is more akin to Apple than it is to an open project.

I guess Pi is just becoming a commercial enterprise with no concern for it’s users that refuse to walk in lock-step with them. Truly a shame, but there are others out there will gladly take every penny that people would normally spend on Pi.

Simon Long avatar

If you look in the comments to the other blog post where you have raised this issue, you will see that I have already responded there.

And as for Pi becoming a “commercial enterprise” – where on earth do you get that idea? I can assure you I have no great corporate sponsors who have commissioned me to change the UI to their instructions – such an idea is ludicrous given the community ethos of Pi.

As an aside, do you really think that this small change to the UI is deserving of a reaction quite as vehement and vitriolic as the one you are currently displaying on here? It’s not some great conspiracy; Pi is a small group of people who are trying to do good things. Not all of them will be popular with everyone – such is life. You can’t please everyone all the time…

Eric avatar

Jim – if you think that it’s OK to post angry, conspiratorial rants like this just because you didn’t get an immediate and personalized reply to your question then I for one would be pleased if you DID go and give your pennies to someone else.

The Raspberry Pi community is one of the friendliest and most helpful tech/maker communities in the world and is refreshingly free of false outrage, self-entitlement and BS. Let’s keep it that way.

Great new UI BTW Simon, thanks for all the hard work!

Simon Long avatar

Thank you, Eric, and thank you to everyone else who has taken the time to post comments and constructive criticism. I’ve been genuinely overwhelmed by the response to the redesign (in a good way!) and I’m looking forward to you all seeing what will be coming in the next releases.

Happy New Year to all!

Micha avatar

Looks cool, going to test tomorrow. Taskbar is not themeable/color not changeable? Hopefully comes in future.

And now, Mesa-driver and some more cool games please ;)
Ah, and Tabs for the new browser would be also cool!

Simon Long avatar

The colour themes can all be changed as before via the preference dialogs for OpenBox, LXPanel and LXSession. I’m also working on simplifying the interface for this so people only need to look in one place to customise the entire interface, as it is a bit of a mess at present.

Micha avatar

(not to forget, hopefully the existing hardware-accelerated Vlc-player will also find its way preinstalled to OS or to the repos^^)
Regarding the ´others´menu: that was a thing I asked my since I first had contact to Pi and Linux…never understood until today :) 1 time really is enough. Maybe helpful in a hidden place, to recover something fast if you lost symbol for example – but definately not necessary as a complete menu-point.

Simon Long avatar

I’m very keen to get a media player of some sort into the standard image; not sure if it will be VLC yet, but rest assured there will be one added in a future release.

Rubber131186 avatar

How do I Open current folder as root with this new UI?
How come I cant change the digital clock settting? I used to have it display 12h like 03:30 PM by tweeking some box to %I:%M %p

drew avatar

I understand “Open current folder as root” was removed from newer versions of PCManFM. You can still do this by using ‘Tools > Run a command in current folder’ and then typing “gksudo pcmanfm %1”. That’s so much more user friendly, don’t you think?

Digital clock settings can be changed by editing the config file at ~/.config/lxpanel/LXDE-pi/panels/panel. Near the bottom there are some settings (look for ‘dclock’). After changing, open a terminal and type ‘lxpanelctl restart’.

matrix_807 avatar

@ Simon Long

It would be great if you add these following features:

1. we should be able to open a folder or files with single click instead of double clicks.(like its done in all Puppy Linux & also give option of changing it to double clicking).

2. @ all developers – please give 1 proper web browser so that website can work properly(maybe not flawlessly but atleast reasonably.). OR co-ordinate with codecademy maker to fix this. Not that i am begging for this feature but is a very helpful site where a great purpose of raspberrypi users is solved i.e learning programming.()

Martin Angove avatar

I have come to like single-click launching as an OpenSuse/KDE user, but it took a lot of getting used-to and is non-intuitive for most new users. My own observation of “non technical” computer users (family, friends, colleagues) shows that many of them actually double-click on HTML links within web pages, even though a single-click is what is required.

The worst thing about single-click on my OpenSuse boxes is that it is not consistent. In particular file-choice dialogue boxes(*) vary from application to application with some of them using single-clicks while others need double-clicks. I suppose this depends on which toolkit they are built with.



(*)File dialogue boxes are another of my pet hates of all common OSes, much prefering the RiscOS way of mediating all file accesses through the filer.

