As I write this, Ubuntu's latest offering, the Trusty Tahr, is getting substantial downloads from its servers. Version 14.04 LTS offers its users a fully supported Linux system for the next five years on top of a polished and stable platform. All in all, it's not that bad, despite what the usual naysayers have to say. Mind you, it's far from perfect and, in all honesty, I still much prefer my trusty Mint installation over Ubuntu.

However, as we said last week, Canonical seems to be pouring on the 'life after XP' sauce by the gallon with the new Ubuntu release. As Rick Spencer, vice president of Ubuntu engineering, told eWEEK recently, "We believe that Ubuntu has been a great alternative to Windows for years, so our focus is on making certain that Ubuntu 14.04 LTS runs on the latest hardware, including touch screens and high DPI displays, while still supporting legacy hardware that users might have." He then went on to add, "Ubuntu 14.04 LTS is certainly a great alternative for anyone looking to replace Windows XP."

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Ubuntu 14.04's Newest Features

While Unity may still attract much hatred from the community in general (and the whole Amazon built-in search thing raises a few eyebrows in certain quarters), there are a number of new features that will no doubt make the Ubuntu user nod their head sagely at the choices made by Canonical. For starters, Unity Web Apps no longer uses a standard browser such as Firefox as a container and now opts for the QML Ubuntu Browser that stars in its tablet and phone builds.

Secondly, 14.04 now uses the Linux 3.13 kernel, which includes many improvements for security and networking, and you have the usual collection of LibreOffice 4.2.3, Thunderbird 24.4 and Firefox 28 programs at hand. Lastly, as we mentioned a couple of weeks back, the Ubuntu One service is no longer included with the installation since it will finally be laid to rest by the end of July.

For the new user, Ubuntu 14.04 may not be all that bad a choice. It's reasonably snappy on a decent system, it's certainly easy enough to use, and it focuses more on the GUI side of Linux as opposed to the command line.

Granted, it's not the chosen cup of tea for many of the more experienced Linux users among you, but as a stepping stone into Linux it's probably not a bad place to kick off the adventure before the users decide to migrate over to Mint, LXLE, Arch and onward to eventually create their own personal distro.