The first development snapshot for the forthcoming release of Ubuntu 8.10 (codenamed Intrepid Ibex) is coming out two weeks late -- likely due to Canonical's focus on getting the Ubuntu 8.04.1 LTS update out next week -- but what matters is that it's finally here. Ubuntu 8.10 Alpha 1 is far from meeting the quality standards for end-users (there isn't even a desktop LiveCD spin of this release), but that didn't stop us from playing with this latest build from the Canonical camp. In this article we are looking at the few changes in the Intrepid Alpha 1 release for Ubuntu and Kubuntu as well as looking at some of the changes they have planned before this release goes gold in October.
The Ubuntu 8.10 Alpha 1 announcement really doesn't highlight much about this release aside from its massive package merge from Debian that occurs at the start of each development cycle. This importing of new packages has brought in updates such as the Linux 2.6.26 kernel and GNOME 2.23.4 (ultimately it will be GNOME 2.24.0).
One of the first things to notice about Ubuntu 8.10 Alpha 1 is its new theme. Originally, Ubuntu 8.04 was supposed to introduce a (much-anticipated) new default theme for Ubuntu, but that was pushed back into Intrepid Ibex. The theme in Alpha 1 is much different from any previous version of Ubuntu (see The Visual History of Ubuntu). There is much browner and the current design is a complete overhaul with nearly everything being different aside from the background. However, we are only at Alpha 1 and there is still much more work left with fine-tuning this theme before it's settled in October.