Popular Linux distro Ubuntu launched version 14.04 this week, offering a new Long Term Support release that will be supported for the next 5 years. But it’s not just the main branch of Ubuntu that’s been updated. Other members of the Ubuntu family include Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Kubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, and more.
These operating systems have the same basic core as Ubuntu, but they each come with an alternate desktop environment and core suite of apps pre-installed.
Each of these new releases will receive 3 years of support instead of the 5 years you get if you run the main version of Ubuntu with the Unity desktop environment. That’s still better than the 9 months of support you get with a non-LTS release.
Since Ubuntu is an open source operating system, there are hundreds of operating systems based on an Ubuntu core. But officially supported flavors include the education-centric Edubuntu, Ubuntu Studio for media creators, Mythbuntu for folks looking for a home media center, and Lubnutu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, and Ubuntu GNOME for folks that prefer an alternative to Canonical’s Unity user interface.
For the most part the 14.04 releases include stability, security, and performance improvements and more recent versions of core apps such as Firefox, LibreOffice, AbiWord, and Gnumeric.
Kubuntu 14.04 has a new Drivers manager and a move to Firefox as the default browser, Lubuntu 14.04 gets a new version of the pcmanfm file manager, and Ubuntu GNOME 14.04 is the first Long Term Support version of Ubuntu with the GNOME desktop environment since Canonical made the move to Unity a few years ago.
You can find more changes, along with special instructions for installing some versions of Ubuntu, in the Ubuntu 14.0.4 Trusty Tahr release notes.