Today is the release day for Backdrop v1.0.0, 15th January 2015 in California, but by the launch it was 16th January here in the UK. I am impressed by the way the team have dealt with so many issues.
Once available, I downloaded the zip file to my PC, unzipped it and uploaded everything by FTP (using FileZilla) as a new folder 'Backdrop' in some webspace. I created a new MySQL database in my VPS just for use by Backdrop.
Unfortunately my initial attempt at installation has failed - it seems my VPS isn't quite right. It uses Ubuntu 14.04.1, Apache, PHP 5.5.9 and MySQL 5.5.40. So I have created an account for myself on github.com and submitted my first issue for the issues page https://github.com/backdrop/backdrop-issues/issues
Now it so happens that I have some remaining days left on an older VPS account using Ubuntu 10.04.3, Apache, PHP 5.5.7 and MySQL 5.1.72. So I tried installing Backdrop on some webspace there, and the installation ran successfully. A very pleasant step forward!
Hopefully I will soon be told what can be done to get Backdrop running on my newer VPS. I intend to keep a record of progress here on a BackdropCMS website.
Update: I have now installed a fresh and more recent version of PHP 5.5 on my VPS and with this (PHP 5.5.20) Backdrop has installed straight away!