Ubuntu 21.04 ‘Hirsute Hippo’ Released, See What’s New


“Hirsute Hippo”? Holy horrendous, amirite? They should’ve reused the “Hardy Heron” nametag from the old Ubuntu 8.04 days, which incidentally was my first real Ubuntu experience.

Jokes apart, the Ubuntu 21.04 codenamed ‘Hirsute Hippo’ has officially been released on April 22nd as was scheduled. The release looks slick and trouble-free so far. Nothing is broken, but then updates are also minor in nature. Let’s go through them one by one.

What’s new in Ubuntu 21.04 ‘Hirsute Hippo’?
  • Wayland is default now. Wayland replaces Xorg as the default display server in Ubuntu 21.04 ‘Hiruste Hippo’. This might send chill down the spines of NVIDIA users. But fear not, Ubuntu 21.04 will still default to Xorg for NVIDIA based hardware. By adopting Wayland in 21.04, they’re doing the ground works for the next LTS release.

ubuntu 2104 hirsute hippo

  • The new ‘Standard Theme’ will be a mix of dark and light themes, and Ubuntu 21.04 will default to it instead of light theme like earlier.
  • And GNOME Shell in Hirsute adopts a dark theme.

Also read: How to upgrade from Ubuntu 20.10 to Ubuntu 21.04 ‘Hirsute Hippo’

ubuntu2104 whatsnew

  • Also the default Yaru GTK theme itself has received a bunch of minor changes, like the dark theme which is now a tone darker, and Nautilus rows dropping the solid orange background for an orange vertical line etc.

what's new in ubuntu 21.04

  • A new ‘Power Mode’ that lets you manage your laptop’s battery usage (if your system supports it).

things new in ubuntu hippo

  • An ‘Add Picture’ option within the Background submenu.
  • Linux 5.11 kernel. Released in Feb 2021, this is a major inclusion.
  • The new Hippo themed default wallpapers. They actually look nice tbh.
And some BIG exclusions..

GNOME 40: Big miss that. But GNOME 40 is no small update. GNOME Shell in GNOME 40 sport some major changes in terms of layout and overall look and feel.

For example, the app launcher in Ubuntu is vertical since the old Unity days, but that’s all changing in GNOME 40. It has a horizontal app launcher, horizontal workspaces etc. Given that GNOME 40 was only released in March, it is only natural that Ubuntu design team is taking their time to decide how to move forward.

GTK4: Story is similar. Huge changes, not enough apps supporting it. Even Ubuntu’s default Yaru GTK theme needs to be updated and there simply wasn’t enough time. For the full GNOME 40.* experience, it is ideal to wait till Ubuntu 21.10, which will be launched 6 months from now.


Thanks for reading. Feedbacks are welcome. If you are new to Ubuntu, check out our shortlist to make your Linux journey a little easier. And stay tuned for more Ubuntu fun!

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