I have been running Linux on and off for a long time now (albeit with a brief dalliance with Apple and an even briefer one with Windows 8). I find Linux fast, stable and really easy to use.
In the past, at various times I have used Manjaro, Zipslack, Wary Puppy, Crunchbang, Debian, Mageia, Fedora and Ubuntu. I have a preference towards the Debian forks, and since the Unity bar came out, Ubuntu has been my favourite.
Now before I get crucified by the uber-nerd brigade getting hairy chested about Arch, I like the unity bar. It's very productive. It suits my way of working. I like the way it looks, too. It inspires me. End of argument!
So when the latest version of Ubuntu came out yesterday (Trusty Tahr), I decided to upgrade right away. First impression is that very little has changed. Canonical have ambitions to deliver smart phones and greater integration of Ubuntu across all platforms. So I have lowered my short term expectations, on the expectation of much more later on :-)
The first thing you really notice is they have upped the design quality. Everything is brighter, sharper and a little - dare I say it - slicker. Unity appears to be delivering search results quicker, and the controversial Amazon search is now an opt-in function, rather than automatically on. Here are some more features I have noticed.
- The lock screen now has the same look and feel as the rest of the unity interface, which is a welcome addition that looks great.
- Sound volume can be boosted much higher - a useful feature if you are plugging your laptop into different sound systems.
- Application menus can be put in the window, on the dock or in the HUD menu in unity.
- Windows can be resized in real time without that annoying box.
- There is increased graphic support, including NVIDIA, Optimus and HiDP.
- The unity icons can be made much smaller than before.
- Windows do not have any borders.
- The guest session gives you a warning about being a temporary session on opening.
"Cut to the chase, Rich. Is it worth upgrading?"
My mother's laptop is still quite happily running Ubuntu 12.04, which will be supported until 2017. There are no big changes to functionality with the 'Trusty Tahr'... no 'must-have' features. Ubuntu has chosen a path of evolution, rather than revolution. Certainly, it is an improvement from the previous releases. But I'm enthusiastic about 15.04, which I expect big things from. I would count 14.04 as being a bit like Apple's change from Leopard to Snow Leopard. It's a small change, waiting on the anticipation of big things to come.