Cambridge theme for PIXEL

Raspberry Pi is based in Cambridge. (Just to be clear, that’s the one in East Anglia, UK, not the one in Massachusetts, USA.)

When we say “based in Cambridge”, that suggests (correctly) that our offices are here. But the connection between Raspberry Pi and Cambridge runs a lot deeper than mere geography.

A bridge over the River Cam

Raspberry Pi was founded with the aim of increasing the number of applicants to study computer science at the University of Cambridge. The processor core which powers the Raspberry Pi was developed in the city by ARM, the hugely successful microprocessor company which itself grew out of Acorn, one of the original pioneers of the 1980s home computer revolution, and another Cambridge success story. The original VideoCore graphics processor was designed by staff at Cambridge Consultants, one of the first technical consultancy firms in the UK. They spun out a company called Alphamosaic to sell VideoCore; that company was subsequently acquired by Broadcom, and it was the engineers at Broadcom’s Cambridge office who updated and improved it to make the version which provides the multimedia for Raspberry Pi.

King's College Chapel from above

It was those same engineers who put together the out-of-hours ‘skunkworks’ project which became the Raspberry Pi alpha board. When Raspberry Pi was founded as a charity and a company in its own right, we decided that Cambridge was where we would be based. Most of our staff live in or around Cambridge, and many of them are graduates of the University. Cambridge runs deep in the DNA of Raspberry Pi: our chairman David Cleevely is fond of saying that Raspberry Pi couldn’t have happened anywhere else, and while that may not be entirely true, it’s certainly the case that Cambridge provided the conditions for it to flourish as it has. We’re very proud of our connection to Cambridge, and we’ve decided to celebrate it.

A few months ago, Eben and I were looking at the beautiful city flyover videos that Apple offer as screensavers on the Apple TV, and we thought that it would be great if we could do something similar for Raspbian, with Cambridge as the subject. So we enlisted the help of Cambridge Filmworks, who are experts at filming from drones, and asked them to put together a video showing the best of Cambridge’s architecture. They did, and it’s gorgeous.

Cambridge from above

We also thought that it would be good to get some matching desktop wallpapers that showed off the best views of the city and the University. The best photographs I’ve seen of Cambridge were from Sir Cam, who takes photos for the University; they have very kindly allowed us access to their archives, from which we’ve chosen some scenes that we feel capture what is so special about this place.

Today we are launching the Cambridge theme pack for PIXEL: a video screensaver of Cambridge architecture and a set of desktop wallpapers. (We should point out this is entirely optional: it’s just some extra eye-candy for your PIXEL desktop if you fancy it.)

To install the wallpapers

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cantab-wallpaper

To install the screensaver

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cantab-screensaver

Or to install both

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cantab-theme

Note that the wallpapers will be installed in the same /usr/share/pixel-wallpaper directory as the standard PIXEL wallpaper images. You can use the Appearance Settings dialog to choose the wallpaper you want.

Note also that the screensaver is quite a big download – it’s 200MB or so of high-resolution video – so you may not want to use it if your SD card is full or your network connection is slow.

Once you have installed the packages, you’ll need to configure the screensaver. Go into Preferences > Screensaver from the main menu, and select the screensaver called ‘Cantab’.

If you want just the Cambridge screensaver, set Mode to the ‘Only One Screen Saver’ option. If you do not do this, you will get a random selection of others as well. You can also configure how many minutes before the screensaver activates in the ‘Blank After’ window.

PIXEL: Cambridge theme screensaver

Here is the full screensaver video from the newly released Cambridge theme for Raspian PIXEL. For more information, including details on how to update PIXEL to include the new Cambridge screensaver and wallpapers, check out the blog: Drone footage from Cambridge Filmworks: