A while back we decided to move onto Ubuntu for our backend server deployment. The main reasons for this was a predictable release cycle and long term support by upstream (this decision was made before the announcement that the Debian project commits to long term support as well.) With the release of the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS we are now in the process of migrating our ~5000 servers to that distribution.
Ubuntu 14.04 Long Term Support/LTS (Trusty Tahr) proves that it doesn’t matter if you’re Oracle, Microsoft, or Canonical: Bringing a fleet of products into new release revision synch is tough. Canonical is trying to cover the bases of cloud, server, desktop, smartphone/tablet, plus management and support and services add-ons. In this release, Cloud and Server get much attention; Desktop not so much. And the Ubuntu smartphone/tablet bits aren’t reviewed here as there are no “production” versions in the wild.
As it's been some months since last running any Linux vs. Mac OS X performance benchmarks, up today are benchmarks of the latest OS X 10.9.4 release on a Haswell-based Apple MacBook Air compared to running Ubuntu 14.04 LTS on the same hardware with also upgrading against the Linux 3.16 development kernel.
While Ubuntu Linux looks towards switching to systemd in the next year or two, a new version of Upstart has been released with Ubuntu still being dependent upon init daemon software.
The new release by Ubuntu's James Hunt is Upstart 1.13. The new release brings various fixes, disables chroot sessions by default, new tests and documentation, and other changes.