Ubuntu developers, continuing the tradition of naming releases in alphabetical order, had to pick a name beginning with the letter H, following the recently released Groovy Gorilla 20.10.
The Hirsute Hippo name was announced by Ubuntu’s desktop lead Martin Wimpress. Announcing the name also signals the official launch of development work on the release.
While the final list of features for the release is still some months away - it doesn’t go into feature freeze till February 25, 2021 - we can guesstimate that it’ll ship with Linux Kernel 5.11 and Gnome 40.
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Gnome 40 is the next release of the desktop environment, following Gnome 3.38.
Going from v3.x to v40 is a rather gigantus leap. However, if you’re expecting Gnome’s moving away from v3.x to v40 because of an equally dramatic feature upgrade, you’ve got another thing coming.
In a very anticlimactic fashion, a member of the Gnome foundation has said that the "minor version number getting unwieldy" is the only reason behind the jump.
You can expect Gnome 40 to land in Ubuntu by the time Hirsute Hippo swims to the mirrors.
One Ubuntu developer has also proposed modifying Ubuntu’s Ubiquity installer to allow users to encrypt their EXT4 partitions without being forced to use the LVM partitioning scheme.
Ubuntu has allowed users to encrypt their partitions for over a decade now. But to use this feature you’d have to switch to the LVM partitioning scheme, adding another level of complexity especially for new users. However that might change with Hirsute Hippo and the distro might allow full disk encryption by default on normal partitions as well.
Hirsute Hippo is a regular non-LTS release, which means it’ll only be supported for 9 months post its release. As per the announced release schedule Ubuntu 21.04 is scheduled to hit the download mirrors on April 22, 2021, which means it’ll continue to receive updates till January 2022.
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