Ubuntu 21.10, codenamed Impish Indri, was released on 14 October 2021.
Ubuntu 21.10 uses the 5.13 Linux kernel, which introduces rudimentary support for Apple M1 chips, FreeSync HDMI support for AMD GPUs, a new ‘Landlock‘ security module and support for several new hardware among other changes and improvements. This release transitions from GNOME 3.38 to GNOME 40, introducing a horizontal workspace switcher and an improved Activities Overview design. The Ubuntu Dock remains vertically placed on the left of the screen and now features separators between pinned and running applications as well as a persistent trash can icon and USB drive shortcuts. A change was made in the default GNOME 40 behavior so that after logging in, the user will be shown the desktop instead of the Activites Overview. Despite Ubuntu 21.10 shipping with GNOME 40, a few GNOME 41 apps are available. A Firefox Snap is now installed by default on Ubuntu 21.10 instead of the deb package, which remains available for the time being.
Furthermore, the Nvidia proprietary drivers now support Wayland sessions. The default Yaru theme was also updated with new icons and Zstd compression was enabled in the main archive, making installations faster.
Joey Sneddon wrote in OMG! Ubuntu!, "for me what makes this release most appealing isn’t a specific one-thing, it’s the aggregate total; the combination of new apps, new kernel, new GNOME Shell, new look, and new installer (though not default for now) make the Impish Indri a particularly inspiring iteration of this iconic distro."
Dave McKay of How-To-Geek wrote in his review, "If you’re an existing user and any of the hardware support or security features of the kernel are going to have a positive impact on your particular use case, then go ahead and update. If you don’t have an issue that is going to be resolved by upgrading, it’s hard to justify the effort—and risk—of an upgrade. Certainly, there’s nothing here to compel an avid LTS user to leave that safe haven and move to 21.10."