It's a neat update to Canonical's Ubuntu distribution.
The world's most popular Linux distribution just received a major update that offers tons of new features, bug fixes, and more.
Ubuntu 21.04 has been in development for several months. Many Ubuntu fans have been eagerly waiting for it, but it's not the next LTS (Long-Term Support) version of the Linux distribution. Ubuntu 21.04 is kind of a gap between major updates. The next LTS version, Ubuntu 21.10, will be released later in 2021.
Even so, the Ubuntu 21.04 update brings some decent upgrades to the operating system.
Ubuntu 04/21 Update Lands
The Ubuntu 21.04 update, which the development team amusingly called Hirsute Hippo, updates the distribution to Linux kernel 5.11, which alone provides important hardware support for AMD and Intel products such as AMD's APUs and Intel's Keem Bay.
Ubuntu 20.04 also features the long-awaited Wayland Compositor switch that many users have been waiting for. Wayland is replacing the current X desktop server that many are familiar with and turning it off for the much faster, smoother alternative.
Longtime Ubuntu users will also be happy to see that Ubuntu 21.04 enables Pipewire and enables much better audio and video processing, especially for video and screen recording sessions.
One thing that stands out in its absence is the shell version of GNOME 40, the latest version of the desktop environment. Ubuntu usually ships with the latest version of GNOME, but this time it didn't make the cut. This is only due to time constraints as GNOME 40 wasn't fully released until the end of March 2021.
Canonical just didn't have enough time to merge GNOME 40 to its liking, but it will definitely ship with the next release of Ubuntu. The consequence of this omission is that GTK 4.0 is also not available, but will appear again the next time.
While the full shell GNOME 40 isn't included in Ubuntu 21.04, certain apps will run on their new versions. You can find beautiful, shiny visual upgrades for Firefox, Thunderbird, and LibreOffice with the prospect of more.
The official release notes for Ubuntu 21.04 Hirsute Hippo have more information about the update and the expected results.
Ubuntu 21.04 is a stepping stone
Without a doubt, Ubuntu 21.04 is an exciting update. With Canonical only releasing two major updates to Ubuntu each year, everyone looks forward to excited about what it brings in terms of new features and fixes.
For many, however, the short-term updates are just a stepping stone for the LTS branch versions, which receive support for up to five years and are therefore suitable for a large number of hardware components.
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About the author
(829 articles published)
Gavin is the Junior Editor for Windows and Technology Explained, contributing regularly to the Really Useful Podcast, and was the Editor for MakeUseOf's crypto-focused sister site Blocks Decoded. He has a BA (Hons) in Contemporary Writing Using Digital Art Practices Looted from the Devon Hills, as well as over a decade of writing experience. He enjoys plenty of tea, board games, and soccer.
By Gavin Phillips
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