Ubuntu hit their target date with Karmic Alpha 5, it is available for download. I have only installed it on the S6510 so far, but here are a couple of quick observations about it.
- During installation, it no longer asks anything about installing GRUB, it always installs it to the MBR. This is actually not a new change to this Alpha release, I'm not sure when they started doing this, but in my case, because of my multi-boot configurations, I wish it would still give me a choice of whether and where to install GRUB - especially since they are installing GRUB 2.
- The installation progress window now has an "information/education" window associated with it, which tells you things like "Surf the Web with Firefox"... over and over and over again. Sound familiar? I could live without this particular change...
- There is a spiffy new replacement for the boot progress bar. I guess it looks nice, but it doesn't tell you much about how far along in the boot process it is. I suppose when booting only takes about 30 seconds, this isn't a critical progress indicator any more. Anyway, this is the second time in two releases that they have changed this - and I liked the previous change a lot better than I like this one.
- There is a new panel icon for User identification and Shutdown, which is sort of nice... but I can't find a "Preferences" option for it, and thus I haven't yet been able to figure out how to remove the irritating delay when I shutdown or reboot. Either I'm overlooking this, or it is just missing in this Alpha release and will appear again before the final release. I hope.
I just realized that these comments almost all sound negative, and I don't intend it to be that way. This latest Alpha release is really good, it is very well developed and stable. I'll install it on various other notebooks and netbooks tomorrow. I'm just a bit puzzled by these few little quirks.