The release of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS just before the Easter holiday arrived gave tech journalists and bloggers an extended period in which to play with the newest long-term support release.
But what did they make of it?
The last few years have seen each successive release of Ubuntu greeted by fewer and fewer pixels (as opposed to column inches) on the sites of the popular tech press.
As an LTS, the recommended choice for home users and enterprise deployments alike, does 14.04 buck the trend?
‘Reviews from mainstream tech publications and news site are once again thin on the ground.’
In short: not really. Reviews from mainstream tech publications and news site are once again thin on the ground. Whether it’s that this release has little newsworthy to offer (outside of extended support and a few extras that only enthusiasts are likely to care about) or whether there’s an increasing weariness about covering an established product that has, by and large, remained a niche interest is not for me to postulate.
But while there’s no mention of the Trusty Tahr on the BBC News website or in the technology section of The Guardian, it didn’t arrive entirely unnoticed. What press reaction there has been, has been positive.
ZDNet offers up a detailed overview, describing the release as “solid and stable”. While noting that it features ‘no big changes’ the reviewer, Terry Ralph-Knight, goes on to declare Ubuntu as being “pretty hard to beat”.
‘Terry Ralph-Knight of Zdnet declares Ubuntu 14.04 LTS as ‘hard to beat”
Over at TechRepublic Jack Wallen, in his concise overview, says Trusty ‘wows through subtlety‘.
Jon Gold of Network World conveys the salient changes with a slideshow. On the subject of improved HiDPI support Gold notes that this “could prove important as 4K screens begin to gain traction in the market.”
Tech site The Inquirer covers the release from the ‘Windows XP Alternative’ angle, but noted it is a ‘natty bit of kit in its own right’.
‘Other coverage tended to regurgitate the official Canonical press release’
Other coverage tended to regurgitate the Canonical press release that trumpets the lure for Windows XP users and businesses; touts the ‘optimised for multi-touch trackpads and touchscreen’ angle; and touches on the co-release of new 14.04-based tablet and phone builds.
Of these, Engadget and PCAdvisor cover the above points concisely, while Jon Brodkin of Ars Technica distills the essentials points in depth with added insight from an email conversation he had with Rick Spencer, VP of Engineering at Canonical.
The decision to refer to Ubuntu Touch as merely ‘Ubuntu’ (something that while technically true forgoes a distinction still warranted) confused a few reporters, with many inferring that the screenshots of the desktop version accompanying their articles is what will be shipping on tablets later this year.
As we have previously reported, the ‘Unity 8’-based version of Ubuntu will be sold preinstalled on tablets from unknown OEMs later this year.
In all the reception has been positive, if a little lacking. But what critics think matters not a jot — it’s you, the user whose opinion is the true decider. Have you upgraded yet?