Raspbian Jessie Updated with a new Desktop Environment called PIXEL

Raspbian PIXEL desktop environment

The Raspberry Pi team has released a new version of Raspbian Jessie that comes with a new desktop environment called PIXEL. PIXEL stands for Pi Improved Xwindows Environment, Lightweight. PIXEL follows OS X or Windows 10 desktop with a flat-design approach.

Raspbian PIXEL desktop environment - flat design icons

Raspbian PIXEL desktop environment - GeeXLab OpenGL 2.1

Jessie has an OpenGL 2.1 driver and the version is still 2.1 Mesa 11.1.0 like on previous Jessie versions.

This new version of Raspbian packs some nice wallpapers to customize a bit the desktop:

Raspbian PIXEL desktop environment - flat design icons

The web browser of the previous versions of Raspbian Jessie has been replaced by Chromium. This is very cool because, I can now watch youtube videos on the RPi, thing that I was not able to enjoy with the old browser. The Chromium browser comes with 2 extensions: the h264ify (which forces YouTube to serve videos in a format accelerated by the RPi hardware) and an ad blocker: uBlock Origin.

Raspbian PIXEL desktop environment - Chromium browser

This update of Raspbian brings a modern look to the desktop but I felt a kind of sluggishness (I tested Jessie/PIXEL on a Raspberry Pi 3): the system is not as fast as the previous version of Jessie and is often hung for several seconds. I hope a next update will improve my Jessie PIXEL experience.

Update (2016.10.28): it looks like the microSD (a Transcend Ultimate 16GB) card was the root of all sluggishnesses and hangs. I use this card since one year with the Raspberry Pi and the card has probably reached its limit in matter of read/write operations (I compile GeeXLab directly on the microSD card which can be an explanation).

I replaced the Transcend 16GB by a new Samsung 32GB EVO Plus (read: 80MB/s, write 20MB/s) and the new Raspbian with PIXEL works like a charm!