I was slightly disappointed at the lack of enough new features in the recent release of Ubuntu 21.04. However, Canonical is all set to change that with the upcoming release of Ubuntu 21.10 ‘Impish Indri‘.
Ubuntu 21.10 Release Schedule
The final stable release date of Ubuntu 21.10 is October 14, 2021. Here are the milestones of the release schedule:
- Beta release: 23rd September
- Release Candidate: 7th October
- Final Release: 14th October
Ubuntu 21.10 is codenamed Impish Idri. Impish is an adjective that means “inclined to do slightly naughty things for fun“. Idrish is a Lemur found in Madagascar.
If you are not aware already, all Ubuntu releases are codenamed in alphabetical order and composed of an adjective and an animal species, both starting with the same letter.
New Features Expected in Ubuntu 21.10
Although an official feature list has not been released yet, you can expect the following features to be present:
- Gnome 40 or 41
- GCC 11
- More usage of Flutter
- A new desktop installer
- Light Theme by default
- No more standard mixed theme
- Zstd compression for Debian packages
- Linux Kernel 5.14
Considering all these changes, this should be a huge upgrade from Ubuntu 21.04.
GNOME 40 or GNOME 41
In my opinion, the biggest upgrade is the inclusion of GNOME 40 or 41, especially with the new horizontal overview.
As of now, with daily builds, you can find GNOME 40 experience that is constantly changing. The dock exists on the left side and the launcher is still at the bottom.
While some noticed the horizontal workspace/overview, I did not notice it with the latest build I tried on 8 July.
Even though it said GNOME 40.2 as the desktop environment, I still had vertical overview and workspaces.
So, it should be fascinating to see how the Ubuntu team makes use of the new design changes in GNOME 40 or may choose to go with GNOME 41 onboard, which is slated for release in September.
In addition to the desktop environment change, you will no longer find the standard (mixed-color) theme in Ubuntu 21.10.
You will also find dark or light theme, while light being the default. We have had a separate coverage about the Ubuntu 21.10 theme change, if you are curious to know more.
New Desktop Installer
You may have already read about the new Ubuntu installer. This will be introduced with Ubuntu 21.10 to ease the user experience while installing the operating system and also giving an option to repair installation.
Starting with Ubuntu 21.10, Zstd, the compression standard developed by Facebook will be used for the .deb packages.
This should make decompressing of packages/archives faster, which may result in a faster installation speed.
Daily Builds of Ubuntu 21.10 Available (For Testing Only)
Although the development of Ubuntu 21.10 has only just started, there are already daily builds available from the official Ubuntu website.
Please bear in mind that these are daily builds (early development) and are not meant to be used as a daily driver.
Anything mentioned above or what you experience while testing is subject to change.
With the sheer number of upgrades, the Ubuntu team is rushing to implement all the new features destined for this release. Consequently, this should then allow them time to fully bake the new features ahead of the release of Ubuntu 22.04 LTS (I can’t wait already!)
Between Gnome 40, Linux 5.14, and the new desktop installer, Ubuntu 21.10 is shaping up to be one of the biggest releases in recent years. It will be exciting to see how the Ubuntu team embraces the new GNOME look, along with other changes.