EastgateAndy avatar

Am finding the passion about the position of the Taskbar great fun, I was using Amiga before Windows95 came along and found the Windows decision really jarring, but got used to it eventually until it felt ‘normal’ just because that was where it was.

Anyone else remember the bittuer AmigaMUI war ;-)

Off-topic, but really enjoying using the Pi, every day. Just spent £6 on another microSD card and now have a terrific XBMC working (all installed without a 2nd PC). Having fun with a computer again!

Simon Long avatar

You make a very good point – those of us who remember the release of Windows 95 can possibly also remember the global cry of “why did they do that?” when they saw the start button in the bottom left corner. Not to mention the fact that you had to press the “Start” button to turn the computer off…

Martin Angove avatar

Or drag a floppy disc / CD to the “wastebin” to eject it in MacOS. At least OSX changed this behaviour slightly.



MOB avatar

Before you had 2 desktops that you could switch between. Is it possible to add this feature back? I could not find it.

Alan avatar

If you open ‘Window Settings’ from the Menu/Preferences then it’ll open the openbox configuration manager. Then go to the Desktop tab and make sure the number of desktops is set to 2.
Afterwards, right click on the panel and select Panel Settings to open panel preferences. Go to the Panel Applets tab and select +Add and then add the Desktop Pager.

MOB avatar

Thanks! It worked!

ebrobotic avatar

Love the new GUI, but I tried installing luvcview, which is in the other menu area of Raspbian 1.3.10, but it did not show up in this version. Also does this version allow for remote access? I have two posts in the forum on these.

Zach Thompson avatar

It’s different than what I am used to, but I think I am going to like it.

piperson avatar

Is this new interface creating a lot more errors in
~/.xsession-errors ? I run iotop frequently to make sure
I dont have uneeded writes to the SD card, and noticed a lot of writes to xession errors. However I did do a dist-upgrade after a long time, so the change might not be ui related.
Making the .xession-errors file unwritable seems to solve the problem. My usual logs are on a tmpfs

Said avatar

How do I get the new GUI? Can it be done without reformatting the SD card?

Guenter Kreidl avatar

Following up in what ebrobotic has said.

Simon, what does happen with applications that don’t fit into any of your predefined categories (assuming they have the proper desktop files installed in /usr/share/applications)?

If they don’t appear in the application menu, I consider this to be a severe bug.

Simon Long avatar

The only category that has been removed from the menu is Other; all other categories that were in the original Raspbian menu are still present and will appear if an application which lists them in its .desktop file is added.

If an application is only categorised to appear as “Other”, I’d suggest this ought to be changed – filing anything under a catch-all category like that is not helpful to the user.

If you really want it, you can reinstate the Other category by adding it back into the file in /etc/xdg/menus, either manually with a text editor or by installing a menu editor, but I’d suggest that the right thing to do is to add a sensible category to the application’s .desktop file.

I’m considering including a graphical menu editor in future releases, assuming I can find one that works well.

MOB avatar

I tested LXMEd when I first got my Pi and now again, Now it seems to show an other menu than what is used. This is strange.

Andy avatar

Oh, well done, Sir!
-now all I’ve gotta do is figure out why raspi-config won’t let me change my keyboard anymore…lets me change language to Finnish, but not KB…
And I’m not really a ‘noob’

AndrewS avatar

Perhaps you should create an issue?

pauli avatar

great work from you guys!

drew avatar

I use a black wallpaper and I would like the task bar to blend in better. It looks like the “Appearance” tab of the lxpanel’s “Panel Settings” ought to allow for this, but it seems font settings here have no effect. So I have black text on a dark bar… not very readable. I want to change the text to a light color.

On one of my older rpi’s, I can change the text color with the lxappearance utility (‘Customize look and feel’). The ‘Normal window’ text color changes the text on the taskbar. Which I guess would be great if my taskbar was the same color as normal windows. Not so great otherwise.

Simon Long avatar

I’m already looking at improving how to set colours as part of trying to tidy up the current multitude of dialogs which affect the appearance of various interface elements. There are going to be some constraints due to the way some parts of the UI use themes, but I’m going to see what I can do. Watch this space…

MW avatar

Great new UI, but it seems an awful lot of work…

LXDE will be replaced by LXQT eventually

Raspbian Wheezy will become Jessie

Surely the time and energy would of been better spent on Raspbian Jessie and Wayland DE ?

