Ubuntu 14.04 LTS is scheduled for release on April 17 and promises to be the best one so far. It would be wise to hold out until then and not adopt the new Windows 8.1. Here is a short list of reasons that would make that move a very big mistake.
Not all potential Windows 8.1 users know that they're making a big mistake by adopting the operating system from Microsoft. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS will fill all of the needs of a regular user and even provide a few things that you won't get in Windows.
1. Windows 8.1 is not a safe operating system. It's predisposed to various threats, like viruses and malware. If you put these two categories together, there are thousands of active threats at this very moment. A good way to deal with these problems is to get a good antivirus solution, but the good ones are expensive.
On Ubuntu you never need to worry about viruses or anything else. There are very few threats for Linux-based systems and none of them are active. Even so, good antivirus solutions on Linux are usually redundant and free.
2. Windows 8.1 is not a secure system. It's not actually very hard to bypass the protection given by the password, and if you boot a live Ubuntu system you will get access to all of the files in the Windows User's account. Encrypting the hard drive is a solution, but it costs money, a lot of it.
Ubuntu 14.04 allows users to encrypt their hard drives right from the start. It makes it impossible for anyone to see the contents of your hard drive without a password.
3. A large chunk of the good applications for Windows 8.1 that are in use by regular people are not free. This means that you will have to invest a lot more than the price of the operating system.
In Ubuntu 14.04, 99% of the applications are free. The ones that cost money are usually the ones needed for a very specific niche or those made by the same people who are already selling them on the Windows platform.
4. Windows 8.1 is not open source. If there are backdoors in your operating system, you will never know about them. The system can't be inspected and the problems fixed.
Ubuntu 14.04 is open source, just like the Linux kernel it’s using. Anyone can take it apart and check every line of code used. When exploits are found, they are patched immediately. Also, Ubuntu has a button that cuts all the data sent by the operating system to the outside world, with the exception of the normal apps (Firefox, Thunderbird, Steam, and so on).
5. Windows 8.1, and the Windows platform in general, no longer holds the monopoly on gaming. With the release of Steam for Linux, hundreds of new games have been released for Ubuntu and Linux, and hundreds more will be made available in the coming years.
You will have to be very careful when choosing to spend money on a Windows machine or operating system. You could get the same features and more with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS for free.