Raspbian for Raspberry Pi Boards Gets Upgraded to Debian Stretch

While Raspberry Pi boards support many different operating systems, Raspbian is by far the most popular option, and in the last two years the distribution was based on Jessie (Debian 8), the Raspberry Pi foundation has just announced it was now replaced by an update to Stretch (Debian 9).

The Jessie version is completely gone from Raspbian Download page, and you’ll only be offered to download “Raspbian Stretch with Desktop” or “Raspbian Stretch Lite”.

So what has changed compared to Jessie? Debian 9 changelog will list the main differences compared to Debian 8, but some modifications have also been made in Raspbian itself:

  • Version 3.0.1 of Sonic Pi “Live Coding Music Synth” app – See changelog
  • Chrome 60 stable with improved memory usage and more efficient code
  • Bluetooth audio is supported by the bluez-alsa package by default instead of PulseAudio
  • Better handling of “non-pi users”, as previously many applications assumed to be run by pi user.
  • SenseHAT extension added to Scratch 2
  • BroadPwn exploit fix to close a vulnerability in the firmware of the BCM43xx wireless chipset
  • Other minor bug fixes and UI improvements

If you already have Raspbian Jessie running in your board, and would like to upgrade to Raspbian Stretch, you can try to do so at your own risk by changing all occurrences of ‘jessie’ to ‘stretch’ in /etc/apt/sources.list and /etc/apt/sources.list.d/raspi.list, and running:

The Raspberry Pi foundation however recommends to back up your micro SD card first, as upgrading that way is not guaranteed to work in every circumstance.

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9 Replies to “Raspbian for Raspberry Pi Boards Gets Upgraded to Debian Stretch”

  1. “..has just announced it was not replaced by an update with Stretch (Debian 9).”
    -> “..has just announced it was _now_ replaced by an update with Stretch (Debian 9).”

  2. @cnxsoft:
    Wrt ‘BroadPwn’ popular Ampak chips like AP6212 (using the same chip internally as RPi 3 and Zero W) should also be affected?

    The standard kernel with Raspbian Jessie was

    It seems from now on newer kernel versions are only available when choosing the stretch branch. That might become a problem with OMV since latest OMV release for Raspberries does not rely on Raspbian any more but use Debian Jessie armhf (ARMv7) but we fetch the kernel from archive.raspberrypi.org to get latest security fixes with this apt source entry:

    No new kernel listed but after adding another line with the stretch branch I get a kernel update and am now at:

    Not the best news since I had some hope kernel updates would also be available for Jessie users (applies not only to OMV but in general to users who like to stay some more time with ‘oldstable’ instead of latest ‘stable’).

  3. @cnxsoft
    AFAIK AP6212 is based on BCM43438 A0 revision while AP6212A relies on A1 rev. I’ll check the Raspbian Stretch version for /lib/firmware/brcm/ contents since if I understood the below RPi foundation statement correctly they refuse to provide this firmware fix for their existent Jessie userbase?

    ‘A couple of months ago, a vulnerability was discovered in the firmware of the BCM43xx wireless chipset which is used on Pi 3 and Pi Zero W; this potentially allows an attacker to take over the chip and execute code on it. The Stretch release includes a patch that addresses this vulnerability.’

  4. @tkaiser
    From the comments in the release announcement it appears the patch for BCM43xx wireless is available for Jessie as well:

    Simon Long says:
    17th Aug 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Yes, the new firmware is available for Jessie – just do a sudo apt-get update / sudo apt-get dist-upgrade without changing anything in the apt configuration files.

  5. Broadpwn is not yet fixed for USB WiFi dongle, and there is anyway one problem with new long MAC naming on Stretch with USB WiFi dongle (can be fixed manually, but really…)

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