Would someone from the RPF care to comment why this short term redesign ??

I am not whingeing, just trying to understand why !!

ShiftPlusOne avatar

Transferring these improvements over to LXQT and Jessie would be trivial. Why focus on software that’s stable and currently used? If that question doesn’t answer itself…

MW avatar

Seem to have missed my point, just asking why Jessie and Wayland have not had these resources thrown at them

Jessie and Wayland are both “”usable””

James Hughes avatar

Wayland is on the back burner whilst the browser is worked on – more people are wanting a fast browser and improvements there have a bigger impact. There is also the work being done by Eric Anholt on MESA that may influence where future effort is expended. There is a limited amount of money and manpower available, and the biggest improvement/lowest hanging fruit, is getting LXDE to a very usable state for users.

MW avatar

Thank you for reply, that is what I expected but just wanted confirmation, it seems like a good plan and do realise that the latest and greatest is not always the best option, but a transition to a Jessie base with newer packages would be welcome.

Well done RPF !

Simon Long avatar

James has said pretty much everything I would have done! The only thing I’d add is that I’m not aware of any particular timetable for LXQT being fully integrated with and supported by Debian, and Raspbian is lagging Debian by a couple of generations anyway. Yes, we might move to LXQT in the future, but it’s too early to think about doing so yet.

Some of the Jessie packages are now integrated with this release of Raspbian – we are now using the latest PCmanFM and LXPanel, for example. Others will be integrated in future releases as and when they are useful and/or stable enough in the Raspbian environment.

Peter Green avatar

(Posting this as a reply to the parent of simons comment since this stupid discussion plugin seems to have a thread depth limit)

“Raspbian is lagging Debian by a couple of generations anyway.”

I take exception to this statement. Raspbian wheezy is doing a very good job of keeping up with Debian wheezy and likewise raspbian jessie is doing a very good job of keeping up with Debian jessie. There are a handful of packages where we are behind but nothing lxde related afaict.

Having said that it doesn’t look like lxqt is in Debian yet. So unless the raspberry pi foundation choose to ship their own lxqt packages it looks like we will be keeping the gtk based lxde for the next couple of years.

Simon Long avatar

Apologies, Peter – no offence was intended.

However, Raspbian Wheezy is the standard release offered in NOOBS, not Jessie, and various LXDE-related packages are out of date in that at the moment. For example, in order to get various bug fixes and improved functionality, I’ve had to bring both lxpanel and pcmanfm up to date.

David Tarrant avatar

Great work Simon.

I’ve just read all the comments in one session. What a fascinating overview of the intricacies of UI design. The lesson here is that we are dealing with a complex system of interdependent modules and the more you try to automate UI configuration options, the more complex the system becomes and the greater the system resources required.

It made me realise what a fine job Canonical has done with its Unity desktop which, although I’m now a senior citizen, I am now comfortable with.

One point no-one else has mentioned regarding the issue of icons on the desktop, is that the many users have been acclimatised to constellations of app icons icons by their smartphones and tablets. However, Simon has already explained how easy it is to add icons to the desktop if so desired.

I would class that as tinkering. You can use Raspbian as the foundation for creating you own re-spin. This is what’s been happening in PC Linux land and why there are 150 different distros to choose from. I suspect this may come as a surprise to dyed-in-the-wool Windows enthusiasts.

Now to help my grandson tinker with Raspbian.

Happy nw year evefyone.

Simon Long avatar

“A complex system of interdependent modules” is a very good summary of LXDE!

For example, at present, making a visual change consistent across the whole desktop can require changes in up to four different configuration dialogs, which is really not convenient for the user. I am hoping that it will be possible to unify a lot of the most commonly used settings in one place – work is ongoing on this, and initial results suggest it ought to be possible; or at least better than it is now…

kapil saraswat avatar

Great work Simon. It is a good experience to work with new UI. Still there is some improvement is required. I am pointing two things here, for your consideration:
1. Internet proxy setting must be included in the network connection. It is too tedious to set the proxy setting.
2. Interactive program manager is included in such a way that user can easily install or uninstall the program based on user requirement.


ghp avatar

slight inconsistency:
When deleting a desktop icon, the context menu entry is ‘Move to Trash’, the confirm message then is ‘do you want … to rubbish bin’, and then it is found in ‘Wastebasket’ on desktop. Three words for the same thing.

Kaiden Prince avatar

And bring back the others category too please.

