Stretch for PCs and Macs, and a Raspbian update

Today, we are launching the first Debian Stretch release of the Raspberry Pi Desktop for PCs and Macs, and we’re also releasing the latest version of Raspbian Stretch for your Pi.

Raspberry Pi Desktop Stretch splash screen

For PCs and Macs

When we released our custom desktop environment on Debian for PCs and Macs last year, we were slightly taken aback by how popular it turned out to be. We really only created it as a result of one of those “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” conversations we sometimes have in the office, so we were delighted by the Pi community’s reaction.

Seeing how keen people were on the x86 version, we decided that we were going to try to keep releasing it alongside Raspbian, with the ultimate aim being to make simultaneous releases of both. This proved to be tricky, particularly with the move from the Jessie version of Debian to the Stretch version this year. However, we have now finished the job of porting all the custom code in Raspbian Stretch to Debian, and so the first Debian Stretch release of the Raspberry Pi Desktop for your PC or Mac is available from today.

The new Stretch releases

As with the Jessie release, you can either run this as a live image from a DVD, USB stick, or SD card or install it as the native operating system on the hard drive of an old laptop or desktop computer. Please note that installing this software will erase anything else on the hard drive — do not install this over a machine running Windows or macOS that you still need to use for its original purpose! It is, however, safe to boot a live image on such a machine, since your hard drive will not be touched by this.

We’re also pleased to announce that we are releasing the latest version of Raspbian Stretch for your Pi today. The Pi and PC versions are largely identical: as before, there are a few applications (such as Mathematica) which are exclusive to the Pi, but the user interface, desktop, and most applications will be exactly the same.

For Raspbian, this new release is mostly bug fixes and tweaks over the previous Stretch release, but there are one or two changes you might notice.

File manager

The file manager included as part of the LXDE desktop (on which our desktop is based) is a program called PCManFM, and it’s very feature-rich; there’s not much you can’t do in it. However, having used it for a few years, we felt that it was perhaps more complex than it needed to be — the sheer number of menu options and choices made some common operations more awkward than they needed to be. So to try to make file management easier, we have implemented a cut-down mode for the file manager.

Raspberry Pi Desktop Stretch - file manager

Most of the changes are to do with the menus. We’ve removed a lot of options that most people are unlikely to change, and moved some other options into the Preferences screen rather than the menus. The two most common settings people tend to change — how icons are displayed and sorted — are now options on the toolbar and in a top-level menu rather than hidden away in submenus.

The sidebar now only shows a single hierarchical view of the file system, and we’ve tidied the toolbar and updated the icons to make them match our house style. We’ve removed the option for a tabbed interface, and we’ve stomped a few bugs as well.

One final change was to make it possible to rename a file just by clicking on its icon to highlight it, and then clicking on its name. This is the way renaming works on both Windows and macOS, and it’s always seemed slightly awkward that Unix desktop environments tend not to support it.

As with most of the other changes we’ve made to the desktop over the last few years, the intention is to make it simpler to use, and to ease the transition from non-Unix environments. But if you really don’t like what we’ve done and long for the old file manager, just untick the box for Display simplified user interface and menus in the Layout page of Preferences, and everything will be back the way it was!

Raspberry Pi Desktop Stretch - preferences GUI

Battery indicator for laptops

One important feature missing from the previous release was an indication of the amount of battery life. Eben runs our desktop on his Mac, and he was becoming slightly irritated by having to keep rebooting into macOS just to check whether his battery was about to die — so fixing this was a priority!

We’ve added a battery status icon to the taskbar; this shows current percentage charge, along with whether the battery is charging, discharging, or connected to the mains. When you hover over the icon with the mouse pointer, a tooltip with more details appears, including the time remaining if the battery can provide this information.

Raspberry Pi Desktop Stretch - battery indicator

While this battery monitor is mainly intended for the PC version, it also supports the first-generation pi-top — to see it, you’ll only need to make sure that I2C is enabled in Configuration. A future release will support the new second-generation pi-top.

New PC applications

We have included a couple of new applications in the PC version. One is called PiServer — this allows you to set up an operating system, such as Raspbian, on the PC which can then be shared by a number of Pi clients networked to it. It is intended to make it easy for classrooms to have multiple Pis all running exactly the same software, and for the teacher to have control over how the software is installed and used. PiServer is quite a clever piece of software, and it’ll be covered in more detail in another blog post in December.

