Raspberry Pi OS goes goth

First post-Pi 5 update brings dark mode among numerous bug fixes

As many users wait for their Raspberry Pi 5 units to arrive, a fresh version of the Raspberry Pi OS has just landed, complete with fixes and that most essential of operating system add-ons – dark mode.

Dark mode is one of those features that seems to be the first thing many users ask for. While some might regard it as somewhat gloomy or vampiric, others prefer their windows to be rendered in soothing shades of dark gray.

Although there are more complicated ways to get a dark mode theme running on Raspberry Pi hardware, the implementation in the latest update is pleasingly elegant. Select the Appearance Settings dialog from the Preferences section of the main menu, choose the System tab, and there is the option: light or dark.

We took a fresh image of Raspberry Pi OS – which came out earlier this week – and put it on a Pi-400. It worked well, at least for those applications that paid attention to it. Geany and Calculator used their own internal themes and so needed a restart. Thonny did not want to play ball at all, but we managed to fix this by using the editor's Options dialog and manually selecting the Raspberry Pi dark theme.

The release is the first update since October's Debian Bookworm-based vesion alongside the Raspberry Pi 5. Simon Long, a senior principal engineer at Raspberry Pi, apologized for the wait – it has been almost two months – but noted: "This has taken a few weeks longer this time, simply due to the sheer amount that changed under the hood in Bookworm."

While dark mode support might be the most eye-catching improvement, making Scratch 3 and Mathematica work on the Raspberry Pi 5 will be welcome change for users lucky enough to get their hands on the hardware. Other tweaks include better support for encrypted connections in WayVNC, which was used in place of RealVNC on Wayland, and an update of Thonny to 4.1.4.

Finally, we are also happy to note that touchscreens now have unique per-device strings, meaning correct association with display devices.

The Linux kernel version stands at 6.1.63 as of this release, and the numerous bug fixes can be found in the release notes.

We grabbed the update using the imager. It can also be upgraded using the updater in the taskbar or, if you can't get enough of the terminal, obtained through a swift sudo apt update followed by a sudo apt full-upgrade.

Sadly, Raspberry Pi 5 hardware stock remains tricky to find, although a glance at services such as rpilocator.com shows that there might still be a chance of nabbing one before Christmas. ®

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