Ben Nuttall avatar

The user has the choice of where to put the taskbar. You can choose to move it back yourself.

Simon explained why he removed miscellaneous applications from the menu.

David Rolfe avatar

Just a general question really, but do you have any idea yet when we can expect the next ‘NOOBS’ (or Raspbian) update?

Thanks! :)

Liz Upton avatar

We’ll likely have one before the Pi turns three at the end of February.

David Rolfe avatar

Thanks for the info Liz!

Hard to believe that it is nearly three years since we were all eagerly awaiting delivery of this new ‘thing’ called a Raspberry Pi… and baby, just look a it now. :)

I must say that the release of the B+ has rekindled my interest, and now that the available operating systems have improved so much, I will look forward even more to the next update.

thomas Ginell avatar

With the new GUI the MENU BAR does not display at all when running the pi remote using ssh -X … (using X11 on OS X) everything seems to work though, except the menu bar is gone. No X11 settings seems to matter.
The “old” version displayed same as a local screen.
Have not tested using Putty and Xming on Windows yet, but I assume this is related to the GUI or?


Thomas Ginell avatar

Some more info:
Startlxde: you se no menu the trash can is on the desk
lxsession: you see no meny, trash can is not there either (I can make a new folder on the desktop though and that one shows)

Thomas Ginell avatar

Same result with Putty+Xming on W7/Thomas

Simon Long avatar

Are you sure you are connected to the new session LXDE-pi rather than the old LXDE session?

Rich Clemens avatar

Very please with the new user interface – a great update and great to use!

Jim avatar

You can disparage my concerns all you want, it still remains true that a system that takes something as common as configuring the clock from a simple process to one that requires you to now edit a config file is a step BACKWARDS not FORWARDS.

Rapsberry Pi is supposed to be aimed at newcomers, not veterans. Expecting someone new to Linux to have to ferret out an obscure config file simply to adjust the clock is 100% ANTI-INTUITIVE.

It’s saddens me to see that dissenting attitudes are met with childish diatribes rather than taking the time to actually try and UNDERSTAND the concern that is expressed.

MANY great ideas have suffered a premature death merely through such an attitude.

Considering that the clock is probably one of the FIRST THINGS that many people configure on their system, removing the NORMAL MANNER of accomplishing such a task and burying it in a config file is something that should have been elucidated from the very beginning.

Simon Long avatar

The clock plugin on standard LXDE is broken. For example, no thought has been given to the width of the field varying if you use a font which has different width digit characters – if you use such a font, the clock will change in width as the time changes, and everything else on the taskbar will shuffle backwards and forwards at the same time. You also can’t right-align the clock display, which is a fundamental requirement for something which is at the right hand end of the taskbar by default. This is bad aesthetic design, and I was not prepared to make it easy to change the clock in such a fashion that it would look bad; hence the settings were disabled (and a font with constant width numbers used by default) until I could address this properly. (And as for the clock settings dialog containing an instruction to consult the man page for strftime in order to be able to change the format in any way – words fail me…)

I have just spent several days working on the clock plugin to make it behave properly. It’s still not perfect, as the completely unlimited range of settings offered make it impossible to correctly align the text in all circumstances, but it is a lot better than it was. There will, therefore, be an update coming which restores the clock config settings, and actually makes it work rather better than it did in LXDE before.

And btw, I completely disagree with your suggestion that the clock is one of the first things that people configure on a system – beyond perhaps switching between 12 and 24 hour mode, most users simply accept the default and never change it. (Certainly not when doing so requires reading the manual entry for strftime – this alone is going to have put off 95% of RasPi users from changing the clock settings.) It is likely that the clock config dialog will be replaced at some point with one which throws away the vastly over-complicated strftime stuff and simply offers a simple set of radio buttons for common choices; anyone who is knowledgeable enough to be able to understand the strftime manual entry should be competent enough in the use of a text editor to change a config file if they want more customisation.

Please bear in mind that UI design is about making life easy for the majority of users, not catering for every individual choice. It is far more desirable to make a sensible decision about a suitable default configuration that suits most people than to offer unlimited customisability for every circumstance.

Jim avatar

I hate harping on the the clock, but I really cannot wrap my mind around disabling the clock controls. My comment regarding a commercial enterprise arises from the fact that removing clocks ettigns is something that I would only accept from a commercial enterpirse, not a community-driven one.

