The release of Lubuntu 21.10 on 14 October, 2021, marked the 24th version of Lubuntu and the seventh with the LXQt desktop. Read our Lubuntu 21.10 Review.
This is the final “standard” release of Lubuntu for this development cycle, as the next will be Lubuntu 22.04 LTS. That will be a long term support release and is expected out on 21 April, 2022.
Lubuntu 21.10 is supported for nine months, until July 2022.
Booting It Up
I downloaded the ISO file from the Lubuntu website via BitTorrent and completed a SHA256 check on it to make sure that the downloaded file was good. I used UNetbootin to write to it to a USB stick, as it conveniently leaves the stick in FAT32 format. For testing, I ran it from the USB stick.
I tested Lubuntu 21.10 on new, high-end hardware, with a 4.7 Ghz quad core processor and 32 GB of RAM and, as expected, it loaded and ran very fast.
Lubuntu 21.10 continues the developers’ philosophy for this cycle of only small and careful changes. This release uses the LXQt 0.17.0 desktop, based on the Qt 5.15.2 toolkit. Both have been upgraded since the last Lubuntu release.
LXQt 0.17.0 brings a host of improvements, most of them not necessarily obvious to the user. There are some interface changes, though, for instance, LXimage-Qt, the default image viewer, now has a “Preferences” setting that shows a thumbnail bar with the contents of the whole folder displayed. This allows selecting images to be viewed directly, instead of having to “arrow” though them all to locate the one you want.
This release also has some new art work, including a new wallpaper from Mahtamun Hoque Fahim.This is a great improvement over the default wallpaper shipped with Lubuntu 21.04 which I described in my review in Full Circle 170 as an “assault on the eyes”. Fahim’s wallpaper is much easier to look at. Perhaps the developers read my review and took it to heart?
One new application has been added, ImageMagick, an image manipulation program. This may sound like a bit of a breakthrough, as Lubuntu has never shipped with a default raster image editor before, but, even though ImageMagick has a basic graphical interface, it is predominantly command-line based and so not for new users or the faint of heart. Some Linux distributions use ImageMagick for “back-end” purposes, like creating thumbnails for the file manager but there is no information in the Lubuntu 21.10 release notes, so the reasons for its inclusion are unclear.
One thing that is not new is the inclusion of the .deb version of the Firefox web browser. This has been the case since Lubuntu 13.10 when Firefox replaced Chromium as the default web browser. This is notable because Ubuntu 21.10 moved to supplying Firefox as a Indicates the same version as used in Lubuntu 21.04.
Overall the default suite of applications represents a good selection for users to get started with.
This is getting to be a regular complaint but the version of the FeatherPad text editor shipped was four versions out of date at the time Lubuntu 21.10 was released. It would be nice to see the repository package manager, the Lubuntu Packages Team, keep it more up to date, as it is undergoing regular development.
Lubuntu 21.10 does not come with a default web cam application, photo editor or video editor although these can be added from the repositories via the graphical Discovery software center, the Muon package manager or by the command line.
It is probably worth noting that this release still comes with a CD/ DVD burning application, K3b, from the KDE software collection. It used to be included with Kubuntu but, since it is getting on to a decade since new computers came with CD/ DVD players, it was deleted from Kubuntu many releases ago and is starting to feel like an anachronistic inclusion in Lubuntu.
Lubuntu 21.10 is a good, solid release without any bad points. With its well-polished LXQt desktop, it is smooth, intuitive and easy to use.
It is obvious that the development team has been pursuing a careful philosophy of small and incremental changes. This is a good approach, as, in general, the users seem happy with how Lubuntu looks and works these days and large-scale changes are not needed or desired.
With the LTS release up next, I am interested to see what it will bring.
Adam Hunt started using Ubuntu in 2007 and has used Lubuntu since 2010. He lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, in a house with no Windows.