Ubuntu 14.04 is here and ready for you to use. I have upgraded my laptop and tested it out, this has been a good release with a good amount of improvements. The major improvements are in the Unity interface in my opinion. The desktop environment does not feel half baked or unfinished anymore. To me the Unity interface feels much more fluid and smooth and with hardware support in the Linux kernel, which underpins the OS as a whole, more robust than ever, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS is pretty much the complete package.
There isn’t much to talk about this release other than the improvements to unity. This is because most of the other changes are fairly minor or don’t immediately affect your user experience. Some of the notable changes include:
- New Lock Screen: slick, matches login screen and now easier to access
- Theme Changes: borderless windows, antialiased corners and gradient tweaks
- App & Window Spread Typing: Narrow windows down by name
- App Menu Option: Puts app menus back in app windows
- Unity 8 Preview: Don’t expect anything special or stable, but ideal for developers
One of the main things I noticed, that a lot of people really wanted was the addition of the ability to put the window options back onto the window it’s self. If you are familiar with Ubuntu and Unity you will know that the window options have been at the top of the screen like a mac for a while (every other release). Well now you can change that and move them back to the window they belong to.
The latest versions of LibreOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird and Shotwell are included. Rhythmbox is updated to version 3.0.2, and Empathy version 3.8.6.
The web apps, incase you actually used them (they are kinda nice) have been changed. They are no longer powered by Firefox (or Chromium) as a container, but the QML-powered Ubuntu Browser used on the phone and tablet builds. This makes a lot of sense when you think about it because of the whole moving to one OS for all platforms kinds of mentality but they seem a little different. The browser they are powered by feels a little sluggish and not as full featured as FireFox or Chromium.
Ubuntu One has been killed. Ubuntu will no longer be offering their cloud storage, which is fine because you likely use Google Drive and Dropbox already. The source code was however made open source so maybe the community will continue developing Ubuntu One.
Over all this release of Ubuntu is very nice, what you would expect from the new LTS release. The good news is if you decide to stay with 14.04 you can look forward to critical security updates and patches as and when they’re issued. Plus, every so often, a new Hardware Enablement Stack (read: Linux kernel supporting new hardware) will be issued to let you get the most our of your hardware and accessories. Support is 5 years. You can download Ubuntu 14.04 here.