Ultimately, I think the new gui is great, but I still believe that when any functionality is removed as part of an update, that should be clearly dilineated right up front, along with an explanation of where that functionality can now be found.

Due to my use scenario I am forced to have a very specific clock configuration, and when that was taken away with no ready explanation it forced me to begin thinking that the THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS (notpennies, thank you very much Eric) that I had invested in Raspberry Pi was being thrown out the window.

ghp avatar

I am booting raspbian directly into lxde, using raspi-config setup.
During installation of my systems, I create a user ‘root’ for system administration. I do not change settings for user ‘pi’.
Now, when starting LXTerminal from task bar, the user reported is ‘root’. This is not as expected. In the old setup,the user was ‘pi’.

Is it possible to change this to have ‘pi’ as lxterminal user ? I would not like to have the kids in my school course to have root access by default.

Thank you

ghp avatar

root in lxde-terminal: false error report. Is a vncserver issue which I used to run the session. When working on pi directly, no problem, it is user ‘pi’ as expected.

Steven P avatar

Re the topic ‘menu bar at top or bottom of the screen’ – I was told by a physiotherapist that looking down is much less strain on the neck muscles than looking up. Looking up also reduces bloodflow to the brain substantially.

Using my desktop monitor I must admit I myself find it much more relaxing looking down to the bottom of the screen than looking level to the top of the screen. Worth keeping in mind if you suffer from neck/back problems or headaches at the PC… Any comment Simon?
(p.s. I do think you have done a great job on the interface, nevertheless!)

James Hughes avatar

This could explain why I spend so much time looking about 30cm below womens faces. It a neck muscle thing, with added benefit of blood flow to the brain and other places! Excellent. I’ll use that next time up in court.

Bill Waggener avatar

I hate to belabour this issue but I was successful in updating my B+ to the new GUI and I liked it. However, when I did the exact thing to an older B model it seemed to install but, in the end, the older GUI remained unchanged. During the reboot it seemed to be the same but nothing changed. Perhaps I misunderstood some of the comments which solved the problem by installing a new ïmage—I thought that upgrading (sudo apt-get dist-upgrade) created a new image. Does this mean that I have to reimage the SD card or replace it with a new card?

Neil Matthews avatar

Hey Simon,

I seem to have lost the option to change the mouse double click interval which was present under mouse & keyboard settings in the old gui. I’ve always found the default setting too short.

Otherwise, a nice cleanup.



Billy avatar

I found the bit where the cpu graph can display in %, what I can’t find is how to turn it back to green again, the light grey on slightly lighter grey is hard to see with my aging eyesight.

Simon Long avatar

Wait for the next release, which should be out in the next few weeks – I’ve added the ability to set the foreground and background colour in the CPU monitor to whatever you want.

Jan Blomqvist Kinander avatar

This is pure nonsens:
“Apple got it right and Microsoft got it wrong”
“the first place you instinctively look in a UI is the top left corner”
Tell me, when you work with a computer, do you work with the menu or the software that you install? The system-menu is just for starting the applications not for working with the applications.
It is just a question about being used to things.
When I search for the fan control in the car I don’t start top left, I know it is in the console in the middle, I habitually look in the middle, I’m used to it.
You probably used to mac or linux and you like it better, it’s habitual for you, hence the change.

Micha avatar

@Jan Blomquist Kinander:
Where is the problem?
” if you prefer the menu bar at the bottom, feel free to move it back there; just right-click the menu bar and choose a new position in the Geometry tab of Panel Settings.”!

@Simon: And please DONT´T change the click-behaviour of icons like Matrix said – double-click to open them is ok!! Or maybe changeable by the user to one-click-and-open – but I personally prefer a doubleclick! Otherwise I am sure I would open them often, even if I only move them, what a horror… ;)

Jan Blomqvist Kinander avatar

I didn’t say it’s a problem, just that the logic is off.

– I don’t instnctively look in the top left to find things just because I start to read form top left.
– And even if that was true, the important things needed in a computer is the applications not the system menu, hence it’s no reason to let the system menu obscure the view for the applications menu.
– It’s about being used to things not what’s logic.

I have a question/wish though, is there a way to set this in the installation? I don’t want to have to spend time changing settings for every installation made.

Ian Robinson avatar

The colorful tratment is attractive but I would prefer to be able to read the text. Whoever thought light grey on white was a clever idea? How about white on black or the old video terminal choices of orange on black or green on black? I am fortunate to be able to reverse my image to enhance contrast.

