This week, Canonical, Inc. announced the latest version of Ubuntu, its flagship personal computer operating system. This latest release of the open source software is a release which will receive long-term support (LTS). The release is nicknamed Trusty Tahr and is version 14.04 of the preeminent Linux-based operating system.
“The 14.04 LTS release offers a solid, intuitive experience which is easy to manage,” Jane Silber, CEO at Canonical comments. “It is a viable and affordable alternative for those organisations considering a switch from Microsoft, and specifically those replacing XP or Windows 7 as they come to the end of life.”
Since the operating system (OS) is freely available to anyone with an Internet connection, users can revive older computers or install it on self-built computers without having to incur the extra cost of purchasing another OS. There are companies which have sprung up to serve the Ubuntu user base with a range of new laptop and desktop computers. System76, for example, is a company with a full line of machines designed for Ubuntu.
While the new release doesn’t offer any major shifts from Ubuntu 13.1, also known as Saucy Salamander, it does solidify the system with minor upgrades to the Unity desktop interface. The new version still allows Linux hacks to work in the Terminal application, which may still be needed to perform various upgrades and installs. However, the OS generally has been moving towards a more streamlined graphical user interface (GUI) over the past several versions.
Users who are new to Ubuntu will find that it is a fully-functioning operating system which supports Firefox, Chrome, and many little-known web browsers. The system does not support Microsoft Office, but does come with LibreOffice, which is a similar suite of office applications. For graphics, there are many open-source options for editing video, many of which are free.
Ubuntu comes with a built-in software center where users can browse a wide range of free and affordable applications. At the click of a mouse, a user can install software which will write screenplays, play an expert-level game of backgammon, or perform high-level graphics work. If the hard drive is too full of unused applications, uninstalling is likewise simple – and there’s always the option to reinstall for special occasions.
The newest version of the Unity desktop interface is included in the release. While no great leaps forward are included, certain tweaks are sure to be noticed by power users. The Unity system was developed to be used on smaller screens such as tablets or cellphones. However, this caused display issues on larger, full-featured computers. For instance, there was previously a space between a window and the top menu bar. Now that 14.04 is available, users no longer will be burdened with that annoyance.
Trusty Tahr (14.04 LTS) supports all the modern hardware, including touchscreens and multi-touch trackpads. Ubuntu is also moving towards the tablet market and is developing a market for cellphones. The OS will now support 64-bit ARM and POWER systems for server environments.
Ubuntu is an open source operating system which is one of many flavors of Linux freely available for users to install and experiment with. Many in high-tech circles recommend experimenting with Ubuntu on an older computer before jumping in to use it as a primary operating system. It will not support every sort of software and this has caused problems for some users. Newbies are sure to find a great new friend in Trusty Tahr.