After recently installing Ubuntu 8.04 Beta, I have seen numerous improvements that will bring welcome change to users in the near future. Now in beta stage, Ubuntu is stable enough for me or anyone else who is interesting in testing the new version. While I have not seen any problems, it is not recommended for use on production machines. Here are some highlights.
The first major feature is the inclusion of Firefox 3 Beta 4. The +GTKuse in the application blends in well by using the system icons and tabs. Firefox 3 has been declared ready for release by Mozilla, although it the official release of Firefox 3 is said to be in June, nearly two months after Ubuntu’s next release.
For all of those ATI graphics card users who are using the older cards, help is on the way! On Ubuntu 7.10, I could only get graphics acceleration. Now, I was able to get the 3-D desktop working, and it was enabled by default upon installing the driver via the Hardware Manager (Restricted Drivers Manager) and a quick reboot.
I have noticed a speed increase on both startup and shutdown. Another welcome site was the splash screen working on default. With Ubuntu 7.10, I had to edit the usplash.conf file in order to get the splash screen to show. It was pretty easy following guides in the forums, but after a while of reinstalling Ubuntu and other distributions, it got a little tiring. Thankfully, this bug has been fixed in the Hardy Heron release.
There is also a new theme in the beta release, which has been implemented through Alpha 5 and Beta 1 of Ubuntu 8.04. It is a bit more orange theme, with a new background, login screen, and some new icons, although the Human icon set is still the preferred option, coming defalt with the theme.
There are plenty of new features and applications to go around, and there will likely be more updates to come as many of the major applications have new releases. Ubuntu 8.04 Beta 1 is looking strong, and will form the base of a new and stunning release. Ubuntu 8.04 will be a LTS release, with three years of support on the desktop, and 5 years of support on the server.