When it comes to new features, Ubuntu and Windows 10 follow a very similar concept: Both systems get a new version twice a year. But unlike Windows 10, Ubuntu strictly adheres to its own release plan. From today fans can get the new version 21.04 "Hirsute Hippo".
Similar to Windows 10, Ubuntu also publishes a major update twice a year, with many innovations. After the "October update" Ubuntu 20.10, today Ubuntu 21.04 is finally due . As usual, the new version could be tested in advance in numerous nightly builds. The final release is now available.
Ubuntu has remained true to its cause with the code names this time as well: The new Ubuntu 21.04 bears the name "Hirsute Hippo" - meaning "hairy hippopotamus", who could resist that? The new name is nowhere near as "groovy" as last time, but the update comes with noteworthy innovations.
Ubuntu 21.04 at a glance: These are the new features
• Graphics update: Ubuntu 21.04 now uses Wayland by default as a display server, i.e. for the graphic display of windows. The previous solution, X.org, is also still on board. If there are problems, you can switch when you log in. What should Wayland bring? More security, improved system performance and easier handling.
• Desktop update: Ubuntu 21.04 does not come with Gnome 40. Nevertheless, there are changes to the desktop, such as new icons or improved drag-and-drop.
• Dark Theme: A dark desktop looks classy, the new Ubuntu now uses a dark look for the most important UI elements by default. Of course you can change that and adapt the look to your own taste.
• New energy saving options: Notebook users will be happy about new energy saving options.
• Secure home folder: This long overdue change ensures that new Ubuntu installations are as safe as possible for users and that home directories can no longer be read by "unauthorized" users. Updates are not affected by this change.
• Software updates: The new Ubuntu 21.04 comes with updated software such as Firefox 87.0.2, LibreOffice 7.1.2. and Thunderbird 78.8.1.
• Active Directory Integration: Ubuntu 21.04 has improved integration into Active Directory for corporate users.
• Current tools : In addition, some pre-installed tools such as Python, Perl, Ruby and PHP have received upgrades. One of the most notable is Python 3.9, which is installed by default.
STR release with 9 months of support
Every two years Ubuntu brings a so-called Long Term Support Release (LTS) onto the market and that was the case with Ubuntu 20.04 in the spring. We always have the current version ready for you to download . In plain language, this means that you get five years of support for these Ubuntu versions. Companies can also get extra long support for a surcharge, which then runs for 10 years. An LTS release is also particularly suitable for users who value a stable system. Other distributions that want to provide their users with a stable base also often use LTS versions.
As with the last Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla in October, the current update is "only" a so-called STR release - short for "Short Term Release". For the hairy hippopotamus this means a short support of only 9 months. The support will then end in January 2022.
Ubuntu 21.04: Bugfixes for Raspberry Pi 4
The highlight of the last October update was that the new Ubuntu 20.10 now also runs on the Raspberry Pi. So far it was already possible to slimmed down Ubuntu and run it without GUI in the Server or Core Edition on the Raspi, but with Ubuntu 20.10 one went an important step further. Now the real Ubuntu including the desktop runs on the Raspberry Pi. Since this requires a certain amount of computing power and 4 or better 8 GB of RAM, the Raspberry Pi 4 is an option .
Since Raspi users are hobbyists anyway, that fits together very well with the first desktop release of Ubuntu. Ubuntu has set itself the goal of getting an LTS version on the Raspi. In 2022 there will be another one. But so that there are no misunderstandings here. The Ubuntu for normal PCs and notebooks does not run on the Raspi, but a correspondingly compiled ARM version .
In the new update, Ubuntu 21.04 takes important bug fixes and innovations. These include support for GPIO via libgpiod as well as for WiFi and Bluetooth modules on Compute Module 4. It also includes an additional fix for the damaged OpenGL applications. Accelerated Wayland-based desktops are also supported with the new version.
Live test or with VirtualBox
Windows could cut a slice or two off from Ubuntu. The test mode is particularly pleasant. Users only have to load the image file and write it to a stick in a bootable manner, which works very easily with Rufus under Windows, for example . Then you can test Ubuntu 21.04 in live operation on your hardware. To do this, change the language to "German" and click on "Try Ubuntu" in the installer.
Alternatively, to take a look at it without obligation, you can install Ubuntu 21.04 in a virtual machine. You can do this very easily on Windows with VirtualBox . The video above shows exactly how this works.