We’ve also added an application which allows you to easily use the GPIO pins of a Pi Zero connected via USB to a PC in applications using Scratch or Python. This makes it possible to run the same physical computing projects on the PC as you do on a Pi! Again, we’ll tell you more in a separate blog post this month.

Both of these applications are included as standard on the PC image, but not on the Raspbian image. You can run them on a Pi if you want — both can be installed from apt.

How to get the new versions

New images for both Raspbian and Debian versions are available from the Downloads page.

It is possible to update existing installations of both Raspbian and Debian versions. For Raspbian, this is easy: just open a terminal window and enter

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

It is slightly more complex for the PC version, as the previous release was based around Debian Jessie. You will need to edit the files /etc/apt/sources.list and /etc/apt/sources.list.d/raspi.list, using sudo to do so. In both files, change every occurrence of the word “jessie” to “stretch”. When that’s done, do the following:

sudo apt-get update 
sudo dpkg --force-depends -r libwebkitgtk-3.0-common
sudo apt-get -f install
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo apt-get install python3-thonny
sudo apt-get install sonic-pi=2.10.0~repack-rpt1+2
sudo apt-get install piserver
sudo apt-get install usbbootgui

At several points during the upgrade process, you will be asked if you want to keep the current version of a configuration file or to install the package maintainer’s version. In every case, keep the existing version, which is the default option. The update may take an hour or so, depending on your network connection.

As with all software updates, there is the possibility that something may go wrong during the process, which could lead to your operating system becoming corrupted. Therefore, we always recommend making a backup first.

Enjoy the new versions, and do let us know any feedback you have in the comments or on the forums!


Andrew avatar

Should “Today, we are launching the first Debian Stretch release of the Raspberry Pi Desktop for Windows and macOS,” and the heading “For Windows and macOS” both read “for PCs and Macs” instead? I at first thought we’d be able to run the Pi desktop under Windows and got very excited.

Simon Long avatar

Ooops – yes, you’re quite right. Now changed – apologies for the confusion!

Ed avatar

And everywhere else in the article where it says PC it means PC/Mac, right? That was confusing.

Simon Long avatar

Yes, for “PC”, read “PC/Mac” – PC is being used in the sense of “personal computer” as opposed to “device running Windows”.

Ed avatar

Right, thanks. That was what I expected, except it explicitly says PCs and Macs in the title.

Hampus avatar

Hmm, running the Pi Desktop on Windows should be possible now with the Linux subsystem in the fall update.

You have to install Linux from the MS store and the a X Windows server, with that done you can already install and run for example the xfce desktop. Would just need the Pi environment packaged for install on Ubuntu.

Peter Jones avatar

Thanks for this. Are there any longer term plans to move over to, or at least provide the facility to easily choose LXQt or MATE at installation on the Pi version?

Simon Long avatar

No. We’ve invested a lot of time and effort in an LXDE-based solution, and see no reason to change; it works very well for what we require.

Mike avatar

What about Wayland/Weston? LXDE seems like a dead end to me.

Simon Long avatar

LXDE is a mature, working, stable desktop environment which does everything we need it to. This notion of “dead ends” is not one to which I subscribe – what you call a “dead end” is what I call “stable code”. We investigated Wayland several years ago and decided that it didn’t do anything we needed and was too bleeding-edge to move to. Until such time as we need to do something that LXDE doesn’t handle – and I don’t anticipate that being any time soon – we will stick with the desktop environment that I have now spent over three years tweaking, debugging and improving. “Newer” is not the same as “better”, certainly not in the world of software.

Roger Whiteley avatar

Simon, et al, I’ve been using Linux since v1.0, having a stable GUI which just does the job has held wider adoption of Linux back for as long as I can remember. Most GUI’s [or window managers] are just TOO complicated for the average user.

Having a GUI on a Pi and a PC that looks and works just the same way is absolutely fabulous for people learning computing for the first time. Absolutely stunning job.

I run Hour of Code and coding taster classes at STEM events, all the laptops we use for these run Pixel x86, fabulous!!!.

Simon Long avatar

That’s very kind of you to say so, Roger – I’m glad it is useful for you!

PhilE avatar

Why would you want to?

Peter Jones avatar

It’s just that LXDE is getting a long in the tooth now, and having the options of LXQt or MATE (Look how popular Ubuntu MATE is) would add more options for users. I know its not an essential thing, but MATE is already in the repositories, so would have thought it would be a nice option.

bonce avatar

This is brilliant news! Very happy to see you guys are keeping this alive.

