I have downloaded and installed Ubuntu 9.04, known as Jaunty Jackalope, Alpha 3. From what I can see so far, it looks quite promising, as is typically the case with the semi-annual Ubuntu releases. Some of the high points, from the Announcement:
- Linux kernel 2.6.28: Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex is based on the Linux kernel 2.6.27. Of course they are going to keep up with the latest stable kernel release.
- ext4 file system installation: This is reputed to be a significant improvement in file systems. I have installed Alpha3 to an ext4 filesystem, and it looks fine so far. There is one significant disadvantage, though. When you have a multi-boot Linux setup, as I do, the other (older) distributions are not able to understand the ext4 file system. This means that you can't mount or otherwise access from them, and you can't boot it if you have restored GRUB from one of them, as I described a week or so ago.
- X.Org server 1.6: While this should be an improvement in the long term, what it means right now is that the display server is not as stable and not as well integrated with various video drivers, so I haven't even tried installing in on the S2110 (ATI display) system.
- OpenOffice.org 3: No surprise here, I'm sure that Ubuntu 8.10 will have updated to OOo 3 long before Jaunty is released. But it's nice to see it here, anyway.
What has impressed me the most so far is how solid and stable this release appears at this early stage.
Update: Whoops, sorry, I was wrong about some older Linux distributions supporting the ext4 filesystem. What I have found so far is that Fedora 10 is able to recognize and mount ext4, but its GRUB still can't boot from ext4. Ubuntu 8.10 identifies it, but can't mount it or boot from it, openSUSE 11.1 can't mount it, but it appears that their GRUB recognizes it, which I find a bit odd, and Mandriva 2009.0 can't make heads nor tails of ext4 file systems. Interesting.