Every 6 months like clock work a new version of the Ubuntu Family is released and this is truly a happy day for fans of the OS everywhere. Trusty Tahr is out there in the wild, so Ubuntu Users rejoice! There was some a bit of a panic yesterday in a few of the forums that I follow fairly closely as the official release image was not made available until the early afternoon here in North America but when I jumped on this morning to do my usual Download and Seed of the multitude of versions of the Ubuntu Family I thought to myself that this is a perfect opportunity to look across the breadth of the versions of Ubuntu and give a bit of a description of each. The release of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Long Term Support) is really just another day for me but it does mean that I get to upgrade my Chromebook to the latest repositories and that makes me happy.
Ubuntu – Standard
The standard release of Ubuntu comes in both 32 and 64 bit for both the Desktop and Server. I have used the Server version a few times but typically go for the Desktop version. The distinctive Unity Desktop features a user friendly interface that places commonly used application icons on the left side and powers a Search tool to locate all of your Apps, Files, Images and Media with ease. I have been using the Unity Desktop since it was the Netbook Remix and have always found it to be not only easy to use…but very workable with my general workflow and needs.
Kubuntu – The KDE Desktop
Kubuntu uses the KDE Shell and while much of the underlying workings of the OS are the same as standard Ubuntu, it pulls from the KDE world for many of its software solutions and while is still very user friendly but KDE has never been my cup of tea. I have used both Kubuntu and other distros with it off and on…but always seem to come back to Ubuntu in the end.
Ubuntu Gnome – The Gnome Desktop
When I started with Ubuntu back in 2006 this was the default Desktop…and I still have fond memories of the dual task bars and the functions…but Gnome itself has come a long way in 8 years and with Ubuntu Gnome now being an officially supported derivative…I have found myself heading back to this.
Xubuntu – XFCE Desktop
Back in the day, Xubuntu was the light version of the family. Designed to be ready for older computers while still providing a modern and upgradable OS for all. It fits the bill. It is minimalist, runs lightning fast…but over time…really was not so much a light version. My only problem with Xubuntu is I am not a fan of the Thunar File Manager and because of that, I find it hard to get used to anything with XFCE.
Lubuntu – LXDE Desktop
Lubuntu has become the new Lightweight version of Ubuntu. I have installed and run Lubuntu on everything from 10 year old laptops to Netbooks to even my Chromebook for a short time and really like how things just work in this environment. It tends to play well with older hardware better than even Ubuntu and for less capable computers…this is my go to OS…EVERYTIME!
Edubuntu – Ubuntu for Education
Edubuntu is built with kids in mind. It is regular Ubuntu with tonnes of Educational software included with the install. I helped to promote this back in the late 2000’s in my daughter’s elementary school at the time and while there was interest…the school board simply said the funding was not there to support any Linux Project…too bad…it still is a great way to help kids learn!
Mythbuntu – Ubuntu for 55″ TVs
Yes that is right. Connecting all of your media through Ubuntu and into your living room is possible by this Remixed, Rebuilt, Direct to the Big Screen version of Ubuntu. This may be the only version of Ubuntu that I have never used…mainly because I could never get things configured correctly when I had my Media Center PC hooked up and now, my Android Boxes do everything and don’t cost an arm and a leg to power!
Ubuntu Studio – Ubuntu for Digital Media
We live in an age when the power to create is there for us…at our fingertips but many times…it just is out of reach because we don’t know how to start. Ubuntu Studio is really just Ubuntu retuned for Digital Media lovers. Creating Audio, Editing Video and Producing Graphics is what Ubuntu Studio is all about…and the nice thing…unlike using a Mac with Photoshop…it is FREE!!!
So there you have it…the Ubuntu Family, remixed, rebuilt and ready to go in this Post Windows XP world that we now live in.
You may ask yourself, which one is right for me? That is the beauty of Linux and Open Source in General. Life is about choices and there are plenty out there and I strongly recommend start with either Lubuntu for older PCs or jump in with Ubuntu…but access to all of the the Ubuntu Derivatives is just a Click Away!
Cheers and Happy Easter to everyone!
**Note: Screenshots for the Ubuntu Derivatives come from http://www.webupd8.org/