Little question, what is ‘usbbootgui’? I don’t need sonicpi or thonny so won’t be installing those, but I’m intrigued by usb boot gui…

Simon Long avatar

usbbootgui is the program referenced above which enables you to use the GPIO pins of a Pi Zero as remote GPIOs from a PC. We’ll have another blog post with more information on that in a few days time.

Ed avatar

Specifically this :) Do you mean this will work the same from a PC or a Mac? Thanks.

Simon Long avatar

We can’t guarantee that usbbootgui will work on every Mac – some Mac hardware seems to be a bit fussy with Debian images – but it certainly works with my 2014 MacBook Pro.

Adrian avatar

Raspbian is the best, i am using it in a Compaq CQ10 with an SSD and 2 GB of RAM and it boots as fast as the HP 840 G3 Core i7 (provided by my company)

Is there a way to donate for this?

Alaine avatar

Just buy more Pis and include a note for each:

“This Pi is dedicated to Simon. Please ensure the profit for it keeps him happy and gainfully employed at the Foundation for a loooonng time!”


Simon Long avatar

Well, if you insist, I’m not going to object… ;)

MW avatar

Very good to have Debian Stretch as the base for the x86 Operating System.

Still confused, even after 12 months, why Posters call it Raspbian, Raspbian is a fork of Debian ARMHF !!

Kate R avatar

If you are talking about donations of company laptops: as. Code Club organiser in a small primary school – I have recycled some very old windows computers for use of yr3 &4 students and looking for 3 or 4 more. We are based near Loughborough. The students would be very grateful.

TerryR avatar

Kate would you like to PM me my forum id thegnnu

Welmo avatar

It runs in 64bits or it is 32bits like the Raspbian for Raspberry Pi?

Simon Long avatar

It’s 32-bit, but will also run on 64-bit machines.

Welmo avatar

Thanks Simon! Looking forward to the 64bit version

Terry Rowe avatar

What great news with a 17″ Medion dead battery and seized lid hinge will bring it back to life for me as a Raspbian worktop

aaron s avatar

Can we ever get the temperature monitor to be in Fahrenheit?

Simon Long avatar

The temperature monitor isn’t part of the desktop that we use or modify – we don’t support that plugin. So no, not unless the authors of the underlying LXDE environment decide to support Fahrenheit and push it into the parent Debian distribution. I also wouldn’t rely on the plugin on Pi, as I have no idea if it talks correctly to our hardware.

To be honest, converting the value in a plugin from Celsius to Fahrenheit is a trivial mathematical exercise, so perhaps you could take the opportunity to learn some coding and do it for yourself? Just a suggestion, but it would be an excellent way of learning about lxpanel plugins!

Ed avatar

Is there a particular forum suited for providing feedback on the desktop release, or just use the general Raspbian page?

E.g.: I just booted from usb stick on my old Macbook (“Late 2007” white plastic) and it looks great. But not quite ready for hdd install because I can’t figure out how to right-click. The touchpad doesn’t recognise one-, let alone two-finger click. Primary (left) click does work because there’s a physical button below the pad, but it’s just the one. Modifier keys (ctrl/alt/cmd) don’t work. Two-finger swipe up/down for scrolling does work!

Simon Long avatar

Problems like the one you describe are driver issues in the underlying Debian distribution – we don’t have the resource to take on making every Debian driver work correctly on every possible piece of x86 hardware. You would be better off reporting it to the Debian maintainers, or looking for a solution which already exists in Debian – many pieces of Apple hardware have patched drivers which other Debian users have developed, but which aren’t part of the core distribution.

Ed avatar

Yeah all right. I just tried Lubuntu 17.10 x86_64 with kernel 4.13 and the touchpad works well for both one and two finger (secondary) clicks. Perhaps I’ll try & make your stuff (usbbootgui) work on that.

Simon Long avatar

You might find it easier to just find which driver Lubuntu is using for the trackpad and install it on our desktop.

Kevin Bowers avatar

Does your Mac use a Syanptics touchpad? Some of us had similar problems under Jessie also, see here:

mahjongg avatar

A specific forum for X86 Debian with the latest Raspberry PI compatibel desktop has been created and can now be found here:

Michael Dingler avatar

Is the source for the lxde modifications/addons available somewhere?

Simon Long avatar

It’s all available in apt – “apt-get source ” after uncommenting the lines which start “deb-src” in /etc/apt/sources.list and /etc/apt/sources.list.d/* – or on our GitHub repo at

Jason avatar

Looks great. Will it work in a VM environment like HyperV?

