Manjaro Linux 21 Ornara RC1 is here with GNOME, Xfce, and KDE Plasma

So far, the year 2021 hasn’t been particularly good for Linux on the desktop. Windows 10 has matured into a pretty great operating system, and PC sales are up big thanks to the pandemic. Meanwhile, Apple’s transition to ARM for macOS has gone shockingly well. In other words, there haven’t really been any missteps by Apple or Microsoft to help Linux make gains on the desktop front.

The Linux community keeps moving on, however, and despite an overall stagnation, there are still solid operating systems being maintained which use the open source kernel. One of the more popular Linux distro these days is the Arch-based Manjaro, and today, the first release candidate of the upcoming version is made available. Manjaro Linux 21 RC1, code-named “Ornara,” uses kernel 5.10 LTS and can be downloaded immediately with your choice of GNOME 3.38, KDE Plasma 5.21, or Xfce 4.16.

“We are happy to publish our release candiate of Manjaro Linux 21.0, named Ornara. Our last release Nibia was from January and a lot of things changed between those releases. For once, we dropped Gnome Initial Setup routine from our ISOs. It was nice to try out, but the feedback overall was not so great. Since we also have optional OEM ISOs for our manufacturers, we see no need to further investigate into GIS,” says The Manjaro Development Team.

The devs further say, “Our installer Calamares also received many improvements. Among other things, Calamares has now a table of ‘best guess’ languages for each country and when GeoIP is enabled, it will automatically select that country’s language as default – the user can of course pick a different one. The ‘best guess’ is based on Unicode / ISO data, which is sometimes dubious. Calamares also ships now a table of ‘best guess’ keyboard mappings, allowing native language input. However, usernames and passwords should be in US-ASCII.”

Ready to install one of the best Linux distributions on the planet? You can download a Manjaro 21 "Ornara" ISO here now. If you want the purest Manjaro experience -- as the developers intend it -- you should get the Xfce variant. With that said, I would suggest trying both the GNOME and KDE Plasma versions too. Just keep in mind, this is pre-release software, so there may be bugs that could lead to data loss.

Photo credit: Pavel Kapysh / Shutterstock

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