It is obviously good news to hear that Ubuntu has released version 21.04 for the year 2021. Ubuntu 21.04, more precisely, the Hirsute Hippo version comes with new features and modifications to improve their community’s time with Ubuntu even more. So, what exactly is Ubuntu 21.04?
With its release on 22nd April 2021, Hirsute Hippo surely has conquered the attention of many Linux users and developers. Ubuntu 21.04 uses the 5.11 Linux Kernel. And Linux Kernel 5.11 comes with a whole lot of new features including Software Guard Extensions (SGX), AMD Processor Enhancement, Syscall User Dispatch, and Constant-Action Bitmaps. Therefore Ubuntu 21.04 itself, there are several new features that come along with it. For instance, smartcard authentication for Intel SGX can be given in addition to the above-mentioned features. And also, other than NVidia GPUs, now it uses Wayland as the default hardware too.
Ubuntu 21.04 was released thanks to the amazing support and collaborative effort of its team of developers throughout the past six months. Even before the new version was released, developers predicted that Ubuntu would be more adaptable and accessible with this new version. But the thing is, Ubuntu 21.04 is an interim release. Therefore it would be available only for nine months.
So, would it be worth upgrading to just for nine months?
With the nine months of only support from Ubuntu, the Hirsute Hippo support will come to an end in January 2022. If you are interested in trying it out, they recommend upgrading to version 21.10 later on.
If we move on to talking about the features that this new version comes with, the Ubuntu enterprise users have received the chance to connect to an active directory domain for managed configuration. This happens through a Group Policy Client. So, systems admins now get the chance to centrally set security, user access control, and passwords, etc. So it enables to generate a recovery key right from the installer for those who perform an encrypted Ubuntu install. And in addition to that, for the hardware that it supports, Ubuntu 21.04 uses Wayland by default. Direct screen sharing option has been added to platforms like Discord, Firefox, and OBS with the newly added pipeware.
Not only those but there are also security improvements too. The home folder is now private. And this happens by default in this new version. There is an improved dark theme for the core GNOME Shell UI. Some other new features are the availability of the latest versions from applications like ThunderBird, Mozilla Firefox, and Libre Office. And that is not to mention the functionalities added with the inclusion of Linux Kernel 5.11.
And to the “not found” features…
Top of everything, the major concern of the developers is that Ubuntu 21.04 does NOT support GNOME 40. That may seem quite unusual because former Ubuntu versions came with the latest GNOME releases previously. And this is not a point to disappoint developers. The experts think that GNOME 40 requires more time for the users to adapt due to its major design changes. So, surely it will be available with new versions that would arrive in the future.
And the GTK 4 is always absent in this new release. So, Ubuntu 21.04 version sticks to GTK 3 and GNOME 3.38. One major reason for this is, even though this is an interim release that they support just for nine months, Ubuntu considers things seriously and makes each and every release as stable as possible.
The default theme still remains Yaru and the design palette still is the same purplish shades. And there is a dark theme that comes from default. Some minor changes have happened in the user interface too. But most of the previous features still remain in the new release. Files on the desktop are back and Wayland is now the default display server.
Even though the interim releases are quite advantageous and stable, Canonical statistics say that 95% of the users stick with the LTS versions. So, as the next LTS version is to be 22.04, surely the majority may stick with 20.04 Focal Fossa. And for the rest who love the change and install the interim releases, there is a huge chance that the 20.10 Groovy Gorilla users may shift to this latest version 21.04 Hirsute Hippo.
For those who are interested, here is the path to download Ubuntu 21.04. For those who are still in doubt, well, you can try it on a VM if you want a risk-free tour through Ubuntu Hirsute Hippo.
And finally developers, the next version 21.10 Impish Indri will be here by 14th October 2021.