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Pop!_OS 21.10 Introduces a New Application Library, GNOME 40, and a Refresh Install Option

Pop!_OS is undoubtedly one of the best Linux distributions, also happens to be a popular recommendation currently for Linux newbies (and gamers).

If you do not prefer non-LTS releases, you should stick to Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS. But, if you are looking for the latest and greatest update, Pop!_OS 21.10 is finally here for you to download!

Not to forget, the Pop!_OS 21.10 release sets things in motion for a potential list of features that you can expect with Pop!_OS 22.04 LTS, April next year.

Pop!_OS 21.10: What’s New?

Note that even if Pop!_OS 21.10 features GNOME 40 as one of the most considerable changes, you should expect a similar COSMIC desktop experience as you did with Pop!_OS 21.04.

That being said, there are some key changes in Pop!_OS 21.10 that should enhance your Linux desktop experience, and make things easier.

New Application Library

With Pop!_OS 21.10, the full-screen application menu has been replaced by a separate searchable window. This should be less obstructive and come in handy.

It is not just a unique tweak to GNOME 40 by System76, but it should functionally provide more benefits than the traditional full-screen app drawer.

For instance, the new application library should enhance the multi-monitor experience by letting you quickly search for an application in the screen you focus, instead of taking up the full screen.

It also lets you quickly search for an application (or filter them as per your search query). Not just limited to the applications installed, but it will also display the applications that can be installed using the Pop!_Shop.

You can access the application library using the “Applications” button right to the Workspaces, or perform a four-finger swipe right, or press Super + A.

System76’s Repositories Replacing Launchpad

If you have been following us, you might have already read about System76 moving PPA repositories to its system.

Overall, this should help them take control of packages and push updates faster than Ubuntu/Canonical’s default repositories.

GNOME Updates

The jump from GNOME 3.38.4 to 40 should introduce several GNOME 40 improvements, at least to the core applications.

Some notable improvements include Wi-Fi sorting in the Settings, meaning, the available networks will show up in the order of active connection, previous connections, and strength of the signal, to present a useful order of available Wi-Fi networks.

You can also notice auto-completion in Files after you search for something.

Latest Linux Kernel & NVIDIA Driver

Pop!_OS is known to push the latest Linux Kernel faster than many other distributions. Pop!_OS 21.04 was already running Linux Kernel 5.15, and Pop!_OS 21.10 continues with it.

Here, Pop!_OS 21.10 brings in Linux Kernel 5.15.5 and also packs in the latest available NVIDIA driver for best compatibility with newer hardware.

Refresh Install Option

Whenever Pop!_OS is installed from the recovery partition, it lets you choose to opt for “Refresh Install”.

In this way, you get to re-install Pop!_OS without losing your files in the Home directory. It should come in handy if something fails to work, and you cannot troubleshoot it, a re-installation should bring back things to their default state.

Improvements to Pop!_OS Upgrade

A new default icon for the user if you do not have anything set.

With Pop!_OS 21.10, you can also expect a better upgrade experience.

To make things convenient, Pop!_OS made some changes to its behavior when the distribution is upgraded. Some of them are:

  • Disabling the user-added PPAs automatically to avoid upgrade conflicts.
  • The recovery partition is now updated before upgrading the distribution to give you a medium to easily re-install the distro if the installation using the restore partition does not succeed the first time.

Tech-Preview for Raspberry Pi 4

As of now, it is entirely an experiment for Raspberry Pi 4 but you can download a tech preview release for the ARM platform.

They plan to introduce Pop!_Pi with future Pop!_OS releases.

Thoughts on Pop!_OS 21.10

Pop!_OS is constantly making efforts to make the desktop Linux experience as reliable as possible while having some of the latest packages at the same time.

With Pop!_OS 21.10, an updated desktop environment, Linux Kernel, and usability improvements make up for a useful upgrade.

If you are using a non-LTS release, you should definitely consider upgrading as soon as possible. Note that you should always backup your data before you proceed to upgrade.

Download Pop!_OS 21.10

You can find two different ISOs available for Pop!_OS 21.10, one for NVIDIA, and the other for Intel/AMD.

Head to the official download page and download the ISO you require.

If you already had Pop!_OS 21.04 installed, you should get an upgrade notification soon following their official announcement or head to the system settings and apply the upgrade.

If you are using the terminal, type in the following commands:

sudo apt update
sudo apt full-upgrade
pop-upgrade release upgrade

You can also read the details mentioned in their official announcement post.

What do you think about Pop!_OS 21.10? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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