Simon Long avatar

It’s been tested under VirtualBox and mostly works fine – a few minor driver issues, but nothing serious; certainly nothing you wouldn’t get from running vanilla Debian in the same way. So it should run under any virtualisation environment which can run standard Debian Stretch.

Peter S avatar

I wanted to play with the Desktop version on my normal PC using Virtual Box and it installed no problem except I can’t seem to change the display resolution – when I run what I saw as instructions on a youtube video – using Xrandr ( it would return an error Gamma not found or similar. How can I change the default resolution to something larger than 640 x 480 .. I am guessing the Desktop is testing the connected monitor and in virtual box there is no response or one that is not understood?

Simon Long avatar

From memory, you need to install the “guest OS additions” for Debian to the virtual machine, and you should then be able to just drag the Virtual Box window to whatever size you want. That worked for me, anyway.

Roger Whiteley avatar

VirtualBox Extensions does allow screen resizing, works a treat. Restart VirtualBox after installation and restart your Pixel VM – install GuestAdditions from inside Pixel x86 first.

You can even enable Remote Desktop – change the listening port to something other than 3389, because that clashes with the host machine, Oracle recommend port 5000, then just RDP to the IP address of the host machine on port 5000.

Richard Collins avatar

I run the previous version in a VM with no issues on an i7 laptop.

Andrew Pattison avatar

Works perfectly on VMWare Workstation 14.

Cap33 avatar

After the update, the oldconfiles folder appeared in the home directory and some settings changed, how can they be recovered? What to do with the folder?

Simon Long avatar

The oldconffiles folder contains a hidden directory called .config – copy the files from there into the .config directory in your home directory to restore previous settings.

Eelco Folkertsma avatar

On my EEE PC I was unable to activate an external monitor. Will this release fix it, or where should I hunt for solution?

Simon Long avatar

I’ve used an external VGA monitor with the Jessie release running on my EEE with no problems – it was a while ago, so I can’t remember if I needed to do anything special in terms of setup, but I don’t think I did.

With any hardware issues, all we are doing is using the services and drivers offered by the underlying version of Debian, so it is best to direct any queries about hardware problems to the Debian maintainers or forums.

Andrew Waite avatar

An AMD64 version would be very cool.

Yangxuan avatar

It’s pretty easy, since mirrors also provide 64 packages now. Just add the sources, and install PIXEL DE on Debian stretch x64 with:

sudo apt install -y raspberrypi-ui-mods

Elia avatar

When I use “sudo apt install -y raspberrypi-ui-mods”, it install automatically also the desktop environment or I need to install lxde before?

Simon Long avatar

You really need to start from an image with the desktop already installed. It is possible to install the desktop manually over an image without it, but it’s a complicated job and will almost certainly go wrong!

Just installing ui-mods is very unlikely to work.

Elia avatar

ok, so this afternoon I install debian with lxde and I try :)

Simon Long avatar

That’s a sensible approach – Debian with LXDE is a good starting point.

Elia avatar

I can’t import the correct mirror. I’m trying after install debian jessie to modify /etc/apt/sources.list and I add “deb jessie main” but nothing. “apt update” give me error :/ I think the part of URL and distribution in my string is incorrect

Simon Long avatar

It should be “deb stretch main ui”

Elia avatar

Thanks, It works! For round corners on openbox, what should I do?

Simon Long avatar

You need to add the relevant line to the <theme> section in ~/.config/openbox/lxde-pi-rc.xml – <roundCorners>yes</roundCorners>

If that’s already there (which it probably will be if ui-mods installed correctly), you’ll need to update openbox to the version in our repo – sudo apt-get install openbox should do it.

Gordon Hutchinson avatar

Lot of people are having trouble installing MQTT on Stretch.
I’ve tried myself but also get errors:-
pi@raspberrypi:~ $ sudo apt-get install mosquitto
Reading package lists… Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information… Done
Some packages could not be installed. This may mean that you have
requested an impossible situation or if you are using the unstable
distribution that some required packages have not yet been created
or been moved out of Incoming.
The following information may help to resolve the situation:

The following packages have unmet dependencies:
mosquitto : Depends: libssl1.0.0 (>= 1.0.1) but it is not installable
Depends: libwebsockets3 (>= 1.2) but it is not installable
E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.

Is there any help with this problem.

Simon Long avatar

A quick look at reveals that there is no version of libwebsockets3 in stretch; it is only present in jessie and sid. The same is true of libssl1.0.0. However, there is a stretch version of mosquitto which uses libssl1.1 and libwebsockets8. For some reason you appear to be trying to install the jessie version of mosquitto rather than the stretch one, and the jessie version will not work on stretch.

