The Ubuntu project has made available an advance testing version of its popular Linux distribution, with the full 8.10, 'Intrepid Ibex' release scheduled to be released in October.
Ubuntu developer Steve Langasek announced that the Alpha 5 version of Ubuntu 8.10 was online and available for download, although he said the software was not intended for use in stable environments.
"Pre-releases of Intrepid are not encouraged for anyone needing a stable system or anyone who is not comfortable running into occasional, even frequent breakage," he wrote in an email to developers.
There are only a couple more testing versions of Ubuntu 8.10 scheduled to be issued before the final code is released. The final code is slated for release on October 30. Ubuntu usually issues several major releases of the Linux distribution each year. Intrepid Ibex will introduce a number of new features to Ubuntu.
When Intrepid Ibex was first announced, back in February, project founder Mark Shuttleworth wrote that the project would aim to make Intrepid work as well on a high-end PC as it did on a sub-notebook, such as Asus's Eee PC.
In addition, he said, the Intrepid Ibex release would see a focus put on "pervasive internet access"; that is, the ability to stay connected in a variety of different locations.
Increasingly, internet users are mixing 3G mobile broadband with Wi-Fi and fixed lines to stay connected wherever they are. Ubuntu has included network-management tools in Intrepid that can actively manage such connections.
The Intrepid Ibex release notes state that developers have included the latest versions of open-source software in the release, as well as other new features, such as easy encryption for users' documents.