Ubuntu 21.04 Beta (Hirsute Hippo) Released. Download and Test now.

3 min

Aligning to the release schedule, the Ubuntu team announced the release of the Ubuntu 21.04 Beta code-named ‘Hirsute Hippo’. The beta images are immediately available for download and test.

Ubuntu 21.04 is a short-term release. Hence the changes, major features are less. Mostly the Kernel updates, application updated versions, and core package upgrades are expected from the changelog. When we last wrote about the feature list of Ubuntu 21.04 here, we mostly guessed some of the items right.

So, here’s a quick summary of the updates that are expected in this release.

Ubuntu 21.04 Beta (desktop) – What’s new

Ubuntu 21.04 Beta Desktop
Ubuntu 21.04 Beta Desktop

1. Linux Kernel

The Linux Kernel 5.11 is included in Ubuntu 21.04. Linux Kernel 5.11 brings to you the latest CPU, GPU, and other hardware updates across modules. Check out the Linux Kernel 5.11 features here.

2. GNOME 3.38 as default desktop

The latest GNOME 40 will not be included in this version of Ubuntu. The default desktop environment is GNOME 3.38 which is a default desktop in Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla. Due to many design changes in GNOME 40 and possible impact on quality issues, the team decided to stick to GNOME 3.38.4 in this release as well.

3. Updated native apps

Other features should include the latest version of GNOME native applications as available alongside pre-loaded apps such as Thunderbird, Firefox. The most important update is, although GNOME 40 is not included, the respective application’s version 40 is included in this release. For example, GNOME Disk utility 40.0, Gnome Image Viewer 40.0. However, the Files remain as 3.38.2 version.

4. Encrypting EXT4 partitions

Ubuntu’s Ubiquity installer might allow users to encrypt their EXT4 partitions without being forced to use the LVM partitioning scheme. If this happens, the general users can avail themselves the full disk encryption by default with the EXT4 partitioning scheme.

5. Home directory permission change

Ubuntu 21.04 makes the newly added user’s home directory permission to 750 from 755. That means the home directories are not readable at all by the users outside groups from Ubuntu 21.04 onwards.

6. Wayland as Default Display Server

The team plans to give Wayland a try with this release. With many changes and fixes landed in the last couple of years, Wayland as a whole seems stable and feature-rich enough to provide it as a default display server in Ubuntu 21.04. This is a good decision from the team considering many bugs can be fixed with this iteration before it is ready for an LTS adaptation. While Wayland is the default, the X11 continues to remain there and you can switch between them from the login screen.

7. New Icons

Some of the application like LibreOffice sees polished and updated icons. Although it is hard to notice.

new icons and improved search bar
new icons and improved search bar

8. Dark Theme by default

One thing you should be noticing the standard dark theme by default when you boot up the desktop the first time. Mostly the top GNOME panel, system tray menu, calendar, and notification area are dark.

9. New Wallpaper

Following the trend of all Ubuntu releases and their default wallpaper, this release also introduced one. The new wallpaper features a comical icon of the release mascot hippo. You can download the high res wallpaper using the below link.

Ubuntu 21.04 Hirsute Hippo Default Wallpaper
Ubuntu 21.04 Hirsute Hippo Default Wallpaper

For a complete release notes, refer this page.

Ubuntu 21.04 Beta download links

You can visit the below page to download the Ubuntu 21.04 beta .iso images for desktop.

Other Ubuntu 21.04 flavour beta links are present below.

Ubuntu FlavourLink for Daily build .iso image
Ubuntu 21.04 Desktophttps://releases.ubuntu.com/21.04/ubuntu-21.04-beta-desktop-amd64.iso
Xubuntu 21.04 https://cdimage.ubuntu.com/xubuntu/releases/hirsute/beta/
Ubuntu MATE 21.04https://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-mate/releases/hirsute/beta/
Ubuntu Kylin 21.04https://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ubuntukylin/releases/hirsute/beta/
Lubuntu 21.04https://cdimage.ubuntu.com/lubuntu/releases/hirsute/beta/
Kubuntu 21.04http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/kubuntu/releases/hirsute/beta/
Ubuntu Budgie 21.04https://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-budgie/releases/hirsute/beta/

Closing Notes

Ubuntu 21.04 final release expected on April 22, 2021. Download the beta images and test. If you encounter bugs, report them using this guide. Not many changes are there in this April release of Ubuntu. If you are running Ubuntu 21.04 LTS, you should not upgrade to this release. And for the users of Ubuntu 21.10 Groovy Gorilla that released on Oct-2020 – you should upgrade to Ubuntu 21.04 when releases.


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