Manjaro 21.2.0 is released with Linux Kernel 5.15, enhanced btrfs support, and more!

 A few days away from the end of this year, the developers of Manjaro Linux based on Arch released a new 21.2.0 version of the distribution, named Qonos, with major updates and improvements to the kernel, installer, and desktop environment.

Beginning with the installer, Calamares got significant improvements with this release, including the selection of the file system for automatic partitioning and improved support for the btrfs file system.

 For btrfs installations, the default subvolume layout has been enhanced with easier rollbacks and less wasted space on snapshots. In addition, swap files are now supported on the btrfs file system too.

The Gnome version has received a major new update to Gnome 41.2, the default layout has been redesigned to be as much possible close to the upstream default layout in terms of themes and appearance of the desktop, while keeping some important extensions to provide a better GNOME experience, such as dash to dock, Night theme switcher, and Pamac updater indicator. Some tweaks have also been made to reduce the pointer travel for users who prefer using a mouse with Gnome.

For users who prefer the old vertical desktop layout (present in Gnome 3.38 and earlier), Manjaro Qonos has an option to get it back too, and it names the "Manjaro Legacy" layout, which mimics previous GNOME defaults.

Firefox now also comes with the gnome desktop-style theme enabled by default for a more consistent look with the desktop. This new look can be toggled with a one-click gnome-layout-switcher for users who prefer the native Firefox look.

The XFCE version now comes with the last version 4.16 of the lightweight desktop environment Xfce, with many new features. The window manager received a lot of updates and improvements in compositing and GLX. Support for fractional scaling was added to the display dialog, along with highlighting the preferred mode of a display with an asterisk and adding aspect ratios next to resolutions.

The Settings manager has improved search and filter capabilities. Thunar file manager received some fixes and a few new features, including a pause for copy/move operations, support for queued file transfer, remembering view settings per directory, and support for transparency in Gtk themes.

The KDE edition comes with the latest Plasma 5.23 series, Frameworks 5.88, and Applications (Gear) 21.12. The default theme "Breath" has been polished to match upstream “Breeze” theming. Active elements (in a dialog window, for example) light up when the window gets focused, checkboxes show actual ticks and radio buttons switch on like bulbs. Scrollbars and spinboxes are bigger, making them more accessible and easier to use with touchscreens, but have been re-designed in such a way as to still look elegant on desktop and laptop machines.

In System Settings, under Global Theme > Colors, you’ll find a new option that lets you pick the desktops accent colors. Accent colors are the colors of highlighted items on drop-down menus and lists, backgrounds of the icons of selected apps in the panel, the actual bars in progress bars, the backgrounds of checkboxes and radio buttons, and so on.

Finally, in the Wayland session, entering tablet mode increases the size of System Tray icons, making them easier to tap on a touchscreen. The System Tray will also notify you when something is recording the screen and will let you cancel it.

Manjaro 21.2.0 uses Linux Kernel version 5.15 (LTS) to give users the latest drivers available to date. This version can also be downloaded with 5.4 and 5.10  versions of Linux Kernel for additional support for old devices as needed.

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