Different Ubuntu versions
There are many different Linux distributions out there, it is hard to find the best distribution for special cases. One very popular distribution is called Ubuntu. Ubuntu is popular, because Canonical invests a lot of money to make Linux (Ubuntu) more user friendly. They focus on usability. Today it is a good alternative operating system for Windows users.
Ubuntu Linux is available in many different variations. We can distinguish them by type of installation (server or desktop), by system architecture (32bit or 64bit) and by pre installed graphical desktop system. The following text is about this differences.
Distinguish by installation type
When we distinguish Ubuntu by installation type, we distinguish by server or desktop system. Both use the same software packets and the same source base, so you can change your system after installation. You can install a server CD and then import packages that are typical for desktop systems. All server versions have an install program that runs in text mode without a graphical user interface. On server systems there are typically fewer packages to install, only a server base and after this core installation you can install specific packets that turns your server to a mail server, web server, SSH server or other possibilities. On desktop installation you normally use a graphical install program. You will also install core packets, but also libraries like mp3 codecs or a graphical system. For Ubuntu, the main graphical system is Unity.
Distinguish by system architecture
All Ubuntu versions are available for 32bit and 64bit systems. You can also decide between Intel and AMD architecture. For a better performance it is a good idea to use the correct version. You may detect a wrong version if an error occurs before or at installation time.
Distinguish by desktop systems
It is very common distinguish Ubuntu versions by their preferred desktop system. Normally Unity is used, but Ubuntu is Linux, so you can also use any other desktop system like KDE (KUbuntu), Gnome, Xfce (XUbuntu), LXDE or many more. You can decide which desktop fits your needs.
Ubuntu is released every 6 months with a new version. Version number 13.04 is combined by the year (2013) and the release month (04 for april). There are version releases in april and october. Every two years, there are so called LTS versions. LTS means „long term support“. So this versions get updates 5 years and are very common on server system which have to run stable over many years.
All Ubuntu versions have code names. This code names consists of an adjective and the name of an animal. Version 13.04 is called „Raring Ringtail“, Version 13.10 will be called „Saucy Salamander“.