hile development on Ubuntu 21.04 is still (somewhat) early, rumors are already circling about what to expect from the release that Ubuntu developers have dubbed the “Hirsute Hippo”.
When Is Ubuntu 21.04 Going To Release & Its New Features
In this post, we run down everything we know so far, including when Ubuntu 21.04 will be released, how long it’ll be supported for, and what new features and core changes it is likely to include.
Ubuntu 21.04 ‘Hirsute Hippo’
The Ubuntu 21.04 codename is ‘Hirsute Hippo’. There’s not an awful lot of subtext we can glean from the codename, but such a vivid and imaginative adjective + animal combo will ensure that the mascot art and new wallpapers is suitably iconic!
Ubuntu 21.04 will be supported for 9 months with on-going core bug fixes, security patches, and new app releases. Support will end in January 2022, and the recommend ‘upgrade’ path will be to Ubuntu 21.10. It is a short-term support release.
Fact fans may be interested to know that 21.04 is the 24th Ubuntu release overall, and the third version to be named after an animal beginning with the letter ‘H’ — can you name the other two? Answers in the comments, folks! tyh bn
Ubuntu 21.04: Release Date
The Ubuntu 21.04 release date is April 22, 2021. This date is listed on Launchpad, the home of Ubuntu development, along with dates for other key development milestones.
A quick overview of the Hirsute Hippo release schedule:
- Features Freeze: February 25, 2021
- UI Freeze: March 18, 2021
- Ubuntu 21.04 Beta: April 1, 2021
- Kernel Freeze: April 8, 2021
- Release Candidate: April 15, 2021
These dates are (as ever) subject to change.
Ubuntu 21.04: New Features
You came here wanting to learn what the new features Ubuntu 21.04 will offer but we’re going to start with a few things that you won’t find in Hirsute.
First up: Ubuntu 21.04 will not include GNOME 40. While new Ubuntu releases typically include the newest GNOME release, this time it won’t. GNOME 40 features some dramatic design changes and Ubuntu devs feel they need more time to ‘adapt’ to the changes than is available.
Secondly, there’ll be no GTK4 in Ubuntu 21.04 either, at least not by default. GTK3 will remain king. This is less of a surprise as there aren’t an awful lot of apps currently using GTK4 (at the time of writing), with the majority of the GNOME stack yet to migrate.
As a result, it’s unlikely that new versions of GNOME apps including Nautilus (file manager), Calendar, and To-Do will receive any major updates either.
A GNOME 40 PPA is likely. This will allow Ubuntu developers to test and work on upstream changes in-situ. We’ll naturally let you know more as soon as this PPA appears.
Elsewhere, as we covered recently, Ubuntu 21.04 makes the home folder private by default. This long-overdue change ensures new Ubuntu installs are as safe and secure as they can be for users, with non-encrypted home folders no longer ‘world readable’.
Ubuntu developers have announced that Ubuntu 21.04 will use Wayland by default to allow broader testing ahead of the next LTS.
These and other changes to expect in Ubuntu 21.04:
- Wayland as default session
- Python 3.9 by default
- Linux 5.11 kernel (or newer)
- Private home directory
- App updates
- ZFS improvements
- New wallpaper
We update this post regularly as new features are revealed and other changes occur and do let us know if there’s anything we’ve missed!
Hirsute would be a great time to rectify some long-standing issues with the current Ubuntu user experience. For instance, the Desktop Icons extension lacks essential features (like drag and drop). A superior extension is available. Could Ubuntu devs switch to that instead? One hopes.
Sticking with Desktop Icons, I find jarring the lack of animation/transition when opening the Activities overview or Applications grid. The desktop icons blink in/out. It looks fairly janky.
Download Ubuntu 21.04
You can download Ubuntu 21.04 right now, though only as an unstable daily build. Daily builds of Ubuntu should are not final, stable, polished, or feature complete. They give you an easy way to check-in with (and help test) upcoming releases but they should not be used as your primary OS.