The next version of Ubuntu's free Linux operating system, dubbed "Intrepid Ibex," is due out Oct. 30, but the beta release is up for grabs. Although the desktop hasn't been reshaped, the features tweaked just a little bit, and most of the work focused on compatibility and usability (not that those are bad things, by any means), there are still some neat new tools and tweaks that are worth checking out. Read on for our picture-filled take on the new Ubuntu.
Installation and boot-up
The basics of putting a live CD in your drive, trying the desktop or installing the system are basically the same as with Hardy Heron, with a few welcome differences. The most confusing/imposing part of the process, the partition editor, shows you a graphical view of what you're doing, thereby explaining what each option does a lot better.
Ibex also supports importing browser data, backgrounds, music and pictures from Windows XP and, new to this version, Vista. Once you've installed the system and booted up, you might notice a new setting in the multi-boot menu: "Last successful boot." That's an indication that Ubuntu keeps track of which Linux kernels actually work for your system, and lets it delete old ones and prevent them from cluttering up the boot menu.
Screenshot Tour: First Look at Ubuntu 8.10 "Intrepid Ibex" Beta