Xubuntu 14.04 LTS was released today (April 17, 2014) along with the other *buntu distributions, such as Kubuntu 14.04 and Ubuntu 14.04, and I am quite pleased. After installing and performing a cursory experimentation with the 64-bit version, and I am definitely happy with what I see.
Rather than re-inventing the wheel, Xubuntu has consistently remained faithful to the Xfce desktop environment while introducing gradual improvements and tweaks to facilitate usage. This makes Xubuntu a familiar environment while exploring the new elements. Anyone used to Xfce can pick it up and go, so those accustomed to Xfce in Xubuntu 13.10 will feel at home with 14.04.
Installation was as quick and simple as past versions. I installed Xubuntu 14.04 on real hardware and in VirtualBox 4.3.10, and both ran flawlessly for me. No errors encountered so far.
Here are a few quick facts:
- With a 7200 RPM hard drive, Xubuntu 14.04 takes approximately 20 seconds to load from cold boot to desktop (not counting BIOS POST and login entry). It takes about 7 seconds to shutdown. Of course, these timings were recorded after a fresh install, so no extra daemons or programs were present.
- New wallpapers! The traditional blue, mouse wallpaper has been updated with cubism art, and a new set of default wallpapers have been added.
- Installs with kernel 3.13.0-24, but I upgraded to kernel 3.14.1 without any problems.
- The automatically-hiding bottom panel in Xubuntu 13.10 is not present in Xubuntu 14.04. There is only one panel at the top. However, panels can be added and customized in Xubuntu.
- The Whisker Menu (the main menu) is different from the past menu. Rather than a hierarchical listing, items are grouped. This is not as bad as it sounds, and I found it to be useful immediately because it stays simple and never goes overboard with features. The menu can be customized a little bit with item descriptions, hierarchy, and a few other tweaks. Somehow, shutting down or logging out seems more natural with this menu.
- Slightly new theme in areas. Instead of the solid dark of Xubuntu 13.10, a white/gray scheme is used for items such as the login window.
Overall, this is a good update. I have not had the chance to give Xubuntu 14.04 a thorough examination, but this looks promising.
Xubuntu 14.04 might not possess enough visual whizbang to differentiate it from previous versions, but it seems solid, stable, and contains updates that count — in addition to a few extra features (Light Lock, for example).
The Xubuntu developers deserve compliments once again.