UPDATE: Read Linux Format's expert verdict on Ubuntu 8.04 now.

The latest version of Ubuntu Linux, v8.04, is now available for download, the second Long Term Support (LTS) release from Ubuntu’s parent company, Canonical.

Ubuntu 8.04, also known as ‘Hardy Heron’, is being touted as an important release both for home and business use, with improved long-term support and regular security and maintenance updates.

Home for Gnome

Ubuntu 8.04 includes GNOME 2.22 open-source desktop environment and PulseAudio, a much-improved new sound server.

There’s loads of other stuff on offer too, including the latest Firefox 3 browser (still in beta), the Brasero disc burning utility and a new version of our favourite Mac BitTorrent client, Transmission.

If you’ve been toying with the idea of dipping your toe in the Linux community, then Ubuntu 8.04 could well be a good place for you to try it out. You can grab a live CD or DVD from the Ubuntu download site