Rhino Linux’s 2023.4 Sets the Stage for a Transformative 2024

Discover new features in Rhino Linux 2023.4, like Unicorn Desktop's new auto-tiling and improved package management.

Rhino is a relatively new Linux distro that builds on Ubuntu’s development branch. However, what sets it apart from other Ubuntu derivatives is that it follows a rolling release model. This means it continuously updates with the latest features and improvements.

Today, less than three months after the previous release, the Rhino team announced the new v2023.4 and shared a glimpse of what’s in store for 2024.

Rhino Linux 2023.4 Key Highlights

Rhino Linux 2023.4 Unicorn Desktop
Rhino Linux 2023.4 Unicorn Desktop

Rhino Linux 2023.4 introduces the much-anticipated novelty in its in-house backed Xfce-based Unicorn Desktop, offering optional auto-tiling capability via a new applet in the top panel. Additionally, uLauncher has been redesigned, now sporting a more rounded appearance and a subtly altered background color.

Regarding package management, the rhino-pkg update command brings significant changes by not auto-removing packages when Nala is installed. On top of that, the new rhino-pkg cleanup command has been added to remove unneeded packages or broken dependencies.

We will also note that with Pacstall 4.3.0, packages can now use Debian’s “priority” flag, ensuring essential system components remain unremovable.

For PINE64 users, the new release is particularly noteworthy. It introduces modem stability fixes, GPS support enablement for the PinePhone and PinePhone Pro, and an experimental WiFi module for the PineTab2. In addition, all PINE devices now also support flashlight functionality.

Other notable features in Rhino 2023.4 include the “Your System” application’s new display style for the version number and the introduction of pacstall-qa, a tool for testing pascripts.

Lastly, this release also sees the installation of updated kernels for various devices, including 6.6.7 for desktops, 6.7.0 for PINE64 devices, and 6.5.0 for Raspberry Pi.

You can refer to the release announcement for detailed information about all changes. Installation ISO images for the x86_64 and ARM64 architectures are available from the project website’s downloads section.

Of course, if you are already running Rhino, there is no need for a fresh installation. Being a rolling release distribution, keeping it up-to-date (rpk update -y) is enough to always be at the latest version.

Looking Ahead to 2024

The year 2024 is shaping up to be significant for Rhino Linux, with several exciting developments on the horizon. The team is set to debut a new icon pack that balances aesthetic appeal with preserving the original artwork’s essence.

The Unicorn Beyond XFCE initiative will receive continued support, facilitating the development of UBXI ports. Pacstall 5.0.0 is also on the roadmap, promising closer pacscript parity to PKGBUILDs. Users can look forward to the addition of support for offline installations.

A significant overhaul is expected with Rhino’s package manager being rewritten from scratch, aiming for enhanced performance and precision and new functions like repository sync without upgrading.

Finally, the possibility of the Unicorn desktop transitioning to Wayland is being explored, with considerations for alternative compositing options due to stalled progress on integrating Wayland support into Xfce.

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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