The Ubuntu 21.04 (Hirsute Hippo) operating system is now available for public beta testing ahead of the final release later this month on April 22nd, 2021.
Ubuntu 21.04 Beta is here to give us an early taste of the new features and improvements Canonical planned for the next major release of the popular Linux distro. These include the latest Linux 5.11 kernel series, Wayland by default on most configurations, PipeWire support, and nftables as default backend for the firewall.
While it sticks to the GNOME 3.38 desktop environment series, Ubuntu 21.04 comes with many updated apps from the latest GNOME 40 stack. In addition, it now features support for smartcard authentication, improved AD (Active Directory) integration, and the ability to change the power profile from settings.
For Raspberry Pi devices, the upcoming Hirsute Hippo release promises GPIO support via libgpiod and the new liblgpio libraries, as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module (CM) 4 board.
The official flavors have also entered the public beta testing program. These include Kubuntu 21.04 with the latest KDE Plasma 5.21 desktop environment, Xubuntu 21.04 with the latest Xfce 4.16 desktop environment, as well as Ubuntu Budgie 21.04 with Budgie Desktop 10.5.2 and initial support for Raspberry Pi devices.
Ubuntu Kylin 21.04 is present as well with its brand-new UKUI 3.0 desktop, and there’s also Ubuntu MATE 21.04, Lubuntu 21.04, and Ubuntu Studio 21.04. Unofficial flavors Ubuntu Unity Remix 21.04 and Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix 21.04 also released a beta version today.
You can download them right now below if you’re interested in helping the developers to make Ubuntu 21.04 and the rest of the flavors as stable as possible. However, please try to keep in mind that this is still a pre-release version, so don’t install it on a production machine.
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