While largely an incremental release over the previous Karmic Koala 9.10, the desktop version of Ubuntu 10.04 features an updated 2.6.32 kernel, a revved 2.29 GNOME implementation (with KDE SC 4.4 for the Kubuntu variant) the Firefox 3.6 web browser and OpenOffice.org 3.2 for productivity.
Gallery: Ubuntu Lucid Lynx 10.04 LTS Beta1Most notable in the newest desktop release is Ubuntu's abandonment of its previous "Earth Tone" color scheme for GNOME in favor of a bright, Mac-like motif with fresh-looking icons and an Aubergine/Grey color pallete.
In an unusual decision and what could be considered an unwelcome change for the user interface, Canonical has also chosen the default configuration of the Metacity window manager to use a reverse positioning of the maximize/minimize icons on the upper left of each window.
This is a departure from the conventional Microsoft Windows-like positioning on the upper right of each window used in previous releases, which may take getting some used to by new Linux users. It certainly annoys this one and I hope Canonical considers returning to the previous default setting it had for release, although the company has said publicly that its design changes were not up for debate.
[Update: see helpful comment from ZDNet talkbacker CPav on how to alter the default Window button positioning using the gconf-editor GUI tool.]Additionally, I was surprised by the use of Yahoo! as the new default home page for Ubuntu in Firefox, although this can easily be changed.
A number of new tools based on the Gwibber project for Social Media integration have been added or improved, including a microblogging program for Twitter and FaceBook, and a fully integrated instant messaging client, Empathy (which was introduced in Karmic Koala) which now includes support for FaceBook chat and numerous other IM networks.
Under the hood, in addition to the many performance enhancements of Kernel 2.6.32, 10.04 has removed the Hardware Abstraction Layer from the boot process, effectively making it twice as fast to boot than its predecessor and reducing resume from suspend time.
PCs with nVidia chips will now use the Open Source "Nouveau" driver by default as opposed to the proprietary nVidia driver, although the closed and higher-performance driver can also be installed using the Synaptic utility.
Are you going to install the new Lucid Lynx beta? Talk Back and Let Me Know.