Raspberry Pi OS Has a New Release with Improved Audio and Printing Support

Raspberry Pi OS Audio

The Raspberry Pi Foundation released a new version of the Raspberry Pi OS (formerly Raspbian) GNU/Linux distribution for the Raspberry Pi family of computers with audio and printing improvements.

The last update of the Raspberry Pi OS in 2020 is here and it looks like it brings some nice improvements, especially around audio and printing. First, the distro is now using PulseAudio as default sound server instead of ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture).

This change alone enables out-of-the-box Bluetooth audio support, adds support for playing sounds from multiple sources at the same time, especially when using HDMI output, lets you switch the sound from HDMI to a USB sound card while a video is playing, and makes it easier to manage the default input and output devices.

On top of that, it’s now possible to enable profiles for your Bluetooth devices, such as HSP (HeadSet Profile) for using both the microphone and the earphone at the same time, as well as A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile), which doesn’t let you to use the microphone.

“One area where it is particularly helpful is in managing audio input and output streams to web browsers like Chromium,” said developer Simon Long. “The use of PulseAudio made setting up video conferencing sessions much easier and more reliable, particularly with Bluetooth headsets and webcam audio.”

In addition to the nice audio improvements, the new Raspberry Pi OS release makes it easier to connect and configure printers on your Raspberry Pi device. For this, the distro now comes with the CUPS print server and system-config-printer graphical user interface installed by default.

Among other enhancements, the new Raspberry Pi OS release adds some much-needed improvements to the Orca screen reader in applications like Raspberry Pi Configuration and Appearance Settings for those with visual impairments, and new options to the Raspberry Pi Configuration tool to control the power/activity LED on Raspberry Pi 400 and Raspberry Pi Zero devices, as well as the new Raspberry Pi Case Fan.

Other then that, the Chromium web browser was updated to version 84, the Thonny Python IDE was updated to version 3.3, and the Adobe Flash Player plugin to version, which is the last to be included in a Raspberry Pi OS release.

Moreover, low voltage warnings were added to Battery Monitor plugin and it’s now possible to change the zoom on the Magnifier plugin using your mouse’s scroll wheel when the pointer hovers the icon. The notification popups were changed as well to only close when clicked directly on them.

Lastly, the Bookshelf app was made compatible with translated versions of books and magazines. Some bugs were fixed as well in this release, such as a crash in the CPU temperature plugin that occurred when throttling detection fails, and an issue were the shutdown commands and shutdown dialog will force kill Orca to prevent it from locking up the reboot or shutdown process.

Under the hood, Raspberry Pi OS is still powered by the long-term supported Linux 5.4 LTS kernel series (Linux kernel 5.4.79 is included by default), which will be supported until December 2025. You can download the Raspberry Pi OS release for December 2020 right now from the official website.

Image credits: Raspberry Pi Foundation

Last updated 3 years ago

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