Ubuntu 21.04 (Hirsute Hippo) Enters Feature Freeze, Beta Expected on April 1st

Hirsute Hippo

As of this week, the forthcoming Ubuntu 21.04 (Hirsute Hippo) operating system release has entered Feature Freeze stage, an important milestone in its six-month-long development cycle.

The Feature Freeze stage means that no major new features will be implemented in Ubuntu 21.04 until the final release hits the streets in late April 2021. Developers will no focus their efforts on fixing important blockers that won’t delay the final release.

Dubbed as the “Hirsute Hippo,” Ubuntu 21.04 has been in development since late October 2020, shortly after the release of Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla). As its customary, the Feature Freeze stage will be followed shortly by an optional “Ubuntu Testing Week,” which will take place between March 4-11 and intended for those who want to help with the testing.

“Ideally, you will all now be focusing on bug fixing and not on getting new features into the release,” said Brian Murray on behalf of the Ubuntu Release team in a mailing list announcement.

As usual, I’ve been keeping tabs on the development of Ubuntu 21.04 and I can tell you some of the major changes that the distro will ship with. Some of these you probably already know from my past articles, such as the fact that GNOME 3.38 remains the default desktop environment, but you probably didn’t know that many of the GNOME 40 apps will be included as well for a hybrid experience.

Another major change in Ubuntu 21.04 is the fact that Wayland will be enabled as the default session, with the X.Org session available as an alternative for NVIDIA users and those who have hardware that’s not supported on Wayland.

Under the hood, there will be an updated toolchain based on the latest GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) 11 series, Python 3.9 by default, GNU C Library 2.33, LLVM 11, and hopefully Linux kernel 5.11, but for now the distro ships with Linux kernel 5.10 LTS by default. Some of the latest app releases will be present as well.

The final release of Ubuntu 21.04 (Hirsute Hippo) will arrive on April 22nd, 2021, and it will be supported for only nine months, until July 2021. But, until then, we’ll be able to get an early taste of Ubuntu 21.04 with the beta release, which is expected on April Fools’ Day.

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