The stretch version does appear to be built for ARM and is available on the Raspbian apt repo, so it looks as if you have problems in apt getting the wrong version for some reason. I’d suggest you try again on a clean stretch image – I suspect that you are using an upgraded image in which the upgrade failed somewhere and left apt in a bad state.

asandford avatar

You need to do sudo apt update and sudo dist-upgrade to avoid the problem, just an apt upgrade doesn’t cut it.

I’ve put a fully worked upgrade and install from September image on the forums – and it works without workarounds, bodges or symlinking.

Eric H avatar

Did a fresh install on an old vaio p series machine. Got a black screen and hung (no disk ios) after boot. Tried adding nomodeset in the boot grub parameter but to no avail. Will try to update the June Debian 8 version ti the new version and see if it makes any difference. On another acer aspire one machine, the new live version does not have this issue.

Greg Havenga avatar

How do you set a proxy? I’m running in a VM and need to configure a proxy, but there’s really no place to set a proxy up that I can find.

Simon Long avatar

As far as I am aware, Debian does not support a global proxy server setting; you need to configure it in individual applications.

J Henry avatar

It’s not the case with just Debian, but all Linux distros in general as well, which is a pain. But you can try this. Edit ~/.bashrc and add these lines:

export ALL_PROXY=http://192.168.x.x:8080
export http_proxy=$ALL_PROXY
export https_proxy=$ALL_PROXY
export ftp_proxy=$ALL_PROXY
export use_proxy=on

Then log out and back in again and see if the programs you use work via proxy. If not, then as mentioned, that program does not look for these environment vars. In which case the developer who wrote the program has their own way of specifying a proxy such as with a config file in /etc or with command like parameter. Or the program simply does not support using a proxy. You’ll have to google for some other options.

Ken Yap avatar

I figured out how to get a higher video resolution at boot, it defaulted to 640×480 in my installation. This post may be of use to you.

Hystrix avatar

The grub change didn’t work for me. :-(

With Oracle VM VirtualBox, I still have 640×480 resolution.

Back to Jessie for me.

Hystrix avatar

Ha! RTFM. I had selected a video resolution that wasn’t available. 1280×1024 works OK, but it’s not as good as the 1920×1080 I had with the Jessie configuration (which is not an available video mode under Grub, unfortunately).

Anyway, better than 640×480.

Ken Yap avatar

You might be able to get a higher resolution after you have loaded any card specific video driver. Without the driver, GRUB may have only access to lower resolutions. There should be GUI tools to change the X desktop resolution.

Ken Yap avatar

Also, if running in a VM, check that you have allocated enough video memory for the mode you want.

Mike avatar

If I want to run this from a USB stick, what are the minimum and optimum sizes? Thanks.

Simon Long avatar

I’ve never run on anything less than an 8GB; it might just fit on a 4GB, but would be tight.

Ed avatar

To try it out with a USB stick on Mac, do this:

1. Download the file from the downloads page using the Torrent or ISO link either of which will give you an .iso file.
2. Make sure the stick has a GUID partition table or it can’t be used as a boot disk: use Disk Utility to “Erase” it and select GUID, not MBR or Apple. Format (macOS journaled / MS-DOS FAT) doesn’t matter.
3. Follow either (graphical, mostly automated, but needs extra download) or (using Terminal, requires first converting the .iso file to an .img file using a separate command)
4. Reboot, hold ⎇ Alt when starting up and choose the (first) orange/yellow USB-disk icon labeled “EFI Boot”.

MS avatar

Is some window video player with VA included/supported?

Simon Long avatar

There’s no GUI video player; you can play videos from the command line with hardware acceleration using OMXplayer.

MS avatar

That’s not much convenient, isn’t it.

Simon Long avatar

We have a limited amount of resource, and an almost infinite number of things we could do; things get prioritised.

If it’s really inconvenient for you, you could always write one yourself.

Peter Jones avatar

You can build a version of VLC from source which includes acceleration, but even then it plays full screen. OMXPlayer and this option are still very good considering the price point. OMXPlayer suits me as I don’t use Pixel.

Andrew Pattison avatar

The x86 version of the Raspberry Pi Desktop is basically Debian 9 with some customisations Raspberry Pi have developed for it. You therefore have access to all of the various media players that are available on a “normal” installation of Debian 9.

Eric H avatar

My issue of getting a black screen after boot on my vaio p series machine has been resolved. It was related to the vga cable connected to the external monitor. It was not totally not working, just during boot. Odd. I just replaced the cable. Now the new version of rpi desktop is running on my three old machines. So far no issues. Thanks gor the great work! Much appreciated.

Robert G avatar

I am surprised to see no new updates at my stretch lite command line

pi@horses:~ $ sudo apt-get update
Get:1 stretch InRelease [15.0 kB]
Get:2 stretch InRelease [25.3 kB]
Fetched 40.2 kB in 4s (9,494 B/s)
Reading package lists… Done

pi@horses:~ $ sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
Reading package lists… Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information… Done
Calculating upgrade… Done
*0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.*

The machine has a straight forward stretch lite install from about 2 months ago.
uname -a shows
Linux horses 4.9.59+ #1047 Sun Oct 29 11:47:10 GMT 2017 armv6l GNU/Linux

Bill avatar

Hi, can I use this as live-cd? I have an old computer 1.5GB RAM, AMD Athlon XP 1.5GHz and 128MB RADEON 9250. can I work with this obsolote? Thanks

Simon Long avatar

Yes, it works as a live image – you’ll need to burn to a DVD, as it is too big for a CD.

William Stevenson avatar

Thanks very much folks. I understand thid required a lot of work by many people. Trouble free installation, apart from the failure of conversion, which took a long time. Therefore, I just installed the new .iso image as a new machine in VirtualBox. This automatically allows resizing the desktop to your display, by installing Guest Additions as described in the manual.

Phil avatar

Works well on an old Centrino Duo laptop. Is it possible to install node.js and nodered on this version of the OS? Where could I get instructions on how to do that?

Simon Long avatar

There is a Debian package for node.js so “sudo apt-get install nodejs” ought to work for that. I believe you then need to use the npm installer which is part of node.js to install node-red – suggests this is “sudo npm install -g –unsafe-perm node-red”, but I’ve not tried this myself.

Phil avatar

Thanks for that Simon. I’ll give it a try!

chexbox_2 avatar

After re-adding my appearance preferences I am happy with this upgrade!

Alexander Swensen avatar

Simon, is there anything those of us with the 2nd generation pi-top can do to help add support for the battery indicator?

Simon Long avatar

Thank you for the offer, but it’s in hand – I’m working on it with the guys at pi-top at the moment, and we hope to have something available in the near future.

Ed avatar

For the past couple of days trying to rpi-update a new install but the download breaks off every time. (apt upgrade does work.) Probably a time-out? Busy because of millions of Pis hitting your servers..?

Ed avatar

Hm, didn’t want to test rpi-update with other Pis, but that did work for a Pi3 (not working was a Pi0 non-W). So it’s probably me; network or sd card trouble I guess.

William Stevenson avatar

Is there an interesting reason why PC Stretch runs Julia 0.4.7 when RPi3 Stretch has 0.5 or 0.6 (I’ve forgotten)? It doesn’t matter to me- my Julia requires only 0.0! Does the Julia compile just await its turn?

Simon Long avatar

99% of the packages in Raspbian are pulled straight from Debian’s repo and recompiled for ARM. In some specific cases, we make Pi-specific modifications or pull in newer packages – this is usually because some other package we install requires a particular version, or someone has reported a problem with a particular version which is fixed in a newer one. I can’t off the top of my head recall why we have an updated julia package, but you are quite correct that we do!

MW avatar

Dell Dimension 9200 x86 PC which will “”run”” Windows 10, absolutely flies in comparison when running from DVD.

The ‘Raspberry Pi Desktop’ keeps evolving which is good to see and though some have asked for it to be based of LXQT instead of LXDE I must say that my personal opinion, having used Distro’s with LXQT, LXQT is far from polished at this present time.

Well done everyone at Pi Towers, much appreciated……

Andrew avatar

Has anyone considered getting this to work with Crouton for us Chromebook users?

Kevin Bowers avatar

Now that would be a boatload of work! Possibly a project for a comp sci class. It would be fun, but since nearly all Chromebooks can now run Android apps, not really useful.

Janghou avatar

Great this is working very nice on an old centrino (386) latop from 2006.

What I dearly miss: how do I enable multiple desktops/workspaces?

And it would be nice if we can try the new Firefox Quantum instead of the rather old 52 esr version. Should be faster.

Simon Long avatar

There is a desktop switched plugin for the taskbar – if you install that by right-clicking the taskbar and choosing “Add / remove taskbar plugins”, you’ll be able to add new desktops.

