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Release Date & New Features for Ubuntu 21.10

 Ubuntu 21.10 "Impish Indri" is currently in testing, with a final release scheduled for October 14, 2021. GNOME 40, a fresh kernel, and updated apps are all included. Is it worth upgrading with only nine months of support?

Release Date & New Features for Ubuntu 21.10
Release Date & New Features for Ubuntu 21.10

Ubuntu's previous release with a codename beginning with the letter "I" was Ubuntu 8.10 "Intrepid Ibex," which was released over 13 years ago. "Pervasive internet access" and the ability to connect to the internet from a desktop or laptop "...anywhere you happen to be" were two of its most lauded achievements.

The Impish Indri, which is a naughty lemur without the forced alliteration, is the Fall 2021 offering. The largest blunder committed by the Indri is the switch to GNOME 40. Some key components of the desktop experience are redesigned and reworked in GNOME 40. However, Ubuntu wouldn't be Ubuntu if it didn't do things a little differently.

GNOME 40 has been tweaked by Canonical to make the changeover less jarring than in other Linux versions. The watered-down GNOME 40 experience results in several strange desktop component juxtapositions. Canonical is betting that the Ubuntu faithful are unfazed by this and prefer the hybrid desktop of Ubuntu 21.10.

The version 21.10 is a work-in-progress. It will be supported and patched until July 2022, when it will be retired. The next Ubuntu long-term support release (LTS) is only a few months away, with a release date of April 2022. Here's what's new in Ubuntu 21.10 so you can decide if it's better to wait for the next LTS release or upgrade now.

Flutter, Google's cross-platform development toolkit, now has a new installer. The installer has a clean, contemporary appearance.

new installer written in Flutter

It appears to have taken some graphic elements from the Canonical website. It appears to be native to Ubuntu and a member of the Canonical family, which is a clever trick. The theme choosing page is one of the differences.

It allows you to choose between a light and a dark theme. Even with the light theme, the basic Ubuntu theme had a mixed appearance, with a dark window title bar. This version of Yaru is no longer available. "Yaru" is the name of the light theme, which is now the default, while "Yaru Dark" is the name of the dark theme. There isn't a distinct "Yaru Light" motif.

Even with the light theme enabled, the terminal window in our prerelease build still showed the purportedly gone dark title bar.

Until you reach the file copying and installation phase of the procedure, the new installer operates similarly to the old installer. You had previously seen highlights of the construction you were putting together. It offered you something to do while the installation was being completed. The only thing you'll see in this prerelease build is a spinning wheel symbol. For quite some time. We couldn't determine if the installation had failed or not. Perhaps by launch time, this will have improved.

When the installation is finished, you may either boot into Ubuntu or shut down your computer. The Lucid Lynx 10.04 desktop picture will most likely be replaced with an image of the Impish Indri mascot.

GNOME 40 is a fork of GNOME

Logging in lands you in the activities view on other Linux distributions that utilise GNOME 40. GNOME 40 has been adjusted by Canonical so that you see your normal desktop when you log in, much like prior Ubuntu releases.

The activities view is opened by clicking on the "Activities" entry in the GNOME panel, hitting the Super key, or pressing Super+Alt+Up Arrow. This displays all of your open apps across your workspaces.

GNOME panel
GNOME panel

Slide your workspaces horizontally using the scroll wheel on your mouse or the "PgUp" and "PgDn" keys to bring the one you wish to see into view.

At the top of the activity page, thumbnails of your workspaces are displayed. These are interactive in nature. You may move a programme from a thumbnail to a different workspace by clicking on it.

When you click an application, it closes the activity view and becomes the current, focused application. The Esc or Super+Alt+Down Arrow keys can also be used to close the activity view. Maintaining the Ubuntu dock as a vertical dock on the left side of the screen clashes with GNOME 40's new horizontal workflow.

The application view is opened by clicking the "Show Applications" button at the bottom of the dock.

This also shifts horizontally in GNOME 40, so stealing desktop real estate from the left-hand border of the desktop isn't a good idea. The dock is less invasive when it is placed at the bottom of the screen, as it is by default in vanilla GNOME 40.

The dock now has a persistent trash can symbol and a new divider between pinned and running applications.

New touchpad motions for laptop users include a three-finger upward or downward slide to open or close the activities view.

The file browser Nautilus now supports password-protected ZIP files, and tab-completion is now available in the Nautilus address bar.

What's New in GNOME 40?

Packages of Upgraded Software

Of course, there's a flood of new software. The following are the versions of several important packages:

  • Mozilla: 92
  • 91.12 Thunderbird
  • LibreOffice
  • GCC: 11.2.0 Nautilus (Files): 40.2
  • 1.1.1l OpenSSL
  • Kernel version 5.13
With over 16,000 code changes from over 2,000 programmers, Kernel 5.13 was a huge release, one of the largest in the 5.x series to date. All of this effort pays off in the form of new features, updated drivers, and better hardware compatibility. The following are some of the highlights:

  • Thinkpad X1 Tablet from Lenovo Keyboard that is slim
  • Apple's Magic Mouse 2 is powered by the M1 CPU from Apple.
  • Luna is an Amazon gaming controller.
  • AMD Aldebaran GPUs from Radeon
  • FreeSync AMD GPUs have HDMI support.
  • NZXT Kraken liquid coolers hardware monitoring
  • Support for XFS file systems that can be shrunk

Is it Time to Upgrade?

If you've been debating whether or not to give Ubuntu a try, this is as good a place to start as any.


If you're an existing user and any of the kernel's hardware support or security enhancements will benefit your specific use case, go ahead and update. It's difficult to justify the effort—and risk—of an update if you don't have a problem that can be remedied by upgrading. There's nothing here that would force a long-time LTS user to abandon their safe harbour and migrate to 21.10.

Of course, even if you're not an LTS fan, there's something to be said about upgrading just to obtain the updated software and the slew of tiny bug fixes and improvements that each new release offers.

However, the final interim build before an LTS version is always going to be a challenge. The interim build must provide something exceptional to entice consumers to upgrade now rather than waiting for the next release, especially given the appealing possibility of long-term support. While Ubuntu 21.10 has a lot of good features, it doesn't quite come together to make a convincing whole.

If you're still curious, you may download Impish Idri from the release page and install it on any desktop or laptop computer.

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