NixOS 24.05 “Uakari” Brings Fresh Features and Enhanced Stability

The immutable and declarative NixOS 24.05 "Uakari" launches with robust upgrades, including GNOME 46, Plasma 6, and Linux kernel 6.6.

NixOS gains traction with its unique approach and innovative Nix package manager, making it a favorite among seasoned Linux users and developers who appreciate its reliability and reproducibility in system configurations.

The latest release, NixOS 24.05, dubbed “Uakari,” brings many updates and new features, so let’s look at them.

NixOS 24.05: Key Updates and New Features

NixOS 24.05 introduces an impressive number of updates, including more than 17,000 new packages and updates to 16,249 existing ones. Furthermore, the release streamlines the system by removing 9,393 outdated packages, enhancing system maintainability and security.

At the same time, quality improvements are evident with the addition of 145 new modules and the introduction of 1,983 new options, making customization more accessible than ever.

The new NixOS 24.05 includes updated versions of the leading desktop environments, offering users the latest features and improvements. For example, GNOME has been upgraded to its latest version 46, “Kathmandu.”

NixOS 24.05 GNOME 46 Desktop

There are numerous new features to explore, and while you can find a detailed look in our comprehensive article on the subject, here’s a quick summary of the GNOME 46’s key highlights:

  • A massive improvement to the file search functionality within the Files application, introducing a new global search.
  • The tracking of any file operations has now been relocated to the bottom left corner of the Files interface.
  • Users can now select their preferred format for displaying the date and time on files in either List or Grid view, with “Simple” or “Detailed” available.
  • Lightning-fast switch between List and Thumbnail views.
  • Enhanced notification system – notifications now feature collapsible and expandable functionality.
  • Redesigned “Settings” – a new “System” menu and improved “Mouse & Touchpad” settings.
  • GNOME Online Accounts now has integrated support for Microsoft OneDrive.
  • VRR (Variable Refresh Rates) is included as an experimental feature but is disabled by default.
  • Enhanced system efficiency with lower search memory usage, better screen recording, smarter image viewer resource management, and faster GNOME terminal apps.

Moreover, KDE Plasma enthusiasts will be pleased with the upgrade to Plasma 6, which introduces many new features detailed in our dedicated article. Here, we will highlight only the key ones:

  • Build on top of the Qt 6.7 and Frameworks 6.2
  • Wayland as display server protocol by default
  • The latest in the KDE Gear 24.02.2 app collection
  • Partial HDR support
  • New floating panels and  redesigned panel’s settings
  • Return of the Desktop Cube effect
  • New Overview effect
  • Settings to choose your preferred sound theme
  • New default Task Switcher
  • More relevant Accent Colors
  • Improved search functionalities and better Night Light
  • Accessibility improvements
NixOS 24.05 Plasma 6 Desktop

The new version also welcomes the Lomiri operating environment, formerly Unity8. It functions as a Wayland compositor using Mir 2.x, and MATE 1.28 now supports Wayland sessions and additional plugins for enhanced functionality.

NixOS 24.05 introduces an updated default kernel, advancing from version 6.1 to 6.6. At the same time, the distro continues to support all kernels since version 4.19. Another notable system enhancement is the introduction of a stub ELF loader.

This feature helps users identify when they attempt to run binaries incompatible with NixOS by displaying informative error messages, streamlining troubleshooting, and managing the system.

Moreover, NixOS now automatically sets NIX_PATH and the system-wide flake registry for flake-based configurations, simplifying package management and operations with minimal configuration.

The technical highlights include compressing firmware blobs with zstd (Zstandard), which increases the file size by 4.4% but significantly enhances decompression speed, boosting system performance.

Lastly, NixOS 24.05 introduces an option for a completely Perl-less system. This is achieved through a new opt-in mechanism replacing two Perl scripts previously essential for NixOS activation, catering to users seeking leaner system configurations.

For a complete list of changes, visit the announcement or check out the release’s highlights here. The distro is available for download in two variants: with GNOME (recommended) and KDE Plasma desktops for 64-bit AMD/Intel and ARM architectures.

The process of upgrading remains straightforward for users. The distro provides various channels that cater to different stability and feature needs, including stable, small, and unstable channels, which are automatically updated following successful package builds and tests.

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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