The version of Firefox available is that in the default Debian Stretch – as Debian updates its version, it will become available in the desktop.

Janghou avatar

Thanks Simon.

I could find a `desktop pager plugin` but could not add desktops with it.

So I edited `config/openbox/lxde-pi-rc.xml` and tweaked the desktops>number tag.
After logout I now have 4 desktops. :)

Now I need to tweak the shortcuts, default one for switching are stolen by window placement left/right. That said: `send to desktops` is still working.

Frank McPherson avatar

I am having some problems with the keyboard layout. For example, when I try to enter an double quote I get an at sign. The AT sign on the keyboard (shift 2) is the double quote. How can I fix this? I’ve played with the Localization settings in raspi-config and haven’t found the right combo. I am running this on “US” computers, for example an HP Probook 6460.

Poul avatar

If you haven’t done so already, look into correcting the system preferences and localization options on the PC just as you would on the Raspberry Pi.

T.T avatar

Today, I could boot up this “new light OS for Debian” from my favor USB memory ( only 8GB size). I feel this OS is so quick motion and so simple that I love this OS.

One thing that I am looking for the solution – how to change the rotation of display in any related file. For your reference, regarding to the RPI 3B board. I could complete the change in the Config.txt in the boot folder ( specifying the 270 degree rotation ).
Everyone, if you have any idea/solution – pls let me know it.

Simon Long avatar

You should be able to do that by setting a transformation matrix in xrandr – “man xrandr” should tell you how.

Stuart Bruff avatar

I’m just starting with the Raspberry Pi and thought it would be useful to add Raspberry Desktop to my dust-gathering, Vista-driven Packard-Bell laptop. I managed to install Debian Jessie without any problems, leaving Vista on.

I note that Debian Stretch is now available but was somewhat discouraged by the statement at the beginning of the announcement that says
“Please note that installing this software will erase anything else on the hard drive — do not install this over a machine running Windows or macOS that you still need to use for its original purpose! ”

However, further on (How to get the new version), it says that the existing Jessie can be updated to Stretch by doing a distro upgrade. It doesn’t, however, contain a warning that Stretch will overwrite everything else on the target hard disk.

My (fairly obvious) question is can I upgrade the distro from Jessie to Stretch whilst still leaving Vista alone in its own partition and still available as a boot option from GRUB?

Please assume I know nothing about Linux, as I’ve only had Jessie up and running for a day and haven’t yet run my RPi.

Simon Long avatar

If you follow the instructions at the bottom of the post for how to update an existing Jessie image to Stretch, that will only affect your Jessie partition; it won’t affect any other partitions on the drive.

Stuart Bruff avatar

Thanks, Simon. All seems to have gone well with the installation. I have Stretch and I’ve still got Vista. It’s interesting to note how much quicker Stretch is than Vista.


fu_manchu avatar

I have updated raspian and I like the user interface changes. BUT I have two issues :
1) I am constantly getting UI crashes when using SMALL ICON view and drag-dropping several files into a folder. This ‘crashes’ the desktop gui every time. It never used to crash before update. It does not crash when I use ‘detailed list’ view.
2) Why did tabbing go away? That was so useful and handy!!!! Please put it back in !!!! :)

Simon Long avatar

1) I’ve just tried this on a Pi here – I created 4 files called “a”, “b”, “c” and d” in /home/pi, and an empty folder called “test”. Using small icon mode, I was able to select the 4 files and drag them into the folder with no problem. Is there something more specific I need to try?
2) If you want tabs, turn off the “cut down” UI option. We know that not everyone will like all of the changes, which is why you can turn them all off. But it isn’t possible to offer each individual change as an option – there are just too many permutations, so it is all or nothing, I’m afraid.

fu_manchu avatar

(please excuse if this shows up as a double post)

Hello Simon, Thank you for replying !

1) I do not have any issues if I create blank files and move them in and out of a folder in small icon view. However, if I select a few PDF files and a few text files (.txt and .md) and move these into a folder—the GUI does like a mini-crash, and then pops back up, only the file manager is always gone at this point. The files themselves I have no problem editing or opening and all have been created on the same pi using leafpad, focuswriter and pandoc (for the pdf). Also, I’ve noticed that when I boot up my pi, it now does a disk check, whereas before it never did that–and as long as the GUI doesn’t ‘crash’ is won’t do it—so there seems to be a correlation.

