Ubuntu 21.04 Hirsute Hippo Released. This is What’s New.

3 min

Ubuntu team announced the release of the first short-term installment – Ubuntu 21.04 Hirsute Hippo. And it is immediately available for download including its official flavors. Here’s what’s new.

Ubuntu 21.04 Beta Desktop
Ubuntu 21.04 Beta Desktop

So, don’t get your hopes high on the features and improvements. This is a short-term release and a stepping stone for the next release. The usual Kernel updates, latest packages, and minor tweaks here and there are the most you can get.

The Ubuntu flavors, however, get their respective stable releases on the desktop environments. Hence you can do the upgrade or fresh install for the latest desktops. Otherwise, if you want a stable system, stay with the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

The recommended upgrade path is from Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla and a guide is present here. That said, let’s take a look at what’s new.

Ubuntu 21.04 Hirsute Hippo – What’s New

Kernel 5.11

Ubuntu 21.04 features the Linux Kernel 5.11 which brings a huge set of hardware support and performance improvements across processor, graphics, and storage modules. Major updates in this Kernel include AMD Zen1/Zen2/Zen3 PowerCap RAPL (Runtime Average Power Limiting) Support, Software Guard Extensions support for Intel processors, etc. You can check out our coverage of the Linux Kernel 5.11 feature overview here.

Home Directory is now private

After more than a decade of discussion, finally, the Ubuntu team decided to change the user home directory permission. That means the home directory is not world-readable anymore. The permission changes from 755 to 750. As Ubuntu becomes more popular across desktops, servers, clouds – there is a high chance of shared systems used by multiple users and very few admins. So, in those cases, it is necessary to take this step, now. More details here.

Wayland by default

wayland in Ubuntu 21.04
wayland in Ubuntu 21.04

It’s time finally. Wayland-related improvements were landing in Ubuntu for some time. And it was not enabled by default. Finally, the Ubuntu team decides that it is safe to enable it as a default shell. So, in the login screen, you can see the Ubuntu Wayland option is set as default and not the Ubuntu on Xorg option. Although it is set to default, be cautious that things might breaks – especially if you have Nvidia hardware and use screencasting and other related applications. However, with this, it is expected that you get better performance and security from your display server.

Updated Applications

Ubuntu, by default, features GNOME desktop environment which comes with a list of native apps. Alongside, Ubuntu pre-loads certain necessary applications. This release features the older GNOME 3.38 and not the revamped GNOME 40. But the native GNOME apps having mixed versions – 3.38 and 40.0 both. Here’s a summary of the applications and their versions.

  • Archive Manager 3.38.2
  • Calculator 3.38.2
  • Calendar 3.38.2
  • Disk Usage Analyzer 40.0
  • Disk Utility 40.0
  • Document Scanner 3.38.2
  • Files 3.38.2
  • gEdit 3.38.1
  • LibreOffice 7.1.2
  • Firefox 87

New Icons, UI refinements, and dark mode

Icons in default Yaru theme refreshed in this release. The default application icons such as LibreOffice modules are changed to give it a more professional look.
Few UI changes also land in this release. They are very hard to notice though. For example, the notification dot is now a bell icon. The system tray arrows are thinner. The input boxes on the desktop have a colored border.

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

Ubuntu comes with three themes – light, dark and standard. With this release the dark mode is set to default for desktop menus. For example, the calendar in the notification area is now having the dark mode set by default.

Default dark mode
Default dark mode

This is a brief summary of the new features. Take a look at the Top 10 Features of Ubuntu 21.04 here.


Please follow the below links for your copy of the Ubuntu 21.04 Hirsute Hippo download. Remember, the servers may be busy during an initial couple of hours immediately after the release. So, unless you are in a super hurry, wait for a day to download.

Other flavors download link is present below.

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

Upgrade from Ubuntu 20.04 LTS: It is not recommended to upgrade from the LTS release. So, do a fresh install if you want.

Upgrade from Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla: read this guide.

This non-LTS release Ubuntu 21.04 will be supported for 9 months and EOL on January 2022.

Closing Notes

A standard and normal release from the Ubuntu team. As we are not seeing many updates and changes, that means, Ubuntu slowly becoming stable and standard for Linux distribution for desktops. And as always, small and necessary updates are a stepping stone for the next LTS release. That said, don’t forget to report bugs if you find any.


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