Simon Long avatar

Where is light grey text used on white? The default is black text on a light grey background for both desktop and menu bar, as shown in the screenshots above – most people should find that perfectly readable. (To quote Spinal Tap, I’m wondering how much more black I could make the text, and I think the answer is “none – none more black”…)

Micha avatar

Another suggestion:
Today I’ve done a fresh install…and trying since hours(!) to configure the screen-size….and its still bad! And I dont know why :(

Have a 40″-TV with 1080i, startup and everything is fine – but fonts and everything is much to small if you sit 2 meters away. So I try to configure it via config.txt to 720p – and the horror begins…

I am sure it was not so hard before! Now ive managed to fit screensize through overscan (after ~10 reboots….) – but now I realize, that fonts and so on in the browser here is fine – but not on desktop itself! All the buttons and so on are much too large – I am not able to see or press the buttons down in the Openbox-config for example, the window is too large for the screen! Whats going on there? And I cant move it up more…

In short words: its totally frustrating to setup 720p on my (almost new) 1080i-TV. Hopefully that will be made much easier in future anyhow!

Micha avatar

Some more suggestions:
– # overscan_scale=1 definately should be in config.txt in my opinion
– font size 12 (every) is too large for 720p, 11 is much better
– panel:setup: enty panel-appearance, in it font size is changeable – for what? Couldn figure out any difference if I change. Color, too. No function?
– any way to make symbol size of taskbar independent from menu-entrys?
-openbox: If I open explorer and any menu there, there seems to be the font, I’ve selected in openbox-theme-window. But for what are the entrys in openbox-appearance-config? There I can change font for window-active, inactive, menu-button, menu-entry and so on…but for me it seems, that only the functions “active-and inactive- window-title” have a function. The rest seems to be shown in the font, i’ve selected at theme-selection, and not the font selected here. Confusing…

Micha avatar

Now I am very disappointed, nothing seems to work like before:
Configured my design a bit (chosen a wallpaper and added temp, weather and cpu-frequ to taskbar), done update+upgrade+raspi-update, reboot (after that and startx taskbar was blinking often alredy but it started, so I thought it maybe is normal after that update-´orgy´), then installed Openoffice and ScummVM through sudo apt-get update and scummvm. After a reboot I tried to run ´scummvm´ from console (without startx (another problem: ScummVM is not possible fullscreen in X, but that was also same before I reinstalled everything) – blackscreen, ScummVM does not open.

Then I turned power off and on again, console started normal again – but now I am not able to startx anymore:

Taskbar is only flickering. After exit back to console (strg+alt+back) I see alot of errors:

***glibc detected *** lxpanel: free(): invalid next size (normal/fast): (hundrets of cryptic adresses) ***

Aaargh….hours of work and then this?

Seems Raspbian needs lots(!) of more work…….

nicolas avatar

Thanks a lot Simon. Some PLUS:
(I’m french, a rare species here, and a former UI designer for Eureka ECMA PCTE, a European Eclipse’like…)

What about BeOS and Web UI? :

– screens are now wide…
while documents and web pages are verticals: I agree with a former comment a menu should be vertically positioned to leave as much place as possible to the “data”, not the “tools”.

– Web IS the universal world:
Now for info/data, tomorrow for tools. And Web pages UI are on the top (thanks then to have followed it (and not the Mac ;D))

– BeOS made it great with “tabs”, not “bars”:
what do you think about making the general purpose bar -and any windows tabs- just a “tab”, therefore leaving much more space to the rest, and showing the “general purpose” (or “RasPi”) menu as the first (main) tab?
Google made this with Chrome, and its success shows everyone liked this way too…
(and… no “windows vs mac” comment anymore ;D : it’s now “Web like” and noone will get confused nor against it!)

– One or two click to launch an app? Web again: one click?

Forget about Mac, Windows, Ubuntu… : today our OS is the Web. You love consistency, so let’s be consistent with the Web (no one in the Pi community can change the web pages UI so let’s adapt ourselves to it:) , from menu to clicks and so on.


David Parry avatar

Brilliant work. The new UI struck me immediately as incredibly rational.


Dart Gar avatar

It seems that pulseaudio 9.15 is not available for this newer version Raspbian. I can no longer send audio via bluetooth.

