Raspberry Pi OS upgraded to Debian 11 “Bullseye”

Debian 11 “Bullseye” was released in August 2021, and I was expecting Raspberry Pi OS to soon get upgraded to the latest version, especially the last time around, in 2019, Raspian Buster was released even before the official Debian 10 “Buster” release, although the reason was Raspberry Pi 4 launch.

This time around it took longer, but the good news is that Raspberry Pi OS has just been upgraded to Debian 11, meaning it benefits from the new features such as driverless printing, in-kernel exFAT module, “yescrypt” password hashing, and packages upgraded to more recent versions.

Raspberry Pi OS Debian 11 BullsEye

The Raspberry Pi Foundation goes into more details about what changed in the new Raspberry Pi OS release with GTK+3 user interface toolkit, Mutter window manager replacing OpenBox in boards with 2GB RAM or more, new KMS video and camera drivers, and more. Raspberry Pi OS “BullsEye” can be downloaded from the usual place, and I installed it on my Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W.


The Linux kernel is 5.10.63, bumped from Linux 5.10.17 in the “Buster” image.


Some changes appear in the Graphics part, with “Buster” showing:


and BullsEye:


That should be because of the switch from the Raspberry Pi-specific video driver to a standard KMS video driver.
There was no swap in Debian 10 image, but 100MB is enabled in the Debian 11 one. I can see there’s close to 100% of it used, which may explain which the Windows felt a bit sluggish in the desktop environment. It should not be an issue with Raspberry Pi boards equipped with more memory.

I’ve also run SBC bench benchmark from an SSH terminal with the goal of double-check any potential regressions and/or improvements:


It got stuck here like forever, so I tried to access the desktop without luck, and I was unable to initiate another SSH terminal or terminate sbc-bench.sh. I power cycled the board, and tried again, and I got the exact same results.

So I would not recommend upgrading a production machine right now, or you’d better perform some testing first. Note it’s not possible to upgrade Raspberry Pi OS Buster to BullsEye from the command line just yet, and this time the only solution is to flash the image to a microSD card.

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