Ubuntu 14.04 LTS: Major Application Updates

Over the last few weeks, we have been talking about the first new LTS version from Ubuntu in two years and some of the major changes to the operating system that you can expect to see once you take the plunge. Today, we are going to list some of the major applications available from the Ubuntu Software Center and the upgrades they have undergone since the last update to Ubuntu’s LTS OS.

Major Utilities and Tool Updates
In addition to the myriad major desktop application updates (which we will cover in the next section), there are a HUGE number of other utilities and tools that have received pretty major updates since the last LTS version a bit over two years ago. Let’s talk about a few:

    • Xen 4.4
    • This is a pretty major upgrade to Xen which is included with Ubuntu at this point. The most noticeable change to anyone who uses it will likely be that it no longer supports 32bit only CPUs (although 32bit client operating system support is still in place). This shouldn’t be a big deal since any modern processor in the last six or so years is 64bit, but it may mean that some people using Ubuntu on older servers or old laptops may need to be aware that Xen will no longer support their CPU family.
    • QEMU 2.0
    • I include this here since along with Xen, there are some changes to it. Notably, guests created in KVM cannot be migrated to this version from previous Ubuntu 12.04 LTS installations nor can their snapshots be restored on 14.04 LTS. Additionally, emulated support for the arm64 binaries has been added.
    • MySQL

 

    • Although MySQL 5.5 is still the default standard, you can install Percona, MariaDB or MySQL 5.6 from the standard repositories. I have to confess a little surprise that Ubuntu has not jumped the MySQL ship to MariaDB like every other major distribution has already done (or plans to do), but it is still the default. Hedging their bets on a relationship with Oracle is my best guess at this point.
    • Apache 2.4 and PHP 5.5
    • A little surprised at the jump to Apache 2.4 which continues to struggle a bit for acceptance since 2.2 has been so rock solid for so long, but I am glad to see a major desktop distribution jump on board. PHP has needed an update for some time and has been available in the channels at PHP 5.5 since 12.04 LTS, but now it is the official installed version. NOTE: If you are running some older CMS platforms (cough, cough – DRUPAL), you may have some issues with that upgrade you have to be aware of, so check your documentation.

 

Software Center: Desktop Application Upgrades
In short, there are quite a few major updates and changes to the major desktop applications available in the Software Center (as well there should be considering it has been two years since the last LTS release). The most visible applications you will notice are:

    • Google Chrome 33
    • Firefox 28
    • Nautilus 3.10
    • The Gimp – 2.8
    • KDE 4.13 (For the Best Linux Desktop in My Opinion)

Although I didn’t mention it above, LibreOffice 4.2.3.3 is now the default office suite and it looks fantastic (see for yourself below):

Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Libre Office Upgrade

Final Thoughts
All in all, the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Desktop has been a fairly smooth transition from 12.04 (unless you are unlucky enough to run the very latest NVidia video cards – their Linux proprietary drivers have been hit and miss with the 780GTX or Titan chipsets).

In the next few posts, I will be diving into a few more technical details about some of the monitor/display changes (high resolution monitor owners rejoice) as well as giving an early preview (in a virtual machine because I am not crazy) of Mir – the Xwindows desktop replacement server. If you have anything else you would like covered, drop a note in the comments and we will see you back right here next week!

Terrence T. Cox

A veteran of twenty years in Information Technology in a variety of roles. He has worked in development, security and infrastructure well before they merged into what we now call DevOps. He provides training in Linux, VMWare, DevOps (Ansible, Jenkins, etc) as well as containers and AWS topics.