Rhino Linux Brings the Rolling Release Model to Ubuntu

Want a new Linux experience? Rhino Linux, still in beta, gives users a rolling Ubuntu experience with an Arch AUR taste.

Despite still being in beta, Rhino Linux is already gaining attention from the Linux community for its fresh approach. With so many Linux distributions available, having this kind of diversity and choice is excellent.

Each distribution has its own set of strengths, weaknesses, and philosophies, catering to different user needs. Rhino Linux adds another option to the mix and will appeal to those looking for a balance between simplicity, stability, and innovation.

What’s Rhino Linux?

Rhino Linux
Rhino Linux

Rhino Linux, the successor to last October’s discontinued Rolling Rhino Remix project, is a new Linux distribution based on the Ubuntu development branch.

Still, in the beta stage, Rhino follows the rolling release model, in which software packages are continuously updated as soon as they become available – more about this in our dedicated article.

Despite being based on Ubuntu, you’ll find almost nothing in Rhino Linux that reminds you of Ubuntu’s visual identity or GUI tools (except for the “Software” and “Software & Updates” applications).

Instead, powered by the most up-to-date Linux kernel, 6.2.12, the distribution sets out to build its own identity using the latest Xfce 4.18 version of this lightweight and customizable desktop environment.

Rhino relies on the well-known and proven Calamares installer, and the installation process is seamless and shouldn’t bother any Linux user who has used it at least once.

Installing Rhino Linux.
Installing Rhino Linux.

Compared to distributions bloated with apps, we were impressed that only the most necessary software is included, such as web browser (Firefox), media player (mpv), etc., in the default installation, adding an extra feeling of lightness.

Let’s look now at what sets Rhino apart from other Linux distributions.

Rhino Linux Highlights

Immediately after installation, users are given the option via a handy GUI tool (rhino-setup) to select additional software sources, including Snap, Flatpak, and AppImage.

Selection of additional package managers.
Selection of additional package managers.

Depending on your choice, the system automatically configures everything you need for the respective source, which is a huge time saver.

However, the most significant advantage of Rhino Linux is the integration of Pacstall, which shares a very similar ideology to Arch’s AUR, but for Ubuntu users.

It uses so-called “pacscripts,” very similar to Arch’s PKGBUILDs concept, that contain the necessary contents to build ready-to-install packages for your system.

Installing a package from Pacstall on Rhino Linux.
Installing a package from Pacstall on Rhino Linux.

The in-house developed rhino-pkg, the all-in-one package manager written in Bash, is another unique aspect of Rhino. Its main advantage is its versatility, which allows you to manage software from numerous sources.

In other words, it allows you to search, install, remove, and update packages from multiple package managers repositories, such as native DEB repos, Pacstall, Flathub, and Snap Store, with simple terminal outputs to enhance and ease your user experience.

Its use is also quite easy. Just run “rhino-pkg {update | search | install | remove} package_name.” On top of that, users have Nala, a frontend for the APT command, which provides some significant improvements in package management over APT.

Nala - a frontend for the APT command.
Nala – a frontend for the APT command.

Our main criticism is that new users may be confused about whether to use APT, Nala, or rhino-pkg to manage their system software. The preferred approach, recommended by the Rhino devs, is to go with rhino-pkg.

So, our recommendation is also to stick to it and leave APT and Nala only when, for some reason, something goes wrong with rhino-pkg.

Who Is Rhino Aimed At?

Rhino is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu but with a different target audience. While Ubuntu is a widely-used and popular operating system designed for general use, Rhino is more tailored towards intermediate Linux users who are looking for a simpler and more streamlined experience.

The distribution aims to provide them with a solid foundation they can build on top of with the software and tools they need while still retaining the stability and reliability of Ubuntu.


Rhino is a breath of fresh air in the Linux world, where many distributions try to offer everything at once, relying on complex technical solutions, and are cluttered with software tools to accomplish simple things. In contrast, Rhino strives to keep things simple.

Coming with just the bare minimum, the distribution lets you build on top of it entirely according to your needs and understanding.

And, of course, the main thing – you get Ubuntu but in a rolling release version. Something that many Linux users want but has been missing so far. Moreover, the ability to use different software sources through a single tool is a great hit that has won us over.

Would we recommend giving Rhino Linux a try? Without a doubt, yes! However, remember that the project is currently in beta, and using it as the primary OS for your daily computing needs is not a good idea.

But we are convinced that things will be even better when the first stable release comes out. In the meantime, you can learn more about Rhino by visiting the project website.

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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