Canonical released today the beta version of its upcoming Ubuntu 21.10 “Impish Indri” release, allowing public beta testers to take the next major Ubuntu version for a test drive on their personal computers.
Ubuntu 21.10 has been in development since May 2021 and, like all previous versions, it was based on the previous release, in this case Ubuntu 21.04 “Hiruste Hippo.” After a few months of hard work, the Ubuntu devs managed to make some important changes to the upcoming release.
Besides the updated toolchain based on GNU C Library 2.34, GCC 11, LLVM 13, and GNU Binutils 2.37, Ubuntu 21.10 now ships with a more recent kernel, namely Linux 5.13, and finally makes the jump to the GNOME 40 desktop environment series with its revamped Activities Overview and other major changes.
In fact, Ubuntu 21.10 beta ships with the latest GNOME 40.4 point release, but it doesn’t enter the Activities Overview by default, which I guess is the behavior Ubuntu users are looking for. Of course, all the pre-installed apps have been updated to the GNOME 40 stack, including the Nautilus file manager.
No new apps are present in this release, but users will be able to enjoy the latest Mozilla Firefox 92 as default web browser as a Snap package, and LibreOffice 7.2 as default office suite. Also included is a revamped Yaru theme with only Light and Dark alternatives, making things more enjoyable. The mixed light and dark theme from previous releases is now gone.
Among other enhancements, the Wayland session now works while using the proprietary NVIDIA graphics drivers, PulseAudio 15 is included by default with support for Bluetooth LDAC, AptX, and HFP profiles for better audio quality, and PipeWire is also pre-installed by default for improved audio playback.
The final release of Ubuntu 21.10 “Impish Indri” will see the light of day on October 14th, 2021. Until then, users have exactly three weeks to test the beta version and report bugs if they want to have an out-of-the-box Ubuntu experience. You can download Ubuntu 21.10 beta right now from here.
Not using Ubuntu? The official flavors are also available for public beta testing, and you can download the beta versions of Kubuntu 21.10, Xubuntu 21.10, Lubuntu 21.10, Ubuntu Studio 21.10, Ubuntu MATE 21.10, Ubuntu Budgie 21.10, and Ubuntu Kylin 21.10 right now by clicking on them.
Of them all, Xubuntu appears to have the most changes with two new apps pre-installed in the live system, namely GNOME Disk Analyzer (Baobab) and GNOME Disks, and an alternative toolbar layout for the Rhythmbox music player. Also, the Thunar file manager has been updated to show the full directory path in the titlebar and you can now summon the Whisker Menu with the Super key.
Also worth mentioning is that Kubuntu 21.10 beta comes with the latest KDE Plasma 5.22 desktop environment, the KDE Gear 21.08 software suite, as well as Latte Dock 0.10, Ubuntu MATE 21.10 beta ships with the latest MATE 1.26 desktop environment, and Lubuntu 21.10 beta with the latest LXQt 0.17.0 desktop environment.
Last updated 2 years ago