Endless OS, a Debian-based distro focused on providing a simplified and streamlined user experience, particularly for users in emerging markets or those in areas with limited or no internet connectivity, has released the first update to its 5.x series, Endless OS 5.1
The distro bets on immutability and comes preinstalled with various apps and tools for learning, productivity, and entertainment, giving access to an extensive library of educational content.
Ten months after the 5.0 major release, the just-released new update continues on this path, so let’s see what’s changed.
Endless OS 5.1 Highlights
It should be noted that Endless OS may not be the ideal choice for those who prefer the most recent software and wish to stay at the edge of the wave. Instead, the distro prioritizes stability by utilizing tried and proven solutions.
That’s why the latest update still uses Debian 11 “Bullseye” as its foundation and bets on GNOME 41.3, which significantly lags behind the latest GNOME 45 version. At the same time, this update ships with Linux kernel 6.5, giving the distribution broader hardware support.
Endless Key: A Gateway to Learning
Endless OS 5.1 debuts the Endless Key, a pivotal addition for learners. This app offers many educational resources spanning various interests such as coding, arts & crafts, cooking, and STEM. Most of these resources are in English, with a selection available in Spanish, enabling learners to explore and learn online and offline.
For existing users, Endless Key is available for download from the App Center or Flathub. The integration of Endless Key into Endless OS 5.1 has been refined, ensuring that multiple users on the same computer can access the resources without redundant downloads.
Additionally, the app grid has been streamlined to provide a more cohesive experience when accessing different channels within Endless Key.
Enhanced Hardware Support
Endless OS 5.1 comes with significant updates in hardware compatibility:
- The Linux kernel is upgraded to version 6.5, enhancing the support for newer hardware.
- NVIDIA graphics drivers are updated to version 530.41.03, optimizing the use of NVIDIA GPUs.
- Firmware packages are revised for better compatibility with recent hardware.
Raspberry Pi Enhancements and Workarounds
Endless OS 5.1 also focuses on improving the user experience on Raspberry Pi, although it’s still considered in a preview phase. Key enhancements include hardware-accelerated graphics on Raspberry Pi 4 and 400 and the ability to boot from a USB drive.
However, users should note limitations, such as video playback issues in Chromium and the Totem video player, with suggested workarounds available.
Usability and Accessibility Improvements
The update brings a more intuitive user experience, mainly in the following areas:
- Improved scrollbar visibility in more applications.
- The Files app now defaults to a grid view.
- Various components have received security updates and bug fixes.
Changes in Apps and Functionality
Endless OS 5.1 phases out certain outdated apps and extensions:
- Hack and its associated apps are replaced with a curated selection of game-creation tools.
- Brasero, the CD & DVD burning application, has been removed due to low usage and lack of maintenance. Alternatives are suggested.
- Adblock Plus is no longer automatically installed, addressing user feedback regarding its automatic behavior and solicitation for payment.
Download Endless OS 5.1
If you want to give Endless OS 5.1 a try, the ISO file has two options: a basic one with 3.5 GB and a full 18 GB version. What are the differences? In short, the full version comes with tons of preinstalled apps, allowing you to use the OS without an internet connection.
Existing Endless OS users can update to version 5.1 from the App Center.