Andrew/ avatar

I have an interesting problem. I have two SD cards, the older image with the menu button at the bottom and everything works fine. The second image with the menu button at the top and the mouse does not work within x and dmesg shows the mouse disconnecting every minute or so. Everything is the same except for the SD card image.

has anyone else encountered this problem?

Brett avatar

I am puzzled as to why installed packages do not show up in the menu any more, and there is no intuitive way to add them. I am not a *nix guru, and am not familiar with menu editors or the config file maze.

Any thought as to adding a native menu editor? Or restoring the adding of packages to the menu?

Dave avatar

Quite disappointed. Having got used to the Raspberry Pi B+ for months, I now find that everything I learned about the UI has changed. And I’m afraid, not for the better.

How am i supposed to customize the menu?
How am I supposed to launch a Root Shell?
How am I supposed to access all those Applications you deemed “unnecessary”

Please give us a way to go back to the previous layout. I was so looking forward to my Quad-Pi but now I’m stuck with a seriously inferior interface :(

Andrew/ avatar

Can’t you just download an older image? Then don’t do apt-get upgrade.

Dave avatar

No – despite what all the online instructions say – upgrading an old image to work on a new Quad Pi DOES NOT WORK!

The Quad Pi will either crash at the “coloured square” or if at all lucky, will start to boot Linux but then fail with so many errors its not possible to see them all.

Very poor upgrade path – very disappointed!

James Hughes avatar

And yet it has worked for an awful lot of people already….so, and I repeat your caps, YES IT DOES WORK.

So, some debugging needed in your particular case, rather that be prematurely disappointed. Try with a new card to see if the Pi2 is actually working OK first….

Dave avatar

Haha ok sorry for the caps but am very frustrated!

Have tried: New Latest Image on New Card. Pi2 Boots fine.
Tried: 2 x Old Images from working Pi B+ – Upgraded both firmware and linux as per online instructions – Does not boot.

Tried booting Rpi1 with an Rpi2 Image – again so many errors its not funny.

What can I possibly be doing wrong?

I thought the point of a “Compatible” Pi2 was that we could take an SD card from one and boot another. (Yes I appreciate they will all need some form of update) Or am I getting this totally wrong and the 2 Pi’s just aren’t bootable off the same image as a Pi1?

As for why i want to use an old image:

The new “Desktop” may look pretty, but is lacking so many important things:

Can’t “Lock” my Pi unless I logout completely
Missing Menu Options (eg IDLE)
Can’t configure Menu
– Missing “System menu”
– Missing “Root Terminal”
Can’t use “Windows Key + Number” to switch Desktop Pager any more

I’m no linux expert and I have no idea how to restore all these basic things.

This is all after just a few hours of playing :(

And top top it all off the RPi.GPIO library doesn’t recognize the Pi2 – I’m aware there are “hacks” but this is so crucial it just feels as though its all been a bit rushed and isn’t as “compatible” as we’re all led to believe.

Hence the disappointment :(

Looking forward to many software fixes in the very near future!

Clive Beale avatar

You’d be better off asking on the forums

Peter Kane avatar

Hi all, I entered the following commands following a tutorial to make my old Pi image usable on the new version 2 Pi but received an error at the last step

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade
apt-get dist-upgrade
apt-get install raspberrypi-ui-mods

E: unable to locate package raspberrypi-ui-mods

any ideas ?

James Hughes avatar

Can you post on the forums – more likely to get a response.

Tom Coughlan avatar

Hi All,
In File Manager in the new Raspian User Interface how do I ‘open current folder as Root’?

zlot avatar

I’ve been googling my brains out for the last couple hours – and I’m GOOD at it – but have been unable to find out how to change the appearance of the display clock in Raspbian. When I click the clock, I get a calander ONLY, with no option to set parameters for showing days, seconds….. whatever. Why can’t I do this? Isn’t there some nice command line I can use. So far I’ve come up with nothing that works in Rasbpian….I feel I GOT to be missing something obvious here…..

CJ Bevacqua avatar

where can i download this!!

Brenden avatar

Great work!!! Before, I had the original LXDE desktop on my raspberry pi and it was ok. After I accidently uninstalled everything off my sd card, I wanted to get raspian back. I reinstalled it, and I looked at it and it looked great! Much better than before.

t1 avatar

i want maynard! when’s it coming? maynard looks great (and i think i saw mcafee virus protection in the demo…)

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