As the first and only Intrepid Ibex test release in August, Ubuntu 8.10 Alpha 4 was released into the wild this morning. This release is coming two weeks before the Ubuntu 8.10 feature freeze and the first artwork deadline. Ubuntu 8.10 Alpha 4 provides support for a GNOME guest-session mode, an encrypted private directory, and it integrates NetworkManager 0.7. Of course, this is already on top of Ubuntu 8.10 shipping with the Linux 2.6.26 kernel, X.Org 7.4 / X Server 1.5, and many other updated packages.
The kernel shipping with Ubuntu 8.10 Alpha 2 is based upon the Linux 18.104.22.168 kernel. Some of the other updated programs include GNOME 2.23.6, Mozilla Firefox 3.0.1, OpenOffice.org 2.4.1, Pidgin 2.4.3, and GIMP 2.4.6. As X.Org 7.4 has yet to ship because of being held up on Mesa 7.1, Alpha 4 is using the X Server 1.5.0 RC5 release.
The encrypted private directory is coming as a result of the encryptfs-utils being moved into the Ubuntu Main repository so that it can now be easily installed and setup by end-users. This will create a per-user encrypted ~/Private directory.
What we are quite fond of finally seeing in Ubuntu is the latest code from NetworkManager 0.7. This NetworkManager update now makes it possible to manage system-wide network settings, configure 3G CDMA/GSM "mobile broadband" connections, manage multiple active devices, manage PPP and PPPOE connections, manage devices with static IP addresses, and finally manage routes for devices.
The Intrepid Ibex Alpha 4 versions of Edubuntu, Kubuntu, and Xubuntu are also available. Ubuntu 8.10 Alpha 4 can be downloaded from the Ubuntu Wiki.
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