2) I spent a half hour last night looking for the Layout Preferences menu pictured in the above blog post where I can supposedly revert back to the old file manager. (I don’t really need to, its not mission critical)—but I can’t find this menu for the life of me. I’ve looked in Raspberry Pi Configuration, Appearance Settings, Theme and Appearance Settings, Main Menu Editor, Desktop Preference, Desktop Session Settings…. I can’t find this preference menu that has the Layout menu anywhere…???

Simon Long avatar

1) OK, I’ve now been able to repeat it – it doesn’t happen all the time, but does sometimes. Nothing I have changed should have affected this behaviour, so I suspect this is a result of things moving around in memory and some uninitialised variable or similar now being in a place where it gets clobbered. gdb isn’t providing anything helpful in the way of a backtrace, so this is going to be time-consuming to debug; I’ll have a look at it in the New Year.

2) It’s in the file manager’s own preferences – open a file manager window and choose Edit->Preferences. Layout is the third tab.

fu_manchu avatar

Hello Simon, again I really thank you for taking the time to reply to both of my questions. You guys at Pie Headquarters have a great approach to customer service and cultivate the market with tact.

1) First off, take a break and have some nutmeg (a ni-i-i-i-ce big cap-full of rhum to make it all go down swell too). Bugs will be squashed in the new year ;) I can handle ‘detailed list’ view for a while if I need to :D

2) My linux newbness is showing badly here… Thanks for letting me know about where to find the preferences for window manager!!! Found it. (I was beginning to think I’d somehow screwed up my Pi and that I’d have to re-install the OS cause I somehow scared off one of the menus!)

Cheers !

Simon Long avatar

Just to let you know – I’ve found the bug that was causing the crash, and I’ve created a fix; we’ll get this up into our apt repository in the next couple of weeks once we’ve done some more testing to make sure I haven’t broken anything else in the process! Many thanks for reporting it.

Stuart Turner avatar

Thankyou guys! I have been trying intermittently over recent years to find a Linux distro which runs properly on an old Compaq Mini I had lying around. Most distros I tried either didn’t fully support the machine or were just too slow. Stretch runs perfectly – good job!

Jürgen Beckmerhagen avatar

Greetings from Germany.
Thanks a lot for the fantastic Piserver-application. Since approx. 1.5 years I manage a computer class room with 19 RPI3 in our Rudolf Steiner / Waldorf School.
I just wish to know:
a) how can I create approx. 120 user names and passwords for our students?
b) how can I group these 120 users into four classes with two groups each?
c) how can I assign static IP addresses to each of the RPI-Clients, so that I can use VNC-Viewer from the teacher’s desktop?
d) how can I provide the teacher with easy access to the files in the home directories of his students?
e) can I simply run “apt-get update” from the chroot-Console of a Raspbian OS in Piserver?
Thank you very much – and Happy New Year.

Shawn avatar

I’m running my pi zero headless. I can’t find anything that helps me understand how to get access to the desktop headless. Ive enabled VNC through raspi-config then tried to access from real vnc. I’ve started the realvncserver I’ve tired tightvncserver etc. Where can I find info on how to go about this. I’ve been working on this since last Saturday.

Alok avatar

The new Stretch release for PC doesn’t come with Minecraft pi. How do I get it? It was a great disappointment when we found out minecraft pi doesn’t come with Stretch.

Liz Upton avatar

I’m afraid it’s never been available for PC – we don’t have a licence for it on platforms other than the Raspberry Pi.

Hari Dasa avatar

I installed this SO but show at started asking me do login however I not know as the do

Cooling Mod avatar

Thank you so much for this excellent Stretch, Simon!

What about future optimisations under-the-hood in Raspbian Stretch ?

Kind regards!

Alan Jones avatar

Slightly confused! I already have a battery indicator and neither of the files specified refer to Raspbian.

Sebastian Krügel avatar

Hello I installed under Virtualbox Raspberry Pi Desktop for PC and get the Gasterweiterung not installed, knows one advice there?

Simon Long avatar

You need to install the Guest Additions into the RP Desktop. The extensions for Debian should work – see

Chris Tamburro avatar

How do I create an image to load into PiServer? There are options within PiServer to use a Repository or external file, but I’m unsure how to generate this from a Rasbian image I’ve create with all my settings and software on already.

Yannick avatar

This distribution is just plain awesome ! It runs like a charm inside a VirtualBox, I’ll try it on a real low spec hardware, to see how it goes. But that could very well be what will save my mum’s old latptop !
Thanks for the great work !

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