Raspberry Pi end-of-year-update lets you build your own video conferencing machine

Remote working
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Mila Pashkovets)

As an increasing number of students tune in to their classes remotely, the latest update to the Raspberry Pi OS improves the distro’s compatibility with video conferencing software.

The end of year update to the Raspberry Pi OS, formerly known as Raspbian, focuses on improving the multimedia prowess of the distro.

In addition to video conferencing, the update also delivers faster web browsing and enhancements for streaming media.

The highlight of the update is the switch to version 84 of the open source Chromium web browser. The Raspberry Pi OS developers have toiled hard to get proper hardware-accelerated video playback for streaming media services like YouTube

The developers have done lots of testing and tweaking on video conferencing clients such as Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom to ensure they work smoothly on Chromium on the Raspberry Pi. 

And while this release will ship with the Adobe Flash Player integrated in the browser, it’ll be the last release to do so, since Adobe will retire the player at the end of 2020.  

The other highlight is under the covers with PulseAudio replacing the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ASLA) as the distro’s sound server. This change brings with it the ability to play audio from multiple sources at once as well as native support for Bluetooth audio, both important aspects for the new remote workforce.

Keeping with the times

In a blog post announcing the release, principal software engineer Simon Long explained the advantages of the change in the sound server: “It [PulseAudio] can mix the audio from multiple applications together, so you can hear VLC at the same time as YouTube, and it allows the output to be moved around between different devices while it is playing. It knows how to talk to Bluetooth devices, and it greatly simplifies the job of managing default input and output devices, so it makes it much easier to make sure audio ends up where it is supposed to be!”

Besides these the update improves Raspberry Pi OS’ printing support, accessibility options and also adds new options to the default configuration tool to configure the new hardware devices in the Raspberry Pi staple, the case fan and the Raspberry Pi 400.

The update is available for download from the Raspberry Pi website now. 

Via: TechRepublic

Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.