Sometime yesterday evening, European time, I noticed that Ubuntu 10.04 Beta 2 was available for download. Right on schedule, that was nice to see after they were a bit late with Beta 1. So far it has installed without problem on the few systems I have tried. It looks essentially the same as Beta 1 did, with one very obvious difference - they're still in the process of changing the default window decorations. As shown in the picture below, the "Close" button has now been moved to the left end of the group... in fact, now that I look at it more closely, what has happened is that the "Close" and "Maximize" buttons have been swapped.
Although rather subtle, and not likely to please those who have been howling about moving and/or changing window decoration to begin with, I find this to be rather good. Somehow it feels more natural to have the "Close" button on the edge of the window.
The other major change I have noticed already is that this release seems noticeably more stable. With Beta 1 there were still occasional program crashes, especially on startup, and I haven't seen that at all yet. It also seems noticeably faster than the Beta 1, which is quite impressive because it was already very fast. I read somewhere that Ubuntu's goal was to get a 10 second boot, and I sort of shrugged that off as unrealistic, but now I'm starting to think they might get close to it!
In terms of what is included, it has Linux Kernel 2.6.32, Firefox 3.6.3 (this should satisfy those 9.10 users who have been complaining about being "stuck" on 3.5), OpenOffice 3.2, X.org X server 1.7.6 with the latest open ATI and nVidia display drivers, and much more. Check the release notes (lined above) for details.
At the beginning of this cycle I was a bit skeptical about this being an LTS (Long Term Support) release, both because of the significant problems they had when 9.10 was released, and because of the magnitude of the additional changes they were planning to make. I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised, even at this Beta 2 stage this is looking like a very good, solid release with a lot of improvements and advancement in it.