Ubuntu "Raring Ringtail" 13.04 is the latest release of the popular Linux distribution.

What's new? The Head-Up Display must be high on the list. If you're not sure how to carry out some particular action, just tap the Alt key to bring up the HUD, start typing some keywords which relate to what you want to do, and the HUD will immediately give you a list of matching functions. So no need to go exploring menus any more. And while this sounds a little like Windows search, it actually works for functions within your installed applications so it's considerably smarter.

The new Video Lens is another interesting search addition. As you might guess from the name it's essentially a dedicated video search tool: just enter a keyword and you'll get a list of matching content for files stored locally, on YouTube or other popular online video resources.

The Software Centre is a major plus point. If you're looking to equip your new Ubuntu system with quality tools then you're not left alone, far from it. The Software Centre makes it easy to find the best tools in each category, user ratings and reviews tell you exactly what to expect, and you can install whatever you need in a click.

And there are a stack of other worthwhile improvements everywhere you look. Ubuntu's Unity desktop is reportedly now far more stable, for instance, and significant performance improvements mean the fancy visual effects work smoothly even on systems with basic integrated graphics.

Verdict

Ubuntu has always been one of the best systems for Linux novices, and 13.04 is better still: easy to install and configure, plenty of software available, and now with some powerful search capabilities to help you find your way around.